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alternative inca trail

Lares Trek & Inca Trail to Machu Picchu 5 Days

The best Alternative Inca Trail Trek to Machu Picchu, there is one simple reason why True Mountain Traveler has the best Trekking Route to Machu Picchu. You trek off the beaten track the Lares trek, which is our cultural tour focusing on local people and our lifestyle, while passing through amazing scenery. And combines with Short Inca Trail, This will give you the total package of beautiful views, camping in the Andes under the stars,  enjoying the natural hot spring of Lares and still walk through the Sun Gate for your first view of the Lost City of the Incas Machu Picchu.

This alternative Inca Trail hike itinerary to Machu Picchu is generally believed to be one of the beautiful hikes, the sacred valley of the incas has to offer.
alternative inca trail

Day 1: Cusco – Sacred Valley – Huaran – Cancha Cancha

We will begin at 5:00am where we will pick you up directly from your hotel and drive 2 hours to the village of Huaran (2840m) located in the Sacred Valley between Pisac and Urubamba. Before heading off on your trek, you will meet your horses and your horsesman (Arrieros).  Breakfast will be prepared and served before you start hiking and the team will be introduced at that time.  After breakfast you will get ready to begin the trek. The first 4 hours will be gradual uphill until lunch. .  After  lunch we will continue  leaving the Sacred Valley behind us, we head northwards following a gently climbing trail that goes along the small River 2 hours walking to our destination, the small village named Cancha Cancha where we spend the night. The village of Cancha Cancha, which is the village that does not have modern technology. Cancha Cancha is a village (3,750 m/ 12,303 ft) where people still practice real traditions of the Incas. In this Incan village, 85 percent of the houses are still composed of original, ancient construction, made of stone, with grass-thatched roofs. Unlike any other village in the Lares Valley, this village where has no electricity or cars. Here, you will not only enjoy the wilderness, but your porters will also set up your tents. You will have some time to meet with the local children. We provide them with food in each Lares trek we do and school supplies, so we invite our travelers to share this support in the education and the health of this native village. You can join us and bring anything you would like to supplement the lives of these Quechuan-speaking children. Following, your guide will take you to one of the local family’s houses, where you will learn about the lifestyle of the locals. You can see how they raise their guinea pigs, and you will learn about the traditional, hand-woven textiles, made of llama and alpaca wool. This is the best day of your hike. In the evening you will enjoy hot drinks and dinner.

Walking distance: 12 km

Campsite Elevation: 3800 meters

Weather: warm/Cold

Trail Conditions: Rocky , dusty and slippery (trekking shoes required)

Day 2: Cancha Cancha –Pachatutec Pass – Qoalay Lagoon

Leaving Cancha Cancha we continue north-east up the valley, passing small thatched stone houses. After 3 hours the path flattens out before climbing steeply for 2 hours up to the highest pass called Pachacutec Pass (4758m). From there you will be rewarded with superb views of Pachacutec Lake and the snowy peaks of Pitusiray. After time to enjoy everything we head down for 2 hours for lunch, then we have siesta. After lunch we will descend for another 1 ½ hours into the beautiful valley. We will pass by several glacial lakes along the way. Also we can see herds of alpacas, llamas and sheep. Tonight we camp at 3,870 m/12,694 ft in Qoalay lagoon close to Quishuarani village, which has typical stone houses.

Walking distance: 14 km

Campsite Elevation: 3800 meters

Weather: warm/Cold

Trail Conditions: Rocky , dusty and slippery (trekking shoes required)

Difficulty: challenge

Day 3: Quishuarani – Lares Hot Springs – Ollantaytambo

Our porters will wake you up with a hot drink and you will have some time to pack your bags and enjoy breakfast. Once you’re prepared, you’ll begin the last leg of your Lares hike. It will be 3 hours of walking downhill, along this lovely path, where you will pass by stunning waterfalls, more llamas, alpacas and farms where they cultivate potatoes, mountain fava beans, and many other traditional tubers, in the traditional Inka style.

Following, we will catch a van and make the short drive into the valley at the Lares Hot Springs site.Then, you will enjoy the hot springs, which are divided into numerous pools starting from freeze cold to boiling. They are all composed of pure volcanic water, which is medicinal in nature and considered to be good for your bones, stress, muscles and headaches. where you will have your last lunch outdoor accompanied by amazing views of the Andes Mountains.

After lunch in Lares we take our private transport to Ollantaytambo where we will check in at our hotel.

Walking distance: 10 km

hot springs: 3100 meters

Weather: Cold/ warm

Accommodations: Tunupa Lodge (or similar)

Day 4: Ollantaytambo – Inca Trail – Sun Gate – Aguas Calientes

You will be picked up from the hotel at 5:30 am. Following, we will go to the train station and leave on the 6:10 a.m. train, from Ollantaytambo. The train follows the Urubamba River, until we reach Km104, where we’ll begin our trek.  At 104 km, we will begin our trek. Once you have everything you need take a group photo, before visiting our first Inca site. After the orientation and visit of the Inka site, we will begin hiking upwards, as we head for the Classic 4 day Inka Trail. If the weather is clear, we’ll have tremendous views of Machu Picchu Inca citadel, the Urubamba River and other surrounding Incan Sites.

After thee hours hiking, we will reach the most beautiful Inka archaeological site on the Inca Trail, Wiñay wayna (Forever Young) at 2,600 m/8,500 ft. Most people do not get the opportunity to see an elaborate water fountain, temples and some agricultural terraces, which provide a perfect opportunity to learn about the history of the Incas. The backdrop of this place drops off a cliff, with beautiful mountains surrounding the site. From Wiñay Wayna, we’ll walk to Inti Punku (Sun Gate), where we will see the picturesque landscape of Machu Picchu Incan citadel. After taking in the once-in-a-lifetime views, we will begin our descent to Machu Picchu.

A big advantage of this hike, is that by the time we reach Machu Picchu, most of the day travelers will have returned home, so you will have the area to yourself. After taking photos, we take the bus down to Aguas Calientes and head to your hotel. After dinner, we recommend going to bed early to make the most of the next day.

Total Distance: 12 km (7,800 miles)

Estimated Walking Time: 5 hours

Maximum Altitude Point: 2,700 m (8,858 ft)

Weather: warm/hot

Accommodations: Wiraccocha Inn (or similar)

Day 5: Aguas Calientes – Machu Picchu – Cusco

We will wake up early in the morning in order to catch the sunrise at Machu Picchu. You will have a two hour guided tour by your private English speaking guide. After that, you will have time to explore Machu Picchu by yourself. Those who have tickets to huayna picchu will have time to climb the mountain, which takes approximately an hour and a half, round-trip. When you are done exploring, you can either take a bus, or walk, down to Aguas Calientes for lunch (not included). Following, you will take the train back to Ollantaytambo or Poroy, and then a bus to Cusco, where you will be brought back to your hotel.

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