The Lares Trek to Machu Picchu 4 Days is a popular hiking trail that takes you through the beautiful Andes Mountains and to the remote indigenous communities of the Lares Valley. The trek covers a distance of approximately 40 miles over 4 days and offers stunning views of glaciers, high-altitude lakes, and mountain peaks.

40 km - 24 miles
Duration
4 days 3 nights
Activities
Camping - Hiking - Adventure
Difficulty
Challenging
Maximum Altitude
4700m / 15,354ft
Destination
Lares Hotsprings & Machu Picchu
Group Size
12
Overview

Lares trek combines spectacular views of mountains, lakes, Local villages, waterfalls, herds of llamas and alpacas, and Machu Picchu. One of the best alternative hikes to the Inca Trail. Enjoy a rich combination of nature and culture, with extra value-added, with our Pachamanca underground hot stone barbecue prepared on the hike's last day.

Highlights:

  • Get off the beaten path and explore remote villages
  • Hike along with llamas and Alpacas
  • Enjoy a Pachamanca underground hot-stone barbecue
  • Beat the crowds to Machu Picchu before sunrise
  • Support our Social projects booking with us

Lares Trek 4 days at a Glance!

Day 1: Cusco — Hotsprings — Kiswarani Falls — Blue Lake

Pick up in Cusco at 5.00 am and drive for 3 hours to Lares hot springs. You'll have time to enjoy the pools with different temperatures. On the first day, the hike takes a gentle climb for 4 hours to the Blue Lake (3750m/ 1230ft), where we camp.

Day 2: Blue Lake — Condor Pass — Canchacancha

Wake up with a cup of coffee in your tent. After breakfast, start the 4 hours up to Condor Pass (4700m / 15,354ft), where you'll take time to enjoy the spectacular view of the mountains, then continue down for two more hours to the Campsite located at Canchacancha Village (3,750 m / 12,303 ft).

Day 3: Cancha Cancha — Ollantaytambo — Aguas Calientes

After breakfast, explore the village and visit local houses to learn about Peruvian culture. Then, descend for 4 hours into the Sacred Valley for Lunch. After a well-earned lunch, drive to Salineras to visit the more than 3000 pounds, and go to Ollantaytambo to take the train to Aguas Calientes. Spend the night in a hotel.

Day 4: Machu Picchu — Return to Cusco

Breakfast in the hotel and take the 30-minute bus up to Machu Picchu. The guided tour takes about 3 hours, visiting the Inca Bridge, temples, and most significant constructions. After you finish with Machu Picchu, take the Vistadome Panoramic train back to Cusco, arriving at your hotel around 7.30 pm. End of Lares Trek.

Additional hikes after the Machu Picchu guided tour:

  • Huayna Picchu Mountain: The ticket is $75 extra per person and must be booked in advance
  • Machu Picchu Mountain: This ticket is $75 extra per person and must be booked in advance
Full Itinerary
Day 1: Cusco — Hotsprings — Kiswarani Falls — Blue Lake

Start the Lares Trek from your hotel in Cusco early at 5.00 am and drive across the mountains of Cusco to make your way to the Sacred Valley, where you'll visit a local market, then continue to the thermo-medicinal baths of Lares, taking a total of 3 hours. You'll enjoy the hot springs, which are divided into several pools with different temperatures, all composed of pure volcanic water, which is medicinal, and good for bones, stress, muscles, and headaches. Afterward, you'll enjoy the first breakfast. Your Lares Trek begins with a 2-hour gradual walk uphill until we reach our lunch spot in Kiswarani village; in this section, it is possible to observe the cultivation of potatoes, herds of llamas, and typical houses of the great Andean community. Our team will be waiting for you with a delicious feast based on local and organic products.

After enjoying lunch, meet the trekking team, and start hiking to the campsite; llamas and alpacas, native animals of the region, and of vital importance to villagers' economy since they are used for cargo, food, and clothing. The hike lasts two hours, observing diverse landscapes like the immense mountains melting, creating beautiful streams and waterfalls that are the most remote origins of the world's largest rivers, like the AMAZON. Upon arrival at the camp, your tents will be ready to take a siesta or enjoy a tea at the edge of the majestic blue lake at 3750 meters with crystal clear waters that reflect the sky and the mountains at nightfall. After dinner, we can watch the sky full of stars, and constellations. We will also observe the Milky Way and learn about Inka astronomy. 

  • Campsite Altitude: 3750m/ 1230ft
  • Highest altitude: 3750m/ 1230ft
  • Distance: 9 km/5.5 miles
  • Duration: 4 hours
  • Meals: breakfast, snacks, lunch, dinner
  • Accommodation: Camping
  • Difficulty: easy
Day 2: Blue Lake — Condor Pass — Canchacancha

Start the day with a cup of coffee or tea that will be served in your tent, then start packing your equipment for the day. Today you can appreciate the local villagers leading their llamas and alpacas very early to grass in the mountains and the Wallatas (Andean goose= love birds) that swim in the lake. After breakfast, start the 4-hour ascent through the imposing mountains of the Peruvian Andes. In front of you are the majestic Pitusiray mountain and the Condor Pass (4700m / 15,354ft). Then, at the highest peak, we will serve hot tea carried by our staff as you enjoy the breathtaking vistas.

After a few minutes of enjoying the stunning scenery, start to descend to the campsite, appreciating various lagoons, birds, llamas, alpacas, and vizcachas. It takes around 2 hours until the camp at Cancha Cancha, the only town with modern technology. Canchacancha village (3,700 m / 12,139 ft) is a community that does not have electricity or access roads; the houses are made of stoned and straw roofs like their ancestors did, the Incas. After establishing your belongings at the campsite, you can interact with local children by learning Quechua words, teaching them English, or even playing soccer with them at 3700 meters.

  • Campsite Altitude: 3,700 m / 12,139 ft
  • Highest altitude: 4700m / 15,354ft
  • Distance: 16 km/ 9.9 miles
  • Duration: 7 hours
  • Meals: breakfast, snacks, lunch, dinner
  • Accommodation: Camping
  • Difficulty: moderate to challenging
Day 3: Cancha Cancha — Ollantaytambo — Aguas Calientes

Wake up early to observe the sunrise and the awakening of llamas and alpacas. After breakfast, you'll have time to explore the village and visit the local primary school, where the ancient Inca language, Quechua, is still spoken. Then you'll see the local families in their homes to learn their lifestyle, observe the guinea pig, essential for the locals as it is a special dish, and to weave from alpaca and llama wool. Next, continue the last part of the trekking with 4 hours downhill into the Sacred Valley. Along the way, you will observe different climates, from the cold, high Andes, where potatoes grow to the Sacred Valley of the Incas, where corn, grains, and fruits are being produced with a warmer temperate. The trek will finish in the small town of Huaran, in the Sacred Valley, at 2,700 m, where we have the last lunch with the trekking team. 

After lunch in the village of Huaran, take our transportation to Salineras to see how locals have been harvesting salt since Inca times using the same ancient techniques. There are more than 3000 salt ponds. Then continue driving to Ollantaytambo, a beautiful city located in the middle of the mountains with many natural and cultural history. You'll have time to explore the town, considered the last living Inka city, the world capital of Native Americans, and Dinner will be at a local restaurant. Then, catch the 7:00 p.m. train to Aguas Calientes. Upon arrival in Aguas Calientes, you'll register at your hotel and relax.

  • Aguas Calientes Altitude: 2000m / 6560 ft
  • Distance: 12 km / 7.4 miles
  • Duration: 4 hours
  • Meals: breakfast, snacks, lunch, dinner
  • Accommodation: Hotel
  • Difficulty: easy
Day 4: Machu Picchu — Return to Cusco

After enjoying the Lares Trek's last breakfast in your hotel, take the bus to Machu Picchu; you must show your original passport at the gate. Once inside, you'll take a short hike to Sungate or Inca Bridge. Next, you will start a guided tour around the citadel, visiting the most important constructions, temples, and palaces, and have some free time to discover by yourself. Optional, you can take additional hikes (not Included) to Huayna Picchu Mountain or Machu Picchu Mountain (different from Machu Picchu Citadel).

At the end of the Machu Picchu, you will take the bus down to Aguas Calientes, enjoy lunch in the local restaurants, pick up your stuff from the hotel, and head to the train station. You'll board the Vistadome panoramic train back to Ollantaytambo. In Ollantaytambo, our TreXperience team will be waiting for you to transfer you to Cusco. The arrival time at your hotel is around 7.30 pm.

  • Distance: 2-3 hours
  • Meals: breakfast at the hotel
  • Accommodation: not included
  • Difficulty: easy

Included:

  • Complimentary transfer to and from the airport
  • The pre-departure briefing held the day before the trek
  • Professional Native tour guide
  • Second guide for groups 9+
  • All transportation included during the four days of the tour
  • Entrance ticket to Lares and Salineras
  • All meals included except the last day lunch in Aguas Calientes
  • Expedition train to Aguas Calientes
  • Entrance ticket to Machu Picchu
  • Round trip bus ticket to Machu Picchu
  • Two nights camping with comfortable equipment
  • One night 3-star hotel in Aguas Calientes
  • Camping equipment (Tents, table, chairs, porta-potty)
  • Trekking Chef, porters, muleteers
  • Cargo mules to carry food and equipment
  • Duffle bags for your stuff up to 7 kilos
  • Emergency horse (in case you struggle)
  • First-aid kit, oxygen tank

Not Included

  • Huayna Picchu Mountain
  • Machu Picchu Mountain (Different form Machu Picchu citadel)
  • Sleeping bag, Air mattress, Trekking poles
  • Last day lunch in Aguas Calientes
  • Gratuities
  • Travel Insurance
FAQs

What is the Lares Trek to Machu Picchu?

The Lares Trek is an alternative route to Machu Picchu, offering stunning scenery, traditional Andean culture, and fewer crowds than the classic Inca Trail. The trek usually takes four days to complete and includes hiking through beautiful valleys, over high mountain passes, and past remote Andean villages.

How difficult is the Lares Trek?

The Lares Trek is considered a moderate to challenging trek, with several steep ascents and descents over high mountain passes. Altitude sickness can also be a factor, as some sections of the trek reach over 4,000 meters in elevation. However, with proper preparation and acclimatization, most people with a reasonable level of fitness should be able to complete the trek.

When is the best time to do the Lares Trek?

The best time to do the Lares Trek is during the dry season, which runs from May to September. During this time, you can expect clear skies and warm temperatures during the day, with cold temperatures at night. The shoulder seasons of April and October can also be good options, although there may be more rain during these months.

Do I need a permit to do the Lares Trek?

Unlike the classic Inca Trail, the Lares Trek does not require a permit. However, you will need to enter Machu Picchu through one of the official entry points, which may require a separate permit. It's always a good idea to check the latest regulations with a reputable tour operator.

Do I need a guide to do the Lares Trek?

While it's possible to do the Lares Trek independently, it's highly recommended to go with a licensed guide or tour operator. Not only will they provide valuable information about the local culture and history, but they can also help with logistics, accommodation, and safety on the trail.

What should I pack for the Lares Trek?

You should pack warm layers for the cold nights, a waterproof jacket and pants, sturdy hiking boots, a sun hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen. You should also bring a good quality sleeping bag, a daypack, a refillable water bottle, and some snacks. Your tour operator should provide a detailed packing list.

Is it safe to do the Lares Trek?

The Lares Trek is generally considered safe, although there are some risks associated with high altitude trekking, such as altitude sickness and falls on steep sections of the trail. It's important to choose a reputable tour operator with experienced guides and to follow their safety instructions carefully. It's also a good idea to purchase travel insurance that covers trekking at high altitude.