Cusco

Lares Trek Information 2023

LaresTrek

The most updated information about the Lares Trek to Machu Picchu

This is the most scenic trekking route which also gives you the opportunity to learn about local culture. Through the Lares Valley you pass through the most isolated indigenous communities which are keeping the Inca culture alive. One of the highlights of this trek is the privilege to interact with the local people and learn about their way of life. There are six different routes through this valley, depending on where you start. Research each company carefully and ask exactly which route they take. Each route is incredibly picturesque, with majestic ice glaciers, shockingly blue glacial lakes, waterfalls, llamas, and alpacas. 

Lares Trek FAQs

There are many trekking routes to get to Machu Picchu: the Salkantay trek, the Inca Jungle and, above all, the famous Inca Trail. There is also a little known route called the ‘Lares trek’. This route combines walks through high altitude passes as well as Quechua speaking villages where you can feel the true spirit of the Andes of Peru.

Where is Lares located?

Lares is located in the Andes Mountains, in southern part of Peru. This part of the district of Cusco is in the province of Calca.

What is the weather like on the Lares Trek?

The climate in Lares is temperate during the day but cold during the nights. The average temperature is 11ºC. During the day, the heat can reach 21ºC. At night, temperatures can drop to around 1ºC.

How to get to Lares Trek?

Lares is 149 kilometers from the city of Cusco. To get to the trailhead, you will go by car or van through the villages of Pisac and Calca in the Sacred Valley of the Incas.

What can you see and do on the Lares Trek?

Lares Valley has a unique cultural trekking route, that treks off the beaten path. You pass through the most isolated indigenous communities which are keeping their Inca culture alive and you get the privilege to interact with them. The route is incredibly picturesque, with majestic ice glaciers, shockingly blue glacial lakes, waterfalls, llamas, and alpacas. 

Best Itinerary For The Lares Trek To Machu Picchu 4 Days & 3 Nights

Every company should provide you with an itinerary similar to the one below. Pay attention to the names of the places listed in the itinerary, since there are several different routes. Most companies will start or end at the Lares Hot Springs. At least one company (SAM Travel Peru) offers a chance to enjoy the hotsprings and comfortable hotel accomodation in Aguas Calientes.

Day 1: Cusco – Lares – Cuncani – Kiswarani

The excitement of your Lares trek to Machu Picchu will help you rise early for your pickup at 5:00am whether in Cusco or Sacred Valley. Then, you will drive for 2.5 to Cuncani Village. Breakfast is served high up in the mountains, looking down at the deep gorges with awesome views of the valleys. After breakfast, it’s time to get ready, put your boots on and begin your first 3 hours gradual ascent to Hullquijasa Pass (4,200m/13,779ft). You will enjoy the amazing views of lakes, valleys and much more. At that point, you will have your lunch.

Finally, you head down to the Kiswarani Village, which is one of the most isolated and self-sustaining communities, traditional to the core. Connect with nature and learn about the reality of Andean life with the locals who will open their homes to you. It would be appreciated if you are able to share some toys, used clothes in reasonable condition, notebooks, fruit or any reusable items. Two hours from your lunch spot, you complete your first trekking day and arrive at your campsite. Boots off, time to enjoy afternoon tea with amazing views of the frozen Andean peaks and waterfalls. After dinner, your guide will show you the Inca’s constellations on which they depended on for their agricultural guidance and still do to this present day.

  • Meals: Breakfast – Lunch – Afternoon Tea Time – Dinner
  • Accommodation: Camping facilities 
  • Distance: 12kms / 7 miles
  • Time: 6hrs approximately
  • Difficulty: Moderate 
lares trek to machu picchu 1st day

Day 2: Quishuarani – Pachaqutec Pass -Cancha Cancha 

You begin your 7 hour hike northeast. It starts out as an intense walk, accomplishing high passes on our way to the highest point of our trek at Pachacutec Pass(4,500m /14,800 ft). This is where you pat yourself on the back and embrace the satisfaction and exhilaration for making it up to the summit. Motivating you along the trail for this intense part of the trek are the views of glaciers, remote lakes, alpaca herds, rugged valleys and spectacular mountain vistas. Keep your eyes on the sky for the Caracara falcons and Andean geese!

Lares trek - Beautiful landscape with an amazing lagoon and a blue sky


After enjoying the summit, we descend for 3 hours until we reach our campsite located by the Quiswarani community(3,700m/12,139ft). On the way, we will be taking an isolated trail where we will see indigenous highland people in their traditional outfits herding their llamas and alpacas. The local indigenous people will open their hearts and interact with you in the Quechua language (the Incas’ language). Your guide will act as your interpreter to translate and teach you some Quechua language. When you arrive at the spectacular seven waterfalls, you are almost to the campsite!

  • Meals: Breakfast – Lunch – Afternoon Tea Time – Dinner
  • Accommodation: Camping facilities
  • Distance: 14kms / 10.3 miles
  • Time: 7 to 8hrs approximately
  • Difficulty: challenge
lares trek to machu picchu 2nd day

Day 3: Quiswarani – Cuncani – Lares – Ollantaytambo 

Your adventure continues as you begin the most scenic day yet!  We begin our ascent for 3 hours until we reach the Willqaqasa Pass, (4,200m/13,779ft) getting a bird’s eye view of the reflections of the mountains in mirror images in the glacial lakes. The majestic Colquecruz and Pitusiray Mountains are awe inspiring to admire from the pass. We continue our trek through the Puna grasslands, undulating and productive agricultural sites and natural pristine lakes. Time to descend for 2 hours to the Cucani community. Connecting with the local indigenous children, you may have the opportunity to visit their school and share in some quality time with the students.

From Cuncani we meet our driver and ride down through a lush valley with extensive agricultural areas, fruit bearing trees, varied flora, and native flowers like begonias and wild orchids. Finally, we reach our destination, the Lares Hot Springs (3,100m/ 10,170ft), where we cannot wait to soak in the natural volcanic hot springs for an hour, have lunch and relax. Time for our goodbyes for our remarkable chef and horsemen. 

After lunch in Lares, we take our private transport to 2.5 

  • Meals: Breakfast – Lunch  – Dinner
  • Accommodation: Hotel in Aguas Calientes
  • Distance9kms / 6 miles
  • Time3 to 4 hrs approximately
  • Difficulty: Moderate
lares trek to machu picchu 3rd day

Day 4: Aguas Calientes – Machu Picchu – Cusco

This is the day you’ve been waiting for! You will take the first bus to the Machu Picchu archeological site, for your 2 hour guided tour of this New Wonder of the World and UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site. The Citadel of the Incas, Machu Picchu, what an unforgettable experience! Your guide will expertly direct you through the enigmatic ruins and its main streets.

Most companies will offer the option to also purchase these extras:

  • Climb up Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain to appreciate the beauty and magnificence of Machu Picchu (US$75 per person)
  • You will be given some time to walk to the Sun Gate or Inti Punku (For free )
  • Other optional activities in Aguas Calientes include a visit to the local museum or to the hot springs.

When you are ready, you will descend to Aguas Calientes, have a leisurely lunch on your own, and later board the train for the return trip to Cusco stopping at the Ollantaytambo Train Station, where you will have transportation provided back to Cusco. You can expect to arrive at your hotel around 8pm.

  • Meal: Breakfast
  • Difficulty: Easy

What does the Lares Trek include?

Tourism agencies generally have some similarities and a few noticeable differences. In general, the tours include the following:

  • Transportation by bus or van from Cusco to Lares
  • Transportation by bus or van from Ollantaytambo to Cusco
  • Transportation by train from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes (round trip).
  • Tour guide service throughout the trek
  • Camping equipment
  • Cook and food during all trekking days
  • Pack horses
  • Lodging in Aguas Calientes on the third day
  • First aid kit, including an emergency oxygen tank
  • Entrance tickets to Machu Picchu
  • Hotel accomodation in Aguas Calientes

Is it difficult to do the Lares Trek?

The Lares Trek has medium difficulty. Compared to the Inca Trail or the Salkantay Trek, this route is less arduous. The only difficulty is altitude sickness, due to the trails being at high very high elevations, which will cause altitude sickness. Click the following link for more information on altitude sickness.

When is the best time to do the Lares Trek?

The best time to do the Lares Hike is during the dry season (from April to October). In these months, the sky is clearer and there is less chance of rain. Therefore, the roads are in better condition for access to trailheads and the trails are also in a better condition.

Is it possible to do the Lares Trek on your own?

There is no restriction for a visitor to try the Lares Valley Trek on their own. However, unlike other walks such as the Salkantay Trek or the Choquequirao Trek, the routes are not well marked, so it is difficult to follow the course. Remember, there are six different routes, so it is best to have a guide who knows the route that you intend to do.

To do the Lares Trek on your own, you must understand which route to follow. For this, a good map is necessary. In addition, the inhabitants of this region are mostly Quechua speakers. If you get lost, don’t count on everybody knowing Spanish, or finding somebody who speaks English.

What should you take on the Lares Trek?

Tour operators that do trekking to Lares include basic equipment such as tents, food and a pack horse.

In addition, it is recommended that you bring the following:

  • Sleeping bag
  • Adjustable trekking poles
  • Hat or cap (prepare for both cold nights and sunny days)
  • Sunscreen
  • Warm clothes for the nights
  • Light clothes for the day
  • Rain poncho
  • Reusable water bottle
  • Hiking shoes
  • Swimwear (for Lares hot springs)
  • Snacks
  • Camera
  • Extra money

Recommendations during the Lares Trekking

The Lares Trek includes several routes that cross high altitude landscapes until you reach Machu Picchu. On the route, you will be able to see beautiful landscapes and indigenous people with ancestral traditions.

Acclimatize in the city of Cusco or the Sacred Valley for at least two days before doing the hike. This will help you avoid the worst symptoms of altitude sickness. You should plan to drink more water at higher altitudes than at sea level in order to stay hydrated.
It is not necessary to be in optimal physical condition to complete the Lares Trek. However, exercising or becoming more physical active before your trek will definitely help.
Drink coca leaf tea to combat altitude sickness during your tour (as the Incas did hundreds of years ago). Another alternative is to take pills to prevent altitude sickness before starting the trek. Ask your doctor at home about altitude sickness before you come to Peru.
The Lares Trek is a great opportunity to learn about the way of life of the small communities that inhabit the Andes.
These people offer their products made from alpaca fiber at lower prices than the stores in Lima, Cusco or other countries. Buying directly from the artisan is true fair trade!

Information provided by Veronica View Hotel