Day 1 : Begin Lares Trek Day 2 : Lares Trek Day 3 : Lares Trek - Aguas Calientes Day 4 : Machu Picchu - Cusco
The spectacular Lares trek route is perfect for trekkers looking for an off the beaten path adventure in a part of Peru still appears as it did 500 years ago. This remote and rarely visited region offers the traveler exceptional insight into the lives of Andean villagers, who still dress in their traditional brightly-colored ponchos.
As you follow the trail through the picturesque Lares Valley, you will have the opportunity to see stone houses with straw-thatched roofs surrounded by herds of llamas and alpacas, while inside the houses you’ll see guinea pigs running loose. The trek itself is rated at moderate difficulty, similar to the Inca Trail. There are, however, two passes over 13,000 feet (4,000 meters), so it is important to be acclimated before starting the trek.
After the trek ends in Ollantaytambo, you will take the short train ride to Aguas Calientes to visit the spectacular and mysterious Machu Picchu citadel, the highlight of Peru and one of the Seven New World Wonders. The Lares trek to Machu Picchu is a spectacular way to see Peru’s historic and gorgeous landscapes.
After breakfast, you will be met at your hotel in Cusco and taken on a scenic drive into the beautiful Sacred Valley. You will pass the quaint villages of Pisac and Calca, renowned for their historic importance during Inca times. The route then ascends into the mountains toward the lovely town of Lares with hot springs.
Enjoy a delicious lunch in Lares and begin your first day of hiking up to the mountain town of Huacahuasi to the first campsite.
Hike Distance: 5 mi (8 km) Minimum Altitude: 9,645 ft (2,940 m) Maximum Altitude: 12,300 ft (3,750 m) Approximate Time: 3 to 4 hrs
After a filling breakfast early in the morning, you will start your trek with a hike uphill through the picturesque Lares Valley. Continue up through small passes until you reach the highest pass of the Lares trek, the Ipsayccasa pass, located at a dizzying height of 14,600 ft (4,450 meters). Once you have had your fill of the magnificent view, you will start your descent until the town of Patacancha.
The trail goes past several lovely villages where you can observe weaving communities. Your guide will be able to tell about the locals’ ways of life and you’ll be able to admire their exquisite handicrafts.
From Patacancha, take a 30-minute ride by local bus to Huallata, where you will continue walking another 45-minutes to the Pumamarka campsite.
Hike Distance: 8.1 mi (13 km) Minimum Altitude: 12,300 ft ( 3,750m) Maximum Altitude: 14,600 ft (4,450 m) Approximate Time: 6 to 7 hrs
For your last hiking day, enjoy a hearty breakfast early in the morning and then visit the archeological site of Pumamarka, or “Puma Town.” Then set out on the trail for the descent through a wide and scenic valley. Take some time to appreciate your gorgeous surroundings, dominated by massive snow-capped mountains and rocky slopes.
In the afternoon, you will reach the town of Ollantaytambo. Located in the fertile Sacred Valley, this ancient Inca village is home to a fascinating archeological site. In the evening, you will take the train to Aguas Calientes, the town near Machu Picchu, where you will be transferred to your confirmed hotel. You can spend the evening at your leisure in Aguas Calientes.
Hike Distance: 8 mi (13 km) Minimum Altitude: 6,690 ft (2,040 m) Maximum Altitude: 12,300 ft (3,750 m) Approximate Time: 6 to 7 hours
Rise early for your visit to the wonderful Machu Picchu citadel and head to the bus station for the 20-minute drive to the hidden ruins perched in the mountains above. Once you arrive in Machu Picchu, you will enjoy a guided tour of this world wonder.
You will be able to appreciate the intricate stonework that strikes absolute harmony with the fantastic Andean scenery. Giant stones were hauled by hand to the top of the mountain and carefully positioned many centuries ago, and yet the walls of temples, buildings, and foundations still remain. You will have the chance to explore the 3 zones of this centuries-old city: the urban, agricultural, and adjacent zones, which include impressive sights such as the Temple of the Sun, the Intihuatana, and the Principal Bath.
After your Machu Picchu tour, wander the many Inca trails that lead to the main site or head into town for a late lunch. You will return to the station in the mid-afternoon to take the train back to Cusco and transfer back to your hotel.
*Optional: Hike up Huayna Picchu, the peak overlooking the Machu Picchu ruins. This hike is steep and takes about 3 hours round trip, but has remarkable views. Please let your travel advisor know if you’d like to add this to your itinerary.