The elevation of a city or town tells us how high it is above or below sea level. Cusco has an elevation of 11,152 feet (3,399 m), which is higher than many mountains and higher than any city in the United States. The extremely high elevation of Cusco is due to its location among the Andes Mountains, and the city's height can actually trigger altitude sickness in some visitors. Altitude sickness generally begins to occur at elevations above 8,000 feet (2,500 m). The air is thinner and colder at these elevations, so people may need some time to get used to the conditions when visiting Cusco and this is an important aspect to consider when planning a trip to Cusco.
The highest point in all of Peru is the Huascarán mountain, located in the province of Yungay and having an elevation of 22,205 feet (6,768 m), while the lowest point in the country is an area called the Bayóvar Depression, located in the Sechura Desert, and this location has an elevation of 112 feet (34 m) below sea level. Many of the major tourist destinations and cities in Peru have very high elevations. The Nevado Huascarán Mountain, for example, has an elevation of 22,132 feet (6,746 m) and the Inca Trail, at its highest point, has an elevation of 13,780 feet (4,200 m). Machu Picchu has an elevation of 7,927 feet (2,430 m), so it's not quite as high as Cusco.
The three most populous cities in Peru are Lima, Arequipa, and Trujillo. Lima has an elevation ranging from as low as 0 feet (0 m) to as high as 5,090 feet (1,550 m), Arequipa has an elevation of 7,661 feet (2,335 m), and Trujillo has an elevation of just 112 feet (34 m). So, when compared to the biggest cities around the nation, Cusco has a higher elevation in general.
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