Lares Trek to Machu Picchu

Best Lares Trek to Machu Picchu 4 Days via Huaran

OVERVIEW

This trek from Lares trough the plains of Fundo Huaran is a route scarcely traveled by tourists. It’s not one of the commercially available treks like the Inca Trail or the Salkantay Trail, which makes this route special and unique. This trip offers close contact to Andean life with all its customs and traditions as well as the unforgettable delight of experiencing the nature of the Andes with their terraced valleys, impressive mountain tops, glaciers and lakes. It’s a world where time has stopped, where farmers still farm the land of their ancestors according to tradition and where they watch over their flock of lamas and alpacas under the close watch of the snow capped mountains; the “Apus” in Quechua which they worship like gods. This trail is still frequented by the locals, direct descendants of the Incas. The path connects the communities of Cancha Cancha, Quishuarani, Cuncani and Lares which is famous for its medicinal hot springs. The last part of this tour from the town of Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes will be done by train. The train ride takes about 2 hours, after which you can relax in your Hotel. Finally the most important day of your trip has arrived, you will be visiting the sanctuary of Machu Picchu (named a world heritage site by UNESCO). In the afternoon you will return to Cusco.

Daily Summary:

Day 1: Lares Trek: Cusco – Calca – Fundo Huaran – Cancha Cancha – Acopata
Day 2: Lares Trek: Acopata – Pachacutec Pass – Quishuarani
Day 3:Lares Trek: Quishuarani – Cuncani – Lares -Ollantaytambo – Aguas Calientes
Day 4: Lares Trek: Sunrise Over Machu Picchu And Return To Cusco By Train

Best Lares Trek to Machu Picchu 4 Days via Huaran
Places to Visit: Cusco, Quishuarani – Cuncani - Ollantaytambo – Aguas Calientes - Machu Picchu
Physical Level: DIfficult

At 6 am you will be picked up at the hotel by our private transport which will bring you into the sacred valley of the Incas. The ride will take about 2 hours. We will take a short break close to the town of Calca in order to have breakfast. You will also have the opportunity to buy snacks like fruit, chocolate and water etc. in case you didn’t get a chance to do so in Cusco. We will drive a bit further to our starting point, the plains of Huaran (3.000 m / 9.840 ft ASL) where we will meet our wranglers with their horses and commence our trek. The trail ascents steadily for 4 hours to the center of the valley of Huaran, following the river Cancha Cancha to a small community of the same name. Along the way we’ll be able to see the traditional farmland of the locals, enjoy the view into the impressive valley of the river and walk through the typical Polylepis woods, which unfortunately are diminishing. This vegetation is particularly interesting due to its abounding wildlife, especially the humming birds and the Venus-flytrap. In the village we will be able to enjoy a traditional, Andean lunch and continue with our hike after a short break. After two more hours of hiking we will reach our campsite “Acopata” at  3.950 m/ 12.960 ft ASL. We will spend the night here after a traditional dinner and a short briefing for the next day.

  • Meals: Lunch and Dinner
  • Accommodation / Lares Trek: Camping
  • Maximum Altitude: 3,700 m.a.s.l – 12 139 feet
  • Minimum Altitude: 2,800 m.a.s.l – 9 186 feet
  • Distance Travelled: 10 km approx – 6,213 miles
  • Approximate Walking Time: 5-6 hours

After breakfast we continue our ascent. This is the longest and most exhausting day of the trail. We will climb for about 3 hours to the highest point called “Pachacutec” at  4.750 m / 15.580 ft ASL. The view from up here is breathtaking, you can see the impressive mountains and the glaciers  Pitusiray and Sahuasiray as well as emerald green lakes. From there we descend for about 2 hours to the glacier lake Qoyalaycocha where we will break for our traditional lunch. After a short break we continue for another 2,5 hours to the village of  Quishuarani. Along the trail we will be able to observe free range flocks of lamas, alpacas and sheep, and with a bit of luck we might be able to spot the gray Andean deer, the Andean goose, falcons, ducks or even the noble Andean fox.  We will camp at the community center which offers bathrooms and a camp site. In Quishuarani you will be able to purchase alpaca textiles which are still handmade according to the original style and tradition of the Lares valley. In the afternoon we will provide a small snack and later our ample traditional dinner.

  • Meals: breakfast, lunch and dinner
  • Accommodation / Lares Trek: Camping
  • Maximum Altitude: 4,540 m.a.s.l – 14 895 feet
  • Minimum Altitude: 3,900 m.a.s.l – 12 795 feet
  • Distance Travelled: 14 km approx – 89,477 miles
  • Approximate Walking Time: 7-8 hours

We will have to get up at 6 am and begin our ascent after breakfast. We will climb for 4 hours to the pass of Cuncani  4.200 m / 13.780 ft ASL from where we can admire the mountain range of Urubamba with the peaks of the Willcaccasa (4.458 m / 14.625 ft ASL), the Padreyoc (5.500 m / 18.045 ft ASL), and part of the Veroni (5.800 m / 19.030 ft ASL) as well as turquoise lakes and the marvelous landscape of the valley itself. We will now descend for about 2 hours past several lakes until we reach the banks of lake Cuncani where we will enjoy our lunch. Another hour of walking will bring us to the village of Cuncani ( 3.900 m / 12.795 ft ASL). In Cuncani you can buy traditional woven fabrics. Along the way we will meet people who are dressed in these colorful fabrics. The flock of lamas, alpacas and sheep will also accompany us on this stretch of the way. From Cuncani we will descend further into the valley of Lares, known for its medicinal hot springs, where we will enjoy a well-earned hot bath. Our bus is waiting for us at Lares and will take us to Ollantaytambo in the afternoon. There we will change onto the train to Aguas Calientes. You will be picked up upon arrival and accompanied to your hostel. In the evening there will be a briefing by your guide, coordinating your visit to Machu Picchu for the next day.

  • Accommodation: Hotel
  • Maximum Altitude: 4,458 m.a.s.l – 14 625 feet
  • Minimum Altitude: 3,190 m.a.s.l – 10 465 feet
  • Distance Travelled: 13 km approx – 8,077 miles
  • Approximate Walking Time: 5-6 hours

We meet our guide early to walk or drive up to Machu Picchu arqueological complex. We have to get our tickets checked at the entrance. Once we are inside we start with our guided tour ( 2 – 2,5 h). Afterwards we have free time to explore on our own or enjoy the views. In the afternoon we have to return to the train station to take the train back to the Sacred valley or Cusco, transfer to your hotel upon arrival.

  • Note: if you wish to climb Huayna Picchu mountain you need to advise and book this in advance as spaces are limited and there is a new fee of 75 US$ per person.
  • Meals: breakfast

What is included for the Lares Trek?

  • Pre-departure briefing
  • Collection from your hotel in the morning and transfer in private transportation to Challacancha (starting point of the trek)
  • Personal tents: 2 people in each 4-people-capacity tent, to allow for higher comfort and a safe keeping of backpacks. Our tents are 3-season, highly maintained to ensure an excellent performance in field. Eureka Timberline 4 Outfitter tents are employed when double accommodation is requested and Eureka Timberline 2XT for single travelers
  • One inflatable sleeping pad per person
  • Dining tent with tables and chairs
  • Kitchen tent
  • Toilet tent with biodegradable toilet facilities
  • English speaking professional and official tourist guide (2 guides for groups of over 8 people)
  • Chef and cooking equipment
  • Pack animals (to carry tents, food and cooking equipment) — days 1 to 4
  • Pack animals to carry personal gear up to a maximum of 9 kg per person (including sleeping pad and sleeping bag) — days 1 to 4
  • 1 emergency horse every 6 persons — days 1 to 4
  • Wranglers – days 1 to 4
  • Accommodation for all our staff
  • Meals (03B, L 04, 04D + daily morning snack + daily tea service except last day). Vegetarian or special menus are available at no extra cost
  • Filtered boiled water from lunch time on 1st day onwards
  • Bio-degradable personal hand soaps
  • Bio-degradable dishwashing detergents used by our kitchen staff
  • Others: hot water every morning and evening for washing purposes / boiled water to fill in your water bottle every morning and night, and at lunch time if requested with enough time ahead
  • First-aid kit including emergency oxygen bottle
  • Train ticket from the Hydroelectric power plant to Aguas Calientes (day 4)
  • 1D Machupicchu entrance fee
  • RT Bus ticket Aguas Calientes – Machupicchu – Aguas Calientes (day 5)
  • RT Train ticket from Aguas Calientes to Cusco
  • Transfer train station-hotel in Cusco
  • 24-h guest service: please ask for the emergency number available during your time of visit

What is not included  for the Lares Trek?

  • Domestic or international flight tickets, please let us know if you wish us to assist you with this booking
  • Sleping bags you can rent from por office with cost is $20
  • Breakfast on the first day
  • Lunch and dinner on the last day: after the guided tour at Machupicchu, you can enjoy free time to further visit the ruins and choose to have lunch either in Machupicchu or in Aguas Calientes at your own expense. Arrival in Cusco is estimated after nightfall, dinner being at your own expense too
  • Huayna Picchu entrance fee: if you would like to climb this mountain an additional fee of US$ 75usd per person applies
  • Tips: please note that our agency staff is well paid so please feel free to tip or not as you wish

Essentials for the Lares Trek to Machu Picchu 4 days

For 3 days, you will be out in the mountain with no route, electricity, or cellphone signal. Having all the necessary equipment for this hike with you is essential; still, pack very light. 

  • Small comfortable backpack
  • Original passport
  • Hiking boots
  • Trekking poles
  • Headlamp
  • Warm jackets
  • Gloves
  • Bennie
  • Sunscreen
  • Good camera
  • Emergency money is soles

What to put in the backpack for the Lares Trek to Machu Picchu?

The backpack will always be with you; you are responsible for carrying it while hiking during the day, and it must be as light as possible. Remember that duffle bags you will find only at the campsite and all you need during the day must be in your daypack.

  • Passport.- Passports must always be with you in a safe and dry place; we recommend placing them inside Ziploc bags with money and other documents.
  • Student Card.- if you have booked as a student, you must bring your student ID with you, especially when we enter Machu Picchu.
  • Water bottle or camelback.- You must bring reusable water containers; they must be easy to handle and have a capacity of at least 2 liters.
  • Rain Ponchos, rain jackets. – Plastic rain ponchos will be provided to you with the duffle bags; you still need to bring a waterproof or windproof jacket.
  • Sunscreen, hat, and long-sleeved shirts.- You will be hiking over an open space without shelter and must always be protected.
  • Warm jacket.- Early in the morning, the weather is chilly. You will start hiking with all your layers and remove them slowly as you begin warming up; always keep a warm jacket with you, even on the hottest day. The temperature in the Andes might vary in a matter of minutes.
  • Mini First Aid Kit.- You must always have your medication and band-aids, altitude medicine, pain killers, Cipro, a pill for allergies, insect repellent, and others.
  • Headlamp, camera, cell phone, sunglasses
  • Toilet paper.- Must be in your day pack always with you
  • Extra Cash.- It’s important to always have travel money with you; we recommend around 600 soles (200. USD) in Cash; it is better to have in small coins, about 20 Soles at least for anything to buy along the train, like water or souvenirs. The travel is not to spend; this is just for emergencies.

What to put in the duffle bag?

The duffle bag will be provided during the briefing held the day before in our office. You can out up to 8 kilos, including your sleeping bag and air mattress. 

  • Sleeping bag: A 4-season (-10°) sleeping bag is required for this Trek; you can bring your own or rent from us. If you rent from us, you will be provided with a liner, so you don’t need to get this. All our sleeping bags are suitable for the Lares weather and are cleaned and sanitized after every Trek.
  • Inflatable mattress: We will provide a foam mattress; however, if you prefer extra comfort at night, we recommend bringing or hiring an inflatable mattress.
  • Pillows: We will provide you with small camping pillows during this Trek.
  • Shoes: For this Trek, we strongly recommend wearing hiking boots
  • Socks: You will need about 5 pairs of thick wool hiking socks plus 3 pairs of light socks for the nights or to walk around after the Trek.
  • 3 pairs of long trousers, hiking pants, or leggings work for ladies.
  • Thermal Underwear.- this is very important for the nighttime.
  • Swimsuit.- We will visit the Lares Thermal baths; we strongly recommend bringing a swimsuit for the first day.
  • Sandals.- To change after the Trek and in the hotel.
  • Toiletries.- Toothpaste, soap, shampoo, lip balm, moisturizer
  • Towel.- Small and light towel
  • Hand sanitizer and toilet paper

This trek from Lares trough the plains of Fundo Huaran is a route scarcely traveled by tourists. It’s not one of the commercially available treks like the Inca Trail or the Salkantay Trail, which makes this route special and unique. This trip offers close contact to Andean life with all its customs and traditions as well as the unforgettable delight of experiencing the nature of the Andes with their terraced valleys, impressive mountain tops, glaciers and lakes. It’s a world where time has stopped, where farmers still farm the land of their ancestors according to tradition and where they watch over their flock of lamas and alpacas under the close watch of the snow capped mountains – the “Apus” in Quechua – which they worship like gods. This trail is still frequented by the locals, direct descendants of the Incas. The path connects the communities of Cancha Cancha, Quishuarani, Cuncani and Lares which is famous for its medicinal hot springs. The last part of this tour from the town of Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes will be done by train. The train ride takes about 2 hours, after which you can relax in your Hotel. Finally the most important day of your trip has arrived, you will be visiting the sanctuary of Machu Picchu (named a world heritage site by UNESCO). In the afternoon you will return to Cusco.

Lares Trek Faqs

How difficult is the Lares Trek?

The Lares Trek to Machu Picchu is considered a moderate hike. It’s not a technical hike but the altitude may affect some individuals. We recommend purchasing a wooden walking stick while in Cusco as it will help with your balance and reduce the load on your knees. We ask that you not use a metal tipped walking stick as it can harm the fragile environment along the trail.

Is altitude sickness common? And how high is the Lares Trek?

It’s impossible to predict who will be affected by altitude. Your ability to adapt to high altitude is determined by your genetic makeup and has little to do with fitness or health. Most people will have no problems as long as they take the time to acclimatize properly. A full day spent in Cusco (3400m), taking it easy and drinking plenty of water, is usually enough for most people.

The highest point you will reach while hiking the Lares Trek is 4600 meters. You will sleep at 3600 meters for one or two nights.

When do we reach Machu Picchu and how much time do we spend there?

You will reach Machu Picchu early in the morning on Day 4th. You´ll have two hours tour of the Machu Picchu. After the tour you will have a few hours of free time to explore the area on your own before the group travels by bus to Aguas Calientes where we catch the train back to Cusco.

Is a sleeping bag and mat included?

Sleeping bags are not included and so we recommend bringing a compact three-season sleeping bag. If travelling between May and October a 4-season sleeping bag is recommended. These can be rented in our Ofice for US$ 20 for the entire trek. Foam mats are provided however some travellers also bring their own self-inflating

Is purified water available on the trek?

We recommend that you bring a refillable water bottle as boiled water will be provided in the morning at breakfast, at lunch and every evening after dinner.

What type of food will we get on the Lares Trek?

Our cooks prepare excellent high-energy meals appropriate for a trek of this nature. The menu usually includes pasta, rice, chicken, fresh fruit and vegetables and a variety of oatmeal, eggs and other breakfast foods. Vegetarian alternatives are available upon request at the time of booking.

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