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The Lares Trek is an excellent alternative to the Inca Trail. Taking you off the beaten track with visits to authentic Andean communities whilst being surrounded by stunning mountains, lakes and valleys this fabulous trek offers a real insight in to the lives of the people of Cusco as it once was.
The route we offer starts in the village of Pumahuanca in the Sacred Valley and finishes in the hot springs of Lares with a visit to the village of Cuncani along the way. On Day 3 of the trek you take a bus from Lares to Ollantaytambo and then to Cusco.
Cusco Hotel Transfer
Early in the morning, we’ll pick you up from your hotel. We will then drive for about 3 hours and 30 minutes to get Lares hot springs 3,200 m / 10,496 ft, on the way, we’ll stop in Calca a small town in the Sacred Valley, to visit its typical market and get some items for the trail. Upon our arrival at the hot springs, we’ll meet our muleteers and get ready our rucksacks to start the adventure. The trail starts going up the highland valley gradually. Today we’ll have our lunch at about 1:30 pm on the halfway to the first campsite. After lunch, the adventure goes on, along this section of the trail we’ll see some herds of llamas and alpacas, and we’ll reach our first campsite located in Wacawasi village 3,800 m / 12,464 ft. At the campsite after our arrival, we’ll have our tea time and dinner. Today, we’ll have an option to swim at the hot springs before our hike starts, whose cost is 10 PEN (not included), or just start hiking to the first campsite instead, as the most hikers do, this will be managed by you and your trek leader. Lunch and dinner included (except breakfast which is supplied at your hotel). Hiking Time: 3-4 Hours (approx) | Hiking Distance: 8 Kms/ 4.97 Miles | Highest Point 3,800 m/ 12,464 ft. | Lowest Point: 3,200m/ 10,496 ft. | Highlights: Hiking in the Andean valleys with pretty scenic views, interact with local people (children), llama and alpaca herds along the trail, and camping in a highland village.
Enjoy an orientation walk of Zurich’s OLD TOWN, Switzerland’s center of banking and commerce. Then, leave Zurich and start your Swiss adventure. You’ll quickly discover that Switzerland isn’t just home to the Alps, but also to some of the most beautiful lakes. First, stop at the foot of the Jura Mountains in the picturesque town of Biel, known as Bienne by French-speaking Swiss, famous for watch-making, and explore the historical center. Next, enjoy a scenic drive to lakeside Neuchâtel, dominated by the medieval cathedral and castle. Time to stroll along the lake promenade before continuing to stunning Geneva, the second-largest city in Switzerland, with its fantastic lakeside location and breathtaking panoramas of the Alps.
Today, we’ll wake up early in the morning and a great nutritious breakfast will make us ready for the challenging day. After having breakfast, we’ll hike up to the highest point on the trail called Puerto pass at 4,420 m / 14,498 ft, for about 4 hours from our campsite. On this section of the trail, we’ll still see some herd of llamas and alpacas close to us, and pretty scenic views. When we arrive at the highest pass, we’ll take a deserved break while savoring great views around and a perfect time to offer some Coca leaves to the Andes spirits making an Apacheta (cairn, a mound of stones piled up as a memorial or to mark a boundary or path). We’ll then hike downhill to reach our lunch spot located close to a beautiful lagoon, where we’ll enjoy just prepared fresh meals and hot drinks. After lunch, we’ll continue descending to our second campsite located in Mantanay valley, a valley with beautiful 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’ll take our hot drinks and dinner. All meals included. Hiking Time:7-8 Hours (approx) | Hiking Distance: 14 Kms/ 8.69 Miles | Highest Point 4,420 m/ 14,498 ft. | Lowest Point: 3,700 m/ 12,136 ft. | Highlights: Llama and alpaca herds along the trail, reaching the highest point, beautiful lakes along the trail, and camping in a highland valley |
Another great day awaits us and a great breakfast makes us ready for it. After taking our breakfast, we’ll descend for about 3 hours to Yanahuara, a village located in the Sacred Valley, where we’ll have our last lunch and say goodbye to our muleteers and cook. After having lunch, we’ll take our transportation to the train station in Ollantaytambo as of this place we’ll continue by train to Aguas Calientes town (Machu Picchu town) for about 1 hour and 45 minutes, where we’ll stay this overnight at a hotel and have dinner at the restaurant (this last dinner is not included). Breakfast and lunch included (except the last dinner). Hiking Time:2-3 Hours (approx) | Hiking Distance: 7 Kms/ 4.35 Miles | Highest Point 3,700 m/ 12,136 ft. | Lowest Point: 3,050 m/ 10,004 ft. | Highlights: IncaRuins, Original section of Inca Trail, jaw dropping views |Hiking through the highland forest, train journey to Aguas Calientes town, cozy hotel in Aguas Calientes town. Train schedule: It can be at 3:37 pm or a later train in expedition class (depends on the availability)|
Today a great breakfast at the hotel makes us ready for a full morning exploration of Machu Picchu on a private tour with your Trek Leader. We’ll take the bus to Machu Picchu early in the morning for an amazing tour until 12:00 pm (Machu Picchu permits will be issued for the first group which is from 6:00 am to 12:00 pm). After a great time at the Incan emperor’s palace, we’ll take the bus down to Machu Picchu town (Aguas Calientes town), where we’ll have lunch (not included). In the afternoon we’ll take the train back to Ollantaytambo train station and/or Poroy train station, as of this place continue driving to your hotel in Cusco by our transportation.
The trek was well-organized, providing a perfect balance between challenging hikes and rewarding vistas. For those seeking a unique and immersive journey through the heart of the Andes, I highly recommend the Lares Trek.