Lares Trek to Machu Picchu travel guide

Details about Our lares treks

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 independent travel experiences catering to your free spirited passion for exploration. 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 stand alone 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 2023 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.

This trek will enhance your visual senses and take you back to a time when life was as simple as could be.

Why you should Choose the Lares Trek?

There are several factors that make this trek a great alternative hike to the 4 day Inca Trail.

  • Firstly, and most importantly, for some, the Lares Trail is a lot quieter than the Inca Trail. You see fewer hikers along the Lares Trek, although this trail gets more popular by the year.
  • Secondly, the route is arguably easier than the Inca Trail. This is mostly because you won’t have to deal with as many steps.
  • The Lares trek provides a true Andean cultural experience. The Lares Valley is home to traditional Andean communities, little of which has changed in the last 500 years.
  • You will see local weavers and farmers in colourful traditional clothing. Depending on your tour, you might get a chance to watch or partake in some weaving activities.
  • The area is famous for its homemade textiles. If you want to bring an authentic piece of Peru back home with you, then take extra soles. You can pick up a bargain here whilst making it a local weavers’ day!
  • 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.
  • Visit the natural hot spring in the Lares Valley.


Cusco – Huaran – Canchacancha – Kiswarani – Cuncani – Hot Springs

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 and Cultural trel 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 see the detailed itienrary here!…….

This trekking route is one of the best and now is even better with the addition of  the Pisac Inca ruins.

the lares Trek

When is the Best Time to do the Lares Trek

There are two main seasons in the Peruvian Andes:

  • The dry season runs from late April through to early October.
  • The wet season starts mid to late October and ends in April.

But, When is the best time of the year to do Lares Trek?

The trek can technically be completed all year round, the peak trekking season to Machu Picchu occurs during the dry season and is busiest between May and September. So, the best time of year to do the Lares Trek is from the shoulder of wet months March to April all the way through to the shoulder of dry months October to November.

How fit do you need to be?

We highly recommend to spend at least 2 days before starting the Lares trek.

We say “almost anyone” because we mean that there are is no specific required level of fitness for the Lares Trek. We have literally had people from 12 to 70 complete the trail, and many (most?) of our customers have never done anything like it before, let alone in Peru. So age is no barrier. However, we do say that a basic level of fitness is really needed: after all you are going to be walking for several hours a day, for four days in a row, and all of those at altitude. What we usually suggest if you’re not sure if you are fit enough to trek the Inca Trail is to ask yourself.

**If you go to the gym, swim, play football, even if you do a lot of gardening, all of those are good indicators that with decent acclimatisation you’re unlikely to encounter serious problems.

Lares trek to Machu Picchu Weather

Expect cold temperatures at night and early hours in winter running from May-August, but it turns out to be advisable months for doing the hike. (Temperature can dip below zero degrees). Whereas, in the summer months from December – March, the temperature gets warmer but followed by downpours. The rest of the year is mild.

What is the Lares trek distance?

The most common Lares trek covers a 37 km pathway, starting in Lares Hotsprings, throughout Quiswarani camp to Huaran hamlet in the Sacred Valley. It involves a 3-day trek, and after the 37 Km hike, the adventure ends with a magical visit to Machu Picchu park on the fourth day. See the detailed itinerary here!

Do you need to book the Lares trek in advance?

There is no need to pre book the tour months before, as it receives unlimited tour groups year-round. Just look for a reliable tour operator like SAM Travel Peru and ask for the tour, then they will begin to organize the hike. There is always availability.

Is There Any Drinking Water?

No, the river streams running on the trail are not reliable. Most of the companies are offering boiled water everyday, or even you can buy water along the trek, some locar are selling it.

What about medications?

This is just a reminder because not everyone can take the same drug. According to specialists and pharmacists, it is essential to have some Paracetamol and ibuprofen as pain killers. The next thing that could get annoying on a trek is diarrhea, so to help it halt, consider taking Imodium pills, and of course, Acetazolamide for altitude sickness.

No tour guide nor a tour agent is allowed to prescribe any recipe or pills of any kind. What they do is to carry a basic first aid kit with pharmacy medicines where if the tourist agrees to take it because it is the same as the doctor´s suggestion, so they take it.

Mountain villages and local people

You will surely see local people, focused on their daily duties, most of them do farm and are llama herders, dressed in their traditional clothes as it was supposed to be in the Incan times. They live in some adobe huts plastered with mud and securing their llamas and alpacas in stone fences or into woven wired fences in summer months. Visiting them would be great in order to see how they live in the high mountains.

Camping Establishments

The camping sites are less crowded as it is less trodden and has several versions. There are only outhouse toilets so go prepared for it. Water may not be safe, therefore needs to be purified too. As for taking a shower, it will depend on the time and weather conditions. Usually, the temperature is cold, so you barely take a birdbath.

Lares trek distance

The most common Lares trek covers a 37 km pathway, starting in Lares Hotsprings, throughout Quiswarani camp to Huaran hamlet in the Sacred Valley. It involves a 3-day trek, and after the 37 Km hike, the adventure ends with a magical visit to Machu Picchu park on the fourth day.

How difficult is the Lares Trek?

The Lares Trek is considered a moderate hike. It’s not a technical hike but the altitude may affect some individuals. We recommend purchasing a wooden walking stick while in Peru as it will help with your balance and reduce the load on your knees. We ask that you not use a metal tipped walking stick as it can harm the fragile environment along the trail.

What is the highest elevation on the Lares trek?

The highest point to get when hiking the standard Lares trek to Machu Picchu, is the 15 400 ft / 4 700 mountain pass, a mountain pass by the name of Pachakuteq pass. And this mountain hike is completed on the second day of hiking, then on the third day is the entry on the Sacred Valley Ollantaytambo, and subsequently the train ride to Aguas Calientes town.

Thermal Hot Springs in the Lares Valley

*** Using the natural hot springs right at the end of the hike its really worth it!

The Lares hot springs are sizzling hot and perfectly nestled in the picturesque Lares Valley. With its close proximity to the lush Sacred Valley, it’s easy to independently visit these authentic public baths as a day trip. It’s possible to visit from Cusco, but it can make for a super long day trip.

The Lares hot springs are simple, yet basic, and have a chill local vibe. Located next to a mighty river and the epic backdrop of those luscious green mountains, plan for a day of total relaxation.

Explore our Lares Trekking options


  • Original Passport (it has to be the same you have used for booking your trek)
  • Valid student card (if you booked as a student)
  • Good daypack (the smaller, the better)
  • Water storage:  2-3L (please bring reusable, not disposable, bottles)
  • Comfortable hiking boots with ankle support
  • Sleeping bag (can be rented from SAM Travel)
  • Headlamp: essential
  • Toilet paper


As a Direct Local Tour operator, we provide you with a duffel bag at your briefing and  INCLUDE an extra porter who will carry up to 7 kgs or 14lbs including your 2.5kg sleeping bag, mattress and extra clothing. By Peruvian law, a duffel bag must not weigh more than 7 kilograms (15lbs). This limit is set to protect the health of the porters or horses. All bags will be weighed before being accepted. If you require more than 7 kilograms, it will then be your responsibility to carry the extra weight with your day pack. In this 7 kilos, please count 2 kilos for your sleeping bag and 1 kilo for your sleeping pad. This leaves you about 4 kilos for your personal gear.

  • 2 t-shirts
  • 2 hiking pants at least
  • 4 sets of undergarments
  • 3 sets of hiking socks
  • Bathing Suit for the Veronica View swimming pool and sauna
  • Couple Fleece/ Thermals
  • Warm clothes, down jacket — 2nd campsite temp around 3º C
  • Waterproof gloves (even if they are ski gloves, take them)
  • Comfortable shoes for camp
  • Quickdry towel. We provide small ones, you might prefer something larger
  • Small bottle of soap: we provide warm water each day to wash
  • Battery Charger: No electricity along the trek
  • Large plastic bags will be provided at the office to line your duffel bag
  • Sleeping bag: It has to be at least -15ºC – This can be rented from us


  • Face moisturizer
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Wet wipes
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Personal medications
  • First aid kit: band aids, moleskin, etc


We highly recommend a small backpack 30 to 40L for hiking in the day. A big backpack will not be allowed into Machu Picchu. The remainder of your belongings will be in your duffel bag at camp.

  • Water: Please supply your own water until the first lunch stop. Please bring your water bottles.
  • Sun hat
  • Sunscreen
  • Headlamp: essential
  • Wool hat
  • Rain gear
  • Fleece
  • Snacks like chocolate bars, cereal bars or any dry fruits
  • Gloves
  • Camera
  • Hand sanitiser
  • Toilet paper and small plastic bag for waste
  • Extra money for souvenirs, drinks & tips

Your adventure. Our expertise.


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12+ years on the trail knowledge and experience

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Peace of mind with your money, Secure in hands you can trust.

Join the thousands of satisfied customers who rate us #1 on TripAdvisor

Bernie s 2023/03/02

Had a great trip with our guide Ray Herrera and driver Alfredo. Lots of good experiences in a short period of time 4 days. Learnt a lot not just about the main tourist destinations but Peru in general by Ray. Ray has a passion for Inca history and local produce. Ray knows all the good photo spots and we managed the sun out every day .. Good culture and if you want to get on a tour ask for Ray at Sams Travel = amazing

Tanya H 2023/03/02

Ray was our Tour Guide and Alfredo was our driver for a 4 day tour we did with SAM Travel Peru. Ray's knowledge of the history of Cusco and Machu Picchu was outstanding. Ray was very accommodating with all our needs. He stayed alongside us when trekking and helped where he could. His sense of humour was pleasant to be around. Ray spoke very good English. He is such a nice guy. I would strongly recommend Ray to be your tour guide to visit Machu Picchu. Ray explained everyday what the plans were for the next day, which was reassuring what we needed to take etc

Captanjack 2023/01/012

Our 1 day tour thru the Sacred Vally with Danny was wonderful. He was very knowledgeable and able to answer all our questions in detail. I would recommend asking for him personally if you are able.

Sherry 2022/12/26

We booked the Classic Cusco to Machu Picchu tour with SAM travel which we really had a good experience. SAM travel is very responsive during the communication and cater to our changes needed. Our guide is Ray who is also an very awesome guide. He is knowledgeable, patient, humorous as well reliable, he help us take many good photos and also go extra mile to help with our request. Thanks Ray! Thanks SAM travel that gave us good memories in Peru! Highly recommend if you consider booking any tour in Cusco.

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C Clark 2023/01/20

Wow. We had such an incredible experience in Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu. Our guide, Dayvit, is the most knowledgeable guide we have ever had. He has such an extensive knowledge of the history and is very friendly and helpful. If you are planning a trip to Peru, I highly recommend SAM travel and be sure to request Dayvit!

Emma Dinzebach Clark 2023/01/10

2 day tour sacred valley / Machu Picchu highly recommend! David was the best tour guide. He knows an incredible amount about Incan culture and is personable and funny. He also kept us up to date on a political situation happening when we were there and was informative. Overall, this tour checks all the boxes. Thank you!

Nupur Joshi 2023/01/02

We used SAM Travel for a 2D/1N trip from Cusco to Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu on Dec 25-26, 2022. The team was good with communication from the start - both Saul and Junior were very helpful and professional with answering any questions and clearing up any misunderstandings. Our guide, Miguel, was prompt, pleasant, and quite knowledgeable. We enjoyed his company and insight over the 2 day trip and recommend him to anyone booking with SAM Travel.

Xueying Chen 2022/12/20

We booked the Classic Cusco to Machu Picchu tour with SAM travel which we really had a good experience. SAM travel is very responsive during the communication and cater to our changes needed. Our guide is Ray who is also an very awesome guide. He is knowledgeable, patient, humorous as well reliable, he help us take many good photos and also go extra mile to help with our request. Thanks Ray! Thanks SAM travel that gave us good memories in Peru! Highly recommend if you consider booking any tour in Cusco.

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Brandon Slater 2022/09/30

My wife and I just completed two excursions with SAM Travel Peru and we absolutely loved them. We did the 4 Day Salkantay Wilderness + Machu Picchu and then the 2-Day Rainbow Mountain + 7 Lakes trek with guide Carlos Estrada, chefs Nerio & Lucio, and horseman Unarato. Over the last 6 days we have learned so much about the Inca culture, discovered some of the most incredible sights, and ate delicious food every step of the way. We would definitely recommend SAM Travel (especially with Carlos!) to anyone that wants an incredible Peruvian adventure. The Wilderness trek is a much quieter trail than the standard Salkantay and goes a bit higher elevation, but camping at the base of Salkantay was incredible. Carlos's guided tour through Machu Picchu was so informative. We would have missed so much without him taking the time to share his knowledge.

Kellie Taylor 2022/04/06

Big thanks to David he was an amazing tour guide who really cared for our group. He allowed us to go at our own pace and was a brilliant photographer He was really funny and is full of interesting information & his passion for his inca ancestors is very obvious and warming. He also brought us to great restaurants! This company are very good and from what I can recall were cheaper than most. Thank you!

Mike Geelhoed 2021/06/10

They took care of everything! Saul the owner is very responsive and helpful. Johnny our guide was fantastic, as were our chef, assistant chef and horsemen. I can’t recommend them highly enough and will definitely use them again if we return to Peru!

Janice-Kaneki Chen 2020/01/28

Three of us decided to choose Sam Travel Peru, reason being is it is a local travel company that help indegenious communities. We picked Lares Trek 4D3N to have cultural experience while hiking. Good foods provided by talented Mario Chef! Johnny is our tour guide, very helpful tour guide. He even helped me to carry my daypack as I was too exhausted to carry it on day 1 hiking. Strongly recommend to those like to have local experience while hiking.

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