lares trek to machu picchu

4 Day Lares Trek to Machu Picchu

There is one simple reason why True Mountain Traveler has the best Lares Trekking Route to Machu Picchu:

You trek off the beaten track on our own route, passing remote communities like Cancha Cancha which have no bus connections, cars or modern technology. You enjoy stunning scenery with lakes and mountains. You are guided by a direct local tour operator in small groups, you’ll eat the best fresh meals and use the best camping equipment and you’ll even get to enjoy natural hot springs at the end.

An amazing alternative to the Inca Trail, the 4 day lares trek to machu picchu it’s slightly easier than the Salkantay trek, this trek takes you off the beaten track in the Andes Mountains with lots of opportunities to interact with local people in real Andean communities. The trek ends at the one of the 7 Modern Wonders of the World, 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 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 a small river for 2 hours to reach our destination, the small village of 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
Trailhead Elevation: 3800 meters
Campsite Elevation: 3800 meters
Weather: warm/Cold
Trail Conditions: Rocky, dusty and slippery (trekking shoes required)

Day 2: Cancha Cancha – Quishuarani

Leaving Cancha Cancha we continue north-east up the valley, passing small thatched stone houses. After 3 hours of generally flat terrain we then climb 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 taking time to enjoy everything we head down for another 2 hours to have lunch and a little 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 as well as herds of alpacas, llamas and sheep. We’ll camp at 3,870 m/12,694 ft near Quishuarani village, which has typical Andean stone houses.

Walking distance: 14 km
Campsite Elevation: 3800 meters
Weather: warm/cold
Trail Conditions: Rocky, dusty and slippery (trekking shoes required)
Difficulty: Challenging

Day 3: Quishuarani – Lares – Ollantaytambo – Aguas Calientes

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 are ready, you’ll start the last leg of your Lares trek. It will be 3 hours of walking downhill along a lovely path, where you will pass stunning waterfalls and more llamas and alpacas. We’ll pass by farms where they cultivate potatoes, mountain fava beans, and many other traditional tubers in the traditional Incan style.
Then we will catch our van for a short drive along the valley to the Lares Hot Springs where you will have time to enjoy the natural pools which range from hot to cold. They are all composed of pure volcanic water, which is medicinal in nature and considered to be good for your joints, muscles, stress and headaches. We will have our last outdoor lunch here accompanied by amazing views of the Andes Mountains.

After lunch in Lares we take our private transport to Ollantaytambo from where we’ll catch the train to Aguas Calientes where you will check in to your hotel.

Walking distance: 10 km
hot springs: 3100 meters
Weather: Cold/ warm

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 the 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 $75 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, day packs only 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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