Red blood cell carbonic anhydrase (CA) activity has not been studied in high altitude natives. Because CA is an intraerythocytic enzyme and high altitude natives are polycythemic, it is important to know if the activity of CA per red cell volume is different from that of their sea level counterparts. Blood was collected from healthy subjects living in Lima (150m) and from twelve subjects from Cerro de Pasco (4330m), and hematocrit and carbonic anhydrase activity were measured. As expected, the high altitude natives had significantly higher hematocrits than the sea level controls (p = 0.0002). No difference in the CA activity per milliliter of red cells was found between the two populations. There was no correlation between the hematocrit and CA activity.