by PROJECT CORDILLERA
Cordillera Urupampa, Perú
The Lares Trek takes you all the way from Cusco to Machu Picchu in a different and very adventurous route. It is a shorter and higher altitude hike than most which cross into the Sacred Valley, the most important city of the Incan Empire.
This route has 3 high points, the highest being 4,400mts and is not as common as other treks to Machu Picchu. During this journey you will be surrounded by stunning mountains, lakes and llamas.
Trek through mountains and farming communities like Huacahuasi, which are known for their beautiful and eye catching textiles. You will camp along the hot springs in Lares where people live in stone and adobe homes with thatched roofs.
You will be able to visit the town of Ollantaytambo which was built by Pachacuti, an emperor who conquered the region and made it a royal state during the Inca Empire. This city is full of ruins and a common starting point for the Inca Trail.
You will end the trek with a magnificent sunrise over the city of Machu Picchu. After a 2 hour guided hike through the city you will be able to explore all the places which interests you in this beautiful and mysterious place. You can hike up to Wayna Picchu, the mountain that rises over Machu Picchu, and see the city from the best angle.
Travel like a pro while in Perú. Check out our travel tips.
Leave Cuzco early in the morning and travel to the township of Ollantaytambo in the Sacred Valley of the Incas. Arrive to Patakancha, a Quechua community. After the visit, you will meet your trekking crew, and start your hike. As you leave the village, you will enjoy views of alpaca and llama herds grazing along the trail. After approximately 1.5 hours of ascent you reach Lake Ipsaycocha, a beautiful small lagoon. The rest of your hike will be downhill towards campsite (4,200m/13,780ft).
Walk to the community of Huacahuasi. The people of this village produce beautiful colourful textiles. Then, walk for 2 to 3 hours to the hot springs near the colonial village of Lares at 3400m, where we will set up camp. Bring your swimwear so you can take a relaxing dip in the warm waters which are famous for their healing powers.
Head to the Incan town of Ollantaytambo by bus, where we will rest and have lunch. Then, we will catch a train to Aguas Calientes. We'll spend the night in a hotel there. We will make it an early night to bed to prepare for your Machu Picchu visit the following morning.
Have breakfast catch the first bus to Machu Picchu. Get a 2 hour guided tour and explore the mysterious city by yourself. If you still have energy, you can also climb the mountain of Huayna Picchu. It takes around 45 minutes to reach the top. Afterwards, you will meet your guide in Aguas Calientes (which can be reached by bus or on foot) to have lunch and to receive your train tickets back to Cusco.