The Lares trek is an excellent alternative to the Inca Trail. Still relatively unknown, this vehicle-supported trek takes you back in time, into a world little changed since the time of the Incas. Each day, as the sun rises over the hill, locals clad in hand woven red ponchos and felt hats, emerge from simple stone cottages to pasture their alpacas in the shadow of Chicon and its shrinking glacier. Our guides have been walking this trail since 2007 and struck up special relationships with the indigenous people with whom you will be able to interact during the trek. As part of this trek, we walk the last section of the main trail to Machu Picchu, km104. On our last day we will have time to explore the fascinating Incan site of Machu Picchu before returning to Cusco.
The Lares Trek will operate with 2 people. You will be joining clients from other countries on this trek and will be led by a local Peruvian guide.
Extensions are offered for this trip – Please go to the Trip Dossier tab.
Alternative dates available from mid-March to December, please contact the office for details.
Day 1 Depart UK.
Day 2 On arrival from your spectacular flight along the Andes to Cusco, we transfer you to your hotel and start acclimatising to the rarefied air of this beautiful city (3326m). In the afternoon, we take a short walking tour of the centre of Cusco to familiarise you with the main sights, restaurants and a chance to stretch your legs and experience hiking at 3300m. At a convenient time you guide will arrange a full briefing for the days ahead.
Day 3 From Cusco we visit the water temple of Tambo Machay, the “Red Fort” of Pucara, the mysterious engraved Huaca of Quenko and the impressive Sacsayhuaman, With a private expert guide and private transport, this is the best way to see the outlying Cusco ruins in just a half a day.
Day 4 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 a homemade picnic along the way you hike on down, past the spectacular salt pans of Maras to end in the Sacred Valley.
Day 5 A scenic two hour drive through the Sacred Valley of the Incas takes you to the start of your trek, at the small village of Totora. You follow an ancient Inca trail into a narrow canyon, where Inca tombs perch in the cliffs. Emerging from the canyon you pass through tiny rural communities before emerging to a delicious picnic lunch. Your bus then takes you to the small and very traditional community of Quishuarani, your camp for the night
Day 6 This is a stunning day hiking. You leave camp behind and climb towards the native forests that our Peruvian colleagues has been heavily involved in re-planting. These forests harbour Andean deer, vizcachas and several rare species of birds and are essential to the future of this area. A further push and you reach the stunning views from your highest pass of the trek, the Huchayccasa pass (4450m). A chain of emerald blue lakes fills the hillside below you, and in the distance rise the snow clad Urubamba Mountains. Descending through hand turned potato fields you come to the ancient community of Cuncani at (3800m). Fuelled by a hearty lunch you carry on along the valley floor to reach the once notorious village of Huacahuasi. Once home to bandits and cattle rustlers it is now a peaceful place to spend the night. You are likely to be visited by local women selling the hand woven textiles for which the area is famous and entertained by the cheery local children who accompany you as you walk.
Day 7 Another great day awaits you. This is a day filled with encounters with locals. Strong legged men head off to work in the potato fields, wooden ploughs slung over their shoulder. Rough handed 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. From camp you begin the ascent towards the final pass. Lying at 4200m 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 your final camp
Day 8 You start with a short but sharp climb to the impressive and little known ruins of Pumamarca. After visiting this extensive site, you take an Inca trail along old terraces, before winding your way through eucalyptus forests to the renowned ruins of Ollantaytambo. Enjoy lunch before exploring this charming village. This was the site of the last battle between the Incas and Spanish before the remaining Inca rebels fled into the jungles of Vilcabamba. The presence of the Incas is still evident, with most houses still containing Inca stonework and the local women still washing their clothes in the old Inca canals that run through the village. Late afternoon you catch the train to Machu Picchu Pueblo (used to be called Aguas Callientes) and your hotel for the night.
Day 9 Returning first thing in the morning we have Machu Picchu virtually to ourselves for a full guided tour, with time 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) 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.
Day 10 Today, we transfer to Cusco airport in time for your internal and international flights home.
Day 11 Arrive home.
It is vitally important that you have adequate travel insurance for your trip with Adventure Peaks. We recognise the complexity and variety of choice in the insurance market and know that many of you either have your own preferred insurer or have annual multi trip cover in place already. If this is the case, please ensure that your insurer is aware of your Adventure Peaks itinerary and can agree to cover the activities being undertaken.
Adventure Peaks do not provide any advice on travel insurance, although it is a requirement of our booking conditions that you have travel insurance which covers the activities which you are likely to be undertaking on your holiday. Cover must include emergency medical, helicopter evacuation, repatriation and rescue expenses.
It is strongly recommended that suitable cancellation insurance is purchased at the time of booking as all deposits are non-refundable and non-transferable.
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