Sam Travel Peru is offering an outstanding and unique opportunity, a combination of off-the-beaten track experiences with different choices for The Lares Trek. We have created independant travel experiences catering for your free spirited passion for knowledge diving into the sea of rich ancient growth. Informed and detailed information on each trek will ultimately enable you to make the perfect choice. Slide into the negotiation of life and nature near the quaint town of Lares, 40 miles north of Cusco and 35 miles southeast of Machu Picchu. The trek itself lies dormant awaiting your call in the legendary Lares Valley, east of the Urubamba mountain range, which traverses part of the Sacred Valley.
The hike can be completed as a standalone 2 or 3 day trek, or in addition to compliment your thirst for adventure, it can connect with the epic Machu Picchu via Ollantaytambo with an extension by 1 to 2 days.
As of 2017 permits are not required for the Lares Trek. That means with a little organization of train tickets to Aguas Calientes and entrance tickets to Machu Picchu we can have you on the trail within a day or two..
An alternative to the Inca trail, the Lares trek is arguably easier and exhaustingly quiet for those who love the intense remoteness and isolation. A less heavily trodden unfamiliar and uncertain trail trapezing over 3 high altitude passes, the highest depending on your chosen route either 4,400m/14435ft or 4,600m/15092ft.
The true Guardians of Andean knowledge and traditional communities has been kept safe and passed down by generations throughout the Lares Valley for over 500 years. Become apart of the grand tapestry intricately woven between local weavers and farmers, famous for wearing colourful traditional clothing and homemade textiles.
Lares Trek to Machu Picchu – Itinerary and Route Maps
There are five common Lares trekking route itineraries to Machu Picchu, each offering an a la carte menu of regional tastes by various companies; but SAM Travel Peru’s route is the best of all of them, because it offer a trail that is “off the beaten path,” (no crowds), the most scenic views of lakes, mountains & valleys etc, it visits the more isolated indigenous communities, and best of all it ends at the Lares Hot Springs. Recently we have included the Pisac Ruins in the early morning when it is not crowed.
Please see each tab to find out much more about each different itinerary offered by various companies:
“Voted the best trekking itinerary according to TRIPADVISOR FORUMS, magazine reviews, and hikers of SAM Travel Peru”
Our itinerary takes us through the Lares Valley known as the “Weavers Way” with your professional guide, having the opportunity to reforge your connection by interacting with the locals who are still keeping the Inca culture alive.. The travellers pilgrimage, combined with a small group, and unique path offered by Sam Travel Peru will enhance your experience of the Lares trek. You will explore the sophisticated Inca ruins of Pisac being enticed by the distillation of the oldest traditions and the finest building on the planet
Enjoy peaking ice glaciers, shockingly blue glacial lakes, waterfalls, llamas, alpacas and your reward at the end the natural volcanic hot springs to soothe your tired muscles. On the last day make your dreams into reality and enjoy a new day watching the sunrise at Machu Picchu and explore the amazing citadel with your professional guide…….
This trekking route is one of the best and now is even better with the addition of the Pisac Inca ruins.
Day 1: Cusco – Huaran – Cancha Cancha
The excitement of your Lares trek will help you arise early for your pickup at 5:00am, whether in Cusco or Sacred Valley.. Within the hour from Cusco we will arrive at the dusted ancient remanents of this truly awesome Pisac Inca citadel. If you are able to take your eyes off the ruins and look up towards the skies you will be memorised at the flight of the Cararcara falcons hovering and circling in this infinite sky. Our guide will share with you the its history in all of its brilliance.
Breakfast is served high above looking down at the plunging gorges and awesome views of the Inca city and valleys. Driving onward for 40 more minutes to Huaran, we meet our horsemen and horses. Time to get ready, boots on, and begin our first 3 hours gradually ascending up to Canchacancha, replenishing our energy for our trek ahead with a delicious lunch prepared by our trekking chef. Canchacancha is the the most isolated and self sustainable traditional community to the core. There is no bus route, no electricity, no modern services at all. Reforge your connection with nature and the realness of life intertwining your energies with the locals and sharing in their homes.. It would be of much appreciation to share some toys, old useful clothes, notebooks, fruit or other items with the locals. Two hours later we have completed our first trekking day and arrive at our campsite. Boots off, time to enjoy afternoon tea with amazing views of the frozen Andean peaks. After dinner our guide will show you the Inca’s constellations which they depended on for their agricultural guidance and still do to this present day.
Day 2: Cancha Cancha – Quishuarani
Feeling all revved up on our second day and having had a delicious breakfast, we begin our 4 hour hike northeast, an intense walk accomplishing the three high passes to the highest point of our trek called Pachacutec pass. (4700 mt / 15420 ft) This is the time for you to pat yourself on the back and embrace the feeling of total exhilaration and self achievement. Compensating for the intense walk, are the views of the rigid glaciers, shockingly blue glacial lakes, llamas, rugged valleys and undulating farmlands.. After a time to enjoy the 360º views, we descend for an hour, taking lunch by the mirrored glacial lake, with picturesque views of the Lares Valley with plenty of llamas and alpacas. After a siesta time, we descend for 2 hours til we reach our campsite located by the Kiswarani community. (3700mt/12139ft). Taking the backroads to Machu Picchu, Llama herders are readily available and the local indigenous people will open there hearts and interact with you in the Quechua language (Inca’s language). Your guide will act as your mediator to translate and teach you some quechua language, and then you get to enjoy the stunning waterfall…
At the camp, everything will be ready. Enjoy afternoon tea time and dinner then snuggle in for a comfortable night sleep.
Day 3: Quishuarani – Cuncani – Lares – Ollantaytambo – Aguas Calientes
“The most memorable day with new amazing views”
Your adventure continues! We begin our ascension for 3 hours till we reach the Hullkiccasa Pass, (4200mt/13779ft) taking a birds eye view reflecting in the mirror images of the glacial lakes. As we descend for 2 hours through the boundless farmlands and pristine lakes to the Cucani community. Connecting with the local indigenous children we will visit their school and share in some quality time with the students.
A little further on we are welcomed into the natural volcanic hot springs for an hour to soak in them, have lunch and take a siesta. Time for our goodbyes for our remarkable chef and horseman. With the body relaxed the mind begins to sway toward preparing for the ultimate experience. We take our van for 2.5 hours to Ollantaytambo where we will have dinner at a tourist restaurant. At 7.00pm or 9.00pm, we take our train to Aguas Calientes, where we spend the night at our hotel. (Presidente or Hostal Machu Picchu – private room with hot shower included) Just one more night to sleep for the big day!!!
Day 4: Aguas Calientes – Machu Picchu – Cusco
Bursting out with excitement on your final surreal day, we take the first bus to Machu Picchu archeological site making sure we tour every nook and cranny of this New 7 Wonder of the World and UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site, the citadel of Machu Picchu, what an unforgettable experience. Your guide will expertly direct you through the energetic ruins and its diverse main streets. Then on your own, wander around the town squares of the world’s spiritual center by esoteric wisdom as well as climb the intricately carved stairways made of stone. Or stay still and find the peace within as you sit in the pure delight of the moment.
If you wish to indulge in a few of the following activities on your own (not included in the price)
– Climb up Huayna Picchu and appreciate the beauty and magnificence of Machu Picchu
– You will be given some time to walk to the Sun Gate or Inti Punku.
– Other optional activities in Aguas Calientes include a visit to the new local museum or to the hot springs.
You will descend to Aguas Calientes, have a late lunch and later on, board the train at 4:22pm for the return trip to Cusco stopping at the Ollantaytambo Station and be driven back to your hotel.
The shortest 33km and most popular Lares Trek to Machu Picchu, truly the easiest route taking three days to trek reaching one high pass 4,450meters. With one extra day to visit Machu Picchu, trekkers hike through two interesting weaving communities at Huacahuasi and Patacancha.
Day 1: Cusco – Calca – Lares Thermal Springs – Huacahuasi
Trekkers leave Cusco early on the first morning, typically around 6am and drive for 2 hours to the small town of Calca (2,928m). Some groups stop here for a break and potentially get breakfast / stock up on snacks and water. From here the drive continues north for another 3 hours to the town of Lares. Trekkers generally visit the thermal springs in Lares where one can take a quick dip before commencing the 5-6 hour (12km/7.5mls) trek to the first camp site, Huacahuasi (3,750m/12303ft).
Day 2: Huacahuasi – Ipsaycocha Lake
Huacahuasi (Huacawasi) is a traditional weaving community. Trekkers usually spend the morning watching weaving in action and trying on some of the beautifully colourful ponchos made by the local villagers. The trek today is a short, but a tough one. It begins with a climb up and over the Ipsaycocha Pass (4,450m/14599ft) – the heighest point on the trek – which takes about 2-3 hours, and then a descent of just over an hour to the campsite at Ipsaycocha Lake. Total trekking distance 9km/5.6mls and walking time 3-5 hours.
Day 3: Ipsaycocha Lake – Patacancha – Huilloc – Ollantaytambo.
Today is all downhill! From Ipsaycocha Lack the route descends for 2-3 hours to the Quechua weaving community in Patacancha (3,700m). The trail then turns south and continues downhill to another traditional Quechua village called Huilloc (sometimes written Willoq). You will see locals wearing traditional dress in both these villages. The trail concludes here where most tour operators organise land transport to Ollantaytambo (2,792m/9,160ft), before catching a train to Aguas Calientes (2,040m/6692ft) – the town that sits below Machu Picchu.
This Lares trek route variation is the second most popular, after the “Weavers Way’. The route is a little longer than the first (39km/24mls), but of a similar difficulty, except on this route you will need to contend with two big passes!
Day 1: Cusco – Calca – Quishuarani – Cuncani
Leaving early on day 1 you will drive from Cusco to Calca, where most tours stop for brekkie. From here you continue on to Quishuarani (3,700m/12139ft), arriving around 11:00am. The trek starts with a gradual ascent that get’s steeper as you approach the first pass, Huilquijasa (4,200m/13779ft) – the views of the valley and lakes below are great from the pass. It takes about 3-4 hours up and about 2-3 hours to descend to the first camp, Cuncani (3,750m/12303ft). Total trekking distance is 12km/7.5mls, 5-7 hours walking.
Day 2 starts early and is the toughest on the route. From Cuncani the route gradually descends into the Chancachaca Valley (3,600m/11811ft) for about 2-3 hours before rising again to the town of Huacahuasi – 3,750m (sometimes spelt Huacawasi). This town is famous for it’s weavers and you will spend some time here watching the locals at work, whilst having lunch. From here the route continues up and over the Ipsayjasa Pass (4,450m), before descending to the camp at Ipsaycocha Lake. Total trekking distance is ~15km, 6-9 hours walking.
Day 3: Ipsaycocha Lake – Patacancha – Huilloc – Ollantaytambo.
Today is all downhill! From Ipsaycocha Lack the route descends for 2-3 hours to the Quechua weaving community in Patacancha (3,700m). The trail then turns south and continues downhill to another traditional Quechua village called Huilloc (sometimes written Willoq). You will see locals wearing traditional dress in both these villages. The trail concludes here where most tour operators organise land transport to Ollantaytambo (2,792m), before catching a train to Aguas Calientes (2,040m) – the town that sits below Machu Picchu.
The Quishuarani to Yanahuara trek has the same first and last day as Route 2, but is better suited for the more experienced trekkers as it is longer (~45km/28mls) and more challenging (there are three passes over 4,200m/13779ft that need to be traversed). The route is one of the least popular Lares trek variations due to it’s difficulty and because the end point, Yanahuara (2,873m/9307ft), is long bus journey away from Ollantaytambo, where trekkers catch the train to Aguas Calientes.