lares trek

4 Day Lares Trek & Incan Immersion to Machu Picchu

Time to escape the beaten path and experience a true mountain adventure. This is the trip you’ve been longing for. An alternative to the crowded Inca Trail, the Lares Trek is far from ordinary or overdone.

One of the highlights of this memorable trek is that you’ll get to immerse yourself in the beautiful culture of a true Andean village.

Get up close and personal with Andean farmers as you learn ancient Incan farming techniques. Learn and participate in traditional music and dance. Try on stunning garments woven by the local women. As we teach you our community’s history and feed you the delicious local fare, you’ll begin to imagine what ancient Incan life was like.

Because of our unique relationship with Choquecancha village, True Mountain Traveler is the only tour operator who can give our travelers this interactive experience. The best physical journeys are also journeys of the mind and soul, and we’re proud to share our home with you in this special way.

Cultural immersion travel is a unique experience as part of your hike to Machu Picchu.

Day 1: Cusco – Huaran – Cancha Cancha

We will start at 5:00 a.m., where we will pick you up directly from your hotel and drive 2 hours to the town of Huaran (2840m) located in the Sacred Valley between Pisac and Urubamba. Before starting your walk, you will meet your horses and horsemen (arrieros). Breakfast will be prepared and served before you start walking and the team will be presented at that time. After breakfast, you will prepare to start the trek. The first 4.5 hours will be gradually uphill until lunch. After lunch, we will continue leaving the Sacred Valley behind us, heading north following a path that climbs gently alongside the small river for 2 hours to reach our destination, the small village called Cancha Cancha where we spend the night. Cancha Cancha (3,750 m / 12,303 ft) doesn’t have modern technology and people still practice real Inca traditions. In this Inca town, 85 percent of the houses are still made up of original, old buildings, made of stone, with thatched roofs. Unlike any other town in the Lares Valley, this town has no electricity or cars. Your porters will set up your tents while you have time to meet with local children. We provide them with food and school supplies on each Lares trek we do, and we invite our travelers to share in the support of education and health in this native village. You can join us and bring whatever you want to complement the lives of these Quechua-speaking children. Next, your guide will take you to one of the local family houses, where you will learn about the locals’ lifestyle. You can watch them raise their guinea pigs and learn about traditional hand-woven textiles made from llama and alpaca wool. This will be without a doubt one of the best days of your trek. In the evening you will enjoy hot drinks and dinner and an early night to be ready for the next day.

Walking distance: 14 km

Campsite Elevation: 3800 meters

Weather: warm/Cold

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

Day 2: Cancha Cancha – Quishuarani – Lares hot springs

Leaving Cancha Cancha we continue northeast through the valley, passing small stone houses with thatched roofs. After 1 hour of gradual ascent, the path flattens out for a bit before steeply climbing for 2 hours to the highest pass called Paso de Pachacutec (4758m). From there, you will be rewarded with magnificent views of Lake Pachacutec and the snowy peaks of Pitusiray. After taking some time to soak up the views, we will continue for another 3 hours walking downhill along a beautiful path, passing by lagoons, stunning waterfalls and herds of llamas and alpacas. After lunch we will catch our van for a short drive along the valley to the Lares Hot Springs camp site where you will have happy hour with hot and cold drinks and time to jump into the natural hot springs before and after dinner. The pools range from very hot to freezing cold and are all composed of pure volcanic water, which is medicinal in nature and considered to be good for your joints, muscles, stress and headaches.

Walking distance: 14 km

Campsite Elevation: 3150 meters

Weather: Cold, rainy, windy, warm.

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

Difficulty: challenge

Day 3: Lares – Choquechancha – Ollantaytambo – Aguas Calientes

After breakfast, we will visit a Choquecancha farm nearby and your time here will be filled with fun as you:

  • Learn about Andean agriculture
  • See how music and dance are incorporated into the fabric of Andean farming culture
  • Drink ‘chicha’, learn the importance of the sacred drink, and learn proper Andean drinking etiquette
  • Try on clothing woven by local Choquecancha women
  • Eat lunch featuring traditional Andean food

After lunch we take our private transport to Ollantaytambo which you’ll have some time to wander around. After dinner we’ll catch the train to Aguas Calientes where we stay the night in a hotel.

Day 4: Aguas Calientes – Machu Picchu – Cusco

Breakfast will be at 5:00 a.m. in the hotel, and then we will line up to take one of the first buses to Machu Picchu, the bus takes 25 minutes to reach Machu Picchu (which opens its doors at 6:00 a.m.). Be sure to bring your original passport, the same one you used to book your trip because park rangers will ask for it (and you can also get a Machu Picchu stamp in it!). Your guide will help you find the perfect places to get best photos of Machu Picchu (which will immediately become your Facebook profile photo!) and you can enjoy the sunrise if the weather is good. Then you will have your 2-hour guided tour and some extra time to explore the site on your own.If you have booked Huayanpicchu or Machupicchu Mountain, your guide will show you where to start this trek. Huaynapicchu takes 2 hours and Machupicchu Mountain 3 hours round trip, but if you did not book tickets for these mountains, you can still get to the Sun Gate in 1.5 hours or the Inka Bridge in 45 minutes and enjoy excellent views. Once you’re done exploring, you can return to the buses and head to Aguas Calientes for lunch. After lunch, you will take the train back to Ollantaytambo and we will transfer you back to your hotel in Cusco.

Important Notes

  • Huayna Picchu or Machupicchu mountain is $25 per person and needs to be arranged in advance
  • If you want to stay an extra night in Aguas Calientes please let us know in advance. We can adjust your train tickets and arrange a hotel if you would like for us to help.
  • Rangers do not allow people to carry large backpacks, only day packs are allowed.
  • No trekking poles are allowed in Machu Picchu.
  • Snacks and water are allowed but they must be inside your backpack (not in outer pockets)

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