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This four day trek through the Lares Valley will bring you to small Andean communities who still go about their days much like their ancestors did hundreds of years ago. Most are farmers or weavers, responsible for those gorgeous ponchos you will see people wearing around Peru. This trail is less well known than the Inca Trail trek to Machu Picchu, but people are finding out about it so hurry up and book this wonderful opportunity to get to know Peru before everyone else discovers it!
The traditional way to reach the ruins Machu Picchu is the Inca Trail, which has become so well traversed that now the Peruvian government has limited the number of permits for that route. An amazing alternative that will still allow you to trek to Machu Picchu while letting you in on the Peru of today is the trail through the Lares Valley. It is dotted with small Andean villages of alpaca farmers and weavers who use natural plants for dye. The meandering mountain trails - sometimes rocky, sometimes green - wind through majestic mountains and low lying clouds. This is one of the best places in the world to get to know a beautiful natural environment and the people who live there.
Trekking through the Lares Valley will give you a glimpse into how people of the Andean mountains have lived for centuries and how they relate to and use the Earth for their livelihood. You will visit important spots like the hot springs just outside of Lares village where people go to relax and sooth their muscles in a natural way. On day one you will be able to visit some weavers in the village of Quishaurani and see how they have been making colourful ponchos and clothes for years. In addition to the quaint mountain villages you will be surrounded by mind-boggling natural beauty - mountain flowers, pastures and trees, snow capped mountains, crystal clear lakes, packs of llamas and alpacas, even part of the trail that cuts through the clouds!
If you just like to lounge around on holiday, you probably won't have the best time on this trek. There are a few early mornings and a lot of hiking, so make sure that's something you're really up for. This trip also features a lot of camping so if you only want to stay in hotels you might not want to do this tour either.
You will learn a lot about indigenous culture, the history of Peru and the geology of the Andes but you don't need to be a history or science geek to enjoy all the new information or find it interesting. This is a great trip for someone who wants to be active on holiday while seeing not only gorgeous scenery but getting to know the people of the region and how they live. It may not be luxurious, but it will be a great trip with lots of fond memories of the people and area.
Let’s not beat about the bush here, this trek is about hiking so you do need to be in good shape to participate. It is recommended that you do some regular exercise in the month before you depart. That said, you don’t have to be a fitness freak; children as young as 7 and adults of 68 have completed the trail. You will be hiking at altitude, so it is recommended that you acclimatise for a couple of days before embarking on the trip.
The maximum group size is 16 people. The guide to walkers ration is 1 : 9. Don’t worry about being rushed along too fast, there will be plenty of time for comfort breaks and chances to admire the views along the way. The guide will always walk at the back with the last person in the group, so you really don’t need to be concerned about taking too long. This is a cultural journey, not a running race!
This trek is organized by a professional and licensed tour operator who has been operating in the region for the past 12 years.
We really thought our trip was great. I would rate your service and the whole experience as a 5. The only piece that would make your service more convenient would be if the prices were conveyed in dollars instead of pounds. We would definitely recommend the trip and company to other travelers. We had our own trip for 3 people and were given lots of special attention. The transportation was very easy and all of our needs were met. Thanks so much for arranging everything for us!
Rochelle Loughry reviewing Lares Valley Trek to Machu Picchu