THE LARES TREK​

The Lares Trek (to Machu Picchu)

9 Days $4240 ex Cusco

Accommodation

6 Nights Hotel
2 Nights Camping

Transportation

Mostly by foot
Vehicle transfers

Included Meals

8 Breakfasts
5 Lunches
3 Dinners

 

 

Trip Grade

Category 3
High Heart Rate Holiday

We were stood on the fringe of what may have been a rocky field, although, if it were a field, it certainly had no boundary fence.

Metres away, all fluffy-haired and chewing on cud, was the cutest Llama (or was it an Alpaca?) we’d ever seen.

My hubby, ever the fool, thought it a great idea to get a little closer and pull some faces, all for a few laughs.

Suddenly, clearly unhappy with his antics, his woolly victim spat fully in his face (talk about swift vengeance)!

I’ll never forget the stunned look on his face and our kids in absolute hysterics!

He’d certainly gotten a few laughs for us all… just not the way he’d expected!

“The greatest legacy we can leave our children is happy memories

Og Mandino, Author

For those who want to take the path less traveled to Machu Picchu there is a path that is stunning in its beauty and could be exactly what you are searching for.

Think glacial lakes, waterfalls, hot springs and quaint Andean Villages, the Lares Trail to Machu Picchu will take you on a journey where you will discover the true beauty of Peru, all whilst avoiding crowds.

That’s not to say there aren’t people about, but the Lares provides a more locally flavoured adventure.

It allows the opportunity to see the people who inhabit these mountains going about their lives, largely unmolested by tourists.

Instead of young children skipping school to pose in costume and beg from tourists, you’re more likely to witness a farmer tend their flock, or a small shy smile from behind a dark door.

“In the variety of its charms and the power of its spell, I know of no other place in the weld which can compare with it.”

Hiram Bingham, (re)Discoverer of Machu Picchu

Day 3 - Lares approaching Patacancha

The Journey

Welcome to Cusco- touch down, collect your luggage and meet your guide, then drive twenty minutes through the colourful South American streets to your hotel.

Meet in the Coffee Museum at 1pm to enjoy a tasty lunch and learn the story and about the people behind this popular drink.

After lunch step out into the Cusco streets and explore with one of our carefully chosen guides. They are not only very knowledgeable but also great fun to be with. You do not want to cram too much in on your first day at altitude, so relax and get used to being up high with a gentle walk around this old Inca capital.

Visit the Plaza de Armas, the Cathedral and the Qoricancha temple of the sun and perhaps take in the sights, sounds and smells of San Pedro food market too.

If you normally shop in supermarkets and farmers markets, you are in for a treat.

Stands full of juicy exotic fruits, counters heaving with cow heads and sheep hooves and cheerful local women selling handmade cheeses, local breads, healthy juices and even toad soup.

The evening is free to relax and wander around this UNESCO World Heritage listed city.

Today you stretch your legs with a delightful hike in the hills above Cusco.

First we visit the impressive site of Sacsayhuaman. Huge stone ramparts surround a beautiful grass amphitheatre.

Once the scene of fierce battles it now hosts the recreation of traditional Inca ceremonies such as Inti Raymi and Warachikuy.

Next is the Inca water temple of Tambo Machay lying at 3700m (12,000 feet) followed by a special picnic lunch. From here it is all downhill to Cusco, stopping at the Temple of the Moon and other historical sites along the way. (B)

Leaving Cusco behind you start your journey to Machu Picchu. The hike starts at the fascinating circular ruins of Moray.

While some think it was a landing pad for alien spaceships, more likely is that the Incas built this as an experimental agricultural centre.

Concentric circular terraces allowed them to simulate different facing slopes and different growing temperatures to see what crops would grow where.

With another homemade picnic along the way you hike on down, past the spectacular salt pans of Maras to end in the Sacred Valley for the night. (B,L)

Departing Cusco early we drive along the Sacred Valley before, at Calca heading high into the Andes.

In just under two hours we will leave the vehicles and start our acclimatisation hike up an ancient Inca trail, through a narrow canyon where Inca burial tombs can still be seen. This is a perfect hike to allow clients to experience firsthand the affects of trekking at altitude.

We meet our bus further up the valley and transfer over a 4200m pass to the small community of Quisuarani where we set up base camp for the night. (B,L,D)

A beautiful day’s hiking as we climb out of the Quisuarani valley, hopefully meeting en route some of the colourfully dressed locals.

This whole area is famous for its weavings and at the various campsites, we can haggle for beautiful hand-made textiles at a fraction of the price of what they would be at home or even in Cusco.

Our trekking path borders the native tree reforestation project of ECOAN: this restored eco-system is home to several endemic birds. We descend past some spectacular waterfalls, crystal clear lakes, Llama herds and Viscachas (long-tailed rabbits) to the small village of Cuncani, where we have our picnic lunch.

Continuing in the afternoon we have a short walk over the ridge to the village of Huacahuasi where we will camp for the night. Those who have the energy can head down the  road and an old Inca Trail to the Lares Hot-springs, for a good soak in the “Banos del Inca” – The Incas’s Baths – a selection of perfectly heated pools (B,L,D)

This is a day filled with encounters with locals. Men head off to work in the potato fields, wooden ploughs slung over their shoulder. Women sit, legs outstretched weaving their traditional clothes on wooden looms. And small children sit motionless guarding herds of alpaca and llama, their ever faithful dog by their side.

You start fifteen minute’s drive from camp to begin towards the final pass. Lying at 4,200m/13,780ft the Ipsaycocha pass marks the border between Lares and the Patacancha Valley. You start gently and then climb one final steep section to gain the summit.

If you are lucky, you will have spectacular views of Mount Veronica. You take lunch by the beautiful Ipsay lake then follow an ancient trail to the Patacancha Valley and the village of Patacancha where the trek ends.

A vehicle takes down the valley and to your hotel for the night. (B,L,D)

You start the day with an early transfer to catch the train towards Machu Picchu. Jumping off at km104 you pass through the control point and begin your Inca Trail trek.

First, you visit the recently restored ruins of Chachabamba before gradually ascending through tropical cloud forest up towards the base of Wiñay Wayna. Here you climb more steeply on old Inca stairways through these beautiful terraces, stopping to explore the various buildings and water features.

Here we can enjoy our packed lunch, with a great view. You then continue on perhaps the loveliest part of the whole Inca Trail.

Lush vegetation flanks you on either side, the scent of wild orchids fills the air, and all around you brightly coloured tropical songbirds fill your ears with song.

Soon you will reach a final set of stairs to arrive at Inti Punku, the gateway of the Sun. As you step through the old stone gate-way, Machu Picchu appears laid out before your eyes. After plenty of photos, you carry on past this wonder of the world to catch the bus down to the lively town of Machu Picchu Pueblo and a well-deserved hotel and shower.

Total hiking distance: 11 km

Whilst walking all you need is your daypack as your over-night luggage will be transferred to your hotel in Machu Picchu town to await your arrival.(B,L)

First thing in the morning we head up the hill to Machu Picchu and have it virtually to ourselves for a full guided tour, with time afterwards to climb Huayna Picchu (due to permit restrictions, please let us know when booking if you want to climb Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu mountain), walk out to the Inca Bridge or else just wander through the ruins soaking up the amazing atmosphere. 

In the afternoon, we board the train for an exhilarating ride along the Sacred Valley of the Incas.

Here our waiting bus whisks us back to Cusco and our hotel. Then if we have the energy we can explore Cusco’s excellent nightlife. (B)

Today, we transfer to Cusco airport in time for your internal and international flights home. Alternatively if you wish you can delay your departure by one day and have a free day to discover the delights of Cusco. (B)

Season

April through to October

Includes

  • All airport transfers
  • Inca Trail Permits
  • Cusco walking tour
  • Professional Adventure Guides
  • Top grade equipment
  • Transport to and from the trail in private vehicle
  • All camping and cooking equipment including Thermarests, spacious two person tents, dining, cook and toilet tent
  • Extensive First-aid kit 
  • Professional English and Spanish speaking guides trained in first-aid and C.P.R.
  • 3 Star hotels in Cusco, the Sacred Valley and Aguas Calientes
  • All meals as indicated in itinerary (Breakfast – B, Lunch – L and Dinner – D)

Excludes

  • International Flights
  • Connection to Cusco
  • Travel Insurance
  • Sleeping bag (available for rent at $10 a night)
  • Airport taxes (if applicable)
  • Personal spending money
  • Tips for General Guides
  • Any meals not listed as included

Journey Extensions

Check out our Journey Extensions for those that want to stay a little longer or try something different along the way.

Arequipa, the beautiful “White City” and the nearby Colca Canyon is the perfect place to start or finish a trip to Peru and is ideal for both acclimatising to the rarefied air of the Andes, or for relaxing in its hot springs.

(4 Days/3 Nights) 

Per person is $1200 (twin share)

Includes: 2 nights in Colca Canyon, 3 Star Hotel in Arequipa, English speaking guide, tours of Arequipa, Colca Canyon and Cruz del Condor, Entrance to Santa Catalina and Colca National Park, Silustani tour and entrance fees

Lake Titicaca offers a great way to relax and explore the fascinating culture of the Aymara Indians who dwell upom the lake. Take a boat cruise to the amazing floating islands of Uros and Taquile Island, overnight with a local family on Amantani or watch a sunset at the pre-Inca Ruins of Silustani.

(3 Days/2 Nights) 

Per person is $1000 (twin share)

Includes: 3 Star Hotel in Puno, English speaking guide, Lake Titicaca tour, Luxury Train

A visit to our well appointed jungle lodge in the excellent lowland rain forest of the Tambopata National Reserve is one of the best ways to see some of the world’s best rain forest wildlife that is available in a short, economical stay.

The reserve and the adjacent Bahuaje-Sonene National Park, is home to over 20,000 plant species, over 900 species of birds (more species than in all of continental USA), 91 mammals, 1230 butterflies, 127 amphibians and reptiles, and much more. It’s a haven for the Amazon’s largest, most spectacular and most endangered predators – the Jaguar, the Giant Otter, the Harpy Eagle and the Black Caiman.

(4 Days/3 Nights) 

Per person is $846 (twin share)

Includes: Two or Three nights full-board at Jungle lodge and full guided service throughout, All transfers to and from Puerto. Maldonado airport to Jungle lodge by bus, boat and canoe

Visit some of the delights in Cusco’s surrounds!

The famed Incan ruins of Tambo Machay (known as the Incan baths), Puca Pucara, Pisac and its delightful terraced slopes, Q’enko and the vast ruin above Cusco itself, Sacsayhuaman.

(Half Day) 

Per person is $277 (down to $120 per person for a group of 4)

Includes: All entrance fees, English speaking guide, Transportation, Snacks & water

This lovely half day bike riding trip is a superb introduction to the Inca heritage of Peru, as well as being suitably flexible to suit everyone, from the beginner to the experienced.

At 3,650 – 3,250m, this is also a perfect acclimatisation ride to prepare you for your onward travels at altitude.

(Half Day) 

Per person is $162 (down to $66 per person for a group of 4)

Includes: English speaking guide, Transportation

Your Guides and Safety

Your guide can make the difference between a good holiday and an exceptional holiday.

Efrain Valles, who has worked with us for over ten years, was even voted Wanderlust World Guide of the Year 2014!

All our guides come to us as recommendations from our current guides, and they are very careful who they recommend.

We consider training a vital investment to ensure the security and safety of all our trips. We also believe that trained guides are confident guides which help them to relax and enjoy the trip which we firmly believe will massively enhance your own personal enjoyment.

All our guides are qualified in first aid, with instructors brought in from the UK to run these courses.

On the ground, we have an extensive local contact network, which ensures that we are able to organize visits by the Doctors (when needed) and treatments as quickly and as comfortably as possible.

Accommodation

We appreciate that the patience of children can be both tested, and testing, so this entire itinerary is built around hotel stays.

This provides enough amenities and mod-cons to satisfy the younger folk, and comfort enough to allow the parents a chance to relax at the end of each busy day.

“Traveling in the company of those we love is home in motion”

Leight Hunt, Poet

“Peruvian food is so simple yet amazingly flavored with their traditional spices.”

L’Wren Scott, Model & Designer

Food in Peru

Versions of most of the most common foods from home can be found, with hopefully something to suit even the fussiest of eaters (be they child or adult).

Furthermore, many Peruvian staples are now fairly commonplace in western grocers, especially the ubiquitous Quinoa.

For those wanting to be a little adventurous, we can rarely go past recommending Cuy (Guinea Pig).

Perhaps better known as household pets, in the Incan world, they have long been raised as a food source (you’ll even see evidence of this among the ruins as you explore).

Of course, if you’ve anyone with any dietary requirements, please reach out, as most can be accommodated.

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