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Trek The Lares Trail

8 day Peru adventure combining the Lares Valley Trek with Machu Picchu, the Sacred Valley and Cusco. Adjust to the altitude in the Sacred Valley before hiking the 3-day Lares Trail towards UNESCO world heritage site, Machu Picchu.

Enjoy a diverse, moderately challenging trek revealing snow-capped mountains, hot springs, archaeological ruins and local farming and weaving communities. Afterwards, relax in bustling, culture-rich Cusco.

Tailor-made Adventure 8 days

'From Price' is the average price per person for ground arrangements for two people sharing.

Flights are typically an additional $1,028 per person economy class from London

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Itinerary

Overview


  • Acclimatise to the altitude with a simple, 2-night stay in traditional Ollantaytambo, Sacred Valley

  • Trek the Lares Trail, a moderately challenging private trek that is a good alternative to the Inca Trail.

  • Meet local farming and weaving communities, explore archaeological ruins and soak in hot springs along the way

  • Adventurous yet manageable trekking, with some periods of challenging hiking and high passes, basic camping and porters

  • After the trek, hop on the bus to magical Machu Picchu, lost citadel of the Incas

  • 2 final nights in modest but comfy accommodation in bustling, culture-rich Cusco

Day-by-day

DAY 1: ARRIVE CUSCO AIRPORT & TRANSFER TO OLLANTAYTAMBO
You will be met at the airport and transferred to your hotel in Ollantaytambo in the beautiful, peaceful Sacred Valley.
Accommodation: Pakaritampu

DAY 2: OLLANTAYTAMBO IN THE SACRED VALLEY
The Sacred Valley sits at very high altitude so it’s important to take time to acclimatise in preparation for trekking the Lares Trail. While it’s important to factor in some rest, there are a number of optional activities we can arrange from mountain biking, horse riding and rafting to visiting local markets or the fascinating Inca ruins.
Accommodation: Pakaritampu

DAY 3: COMMENCE THE LARES TRAIL – TRANSFER TO HUARAN, THEN TREK TO CANCHA CANCHA
This morning you will make the hour or so’s drive from Ollantaytambo to Huaran where the Lares Trail begins. Today’s trek commences in a lovely, lush valley and follows an uphill path for around five hours to the first campsite at Cancha Cancha, a small farming community nestled amidst spectacular mountain scenery. There’s a restful stop for lunch along the way and when you get there, you will have the opportunity to meet the friendly inhabitants and learn about their way of life.

The 3-day trek will meander through some amazing scenery with impressive views of snow-capped mountains, lagoons and forests of protected Andean ‘Queuña’ trees. There’s some stunning flora and fauna to discover, including some interesting birdlife. Along the way, there’ll be encounters with friendly local communities keen to share their textile and weaving expertise, and the opportunity to visit some fascinating archaeological ruins.
Approximate walking time: 6 hours (distance 10 kilometres)
Altitude: max: 3,700 m.a.s.l / min: 2,800 m.a.s.l
Accommodation: Camping (in-camp or lodge-to-lodge upgrades available)

DAY 4: CANCHA CANCHA TO QUEUÑAQOCHA LAGOON (DAY 2 OF LARES TRAIL)
After a hearty breakfast, you’ll leave the campsite and begin today’s long walk up the ascending path to reach the first mountain pass, Pachacutec (4,400 m.a.s.l.), from where mind-blowing views of glacier lagoons and the surrounding valleys can be enjoyed. Today’s hike also reveals wonderful vistas of snow-capped mountains Colquecruz, Minas and Sirijuani and some interesting birdlife. Once through the pass, there’s a break for lunch and then a descent to the Quiswarani community from where the protected native Andean ‘Queuña’ polilepis forests can be seen. From Quiswarani, the ascent continues towards the Queuñaqocha lagoon where you’ll spend the night. With any luck, the chef will have gone ahead and got your well-deserved dinner cooking on the fire; weather-permitting there may even be sparkling, starry skies. Don't be surprised if everyone heads to bed early after a tough but rewarding day.
Approximate walking time: 8 hours (distance 13 kilometres)
Altitude: max: 4,600 m.a.s.l / min: 3,700 m.a.s.l
Accommodation: Camping (in-camp or lodge-to-lodge upgrades available)

DAY 5: TREK QUEUÑAQOCHA LAGOON to LARES & TRAIN TO AGUAS CALIENTES (DAY 3 OF LARES TRAIL)
Today, the trek continues to the second Pass, the Willkiccasa (4,100 m.a.s.l.), which offers wonderful views of the Pitusiray and Colquecruz mountains. The road onwards to Cuncani is surrounded by plateaus characterised by lakes and agricultural terrain, and from here there’s a descent through a pretty valley dotted with more vegetation, crops and Andean communities. Your guide will point out local flora such as wild begonias and orchids, and after a couple of hours, you'll reach Lares where you can soak your weary limbs in the natural hot springs. Lunch is served after a dip in the thermal baths, followed by a transfer to Ollantaytambo in order to catch the late afternoon train to the town of Aguas Calientes where you’ll spend the night.
Approximate walking time: 8 hours (distance 12 kilometres)
Altitude: max: 4,500 m.a.s.l / min: 3,190 m.a.s.l
Accommodation: El Mapi

DAY 6: EXPLORE MACHU PICCHU AND TRANSFER TO CUSCO
After breakfast at the hotel, board the bus to Machu Picchu where you will have a fascinating guided tour for a couple of hours, followed by free time to explore the ancient city. In the afternoon, you’ll take a train back to Ollantaytambo where transport will be waiting to take you to on to Cuzco.
Accommodation: El Retablo

DAY 7: EXPLORE CUSCO
Spend this final day independently exploring bustling Cusco, the breathtakingly beautiful UNESCO World Heritage site, or if you like we can organise a half-day guided city tour for you. You might want to book a massage for your weary legs or spend some time in one of the many cafes at the Plaza de Armas taking in the fabulous views, reflecting on your trek and congratulating yourself on your trekking achievement. There’s a chocolate museum in town and a whole host of ancient Inca palaces, temples and Spanish Colonial buildings to discover.
Accommodation: El Retablo

DAY 8: DEPART
You will be transferred to Cusco airport in time for your onward flight.

Accommodation


Guide price is based on recommended accommodations. Alternative accommodations and upgrades are available. Please get in touch or click on 'alternatives' below for alternatives and upgrade options.

Pakaritampu

Sacred Valley

Our rating

7/10

Price guide

Price rating 3

- Superb Inca Fortress and hillside terraces
- Pretty, landscaped gardens
- Modest, comfortable accommodation
- Perfect base before or after Inca Trail

El Mapi

Machu Picchu & Inca Trail

Our rating

6/10

Price guide

Price rating 3

- Large, reliable hotel in Aguas Calientes
- Unbeatable location for Machu Picchu
- Facilities include spa and restaurant
- Good value for money, lively and relaxed

Our rating

7/10

Price guide

Price rating 3

- Historic, characterful boutique hotel
- Close to 'Plaza de Armas' main square
- Beautifully-presented rooms
- Good value for money

Details

Getting there

Flight prices, details and operators will vary depending on date of travel, however the below gives an overview of key operators, routes and flight duration from the UK and the US at the time of writing. Note that it’s always possible to fly direct into Lima and overnight there before catching the morning flight to Cusco the following day. Please get in touch to discuss your requirements and obtain a current, detailed quote.

From the UK to Cusco
The fastest flight from London to Cusco is with Avianca airlines who make just one stop en route (Bogota) with a total flight time of around 17 ½ hours. Latin American Airlines (LAN) partner with British Airways to operate flights from London into Cusco via Lima, with flight times varying from around 15 to 24 hours. There are also several other indirect flight options (generally via Lima) with a couple of stops en route which take around 30 hours overall; examples include KLM, Iberia and Air France who all operate in partnership with LAN to operate flights from London to Cusco stopping both in Lima and in Amsterdam/Madrid/Paris respectively. Flights cost in the region of £800 to £1,500 per person depending on season and demand.

From the US East Coast to Cusco
Avianca operates flights from New York into Cusco with either one stop (Bogota), or two stops (Bogota and Lima), and flight times of around 11 to 14 hours. LAN also operate New York to Cusco, with just one stop in Lima and a similar flight time of around 11 hours. Flight costs range from $800 to $1,800 per person depending on season and demand.

From the US West Coast to Cusco
Avianca operates flights from Los Angeles into Cuzco, usually with just one stop in Bogota (and sometimes two stops; Bogota and Lima), with flight times of around 12 hours. LAN also operates on this route, as do Air Canada, Aeromexico and Finn Air depending on the time of year. Flight costs range from $800 to $1,500 per person depending on season and demand.

Price includes

The quoted price includes all accommodation (bed and breakfast basis), transfers and tours as mentioned in the itinerary. The Lares Trail includes all camping equipment (excluding sleeping bag and pillow), permits and all meals.

During the Lares Trail there will be an English-speaking guide, chef, supporting staff and porters to carry passengers’ luggage and camping equipment. The camping equipment comprises modern, North Face 4-season tents, therm-a-rest inflatable mattresses, first aid kit, walkie talkies and oxygen should it be required at high altitude. You’ll need to bring along your own sleeping bag, or we can arrange to hire one for you.

Facilities are generally simple, for example portable toilets are carried and set up in a small tent at lunch and overnight. It is possible, however, to upgrade the camping experience to include raised cot beds and ‘indoor’ dining in a mess tent, plus a massage service if you so wish. Lodge-to-lodge upgrades are also available - please contact us for a quote if interested. Special dietary requirements can be accommodated, and note that tips and alcoholic beverages for the Lares Trail are not included.

We will provide a comprehensive list of suitable clothing and sundry equipment to bring on the trek, although please note that very comfortable, worn-in hiking boots are highly recommended. We also advise you to hire walking poles at the start of the trail.

When is best?

The high season on the Lares Trail is from April to September when the conditions are fairly dry and the weather generally sunny. June, July and August (peak season) can see slightly colder night time temperatures so be sure to bring some layers.

The rainy season lasts from November to March/April and the rain is especially heavy in January and February. Although the Lares Trail is open year-round (and, unlike the Inca Trail, does not close for maintenance in February), the rainiest months are generally best avoided unless you particularly enjoy trekking in the rain.

Is it for me?

This is a relatively short, 'bite-sized' itinerary aimed at adventurous travellers looking to make the most of the Machu Picchu trekking experience within a limited period of time, while also enjoying a brief rest and some fascinating culture in the lovely city of Cusco afterwards. The increasingly popular Lares Trail route is moderately challenging and currently remains quieter than the better-known, classic Inca Trail route, offering a tad more diversity and cultural contact with local communities along the way.

The proposed hotels are simple yet comfortable and the Lares Trail camping equipment is good and modern but basic, with the option to upgrade to a little more in-camp comfort if preferred. Note that upgrades to a lodge-to-lodge experience are also available on this route - please enquire with us if interested. If you want to participate in a trek during which you will push yourself physically, but at the same time gain insight into an ancient people and culture, then this will be right up your street.

You do need to be in good shape to participate and it is recommended that you do some regular exercise in the month before you depart. You will be hiking at altitude, so we have factored in some time to acclimatise before embarking on the trek.

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.

The trek is organised by a professional and licensed tour operator who has been operating in the region for many years. They know what they're doing and treat their porters well, ensuring that they are well equipped and fairly paid. To read more about trekking to Machu Picchu, the alternatives and best times to trek, read our guide to the Inca Trail.

If you have any other questions, please refer to our frequently asked questions page or contact us.

Safety

For the latest travel advice from the Foreign and Commonwealth office check www.gov.uk/travelaware

What customers are saying after travelling with Tourdust

Average Rating

based on 507 reviews

(5.00/5)

  • 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!

    MissingRochelle L reviewing Trek The Lares Trail on 07 July 2011

  • Hi Lisa,

    The safari trip was excellent! The stay, the food and the people were all very nice. We were happy to have Ryan and Stanley as our game drive guides they brought us up close to the animals and Ryan gave very good information throughout.

    Would definitely recommend to friends who are interested in safaris :)

    Also, thanks much for your help, particularly keeping the room for my Brother and his wife they’ve enjoyed the safari very much too!

    Best regards,
    Woan Chyi

    MissingWoan Chyi L reviewing Cape Town & Kruger Safari on 16 October 2019

  • Driver-guide: Very punctual, except for pick up for airport when he was delayed by >30 mins due to road closures. Vehicle very clean and well maintained- plenty of water and supplies of clothing for religious sites, tissues, postcards etc. Very good at understanding what level of conversation we wanted. Happy to stop for paracetamol, supermarket etc. Took us to signal box at railway since we were early (which was very interesting)

    The Walawwa: Lovely place to arrive at and get a bit of rest. Great pool, lovely rooms and food etc. Peaceful oasis so close to town.

    Wilpattu Camp: Wonderful food- really enjoyed trying lots of new things in excellent surroundings.Felt like the place had not been visited much recently (which I don’t think it had due to the terrorist attacks) so our safari guide had been brought up from another park and did not know the park too well- it worked out well though and we saw all the animals we hoped to see so no complaints on that front. We did feel that we should have been told about extra things we could have done- when we commented on the great food on final day we were told that they could have done a cookery demo for us, but it was too late at that point. It worked well for us but clients should probably know that they are likely to have multiple wildlife in their tents (eg frogs)- didn’t bother us at all, but others it might do. We were given a questionnaire to fill in at the end whilst all the staff were standing around, which wasn’t ideal as you felt a bit of pressure! Felt really well looked after here!

    Water Gardens Sigiriya: Beautiful suites with plunge pools- quiet and peaceful with lovely big swimming pool. Food good

    Jungle Beach: Beautiful location on beach. Rooms good. Food a bit limited I would have liked a bit more variety ideally.

    Camellia House: Lovely location- beautiful views. Food OK but service below average- our food orders were wrong a couple of times and even pre-ordered food was delayed. Tea factory tour was only an hour and that was the main reason to be here. It was interesting but quite brief seeing it was the main attraction according to our itinerary. Also, we were taken there in a minibus which didn’t have seatbelts on all seats and was quite smelly- not up to the standard of the usual transportation. Rooms were described as having panoramic views- one did have amazing views but the other one definitely didn’t.

    Galle Face: Lovely old hotel- but it did have some problems (leaking ceiling and ‘smuts’ coming out of air conditioning.) Weather very bad (spectacular storms). It was a shame the street food tour couldn’t take place but totally understandable given the weather, however we enjoyed our dinner here and free drinks/canopes!). Good choice at breakfast.

    MissingPippa R reviewing Sri Lanka Highlights - Classic on 30 September 2019

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Alternative Itineraries

Our itineraries are carefully designed by our experienced travel designers based on years of experience and customer feedback. For a custom itinerary tailored to you, please enquire giving as much detail as possible on your brief.

Comprehensive 20-day Peruvian trip encompassing Lima, Arequipa, Colca Canyon, Sacred Valley and Amazon. Short one-day trek to Machu Picchu. Classic level hotels and lodges.

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Adults from $5,292 pp plus flights

'From Price' is the average per person price for ground arrangements for two people sharing.

Flights are typically an additional $1,413 per person economy class from London

15-day Peru holiday for energetic, outdoorsy families (12yo+) with a keen sense of adventure who want to trek the Inca Trail and experience Peru's highlights. Includes the Sacred Valley, Cusco, Inca Trail, Machu Picchu and Amazon.

Tailor-made Classic 15 days

Families from $3,485 pp plus flights

'From Price' is the average price per person for ground arrangements for a family of four (two adults + two children under 12).

Flights are typically an additional $1,413 per person economy class from London

8 Day Peru trip including the classic 4-day Inca Trail, Machu Picchu, Sacred Valley and Cusco.

Tailor-made Adventure 8 days

Adults from $1,371 pp plus flights

'From Price' is the average per person price for ground arrangements for two people sharing.

Flights are typically an additional $1,028 per person economy class from London

Families from $1,297 pp plus flights

'From Price' is the average price per person for ground arrangements for a family of four (two adults + two children under 12).

Flights are typically an additional $1,028 per person economy class from London

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