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Lares, the complete guide
Enjoy the best of the Lares trek
Cusco - Perú
Nicole Maxdeo
May 2, 2024

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Thanks to this trek, you’ll get to know the hidden valleys of Cusco, traditional communities that still preserve their ancestral traditions and millennia-old culture. You’ll be able to connect with nature, local history, and enjoy nights under the stars. Moreover, this trek connects with Machu Picchu, so you’ll also have the opportunity to visit the ancient wonder.

Table of Contents

What is the Lares Trek?

Amidst the mountains that offers not only the natural beauty of the area but also includes physical challenge. Thanks to this 4 or 5-day hike, you'll also discover the true essence of the local inhabitants.

A bit of history

The Lares Trek trail dates back to the times of the Inca Empire in the 15th century. The Incas established a network of roads connecting with ceremonial centers and cities. These roads facilitated transportation, communication, and mobilization.

The Lares Trek was a secondary route used by the Incas, connecting the Sacred Valley with Machu Picchu. It served as a transportation route and facilitated cultural and commercial exchange between communities.

After the arrival of the Spaniards and the defeat of the Inca Empire in the 16th century, these roads lost importance until tourism revived them. Now, the Lares Trek is rediscovered as a less crowded alternative to the Inca Trail.

Today, travelers can follow the same paths as the Incas, experiencing nature and ancestral culture. Whether in groups or private services, they'll discover the history, beauty, and richness of the region.

Where does the Lares Trek take place?

This route is located among the Andean mountains, exactly in the Sacred Valley of the Incas in the region of Cusco, Peru. Likewise, this alternative to the Inca Trail passes through different landscapes including waterfalls, lagoons, and glaciers. This route goes from Calca, reaching Machu Picchu.

Where is the town of Lares?

The town of Lares is located in Calca, Cusco department. This town is approximately south of the city of Cusco.

At what altitude is located?

When traveling this trail, we will start at around 2,800 meters above sea level (masl) until we reach the highest point of the hike at approximately 4,800 meters above sea level.

Is it very difficult ?

This hike is considered of moderate difficulty since you walk about 6 hours a day. It is of utmost importance that passengers are well acclimatized to carry out this hike since it includes steep hikes and considerable heights.

Lares 4-day tour

There are variations of the Lares hike in terms of the number of days and routes, however, the 4-day route is the most popular and we will explain it below:
Magic Experiences offers you the 4-day Lares hike in the following way:

Day 1 | Cusco | Calca - Huaran - Cancha Cancha

We will pick you up from your hotel early in the morning, our private transportation is very comfortable and you can rest while we travel to the Sacred Valley of the Incas for an hour and a half to Calca, in this place we will make a stop at the local market. There, you can enjoy a wonderful experience of the local Andean culture and you can buy some last-minute things that you may need for the hike, such as snacks, fruit, water, coca leaves, etc.

After enjoying breakfast, we will continue in our transportation to Huaran, the starting point of the hike. At this place, you will meet the mountain team, our chefs, and muleteers. We will start with a 4-hour hike to Cancha Cancha (3,950 m. / 12,959 ft). The first stretch is progressively uphill through a forest of Queuña trees (a native tree of the Andes) accompanied by vegetation, cultivated fields, and local people walking along the trail.
In a nice place by the river, there will be the place for lunch, our cook will be waiting for you with drinks and a variety of delicious dishes to regain energy, and then we will have time to enjoy the scenery of the place.

We will continue the hike in the valley amidst herds of sheep, llamas, and alpacas. Accompanied by a small river until we reach our camp, Cancha Cancha (3,950 m. / 12,959 ft). Our arrival will be welcomed by the snow-capped peaks of Cancha Cancha Jasa (4,980 m. / 16,338 ft) and Chicon (5,530 m / 18,143 ft).

The camp is surrounded by stone houses, a great characteristic of this place. The camp equipment and tents will be ready for you to rest.
Hot drinks, chocolate, coffee, cookies, and popcorn await you in the dining tent to keep you warm. Later on, we will enjoy a tasty dinner and then it's time to rest in our comfortable tents.

Day 2 | Cancha Cancha | Pachacutec Summit

Start the day with a hot coca mate in your tent. After sorting out your mountain gear, enjoy an energizing breakfast and continue our adventure. We will start ascending gradually towards the summit. Through cultivated fields and houses surrounded by stone walls. We will have the opportunity to see local people, especially children, taking care of herds of animals (sheep, llamas, alpacas) and you can chat with them and learn more about daily life in the Andes.

We keep climbing and gradually reach a nice viewpoint. From there we will see on the mountainside the blue and green lagoons that decorate the landscape. Then we continue with the ascent to the highest point of the entire hike, the Pachacutec Pass (4,700 m. / 15,420 ft.). Stop, breathe, and feel the power of the Andes, and connect with Pachamama (Mother Earth).

Enjoy the 360​​° view offered by this place. The Glaciers of Qolqe Cruz and Sahuasiray will be the hosts in this beautiful setting. You will be able to observe the mountain ranges, snow-capped peaks, and steep valleys. After enjoying the views of this incredible place, we will continue walking on the mountain top for 30 minutes to the point where we will start the downhill hike. There will be a descent of an hour and a half to Lake Qoyalay where you can see Andean birds such as ibis, geese, and a trout farm in the lake. Our lunch spot is next to this beautiful place.

After a break, the next place will be the famous spot of the hike, Qanchis Paccha (the 7 waterfalls). Where we will enjoy the magic of Mother Nature in this natural attraction. After taking photos and capturing the moment, we will continue downhill to the town of Quiswarani, another Andean town that preserves the same traditions of our ancestors by working as farmers and shepherds and making crafts and textiles with the same materials that our ancestors used 500 years ago. . Then we will board transportation towards the Lares hot springs.

You can enjoy this relaxing place in the pools with hot medicinal waters and try the hot temperature of each one. After relaxing, we will have time to enjoy hot drinks and then a very nutritious dinner, and to end the day we will go to rest in our comfortable tents.

Day 3 | Lares Hot Springs | Amparaes Summit - Inca Trail

After a restful night, we'll have a hearty breakfast and then head to the highest point of our route, the Amparaes pass (4,568 m. / 14,986 ft). We'll drive for 30 minutes to reach this spot, then embark on a 2-hour hike along an Inca trail in a narrow valley. Along the way, we'll pass streams, small bridges, and an Inca cemetery.

After the hike, we'll return to our transportation and head to Urubamba for lunch. Next, we'll drive to the salt mines of Maras, where the Incas once worked and where locals still maintain the tradition of salt production.

Our next stop is Moray, an Inca site with circular terraces used as an agricultural laboratory. The terraces' microclimates and irrigation system allowed for the cultivation of various crops.

After exploring Moray, we'll return to our transportation and travel to Ollantaytambo to catch the train to Aguas Calientes. During the train ride, we'll enjoy stunning views of the Sacred Valley, the Urubamba River, and the changing vegetation.

Upon arrival in Aguas Calientes, you'll have time to relax and freshen up at your hotel before dinner. Then, it's time to rest up for tomorrow's adventure: visiting MACHU PICCHU.

Day 4 | Ollantaytambo | Aguas Calientes - Machu Picchu

After spending the night in a comfortable hotel, we will take the bus from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu. Where we will be among the first visitors of the day to enjoy the magic and mystery of one of the wonders of the world. We will have a tour of approximately 2-3 hours and enjoy the splendor of Machupicchu surrounded by valleys and mountains, exotic landscapes, the tranquility, and the magic of this place. Walk through this mystical place and feel the energy of this majestic city on the mountains.

Learn about our culture, history, and traditions. Your guide will be delighted to share the best information with you. After the tour, we will return to Aguas Calientes to board the train to Ollantaytambo and from there in our private transportation we will return to Cusco and your guide will leave you at your hotel.
We are sure that this adventure will stay in your heart forever and that you will never forget your journey through the valleys, mountains, and Inca trails with us.

The climate during the Lares Trek

The climate in the Andes is truly unpredictable, whether it is sunny very strong, it may change in a minute. It is important to always be ready for the possibility of rain. The temperature can range between 21°C during the day and 4°C during the night. It is important to remember that there are 2 marked seasons:

Rainy season: September to May
Dry season: May to September.

Fauna during the Lares Trek

During this hike, we will see towns and communities that have domesticated animals such as cows, llamas, horses, pigs, sheep, chickens, and even guinea pigs.

Flora during the Lares Trek

During this journey, we will find eucalyptus plantations and other typical trees such as kiswar and queuña, the latter considered as a small tree or shrub, exclusive to the area. You will also find lupines, beautiful flowers of blue and purple tones. As for agricultural crops, there are corn, potatoes, quinoa, kiwicha, and Andean grass; which serves as food for farm animals.

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