This remote and rarely visited region offers the trekker an insider´s view into traditional Andean life – a timeless world where farmers plant their crops on the lands their ancestors tended and watch over herds of llama and alpaca beneath the sacred snow-covered peaks they worshipped as gods. The Lares Trek to Machu Picchu is one of the Inca trails from the time of the Inca Empire. Today, the trail is still in use by farmers, who are Inca descendants. The Lares Trek connects the communities of Cancha Cancha, Quisuarani, Cuncani and Lares with life in the Sacred Valley. On the third day, we’ll take the afternoon train to Aguas Calientes, having a full day to explore the Machu Picchu Sanctuary and climb Huayna Picchu mountain the last day.
We offer this alternative route to the classic Lares trek to Machu Picchu. We think it is superior because we visit the hot springs on day 3 instead of day 1. On day 3 it is a much deserved reward for completing the hiking portion of the Lares trek.
Additionally our standard package includes a very nice bed and breakfast in Aguas Calientes as well as your ticket to climb Huayna Picchu mountain.
Starting Altitude – 3,000 m / 9,840 ft
Highest Altitude – 4,780 m / 15,682 ft
Walking Distance – 37 km / 23miles
You will have a thorough briefing with your guide 1 or 2 days before your Lares trek to Machu Picchu. Your guide will meet you at our office in Cusco and you can take this opportunity to ask questions and make any final preparations.
Day 1: Cusco – Sacred Valley – Fondo Huaran – Cancha Cancha – Acopata
We will pick you up early from your hotel to take you to the beginning of the trek at Huaran (3,000 m/9,840 ft) in the Sacred Valley; it is 1 ½ hours by private bus. We will pack the horses and start to walk northward. The trail climbs gently following the Cancha Cancha river towards the community of the same name. On this walk along the river we will see cultivated fields and pass through old Polylepis forests. This type of vegetation is very interesting for a wide assortment of bird life, and the valley itself is very impressive. We will have lunch half way through the hike.
We will pass by the village of Cancha Cancha (3,956 m/12,976 ft). on the way to our camp. After a total hike today of around 6 hours we will reach our campsite for the night at Acopata.
Day 2: Acopata – Pachacutec Pass – Quishuarani
After an early breakfast we will continue up hill. After 2 ½ hours we will reach the highest point of the trek: Pachacutec Pass is at 4,780 m/15,678 ft. The view from here is overwhelming. The Pitusiray and Sahuasiray snowcapped mountains will be right in front of us.
Now we will hike downhill for 2 hours until we reach our lunch spot, next to a captivating lake.
After lunch we will descend for another 1 ½ hours into the valley. We will pass by several glacial lakes along the way. Also we can see herds of alpacas, llamas and sheep. It is also possible to see Gray Brocket Deer, Viscachas, Andean Geese, the rare Giant Coot, Puna Hawks and the impressive Andean Condor. Tonight we camp at 3,870 m/12,694 ft close to Quishuarani village, which has typical stone houses
Day 3: Quishuarani – Cuncani – Lares Hot spring – Ollantaytambo – Aguas Calientes
Today we follow another valley and climb up to the second pass at Willcaccasa mountain (4,458 m/14,622 ft) , for 2 to 3 hours. Again the view of the Andes, turquoise lakes and its beautiful valleys are impressive.
After the pass we walk downhill for 1 ½ to 2 hours, passing many gourgeous lakes. This takes us to Cuncani village (3,900 m/12,792 ft).
We then continue downhill for 2 to 3 hours towards the Lares Valley and its hot springs, where we can have a well deserved soak. This is also our lunch spot.
Now that we are fully relaxed, we will get in our private van, which will be waiting for us, for the 3 hour drive to Ollantaytambo (2,792 m/9,158 ft). We will have dinner in Ollantaytambo. After dinner, we will take the train to Aguas Calientes. Upon arrival you will check in to your room at the bed and breakfast.
DAY 4: Aguas Calientes – Machu Picchu – Cusco
You will have breakfast at your hotel before we take a very early bus (5:30am) along the winding road to Machu Picchu to see the magnificent sunrise. Once there you will be given at 2 hour walking tour of the site.
You will begin your Huayna Picchu hike at 10 AM.
After your hike, you will have free time to explore the site, hike to the Sun Gate, or hike to the Inca Bridge before you return to Aguas Calientes by bus.
Upon arrival in Aguas Calientes you will board the expedition train to Ollantaytambo. From Ollantaytambo you will travel by private van to Cusco and we will drop you off at your hotel. Arrival time in Cusco depends on the time of your train ticket.