The Lares trek is a popular alternative to the Inca trail. This trek starts in the north of Urubamba and it is renowned for its traditional quechua communities and strong weaving culture that you can observe during the trek. The traditional villages along the way allow you to experience some time of rural life while enjoying a dramatic and extraordinary landscape of this mountainous territory. As permits are no currently required to travel between Urubamba and Aguas Calientes you can book this trip only a several weeks ahead of your desired departure date.
Lares trek Availability
Machulas journey offer daily departures from March to January, this tour can be started any day of the week and 11 months a year. In February (nobody works) the Inca trail is closed and we take it as our vacation. We recommend to book the Lares trek at least one month in advance that means we can organize your trip better without any problems.
We will pick you up at your hotel at 5:00 a.m and after that we will go by bus to the town of Urubamba. There we take a short break and then continue our travel for 25 more minute until we reach Pumahuanca, here we will have a healthy and energetic breakfast (all the food we provide is organic). Once we have finished our breakfast we will start our hiking. During the first part of our hike we will visit the small Inca ruins called Pumahuanca. Here our tour guide will teach us about the ruins and Inca history. Then we keep on hiking up for about 4 hours until we reach our lunch place at Packchaac. After an amazing organic buffet lunch we will see and enjoy the view and learn about the native forest and its wildlife such as orchids and hummingbirds. After a 20-minute rest to digest, we will continue hiking for about 3 more hours before we get to our camping site named Cuyoc, (4100m / 13451ft). After the hard hike we will spend the night at this quiet place and enjoy some hot drinks and our organic buffet dinner. After it is bed time in order to be fit for our next hiking day.
The second day is the most beautiful and spectacular one because we will walk for 2 hours all the way uphill until reach Sicllaqhassa pass (4800m/15360ft). From this point we will enjoy two amazing views or scenery’s we stay on the top for about 15 minutes, taking photos and having a cup of coca tea with a cheese sandwich. After that we continue our hike, going down for about 3 hour until we reach our lunch spot in the village of Cunkani. There we enjoy an organic buffet lunch before our tour guide takes us to one of the local house where you will meet with local families. The guide will explain us about the village cultural life and if you want you can buy some of the locally made it alpaca or llama products that the region is famous for it. You will also meet some of the local kids and if you want you can leave a gift for these kids like books, pencils, pens or some toys. We will explain this to you before the trip during a briefing in Cusco. Then we will continue walking down for 2 more hours until we set up our campsite at the hot springs of Lares. Here you will have the opportunity to take a relaxing dip in the hot natural pools of this region. On the last section from Cuncani to Lares you will see many fields were local crops like potatoes, corn, wheat, tarwi, and beans are grown.
Today it will be an easy and relaxing day for all of us because we can sleep until 7:00 a.m. After an energetic breakfast we will climb up one the nearby mountains to take a look at the village of Lares. After returning to our campsite we will have lunch and then take a private minivan for 3 hours to the salt mines of Maras. There we will visit and enjoy thousands of large and salty pools which allow the water to evaporate so that salt is produced and then collected by hand, just how it has been done for hundreds of years and continues providing work for the locals. Once we have visited this amazing salt mine, we will continue to Ollantaytambo where we will stop for our last dinner in one of the restaurants. After dinner our tour guide takes us to the train station to catch up our train for 2 hour towards the tiny village of Aguas Calientes where we will spend the night in a 3 stars hotel.
Today it is time to visit our final destination. We have to wake up early in the morning, because it is a tradition to go to Machu Picchu very early in order to see the sunrise. We will start the day with a tasty breakfast at the hotel and then head to the bus station to catch up our bus that will take us (25 minutes) to the main entrance of Machu Picchu. At 6:00 am Machu Picchu opens its doors and we will go straight to the view point (the postcard picture) where you will take the classic postcard pictures of Machu Picchu. After that the guide will start a guided, 2 hours tour and teach you all the information you will need about Machu Picchu, visiting the most important areas of the citadel. Then you will have free time to explore the citadel by yourself. If you have a ticket to climb either Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu mountain you will do that after the guided tour. In the afternoon we will go back to Aguas Calientes to take the train back to Ollantaytambo, from where you will carry on by bus back to Cusco.
3 organic buffet lunch / 4healthy breakfast
3 snacks and water every single day
Starting Altitude - 2800m / 9186ft.
Highest Altitude - 4780m / 15,682ft.
Total, Walking Distance - 34km / 21 miles.
Longest Day - Day 1, approximately 14km / 8.7 miles.
Coldest Night - Day 1 around 0º Celsius.
Overall Difficulty - Moderate.
Tour Guides: All of our tour guides are professionals who studied tourism at University and come from around the Cusco region. They also all speak Quechua the language of Cuzco region. All of them are extremely knowledgeable and fun to be around.
Master Chef: Your master chef is an important person, preparing you delicious, buffet-style organic meals throughout the trek. If you have any dietary requests, such as vegetarian foods, please let us know.
Asemilas: In this case we do not provide porters, in salkantay trek we provide mules, horses will carry our cooking and campimg equipment and up to 7 kg of your personal belongings.
Note: we will give you your duffle bags (for the mules to carry) at your briefing the night before we start the trek. This sholud be filled with the things you need for the night and the next days. You will not have access to your duffle until you reach the campsite. we will have also mules, horse’s drivers which they will help us for two days and our cook he will going on cooking until Hydroelectric.
Transportation: We will go by bus to Pumahuanca, where we will start our hike. After we end our trip in Aguas calientes, we’ll go back by train to Ollantaytambo and then continue by bus to Cusco.
Tents: Made especially for trekking, our tents are professional and very comfortable. We use 4-person, Eureka Timberline tents that only need to be shared by 2 people.
Machu Picchu Permits: A permit is required for entry to LARES TREK and Machu Picchu. As soon as we receive your details and deposit, as long as permits are still available with the government office (please check our LARES TREK Availability link), we will purchase your permits for you. These permits are in your name for a specific date and can't be changed once confirmed. Only your passport number may be updated.
Oxygen and First Aid: On this trek, the highest point is at the first pass (4800m/16,300ft). The guide will have oxygen and first aid them at all times. However, if you have any prescriptions from your doctor, please bring them with you. All our guides have received training from a medical doctor.
Pre - Briefing: Prior to your trek you will have a briefing in your hotel. Please let us know where you are staying and what time is good for you. We typically suggest around 6:00 pm, but you may choose another time if you prefer. At briefing time, we will give you the details of the trek and provide the Machulas Journey duffel bags that will be with the porters while you hike. And finally, you will have the opportunity to ask your guide any questions you might have.
Water: We will supply water every morning, at lunchtime, during our afternoon hike, and at night. The water will be boiled, filtered, and then cooled down before distributing. You just need to bring a container for water on the trek and let our master chef know how many liters you will drink so that he knows how much water to prepare. Our recommendation is to drink a lot of water while you hike, especially when we are at higher elevations.
Sleeping Bags: Your sleeping bag is not included in your trek, so hikers will need to bring their own or rent one from Machulas Journey. Machulas Journey will provide you with a regular mattress. If you want to sleep well, you may want to bring an inflatable air mattress as well. They are also available for rent: (sleeping bag 20 USD, and inflatable air mattress 20 USD).
Walking Stick: Walking sticks are very helpful on this trek. If don’t have your own, you can rent them from our office for 15 USD.
The Last Lunch: After our amazing experience on the LARES TREK, many of our clients want to go to one of the restaurants in Aguas Calientes to have a local meal. This last lunch is not included in your journey.
Huaynapicchu and Machpicchu: Huayna Picchu and Machu Picchu the mountains that stand next to Machu Picchu citadel offer spectacular views. Huayna Picchu takes 45 minutes to get to the top and then 45 minutes back down. Machu Picchu takes 1 hour to summit and another hour back down. This is done after your tour of Machu Picchu Inca city. If you want to climb either of these mountains, please let us know so we can better organize your tour. The cost for Huayna Picchu is 60 USD per person and 55 USD per person for Machu Picchu Mountain.
Note: Don’t confuse Machu Picchu Inca citadel with the Machu Picchu mountain.
A light day pack with a change of clothes for the whole period of the Journey - prepare for a vast range of changes in temperature.
Rain gear (jacket and pants if available) or rain poncho. Plastic ponchos can be bought for about $1 in Cusco.