The Lares Trek provides a fantastic alternative trail to Machu Picchu! This 4-day itinerary passes through fascinating Quechua highland communities and provides majestic views of snow-capped mountains. You will also see herds of llamas and alpacas throughout the trek.
On the penultimate day we catch the train from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes, where we spend the night before visiting the famous ruins of Machu Picchu.
Is this tour right for you?
The Lares trek is ideal for those seeking a moderate difficulty trek that immerses oneself into the local Quechua culture.
START & ENDS
Easy Moderate Challenge Hard
- DAY 1
- day 2
- day 3
- Day 4
CUSCO – PUMAHUANCA – PUYOC
Cusco (3,350m) to Pumahuanca (3,150m) to Puyoc (4,100m)
We will collect you at your hotel in Cusco and drive to the small village of Pumahuanca in the Sacred Valley, where our trek begins. We’ll gently make our way up one of the side valleys covering about 14km in total and climbing about 1150m / 3373ft as we make our way towards the village of Puyoc. On our way up we’ll visit the small Inca site of Pumahuanca and learn about the native plants, flowers, and birds that inhabit this region.
Other companies do not commonly do this particular route for the Lares trek so we can enjoy the peace and tranquility of our surroundings without any distractions or disturbance. Because so few people visit the area, there is a good chance of seeing Viscachas (a rabbitlike Chinchilla), and we may also spot Andean Fox. Our campsite for the night is at Puyoc (4100m / 13451ft); it’s quite barren at this altitude, and it is not uncommon for it to snow up here during the dry season, so gloves and a warm beanie are recommended.
PUYOC – YANACOCHA – CUNCANI
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Hike 13 km
Puyoc (4,100m) to Cuncani (3,800m)
Today is the most spectacular day of the trek and quite a bit easier going than yesterday. From our campsite, it’s about a 13km walk to the village of Cuncani, but most of that is downhill as the pass is only about a 2-hour walk right at the beginning.
As we make our way to Cuncani, we’ll pass by snowcapped peaks high above us, serene mountain lakes (including Yanacocha – Black Water) and get to meet the local people dressed in their traditional bright red clothing. This side of the pass is completely different culturally to the other side, and as we wind our way down from the pass, your guide will teach you about the people and their way of life. You’ll also get to learn a few Quechua phrases so that you can interact with the local people.
CUNCANI – LARES - AGUAS CALIENTES
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Golden Sunrise Machu Picchu Hotel *** or similar
Zip-lining. Hike 16 km (4-5 hours)
Cuncani (3,800m) to Aguas Calientes (2,050m)
The focus of today is to meet the local people. Waking up early we’ll be taken by our guide to one of the houses where we’ll get to meet a local family. The people are incredibly welcoming and are just as eager to learn about you as you are of them – hopefully, by now you’ll have mastered a few phrases and be able to ask a few questions (much to everyone’s delight and amusement). After the visit, you’ll have the opportunity to give any gifts you’ve brought for the local people and also to buy some of the locally made alpaca products that the region is famed for.
Leaving Cuncani, it’s just a short distance (6km) until we reach the hot springs of Lares. Along the way we’ll pass through several small communities and see the people growing a variety of foods such as Quinua and Tarwi; we’ll also probably spot flocks of Andean parrots flying overhead (they’re easy to spot thanks to their piercing calls). After a relaxing dip in the hot springs, we’ll be picked up by our bus and driven back to the Sacred Valley from where we’ll catch our train to Aguas Calientes.
MACHU PICCHU TO CUSCO
Tour of Machu Picchu
Aguas Calientes (2,050m) to Machu Picchu (2,400m), back to Cusco (3,250m)
Waking up early we’ll take the first bus up to Machu Picchu to enter the site as it opens. We’ll have a 2 hour guided tour of the Inca site during which you’ll learn about the Incas and visit all the most critical areas of the citadel. After your tour, you’ll have extra time to climb either Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu mountain (assuming you have booked permits). In the afternoon you will take the train back to Ollantaytambo from where you will carry on by bus back to Cusco.
Dates & Prices
Below are our open group dates for the Lares Trek. Single supplements apply.
Please note: January and February are the rainy season and we therefore don't operate treks during this period.
If the dates below don't suit, please get in touch as we can open a new group on any day as long as you have at least 2 people in your party.
Included in our price is a FREE full-day Sacred Valley or full-day Rainbow Mountain tour.
Travellers can choose to join one of these tours either before or after their trek.
When is the best time to complete this adventure?
The Lares trek can be completed all year round, however, during the rainy season of January and February we recommend avoiding this adventure.
When should I arrive in Cusco prior to this adventure?
Cusco is situated at high elevation (3,350m). To properly acclimatise we recommend that all guests arrive in Cusco at least 48 hours before their trip start date. Our local operator runs a pre-departure briefing in their Cusco offices the evening before trip departure. It is important you attend this.
How fit do I need to be?
You will need to be in good health and relatively fit for this adventure. We recommend doing 4-6 weeks aerobic gym / hiking training before embarking on this adventure.
Do I need a visa for Peru?
Most country nationals, including the UK, US, Canada and the EU, can enter Peru visa-free for 183 days. Check eligibility and exempt countries here.
What immunisations should I get?
We recommend reviewing the UK NHS fit-for-travel website for Peru: https://www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk/destinations/south-america-antarctica/peru
What currency is used in Peru?
Peru uses Nuevo Sol (S), which has traded at 2.50 to 3.50 Sol for $1US dollar for several years, although you should keep an eye on current events.
Carrying cash, an ATM card or traveler's checks, as well as a credit card that can be used for cash withdrawals in case of emergency, is advisable.
When receiving local currency, always ask for small bills, as 100 Sol bills are hard to change in small towns or for small purchases. Carry as much spare change as possible, especially in small towns.
Public bathrooms often charge a small fee for use, and getting change for paper money can be challenging.
The best places to exchange money usually are "Casas de Cambio" (foreign exchange bureaus), which are fast, have longer hours, and often give slightly better rates than banks.
Many places accept US dollars. It is best not to change money on the street as counterfeits are a problem.
Are vegetarian, vegan and other special dietary needs available?
Of course! And without any additional cost! When you make your reservation, please inform us of any dietary needs or requirements, including allergies!
Vegetarian foods will not include any meats, chicken, or fish. But we will assume that eggs and cheese or other lactose products are OK.
Most of our main meals are buffet-style, leaving you the option to avoid anything undesirable to you.
If there are any food items that you can not stomach, perhaps onions, tomatoes, mushrooms, etc., upon your request, we will ask our chef to leave them out or separate this item.
We can also cater for lactose-intolerant or gluten-intolerant diets.
We can not accept individuals with severe allergic or life-threatening reactions.
How big are the groups?
Group size is limited to 12 people.
Can I do the trek privately?
Yes, if you would like a private trek just contact us and we can arrange this. There may be a single supplement charge.
Is there a minimum age requirement?
Yes, the minimum age to join this adventure is 18. Children over the age of 10 can join this adventure but will need to be accompanied by a parent / legal guardian.
How much should I tip the crew?
Tipping is discretionary. But as a rough guideline you should budget 10% of your trek cost. Tips should be given to the guide at the end of the trek and can be given in US$ or Peruvian Sols. Your guide will distribute tips fairly to porters and the cook.
What are your cancellation terms?
Should you need to cancel the following terms apply.
- Less than 4 weeks from departure: No refund
- Between 4-8 weeks from departure: 100% refund less full deposit
- More than 8 weeks before departure: 100% refund less 3% refund transaction fee.
Cancellation fees are set our in our Terms and Conditions. You may be able to reclaim refund charges if your reason for cancellation is covered by your travel insurance policy.
The evening before departure we ask guests to visit the offices of Inkayni Peru Tours in Cusco for a pre-departure briefing. You will be sent details for this briefing once your trip is booked.
- 1 x hiking shirt + 1 x long-sleeve hiking shirt
- 1 x hiking shorts and 1 x hiking trousers
- Mid-weight fleece jacket
- Hard shell rain jacket
- Light insulating down or synthetic jacket / gilet
- Light, but warm gloves
- Sun hat + Sunglasses
- Beanie for the nights
- Mid-weight hiking boots / hiking trainers
- 3 x hiking socks
- Trainers for camp
- 20-25L daypack
- 45-55L Backpack (carried by mules, needs to be no heavier than 7kg). Only pack what is necessary for the 4 days of the trip. The rest of your luggage can be left in a storeroom at your hotel/hostel in Cusco or our office.
- Plastic bags to protect sleeping bag and other gear from rain
- Original passport (you need this to enter Machu Picchu)
- Four season sleeping bag
- Hiking Poles
- Headlamp and spare batteries
- Water bottle / hydration bladder
- Water treatment tablets
- Sun cream
There are a number of good rental gear shops in Cusco where one can rent / buy most items listed above. Sleeping bags and hiking poles can be rented from our local partner.
We highly recommend getting travel insurance for your trip. We recommend World Nomads as they provide comprehensive cover for adventurous activities and are very affordable. Get a quote below.
Night 1 and 2: Great quality camping tents for 2 trekkers sharing.
Night 3: Golden Sunrise Machu Picchu Hotel or similar 3 star hotel.
LOCAL TOUR OPERATOR
Inkayni Peru Tours
Inkayni Peru Tours are a fantastic local operator based in Cusco, Peru. The company is run by Edgar, Alex, and Percy, spiritual brothers and natives of the town of Chinchero in the Sacred Valley. Together they are united by their ambition of offering personalised services of great quality, aiming to make every experience unique and unforgettable. With Inkayni Peru Tours you can expect a professional tour to the highest standard!
Mountain IQ is a platform for travellers to book holiday services available from tour operators, accommodation providers and other service providers available around the world. We act as an authorised agent for these Suppliers. Please read our booking and cancellation terms here.
A great experience all round!
If you go to Peru and want to visit Machu Picchu I highly recommend this tour. My friends and I went with Jonathan from Inkayni and we loved it! We did a lot of activities and Jonathan was very attentive and available, with insightful explanations about the places we visited and the Peruvian culture. A great experience all round!
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Just wanted to thank the team at Mountain IQ for their super helpful advice. The trip we booked went smoothly and the local guides were amazing!
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