cultural trek with breathtaking scenery
authentic Peruvian rural life
visit Machu Picchu
The Lares trek is another example of a great Machu Picchu trek. The Lares Trek is a truly fantastic trail that takes you well off the tourist trails, as you climb out of the Sacred Valley of the Incas and continue over into the next valley: the Lares valley. The Lares trek offers an authentic look at life in the Andes—with fewer trekkers around. The Lares Valley is home to several traditional Andean communities that have hardly changed during the past 500 years.
In crossing these mountains you have the chance to enjoy spectacular Andean scenery, including lakes and wildlife, and visit traditional Andean villages.
If the Salkantay Trail’s main draw is the natural beauty you’ll encounter along the way, the Lares Trail’s is the local people you’ll meet—in markets, villages, and traditional farming communities (complete with herds of alpacas and llamas).
Departure time 4.30 and 5.30 and Return to Cusco between 20.00 – 22.00
Make sure you are well acclimatised (maximum altitude 4800)
Bring money, your passport, swimsuit and a towel (hot springs); for more info about what to pack
(this is a sample itinerary, there are small differences between the diferent trek operators in Cusco)
There are several different Lares routes, so check with the trek operator of your choice what the exact route is. There is a three day, a four day and a 5-day Lares trek and they all end in Ollantaytambo, from where you can take the train to Aguas Calientes and Machu Picchu (or go back to Cusco, so you wish.
On the first day, you will be picked up at our hotel in Cusco between 5.30 am, and 6.30 am and travel by bus to Calca. After a stop to buy personal supplies and bread or school supplies for children you will meet in the traditional villages. The bus continues to Lares (3100m), where we soak in the hot springs and have lunch. After meeting the horsemen and the mules, the Lares trek starts.
Possible campsites during the following days are, among others, Huacahuasi (3850m) or Cancha Cancha - the only village without electricity and a rural lifestyle-, Wakawasi, Quiswarani (3700), Cuncani.
A part of the Lares Trek is called the potato Valley, where people farm many varieties of organic potatoes. If there is time, you will explore the villages and even visit some local homes, learn about the lifestyle and ancient traditions of the local people, and talk to the school kids.
The people who live in the Lares valley have a simple and traditional lifestyle, tending llamas and alpaca. Most of them live in traditional houses, still speak Quechua and wear the traditional colourful read ponchos woven by hand. You will see local weavers and farmers, and you might get the change to partake on some weaving action. This area is well known for the homemade textiles.
Along the complete Lares route, the scenery is stunning and breathtaking. There are glacial lakes, waterfalls and snow-peaked mountains. This area is rich in birdlife, and there is the possibility of seeing Andean ibis, Andean geese, flamingoes and more. You will also see many llamas and alpacas.
In most itineraries, the Pachacutec Pass (4458m) is the highest point of the trek. From here there are spectacular views of the snow-peaked mountain, Pitusiray, Pachacutec Lake and the surrounding valleys.
The Huillquijasa Pass (4200m) the second highest pass of the trek. The views are impressive and worth the climb! Descending from here, you will pass several beautiful turquoise lakes along the way.
Back in the direction of Ollantaytambo, there are picturesque villages such as Huilloc and Pallacta, where you will witness traditional Andean weaving by local women. We will also pass by the Inca sites of Huanacaure and Hatunayaorko. Sometimes a visit to the Salt mines in Maras is included too. Here are you see over 3,000 small evaporation chambers that have been used since pre-Incan times. People believe the salt has healing properties because of the natural minerals. Local families here each own one of these pans and they make a living supplying salt to the villages and towns nearby. You can buy some salt in the small shop on-site or other souvenirs.
The Lares trek ends with a train trip to Aguas Calientes and a visit to Machu Picchu on the last day of the trek.
The Lares Trek provides a unique and true Andean cultural experience.