The Lares trek is for those who like to get off-the-beaten-track and explore, but still want to take a Machu Picchu tour.
On the Lares trek, you will gain an insight into authentic communities, whilst being surrounded by stunning mountains, lakes and valley landscapes. It is a fantastic way to make your Peru tour package healthier!
It is also good for those who are not so keen on camping, as there are only two nights’ camping, with the third night being spent in the small town of Aguas Calientes, in preparation for an early rise for your Machu Picchu tour, on the fourth day.
Where is the Lares trek?
Lares is the name of a mountainous region situated just behind the Sacred Valley. There are actually a wide variety of trekking tours available in the region, so not all companies take the same route … meaning there is plenty of space for everyone.
It is a much quieter trek than the more famous Inca Trail.
Lares is also the name of the principal town of the area and this is the starting point for our trek. Thanks to a new road, we can now arrive in about three hours from Cusco. It was once much longer.
The treks generally finish in the Sacred Valley area, with our chosen tour finishing in the ideal location of Ollantaytambo. This is where you take the train to the town of Aguas Calientes for a hotel bed and hot shower. Then early next morning you can head off for your guided Machu Picchu tour.
Include a Machu Picchu tour?
We certainly do. Your trek guide is also a Machu Picchu expert, having studied at university for between three and five years to learn all about the history of the country and its cultures and archaeology. All Inca Trail guides must undergo a re-validation course every year, to update their knowledge of First Aid and of the flora and fauna, as well as being brought up-to-date with all the latest archaeological discoveries and theories at Machu Picchu.
Your Machu Picchu tour will last about two hours and add to the knowledge that you have learned along the way.
Afterwards, you will have free time to explore the wonderful site.
We encourage our clients to spend a night in the town of Aguas Calientes to enable you to revisit Machu Picchu the next day … and perhaps take up the challenge of climbing Huayna Picchu, for some stunning views over Machu Picchu and the surrounding area.
Today has an early departure from Cusco, for the town of Calca about one hour away.
After one and a half hours more spectacular driving, we arrive in Lares, home of hot springs and the start of our trek.
We then start a leisurely half-day hike up the valley of the rushing Trapiche River. Tonight’s camping is in Huacahuasi – 12,450 feet (3,800m) – which is an authentic Andean community, located in an impressive valley.
Lying at an altitude of 14,700 feet 4665m (15,305 feet) is the pass of Yanahuara, which you will cross today. The pass offers breathtaking views of surrounding snow-capped peaks.
Descending from the pass, we walk alongside the beautiful Aruraycocha Lake, before stopping for a well deserved lunch.
Our path then descends through traditional Queñua forest and on to our campsite in the tiny settlement of Mantanay.
Today we carry on downhill to reach Yanahura in the Sacred Valley of the Incas. Your trek cooks will provide one last delicious lunch, before our private transport takes you the 30 minutes to Ollantaytambo, in time for your train to Aguas Calientes.
Tonight you will have hotel and a welcome hot shower in this small town that lies in the shadow of Machu Picchu.
Today is for many the highlight of their Peru tour.
You take a bus up from Aguas Calientes to the ruins, for a two-hour guided Machu Picchu tour, before some free time to further explore the site.
Perhaps you booked the chance to climb Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu mountain, for some stunning eagle eye views of Machu Picchu.
Finally it’s time to head back to Cusco by train and bus, enjoying some more stunning views along the way.