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Lares Trek to Machu Picchu is a high altitude trek. It is one of the lesser known treks to Machu Picchu from Cusco, when compared with Salkantay Trek or Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. However, Lares Trek offers a rewarding experience and has its own distinct charm. This is the only trek that offers a closer interaction with the remote Andean communities.
The trek starts at Lares, a small town known for its thermal baths. Lares is some 35 miles to the south east of Machu Picchu. Most part of the trek lies in the Lares Valley itself and covers a part of the Sacred Valley of Incas. The four days trek offers sights of stunning mountains, inca sites, valleys and Lakes. Lares Trek is often considered as one of the best alternatives to the Classic Inca trail.
The Andean community you will be meeting on this trek have preserved their age old traditions and customs. They are famous for their handmade clothings. Along the way, you will be meeting many farmers and weavers wearing their traditional colourful clothings. The region is popular for homemade textiles, if you want to bring home some authentic handmade Peruvian souvenir, this is the best place to get a deal.
We highly recommend you to get acclimatised before participating on this trek to avoid altitude sickness. The highest point of Lares Trek to Machu Picchu is at 4600 metres above the sea level. As you arrive in Cusco, we recommend you to do the Cusco City Tour or Sacred Valley Tour to get acclimatised.
Cusco Hotel Transfer
We will be picking you up from your hotel quite early in the morning. Our Lares Trek to Machu Picchu experience will start with a three and a half hours drive to Lares. Lares is a small town at 3200 metres above the sea level. It is home to the hot springs. On the way to Lares from Cusco, we will be stopping in Calca. Calca is another small town in the Sacred Valley of Incas. Here, we will be visiting the local market where you can pickup some las minute things for trail, if you want any.
Once in Lares, after taking a dip in the hot springs (entrance fees not included), we will be meeting our muleteers. After organising our things, we will start the trek. It starts with a gradual hike up the Lares Valley. We will be stopping for lunch at around 01:30 PM, half way to our first campsite.
After lunch, we will be continuing our trek. On this section, we will be crossing Andean farms where you will get to see herds of Llamas and Alpacas grazing. We will then reach our first campsite in Wacawasi Village at 3,800 m / 12,464 ft. Upon reaching our campsite, we will be serving you a hot cup of tea/coffee with some snacks followed by dinner.
After an early breakfast, we will start hiking up to the highest point. The highest point of Lares Trek is Puerto pass at 4,420 m / 14,498 ft. It will take about four hours to reach there from our campsite. This section of the trek offers sights of some llamas and alpacas.
After reaching Puerto pass, we will take a break and see the beauty of the valley below. Your guide will also introduce you to an Andean tradition called Apacheta. Apacheta is basically a tradition of piling up stones as a memorial or to mark a boundary or path. Incas did this to express their gratitude to “Pachamama” mother earth for offering safety to them during their travels.
From here, it will be a downhill hike to our lunch spot. We will be stopping for lunch next to a beautiful lagoon. Our chef will serve you a freshly prepared lunch and some hot drinks.
After lunch, we will continue descending to our second campsite in Mantanay Valley. Mantanay Valley offers a beautiful view. It is home to Andean trees called Queuña (a typical tree from the highlands of Peru that grows up between 3,400m / 11,152 ft trough 4,300m/ 14,104 ft, polylepis “Rosaceae” is a genus of low trees with rugged scaly bark).
In the evening we will be serving you dinner.
After breakfast, we will be descending for three hours to Yanahuara Village in Sacred Valley of Incas. Here we will have lunch and bid good bye to our muleteers and chef.
After lunch, we will be taking our private transport to Ollantaytambo train station. Here you will be boarding the train to Aguas Calientes town. The train ride offers excellent views of Andean Village and tropical forest. It takes about an hour and forty five minutes train ride. At Aguas Calientes, you will be accommodated in a basic ensuite hotel room.
You can later stop for dinner at one of the local restaurants (not included).
After breakfast at the hotel, you will be taking the bus from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu. It takes about 25 minutes. Once at the main entrance, our guide will assist you in clearing the security control to enter the citadel. Normally as you will be entering the citadel, you will be rewarded with a sight of a thick blanket of clouds clearing by as the golden rays of sun would beam on the walls of the citadel. After a detailed guided tour of the citadel, you will have some free time to walk around and explore.
If you have booked your hike to Huyana Picchu or Machu Picchu mountain, please advise our guide. Alternatively, you can walk up to the Sun Gate. It requires no permit and is free. Sun gate serves as the entrance to Machu Picchu for those on Inca Trail. You can also visit the small Inca bridge, if desired.
After the tour, you will be taking the bus back to Aguas Calientes. Here you can stop for lunch (not included).
In the afternoon, we will take the train back to Ollantaytambo train station or Poroy train station. Our representative will be meeting you on arrival and will be driving you back to your hotel in Cusco.
Exceptional Trek! We had a fantastic time with Jose. He is an excellent guide. Overall it exceeded our expectations.