The Lares Trek in Peru is a lesser-known, but equally breathtaking alternative to the more popular Inca Trail trek to Machu Picchu. The Lares Trek offers hikers a chance to experience the stunning Andean mountains and immerse themselves in the traditional culture of the local Quechua people.
The Lares trek typically starts in the small village of Lares, located about 3 hours northwest of Cusco. From there, hikers will embark on a 3-4 day journey through the Andean mountains, passing through picturesque villages, lush green valleys, and snow-capped peaks. Along the way, hikers will have the opportunity to interact with the local Quechua people and learn about their traditional way of life.
One of the highlights of the Lares Trek is the chance to visit the hot springs of Lares, which are believed to have healing properties. Hikers can soak in the warm waters and relax after a long day of trekking.
Another highlight of the trek is the summit of the Pachacutec Pass, which stands at an elevation of 4,450 meters (14,600 feet). The summit offers hikers stunning views of the surrounding mountains and the opportunity to see Andean wildlife such as llamas and alpacas.
The Lares Trek is considered to be more challenging than the Inca Trail, due to the higher altitudes and steeper terrain. However, hikers who are in good physical condition and have a moderate level of hiking experience should have no problem completing the trek.Overall, the Lares Trek is a truly unique and memorable experience for those who want to explore the beauty and culture of the Andean mountains in Peru. It’s an excellent option for those looking for an alternative to the more popular Inca Trail trek and offers a chance to experience the beauty and culture of the Andean mountains in a more intimate and authentic way.
| The Lares Valley|
The Lares Valley is a beautiful and diverse region located known for its stunning landscapes, traditional Quechua villages, and rich cultural heritage.
The Lares Valley is located in the Cusco region of Peru, northwest of the city of Cusco. The valley is home to several traditional Quechua communities, who have lived in the area for centuries. The valley is also known for its stunning natural landscapes, including snow-capped peaks, lush green valleys, and crystal-clear lakes.
The Lares Valley is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts, with many opportunities for hiking, trekking, and mountaineering. The valley is also popular for its hot springs, which are believed to have healing properties.
Itinerary Lares Trek
Day 1: Cusco – Lares – Huacawasi
The trek begins with an early morning drive from Cusco to the small village of Lares, located about 3 hours northwest of the city. From there, hikers will start the trek by following a dirt road that leads to the community of Huacawasi, where they will spend the night in a local family’s home. The trail is mostly flat and passes through small villages and farmlands, offering hikers a chance to see traditional Quechua life and culture.
Day 2: Huacawasi – Ipsaycocha
On the second day, hikers will start a steep ascent to the Ipsaycocha pass, which stands at an elevation of 4,450 meters (14,600 feet). The trail offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains, including the snow-capped peaks of the Vilcanota mountain range. After crossing the pass, hikers will descend to the Ipsaycocha lake, where they will spend the night in a basic camp.
Day 3: Ipsaycocha – Lares hot springs
On the third day, hikers will continue to follow the trail towards the Lares hot springs, passing through traditional Quechua villages and beautiful Andean landscapes. The trail is relatively easy and offers a chance to see Andean wildlife such as llamas and alpacas. After reaching the hot springs, hikers will have the opportunity to relax and soak in the warm waters, which are believed to have healing properties.
Day 4: Lares hot springs – Machu Picchu
On the final day, hikers will take a bus from the hot springs to Ollantaytambo, where they will take a train to Aguas Calientes. From there, hikers will take a bus to the archaeological site of Machu Picchu. After visiting the site, hikers will return to Cusco by train and bus.
It’s worth mentioning that this itinerary is a general idea, some Machu Picchu tour providers might have different variations, is important to check with the agency the specific itinerary of the Lares trek you’ll be booking. Also, the itinerary might change according to the weather conditions and other factors and there are also 3 and 5 days versions of the Lares Trek.
Why do the Lares Trek
The Lares Trek in Peru offers hikers a unique and authentic experience of the Andean mountains and the traditional culture of the local Quechua people.
Why choose the Lares Trek? Some reasons why to do the Lares trek include:
# 1 Scenic Beauty: The Lares Trek takes hikers through some of the most beautiful and diverse landscapes in the Andes, including lush green valleys, snow-capped peaks, and traditional Quechua villages.
# 2 Cultural Immersion: The Lares Trek offers hikers the opportunity to immerse themselves in the traditional culture of the Quechua people more than other Machu Picchu hikes. You will have the chance to visit local communities and learn about their way of life, customs, and traditions.
Less Crowded: The Lares Trek is a less popular alternative to the Inca Trail trek, which needs to be booked several months ahead. By choosing the Lares Trek, you’ll experience the beauty of the Andean mountains in a more intimate and authentic way. And, you can book it weeks or even days in advance.Note: The Lares Trek is considered to be more challenging than the Inca Trail, due to the higher altitudes and steeper terrain. This makes it an excellent option for hikers looking for a physical challenge and a sense of accomplishment.
Hot Springs: One of the highlights of the Lares trek is the visit to the Lares hot springs, which are believed to have healing properties. Hikers can relax and soak in the warm waters after a long day of trekking.
Machu Picchu: The Lares trek ends with a visit to Machu Picchu, one of the most iconic and important archaeological sites in South America.
Overall, the Lares Trek offers hikers an unparalleled experience of the Andean mountains and culture in a way that is different from the more popular Inca Trail, a great option for those looking for a unique and authentic adventure.