Lares Trek to Machu Picchu 4D/3N
Nestled in the highlands of the Sacred Valley of the Inca, between the Amazon jungle and the classic Inca Trail, is found the route of the llama known as the Lares Trek. This ancient path will take you on a journey through sweeping landscapes and tiny mountain communities whose inhabitants still live by Andean tradition, speaking Quechua and wearing the bright colorful woven clothing that is typical of the Andes mountain.
Relax in the Lares hot springs as you gaze up at the beautiful surrounding mountains and valley, take in the beauty of the picturesque town of Huacahuasi, then breathe in the clean fresh air of wide open spaces and try to spot some wild alpacas as you climb to the peak surrounded by the enormous mountains of the Andes.
Check out the cold waters of Ipsaycocha Lake and the Patacancha River as you make your way down the valley to Ollantaytambo. From here you will take a unique train ride to Aguas Calientes to relax and end your trek visiting one of the seven wonders of the world, the historical sanctuary of Machu Picchu.
DAY 1: Lares trek to Machu Picchu
Hike starts at: 10,662ft / 3,250m Hotspring (Lares) – Hike ends at: 12,483ft / 3,805m Huacausi Village (campsite)
Today we will leave Cusco very early (5:30 am) and head toward the Sacred Valley of the Incas. Along the road we’ll see small towns and we can watch the sun rise along the way. Our first stop will be at the Taray lookout (10,351ft/3,155m), from this place we can see part of the Sacred Valley of the Incas and the Urubamba River (also called Vilcanota). After taking lots of pictures, we’ll head toward Pisaq and later Calca – a very important city in the Sacred Valley – where we’ll have a brief stop where you can buy last minute items (water, crackers/cookies, coca leaves). Later we’ll continue on our trip. Along the road we’ll see many farming communities and the colorful variety of their clothing, distinct and particular to each community.
We will see impressive Andean valleys and primitive plants like the “puya de Raymondi” that flowers only once every 100 years. In Lares, we’ll head toward hotspring where we’ll have a few hours to enjoy the hot springs. These waters are said to have medicinal properties. Here we will also meet our cook, horseman, and horses that we will use on our trip, they will be in charge of transporting the equipment to our camp in the community of Huacahuasi (12,483ft/3,805m). At our first camp, we will have contact with the people who live in the town. All of the people that live in Huacahuasi speak Quechua. The children will be the first to receive us. We recommend that you not give them candy in order to preserve their health. However, if you have pens, notebooks, or clothes that you aren’t using, feel free to share with them; they would be grateful to have it. Here we will spend the first night.
DAY 2: Lares trek to Machu Picchu
Hike starts at: 12,843ft / 3,850m Huacahuasi village- Hike ends at: 12,544ft / 3,823m Patacancha (Campsite)
Generally, this place has a very cloudy morning that covers the entire town. The clouds come from the lowest parts of the valley (5577ft/1700m) up to Huacahuasi. Today you will receive a cup of coca tea very early (5:30am) and later we will enjoy breakfast. We will begin the ascent through a valley covered in dwarf forests of Andean grass, used to roof the houses in the valley. Here we can appreciate the different types of birds that live in this area. We will also see many llamas, alpacas, and large stretches of crops. We will continue the ascent toward Ipsaycocha pass(14,694ft/4,478m), from here we will see the magnitude of the Andean mountains in all their splendor.
After taking lots of pictures, we will descend toward Ipsaycocha, a very beautiful and mysterious lagoon because of its dark color and the legends that surround it. This is also the home of many trout that you can easily see swimming around in the lake. Here we will rest while our cook prepares our lunch.
In the remaining hours before it gets dark you can explore the town and observe the landscape, at dinner, you can enjoy a bottle of wine in order to rest very well.
DAY 3: Lares trek to Machu Picchu
Hike starts at: 12,544ft / 3,823m Patacancha – Hike ends at: 6,793ft / 2,070m Aguas Calientes town (Hostel)
Today we’ll begin the day with our customary coca tea (5:30am) and we can watch the sunrise from our tents while we prepare our things to begin our trip to Aguas Calientes (6,793ft/2,070m). After breakfast, we’ll begin our hike through the Andean valley surrounded by trees, bushes, native plants, and gigantic mountains that make it unique and spectacular, after a few hours of hiking, we’ll arrive at the archeological center of Pumamarca with impressive terraces formerly used for Incan crops.
After time to take pictures, we’ll continue on to Ollantaytambo (9,348ft/2,849m) where we’ll have our lunch, this town is one of the most beautiful towns in Peru, recommended in travel guides as a must-see destination. Here we will say goodbye to our staff (cook, horseman), After some free time to explore the town, we’ll head to the train station to board our train to Aguas Calientes, the train ride will last 2 hours. Once in Aguas Calientes, we’ll have a soft bed waiting in the hostel and dinner in a restaurant in Aguas Calientes, later you will have the night free to explore the town.
DAY 4: Lares trek to Machu Picchu
Trip starts at: 6,793ft/2,070m Aguas Calientes town – Trip ends at: 10,941ft/3,335m Cusco city
Today we’ll board one of the first buses leaving for Machu Picchu (5:30am) in order to be one of the first to arrive at Machu Picchu (11,176ft/3,406m). Once at Machu Picchu, we’ll have a guided tour for 2:30 hours. Later you will have free time to explore the Incan city of Machu Picchu before we head back to Aguas Calientes. After lunch in Aguas Calientes, you will board the train to Ollantaytambo where a car will be waiting to take you back to the Plaza de Armas in Cusco (11,176ft/3,406m).
What is Included ?
What is NOT Included ?
What to Pack
Important: The list given here is a suggested packing list, based on the experience of our guides and staff, and passengers that enjoyed the 4 Day Lares trek to Machu Picchu. Feel free to pack what you think you need to be comfortable along the hike.
The classic “Lares Trek to Machu Picchu” itinerary can leave any day of the week, March through January. We do not schedule any treks in February due to heavy rain and cold.
Per person (This trek requires of two people to start a new tour any date.)
(sent ahead of trip)
The remain balance it should be paid at the pre-trek briefing.
(paid on arrival to Cusco)
- The remaining balance should be paid in cash at the pre-trek briefing. This meeting will be arranged to take place a couple of days before the starting date of the trek. If you have any other questions about payment method please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Items you may need
In case you want to travel light on your trip to Peru or don’t want to invest in gear for your trek, we have some items that you may choose to rent from us.
If you would like to rent any these items, please request it at the time of your trek reservation.
Upgrade the adventure
There are some attractions and services you can add to your tour that can make this trip unique. In some of these services the numbers of permits are limited per day. The reservation of these services should be done at the time of your trek reservation.
Offers & Tours before Lares trek
In the days leading up to the trek, we invite to you consider the following tours as part of your acclimatization in Cusco before the Lares trek to Machu Picchu.
★ Cusco City Tour Half Day:
USD $30 USD $20
★ Rainbow Mountain Day Tour: USD
$100 – USD $80
★ The Sacred Valley of the Inca Day Tour:
USD $40 – USD $30
The student discount applies to students under the age of 26, with an ISIC international student card or a University Student ID. The student will have to send us a copy of their passport and student ID at the time of booking.
Lares Trek Frequently Asked Questions
1. How difficult is the Lares trek?
One of the best alternative treks to Machu Picchu, the Classic Lares Trek is considered a “moderate hike”. It is not a technical hike but the altitude may affect some individuals without previous acclimatization, as it reaches higher altitudes than the Inca Trail along the hike.
2. Is altitude sickness common? What is the highest elevation on the Lares trek?
Altitude sickness symptoms can begin to appear from (8,202ft/2,500m), and it is impossible to predict who will be affected by altitude. Headache, Nausea, Vomiting, and Fatigue are some of the symptoms. It is recommended to drink a lot of water, limit alcohol consumption, rest and spend at least 2 to 3 days in Cusco or in a place with similar altitude to acclimatize before beginning the Lares trek.
Lares trek highest elevation: 14,599ft/4,450m (Ipsaycocha pass)
3. How long is the Lares trek and how many hours will we hike per day?
If you are planning to hike the classic Lares trek 4 Day/3 Nights to Machu Picchu, with camping in Huacahuasi town and Patacancha town, the total distance to walk is 19.88 miles (32kms), and you will walk 5-8 hours daily.
- Day 1: 4 to 5 hours – from Lares to Huacahuasi
- Day 2: 7 to 8 hours – from Huacahuasi to Patacancha
- Day 3: 7 to 8 hours – from Patacancha to Ollantaytambo
4. When do we reach Machu Picchu and how much time do we spend there?
You will reach Machu Picchu early on the morning of Day 4. Once in the Inca city you will have an informative 2 hour guided tour, visiting the most relevant attractions in the Inca citadel. After the tour you will have free time to relax and explore on your own before taking the bus to Aguas Calientes and the train to Cusco.
5. Will porters or horses carry our luggage while on the Lares trek?
Due the Lares trek geography “your belongings” will be transported by horses or mules, led by arrieros. You will still need to carry a day backpack with your hiking essentials you will use and need along the hike such as snacks, water, rain jacket, camera, sunblock, etc.
6. How cold does it get on the Lares trek?
The Lares trek is one the highest trek routes to Machu Picchu. It can get quite chilly, especially between May – September (Andean winter). During these months the temperature can drop to bellow 32 Fahrenheit / 0 degrees Celsius (32ºF/0ºC) during night. It can still be cold the rest of the year, so we recommend bringing wool gloves and hat, thermal pants (long johns) and long sleeve t-shirts year round.
7. What type of accommodation will I have along the Lares trek?
This Lares trek itinerary goes through native Quechua speaking villages, where the team will set up camp.
* The first night (Huacahuasi village) as well the second night (Patacancha village) you will spend the night in tents (2 persons in a three person tent / SOLO traveler 1 person in a two person tent). The third night the accommodation will be at a Hostel in Aguas Calientes town.
Your cook may provide hot water in a bowl to clean and wash your hands, upon request.
8. Are the mattress and sleeping bag included?
A foam mattress will be provided during the Lares trek, however the passenger may bring their own, if preferred. The sleeping bag is NOT included. We recommend that participants bring a sleeping bag rated to at least 15˚F/-8˚C for whichever month of the year you decide to do the trek. Passengers have the option to rent sleeping bags from us, in order to lighten your luggage traveling to Cusco or to limit gear to purchase.
9. What type of food is served on the Lares trek?
The same wonderful cooks from the Inca Trail also prepare food along the Lares Trek. The menu usually includes beef, chicken, pasta, vegetables, rice, fruits, coffee, grains, eggs etc, or order to give you energy to enjoy your trek.
There is vegetarian food OPTIONAL available for vegetarian travelers, which can be requested at the time of booking.
10. Is purified water available on the along the trek?
The passengers will have available boiled water from the first lunch to the third day at lunch. It is also possible to purchase bottled water at locations along the hike. We recommend that you bring a water bottle or reservoir as you can refill water at breakfast, lunch, and dinner.