The Lares Trek is an excellent alternative to the Inca Trail. Taking you off the beaten track with visits to authentic Andean communities whilst being surrounded by stunning mountains, lakes and valleys this fabulous trek offers a real insight in to the lives of the people of Cusco as it once was.
We will leave Cusco at 6.00 am for the drive to Calca, a town in the Sacred Valley of the Incas. This is an excellent time of day to enjoy the fine scenery visible on all sides of the road. On the way there will be time to visit the Inca granaries of Muyoq Orqo, after which we will continue along the valley road, passing Mount Sawasiray before beginning our ascent to Lares at the pass known in Quechua as Willka Punku (“Sacred Gateway”). We will have plenty of time to rest and enjoy the Lares thermal baths. After lunch we will begin our walk to the first campsite at the village of Wacawasi, where we will visit local weaving families and have our evening meal.
We will continue our trek after breakfast, climbing steadily through the natural highland habitat of llamas and alpacas. This is a good area for bird watching, or for simply taking in the panoramic views of the surrounding peaks. We will arrive at our second campsite in the afternoon, at an isolated picturesque location far from all human settlements.
Today we will reach the high pass at Ipsayqocha (14,271 ft / 4350 m), in a landscape populated by herds of llamas and alpacas. Once over the pass, a long descent takes the walker to the indigenous community of Patacancha, where our vehicle will be waiting to take us to Ollantaytambo, a village originally established by the Incas. We will have plenty of time to visit the archaeological site before our transfer to the train station for the ride to the village of Aguas Calientes, below the ruins of Machu Picchu, where we will spend the night at the hotel of your choice (hotel not included).
We will get up early today and take one of the first shuttle buses up to the ruins of Machu Picchu, a ride of approximately 25 minutes. After the guided tour of Machu Picchu, you will have plenty of free time to climb the mountain known as Huayna Picchu (subject to availability). Some sections of this route require ropes and only those travelers who do not suffer from vertigo should attempt it. It is a one-hour trip to the summit and is not recommended during rainfall.