The isolated valley of Lares is justly famed for its traditional Quechua communities and the beautiful weavings they produce. Lares Trek to Machu Picchu, is for the traveler who would like to experience authentic, living culture. The Urubamba mountains, with several snow-capped peaks, provides a backdrop for the thatched houses, small farms, and herds of alpacas and llamas that the route passes through. There are many trekking options in the Lares valley. This one follows the “Weaver’s Way,” going past traditional weaving communities where you may purchase fine, one-of-a-kind textiles before returning to the Sacred Valley and on to Machu Picchu.
The itinerary below is a sample. Hiking times are an average and will vary depending on the group. Additionally, lunch and camp sites may change to meet the needs of the group and conditions.
Before your trek you will be met by your guide for a thorough briefing. This is an opportunity to ask questions and buy any last minute supplies before leaving Cusco.
We will leave Cusco early in the morning, we travel by private van through the Sacred Valley to the town of Calca. From there, we wind up the valley to the trailhead at the semi-tropical village of Lares (3100m). Here we have lunch and relax after the drive with a soak in the hot springs. After lunch, we hike along a stream to the traditional Andean village of Huacahuasi, where the locals produce high quality ponchos, chullos, and other tempting goods.
4 hours walking, 3100-3800m
Leaving the village, we begin a steady climb through grasslands to the highest pass on the route, Abra Huacahuasi at 4600m. From the pass we take in the views of the snow-capped peak of Pumahuanka, Mount Veronica. Following on, we cross the second high pass of Wayruruyoc qasa at 4600m. We see spectacular views of Aruraycocha Lake, situated at 4380m. Where our lunch is will be waiting for us; this afternoon we continue on to Queuñacocha where will spend the night with spectacular view of Salkantay and Veronica mountains.
7 to 8 hours walking, 3800-4600-4200m
In the morning we continue downhill. Along the way, we pass viewpoints with excellent vistas of the broad valley, herds of alpacas and llamas, farms, cacti and bromelias as we get closer to the Sacred Valley. We arrive in the community of Huilloc (3500m), one of the largest villages of direct descendants of the Incas, this will be our first stop. We will see the unspoiled traditional daily activities of the local way of life. Continuing on, we follow the ancient trail to arrive at Marcawasi where we will have lunch and take a bus to Ollantaytambo. With many of its original agricultural terraces, streets, water channels, and buildings, Ollantaytambo is one of the best preserved Incan towns. On the hillsides are important archaeological sites, including the temple hill with its huge stones that had been brought down from the quarry. From Ollantaytambo we catch the train to Aguas Calientes, where you can enjoy its many restaurants, shops, discos, and hot spring, or simply relax in your hotel.
4 hours walking, 4200-3000-1900m
We will get up early in order to catch the bus up to Machu Picchu in time to watch the sunrise over the mountains. After enjoying the views, we will have a two hour tour of the city. Afterwards, you have free time to explore the ruins, hike Huayna Picchu, climb to the Sungate, go to the Temple of the Moon and Inca Bridge, or simply relax and soak in the atmosphere. In the afternoon we will return to Aguas Calientes to catch the train to return to Cusco.
For more information on trekking with Apu Andino, see Trekking with Apu Andino.
While not as difficult as some treks, the trek traverses two passes over 4000m. Trekkers should be in good physical condition and acclimated by spending at least a few days at Cusco (3400) or similar before attempting the trek. Additionally, weather and trail conditions can vary. Temperatures range from warm and humid to below freezing.
Trekkers should be prepared for changes to the itinerary and to meet unexpected challenges with an open-mind and sense of adventure. Climbing Huayna Picchu is an excellent addition to a trip to Machu Picchu. It offers superlative views, but is a steep climb that can take about three hours. Entrance to Huayna Picchu is limited and at scheduled times; visitors must sign up for a spot in advance. If you would like to consider doing the climb, it is important to book it in advance.
One of the main attractions to the Lares valley is the many fine textiles available for purchase directly from the people who made them. The communities are relatively isolated, however, so it is important to bring spending money in soles in small denominations, as it may be difficult to make change.
US$810.00 per person
Bookings of 4 people or more will get a US$20.00 discount per person or a free Day Apu Training Hike*.
*More details will be available if you are interested in talking advantage of this offer.