This trek takes us into the Lares region of the Peruvian Andes, passing green valleys, tranquil mountain lakes and high passes, with breathtaking views of snow-capped Andean peaks rising to just under 6,000 meters. Our route takes us through many small village communities that offer a rare & fascinating insight into traditional Andean life. We’ll make our way by train to Aguas Calientes and continue on to Machu-Picchu, the legendary Lost City of the Incas. There we’ll have plenty of time to explore this fascinating site, climb to Huayna Picchu, and see the Sun Gate.
We start off our trek with scenic drive through the Sacred Valley, passing through Chincheros and stopping in the town of Urubamba, (2,700m). From there, we continue our drive to the beginning of the Pumahuanca Valley, known for its white corn crops and Chicha, the Inca´s favorite corn beer. This is where we will meet our horses, arrieos, and trekking staff. You will have the chance to visit the Andean village of P´accha, where you’ll be able to witness daily life for the people of the Andes. Then, camp by natural scenic waterfalls in Cuyoc (3,950m). Later on, we’ll climb along a dirt road with stone steps toward the Pumahuanca Pass, and see sacred “Apachetas” – stone cairns made by pilgrims as a symbol of gratitude to Apus (or ‘mountain spirits’).
We’ll have an opportunity to visit the house of our ‘arriero’. You’ll be able to witness his unique way of life; deep connection to nature, traditional customs preserved through agriculture, weaving, and use of medicinal plants. Afterwards, enjoy a soak in the natural hot springs of Lares!
We will conclude our tour on the last day by exploring Machu Picchu early in the morning. Our private guide will lead you on a two hour tour, then you will have time to discover the ancient city of Machu Picchu on your own. Machu Picchu is tangible evidence of the urban Inca Empire at the peak of its power and achievement—a citadel of cut stone fit together without mortar so tightly that its cracks still can’t be penetrated by a knife blade.
The complex of palaces and plazas, temples and homes may have been built as a ceremonial site, a military stronghold, or a retreat for ruling elites—its dramatic location is certainly well suited for any of those purposes. The ruins lie on a high ridge, surrounded on three sides by the windy, turbulent Urubamba River some 2,000 feet (610 meters) below.
The Lares Trek is an excellent alternative to the Inca Trail. Taking you off the beaten track, you’ll visit authentic Andean communities whilst being surrounded by stunning mountains, lakes and valleys. This fabulous trek offers a real insight into the lives of the native people.
The route starts in the Sacred Valley village of Pumahuanca 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 carry on by train to Machu Picchu.
- Starting Altitude – 2800m / 9186ft.
- Highest Altitude – 4780m / 15,682ft.
- Walking Distance – 34km / 21 miles
- Longest Day – Day 1, approximately 14km / 8.7 miles
- Coldest Night – Day 1 around 0º celsius
- Overall Difficulty – Moderate
Day 1: Cusco – Urubamba – Pumahuanca Valley – P´acchayoq
Our private bus leaves Cusco at 05:45am for a scenic drive through the Sacred Valley, passing through Chincheros and stopping in the town of Urubamba, (2,700m) for a brief toilet break and the chance to buy any last minute snacks, water, etc. A small breakfast is provided at this time. Departing Urubamba around 07:15, it’s just a twenty minute drive to the beginning of the Pumahuanca Valley, known for its white corn crops and Chicha, the Inca´s favorite corn beer. This is where we will meet our horses, arrieos, and trekking staff. All of our equipment will be carried by mules. We commence our hike through this beautiful Andean valley with a gentle switchback ascent on a gravel path from 2,850m to 3,600m. It’s a four hour walk to the complex of Inca–Kancha, where we’ll have a guided visit and stop for lunch. Our expert cook will spoil you with delicious Peruvian dishes. Continuing along the way, you will be able to observe native trees. We’ll reach the small Andean community of P´accha, where you’ll be able to witness daily life for the people of the Andes. Just two hours further, we’ll reach a series of small waterfalls and our campsite, Cuyoc (3,950m).
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Snacks
Maximum Altitude: 3,950m
Minimum Altitude: 2,700m
Distance Travelled: Approx. 14km
Approximate Walking Time: 7 hours
Day 2: Cuyoc – Pumahuanca Pass – Cuncani Campsite
Your guide will wake you up at 6:00am with a hot cup of coco tea and quinoa pancakes! At 07:00 am we’ll recommence our trek surrounded by native forest. We’ll climb along a dirt road with stone steps toward the Pumahuanca Pass (4740m) Along the way one can see sacred “Apachetas”, which are stone cairns made by pilgrims as a symbol of gratitude to Apus. Upon arrival to the pass, we’ll honor the mountain with coca leaves, as is the local custom. Then we’ll be ready to descend for an hour along a stone road, arriving to a series of lakes where we’ll take our lunch break. After our lunch we’ll walk downhill for two more hours. Here we may meet some local “campesinos” (local people) in traditional dress. We’ll set up camp at Cuncani (3700m). Cuncani is known for its textiles production and ancestral weaving techniques.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch Dinner
Maximum Altitude: 4740m
Minimum Altitude: 3700m
Distance Travelled: Approx. 16km
Approximate Walking Time: 7-8 hours
Day 3: Cuncani Campsite – Lares Hot Springs- Ollantaytambo – Aguas Calientes
For the last leg of our trek, your guide will let you sleep in until 7:00am. Before departing Cuncani, we’ll have an opportunity to visit the house of our arriero. You’ll be able to witness his unique way of life; deep connection to nature, traditional customs preserved through agriculture, weaving, and use of medicinal plants. Then it’s an easy four hour downhill walk to reach Lares village. When we arrive, we’ll have the chance to soak in some hot springs. After lunch, a private transport will drive us three hours to Ollantaytambo, where we’ll take a train to Aguas Calientes. We’ll spend a restful night here in preparation for our visit to Machu Pic
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: Hostel in Aguas Calientes
Maximum Altitude: 3200m
Minimum Altitude: 2700m
Distance Travelled: Approx. 12km
Approximate Walking Time: 4 hours
Day 4: Aguas Calientes – Machupicchu – Ollantaytambo – Cusco.
We’ll have an early breakfast before taking the 5.30am bus directly to Machupicchu, arriving around 06.00am. (Optional: Leave by 4:30am on foot to meet the group at the top by 6:00am). Enjoy a two hour tour of Machupicchu by your guide, who will unfold the mysteries of this magical site. The tour should finish around 10:30am and you’ll then have free time to explore and take photographs. If you’ve booked a hike up Huanay Picchu, this will be the time to do that! When you’re finished taking in Machu Picchu, we’ll take an afternoon train and then a bus back to your hotel in Cusco.
Maximum Altitude: 3400m/11186ft
Minimum Altitude: 2100m/6909ft
Distance Travelled: Approx. 9 km
Approximate Walking Time: 4-5 hours
What is Included:
- Ceremony with your tour guide and locals
- Pick-up from hotel at 05:45am or meet at our depature point in Plaza Cusipata
- Transfer bus to Lares, Quiswarani (starting point of the trek)
- 2 person Igloo tents (new, spacious and confortable)
- A roll pad mattress
- Dining and cooking tents with tables and chairs
- Experienced tour guide (2 guides for groups over 12)
- Full meals: 3 Meals per day, tea time each afternoon
- First-aid kit, including emergency oxygen tank
- Chef/cooking equipment/kitchen tent
- Horses/mules to carry equipment
- Hot water for washing purposes
- Boiled water to fill your personal water bottle
- Vistadome Train from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes
- Expedition Train from Aguas Calientes to Ollanta, private transport to Cusco
- Entrance fee to Machu Picchu Archaeological Complex
- Guided tour of Machu Picchu
- Hotel in Aguas Calientes (double or triple accommodation)
- Porterage of 6kg per person.
- Round-trip bus ticket
- Dinner on the last day
- Snacks: we reccommend bringing chocolate bars, dried fruits, nuts, etc
- Tips for your crew: cooks, horse herders, guides. Tips are not mandatory but are a great gesture of gratitude.
We recommend that you bring:
- Backpack or daypack
- Hiking boots (sneakers/running shoes are not recommended)
- Trekking poles
- Warm layers for variable temperatures, especially at night
- Flashlight with extra batteries
- Camera & extra film & batteries / Charger
- Sun Protection : Hat, Sunscreen, Sunglasses
- Thermals, wool socks/hat for cold nights
- Gloves, scarf
- Insect Repellent
- Rain poncho/rain jacket
- Toiletries/toilet paper/small towel
- Bathing clothes for the hot springs
- Trekking pants (no jeans!)
- Water bottle/water purification tablets
- Personal medical kit
- Original passport (ISIC student card if applicable)
- Extra money for souvenirs, drinks & tips for your staff
OPTIONAL: Small gifts for the children of communities along the trail– such as school supplies, second hand clothes, toys, etc.
At Puma Path, your comfort and safety are of our utmost concern. Therefore, we provide all necessary camping equipment for your trek. Included in prices are: sleeping tent, rollmat and pillow for your comfort. Please feel free to bring your own sleeping bag if you prefer.
Group Service Prices
- Price per person : US$685
Private Service Prices
- 2 people : US$695 per person
- 3 people : US$655 per person
- 4 people : US$590 per person
- 5 people : US$575 per person
- 6 people : US$545 per person
- 7 people : US$535 per person
- 8+ people : US$525 per person
- Student Discount: US$20 (Requires ISIC Card to qualify)
- Optional Extras:
- Sleeping Bag US$25
- Walking Pole US$20
- Inflatable Mattress US$25
- Single Tent Supplement US$75
- Extra 7kg of personal items US$75
- Huayna Picchu permit US$ 65
TRAIN TIMES: On the fifth day we will take the 2:55, 4.42 or 6:45PM train from Aguas Calientes to Ollantayatambo and then we will transfer you back to your hotel in Cusco.
HUAYNAPICCHU MOUNTAIN: If you are thinking of climbing Huaynapicchu mountain, you must book this at the same time as your trek. Only 400 people can hike Huaynapicchu per day. You will climb it on your own after the tour in Machu Picchu around 10:00 am. The price is $25 per person.
HORSES OR PORTERS: On this trek we provide horses to carry food and camping equipment. There will be one cook, his assistant, two horsemen, and one porter who will be picking up trash on the trail. You will have a personal allowance of 7kg for your gear. This will not be available during the day as the horsemen will be ahead of the group.
OUR GUIDES: Most of our guides began as porters before they went to Cusco University and Institute where they learned about the Inca history. They are always learning in order to be the best guide. They each speak English fluently, along with Spanish and Quechuan, the Inca Language. They are all able to communicate with natives from around the area and have lots of history to share with you.
OUR FOOD: Definitely one of the highlights of the tour is the food. It is always fresh and most of it is organic. There is always a lot to eat and a variety of options including vegetables, meat, chicken, fish and other types of protein and carbohydrates. Everyone sits down to eat together and we go out of our way to accommodate all dietary requirements including vegetarian options and any food allergies. We do not provide any alcoholic drinks on the trek but if you would like you can bring your own.
OUR EQUIPMENT: We provide 4 man tents for only 2 people and foam mattresses for everyone. Our dining equipment includes a spacious dining tent, tables and chairs, plates and utensils. We do not supply walking sticks, but they can be rented from Puma Path. We bring an extra blanket for all our hikers for those especially cold nights. Just ask and your guide will provide you with this.
Please note that if you are over 1.95 meters / 6´4″ tall then you won´t be able to rent a sleeping bag in Cusco. In this case it is recommended to bring your own.
WE ARE SUSTAINABLE: We always pick up waste along the trail as we go. We respect the local people, teach them to keep the land clean, and help the local children. We always take one extra porter who will be on the trail just to clean up the bottles and plastic bags that those who came before us threw away.
WE ARE RESPONSIBLE: We treat our hikers, porters and all the local people from the villages with the utmost respect. We travel in small groups to give personalized tours to each traveler. We pay good salaries to our porters and follow the Porter’s Law. We provide all our porters with their hiking gear such as shoes, pants, jackets, t-shirts, hats, sleeping bags and most importantly, health insurance.
FITNESS: The trek is certainly not easy but you do not need to be an athlete or a trekking expert to complete it. Fitness is naturally important but this is the kind of trek that anyone with a positive attitude and determination can do. Obviously the more fit you are the more you will enjoy the trail and the more chance you will have to take in the scenery and appreciate the Inca ruins dotted along the way. If you do not exercise regularly, it is advisable to do some extra walking or some kind of aerobic activity in the months leading up to your trip.
Many people worry whether they will be able to cope physically but complete failure is rare and would usually only result from severe altitude sickness or a person lacking even a basic level of fitness. People of all ages (from teenagers to pensioners) complete the trek and age itself is no barrier if you are positive minded and live an active lifestyle. Before departing for your tour, we recommend visiting your doctor who will be able to provide you with more information.
STORAGE DURING THE TREK: During the trek your main luggage will be stored in Cusco and you will receive a small duffel bag at your trail briefing (briefings are normally set for the evening before the trek) to pack clothes for 3-4 days. Your team of porters will carry these bags together with the food and equipment. Please note that you will not have access to these items until the end of each day as the porters will always be ahead of the group. You should therefore bring a day pack in which you can carry personal belongings such as your camera, water, sun screen, etc. By Peruvian law the duffel bag carried by the porters must not weigh more than 7kg (14pounds). You can either store your luggage at your hotel or you can leave it with us.
BOOKING: The Lares Trek to Machu Picchu is available to depart any day of the week so long as we have two people. You still need to book in advance.
Thanks for traveling with PumaPath, a 100% local company.