Embark on the breathtaking Lares Trek to Machu Picchu, a four-day adventure that takes you through the majestic Andes Mountains and deep into the heart of the Lares Valley's remote indigenous communities. The Lares Trek is more than just a journey; it reveals a world of natural wonders. Each step offers panoramic views of glistening glaciers, serene high-altitude lakes, and amazing mountain peaks. Dive deep into a culture rich with tradition and untouched by time. Get ready to be transformed as you traverse this ancient landscape on a path that leads to the legendary Machu Picchu.

Trek details

4 days 3 nights
Camping - Hiking - Adventure
Maximum Altitude
4700m / 15,354ft
Lares Hotsprings & Machu Picchu
Group Size
6 to 10

Embark on the Lares Trek to Machu Picchu, a 4-day, 3-night adventure that combines stunning Andean landscapes with deep cultural immersion. Experience life in remote villages, relax in natural hot springs, and enjoy the warm hospitality of local communities as you trek through breathtaking scenery. Your journey culminates with a magical sunrise over Machu Picchu, offering an unforgettable experience rich in both beauty and history.

The Lares Trek offers spectacular views of mountains, lakes, local villages, waterfalls, and herds of llamas and alpacas and culminates at Machu Picchu. It is one of the best alternative hikes to the Inca Trail. Enjoy a unique blend of nature and culture, enhanced by a special Pachamanca underground hot stone barbecue prepared on the last day of the hike.


  • Get off the beaten path and explore remote villages.
  • Hike alongside llamas and alpacas.
  • Enjoy a Pachamanca barbecue and cooking lessons.
  • Arrive at Machu Picchu before the crowds to catch the sunrise.
  • Support our social projects by booking with us.

Lares Trek 4 days at a Glance!

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

  • Hiking Distance & Time: 10 km - 4 hours
  • Campsite Altitude: 3750m/ 1230ft
  • Meals Included: Breakfast and lunch made with local, organic products.
  • Accommodation: Comfortable Tents
  • Difficulty: Moderate.
  • Places Visited: Sacred Valley market, Lares hot springs, Kiswarani Village, Blue Lagoon.
  • Experiences: Enjoy soaking in volcanic hot springs, exploring local markets, observing traditional Andean lifestyles, stargazing, and learning about Inka astronomy.

Day 2: Blue Lake — Condor Pass — Canchacancha

  • Hiking Distance & Time: 16 km, 7 hours
  • Campsite Altitude: 3,700 m / 12,139 ft
  • Meals Included: Breakfast, snacks, lunch, tea time, dinner
  • Accommodation: Camping in tents
  • Difficulty: Moderate to challenging
  • Places Visited: Blue Lake, Condor Pass, Canchacancha Village
  • Experiences: Viewing local wildlife, interacting with local villagers, learning Quechua, and playing soccer.

Day 3: Cancha Cancha — Ollantaytambo — Aguas Calientes

  • Hiking Distance and Time: 12 km, 4 hours
  • Campsite Altitude: Aguas Calientes at 2,000 m / 6,560 ft
  • Meals Included: Breakfast, snacks, lunch, dinner
  • Accommodation: 3-star Hotel
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Places Visited: Cancha Cancha, Ollantaytambo, Salineras, Aguas Calientes
  • Experiences: Visiting local homes and Pachmanca Barbecue, learning about ancient salt harvesting techniques, and exploring Ollantaytambo.

Day 4: Machu Picchu — Return to Cusco

  • Machu Picchu Tour: 2-3 hours
  • Meals Included: Breakfast at the hotel
  • Accommodation: Not included
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Experiences: Guided tour of Machu Picchu Citadel, return on the Panoramic Vistadome Train.

Additional hikes after the Machu Picchu guided tour:

  • Huayna Picchu Mountain: The ticket is $68 extra per person and must be booked in advance
  • Machu Picchu Mountain: This ticket is $68 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 4:30 am. Drive across the mountains to the Sacred Valley, visit a local market, and then continue to the thermo-medicinal baths of Lares, taking about 3 hours. Enjoy the hot springs, which are divided into pools with varying temperatures. These springs contain pure volcanic water believed to help with bones, stress, muscles, and headaches. After this relaxing experience, you'll have your first breakfast.

Your trek then begins with a gentle 2-hour uphill walk to Kiswarani village, where lunch awaits. On this route, you will observe the cultivation of potatoes, herds of llamas, and traditional Andean houses. Our team will prepare a delicious meal using local products.

After lunch, meet the rest of the trekking team and start a 2-hour hike towards the campsite. Along the way, see llamas and alpacas, which are essential to the local economy for their use as cargo animals, food, and clothing. The hike features stunning views of mountains turning into streams and waterfalls, which are sources of some of the world's largest rivers, including the Amazon. Upon reaching the camp, your tents will be ready for a siesta, or you can enjoy a cup of tea by the crystal-clear blue lake at 3750 meters, reflecting the sky and mountains at dusk.

After dinner, watch the sky light up with stars and constellations, 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, tea time, dinner
  • Accommodation: Camping in comfortable tents
  • Difficulty: Moderate
Day 2: Blue Lake — Condor Pass — Canchacancha

Start the day with a cup of coffee or coca tea served right in your tent, then begin packing your equipment for the day. This morning, you can observe local villagers leading their llamas and alpacas to graze in the mountains and watch the Wallatas (Andean geese, also known as love birds) swimming in the lake. After breakfast, embark on a 4-hour ascent through the imposing mountains of the Peruvian Andes. Ahead of you are the majestic Pitusiray Mountain and Condor Pass (4700m / 15,354ft). At the highest peak, our staff will serve hot tea as you take in the breathtaking vistas.

After spending a few minutes enjoying the stunning scenery, begin your descent to the campsite, observing various lagoons, birds, llamas, alpacas, and vizcachas along the way. It takes around 3 hours to reach the camp at Canchacancha, the only town without modern technology in the area. Canchacancha village (3,700 m / 12,139 ft) is a community without electricity or access roads; the houses have stone and straw roofs, built in the traditional Incan style. Upon arriving at the campsite, you can interact with local children by learning some 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, tea time, dinner
  • Accommodation: Camping
  • Difficulty: Challenging
Day 3: Cancha Cancha — Ollantaytambo — Aguas Calientes

Wake up early to watch the sunrise and see the llamas and alpacas start their day. After breakfast, take some time to explore the village and visit the local primary school, where Quechua, the ancient Inca language, is still spoken. Visit local families in their homes to learn about their lifestyle, observe guinea pigs—which are an essential dish for the locals—and see how they weave with alpaca and llama wool. Then, continue the final part of your trek with a 4-hour downhill walk into the Sacred Valley. Along the way, you will transition from the cold high Andes, where potatoes are cultivated, to the warmer, temperate Sacred Valley of the Incas, known for its corn, grains, and fruit production. The trek concludes in the small town of Huaran, in the Sacred Valley, at 2,700 meters, where you will have a special Pachmanca Barbecue with the trekking team.

After lunch in Huaran, take our transportation to Salineras to see how locals have been harvesting salt since Inca times using the same ancient techniques. Observe more than 3000 salt ponds. Then, continue driving to Ollantaytambo, a beautiful town nestled in the mountains, rich in natural and cultural history. You'll have time to explore the town, which is considered the last living Inca city and the world capital of Native Americans. Enjoy dinner at a local restaurant, then catch the 7:00 p.m. train to Aguas Calientes. Upon arrival in Aguas Calientes, check into 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: Moderate
Day 4: Machu Picchu — Return to Cusco

After enjoying your last breakfast of the Lares Trek at your hotel, take the bus to Machu Picchu. You must show your original passport at the gate. Once inside, start with a short hike to the main Viewpoints. Next, you will begin a guided tour of the citadel, visiting the most significant constructions, temples, and palaces. After the guided tour, you'll have some free time to explore on your own. Optionally, you can take additional hikes to Huayna Picchu Mountain or Machu Picchu Mountain (these are different from the Machu Picchu Citadel and are not included).

At the end of your visit to Machu Picchu, take the bus down to Aguas Calientes. Enjoy lunch at one of the local restaurants, pick up your belongings 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 to transfer you back to Cusco. You are expected to arrive at your hotel around 7:30 pm.

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


  • 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
  • Pachamanca Barbecue and cooking lesssons
  • 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, satellite phones
  • All booking fees and taxes

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
  • Travel Insurance

What is the total distance of the Lares Trek to Machu Picchu?

The Lares Trek to Machu Picchu is about 36 kilometers or 23.6 miles. It takes you through beautiful mountains and valleys, starting near Cusco and ending near the famous Machu Picchu.

How challenging is the Lares Trek compared to the Inca Trail and Salkantay Trek?

The Lares Trek is moderately challenging. It's somewhat easier than the Salkantay Trek, which reaches very high altitudes and has steep paths, and it is also less demanding than the Inca Trail because it covers shorter distances each day. This trek takes you through more remote areas, offering a unique experience of the local landscapes and cultures.

What are the key highlights along the Lares Trail to Machu Picchu?

The Lares Trek offers a rich experience with main attractions, including stunning views of snow-capped mountains, walks through small villages where you can interact with local people, and relaxing stops at hot springs. This trek is an excellent opportunity to appreciate natural beauty and gain insights into local culture. Throughout your journey, you'll also have the unique experience of hiking alongside llamas and alpacas.

What type of climate should I prepare for on the Lares Trek?

On the Lares Trek, you should be ready for different kinds of weather. High up in the mountains, it can be very cold and windy, especially near the passes. In the lower areas, it might be warmer and more comfortable. It's a good idea to bring clothes that can keep you dry and warm.

What are the camping facilities like on the Lares Trek?

During the Lares Trek, you will sleep in tents at campsites along the route. These campsites are basic but equipped with essentials: a place to sleep and basic toilet facilities. We also provide portable toilets for our guests. You will be camping out in nature, enjoying the stunning scenery of the Andes Mountains while having the opportunity to interact with local people.

What kind of meals are provided during the Lares trekking tour?

During the Lares Trekking tour, you will receive three meals a day, snacks, and tea time. The food is prepared by our trekking chefs, who come along with your group. It is tasty and will give you plenty of energy for walking. It includes local dishes with ingredients like potatoes, corn, and fresh vegetables, as well as some familiar foods like pasta or rice.

What are the elevation gains and highest points on the Lares Trek?

The highest point you will reach on the Lares Trek is around 4,700 meters above sea level. That's really high, and walking up to this point means climbing steep paths. The air is thinner up high so that it can be quite challenging.

What fitness level is required for the Lares Trek?

You need to be fairly fit to enjoy the Lares Trek, which involves walking for several hours each day, sometimes up very steep hills. Being in good shape will help you enjoy the trek more and handle the high altitudes better.

What should participants pack for the Lares Trek through the Andes?

To fully enjoy the Lares Trek to Machu Picchu, you'll need to pack carefully to make sure you have everything you need. Here's a detailed list to help you prepare, especially since you'll be camping for three nights and spending one night in a hotel.

Clothing for the Lares Trek: 

  • Hiking Boots: Choose waterproof and comfortable boots. 
  • Sandals or Shoes: To relax at the campsite and hotel after a long day of hiking.
  • Warm Jacket: A jacket filled with down or a similar material will keep you warm.
  • Rain Jacket & Pants: These should be able to keep you dry without making you sweat.
  • Fleece Jacket or Pullover: Perfect for extra warmth under your jacket if it gets very cold.
  • Base Layers: Wear shirts and underwear that keep moisture away from your skin.
  • Hiking Pants & Shorts: Depending on the weather, you might need both.
  • Hat and Gloves: Bring a warm hat and some light gloves.
  • Sun Hat or Cap: This will protect you from the sun during the day.

Camping equipment:

  • Sleeping Bag: Make sure it's good for cold temperatures, even below freezing.
  • Inflatable mattress: This is important for a comfortable night’s sleep.
  • Headlamp and Extra Batteries: Useful during nights at the campsite.
  • Trekking poles: Must be light and easy to carry.

Personal Items:

  • Backpack: A medium-sized backpack (30-50 liters) with a rain cover will carry your things safely.
  • Sunglasses and Sunscreen: Essential for protecting against the sun’s rays.
  • Personal Hygiene Items: Include items like a toothbrush, toothpaste, and soap that are not harmful to the environment.
  • Insect Repellent: To keep the bugs away.
  • First Aid Kit: Pack some basic first aid supplies, medicine for altitude sickness, and anything for small injuries.
  • Water Bottles or Hydration System: Staying hydrated is key.
  • Snacks: Bring along some quick energy boosters like bars, nuts, and dried fruits.
  • Camera or Smartphone: To capture memories of your beautiful journey.
  • Portable Power Bank: Keeps your devices charged.
  • Travel Towel: Small and quick to dry.
  • Swimsuit: For Lares Hot Springs.
  • Toiletries: Pack your usual bathroom essentials, like shampoo and conditioner.

Documents and Money:

  • Passport: You’ll need this for identification and permissions along the way.
  • Travel Insurance: It's important to have this in case of emergencies.
  • Credit Cards and Cash: For buying souvenirs or extra snacks along the way.

Consider the season and your personal needs, too. This way, you’ll be well-prepared and can focus on enjoying the breathtaking views and exciting experiences of your trek!

How does Ultimate Trekking manage acclimatization to high altitude?

We recommend staying in Cusco for a few days prior to the trek to adjust to the high altitude of the Lares Trek. Additionally, you will spend the first day at a lower altitude and hike shorter distances, which helps your body acclimate to the thin air. This preparation can help prevent altitude sickness, ensuring both your safety and enjoyment of the trek

What wildlife and plants might I encounter on the Lares Trek to Machu Picchu?

As you walk, you might see various birds, like hummingbirds and maybe even the big Andean condor. The plants include beautiful wildflowers and bushes adapted to the high altitude. Keep an eye out for llamas and alpacas, too—they are common in this part of Peru.

Are there any cultural or historical sites we will visit during the trek?

Yes, the Lares Trek offers more than just natural beauty. You'll also have the opportunity to visit historical sites and small villages where people continue to live much as they did hundreds of years ago. These areas are steeped in history and contribute significantly to what makes the trek truly special.

What are the Lares hot springs and can we visit them during the trek?

The Lares hot springs are natural pools of warm water where you can relax and soak your tired muscles. They are often included in the trek itinerary, so you'll likely have the chance to enjoy them. It's a wonderful way to end a day of hiking.

What is the best time of year to undertake the Lares Trek?

The best time to go on the Lares Trek is from April to October. This is the dry season in the Andes, which means less rain and clearer paths. The weather is more predictable during these months, making the trek safer and more enjoyable.

How much does the Lares Trek cost, and what does it include?

The cost of the Lares Trek usually ranges from $600 to $700. This price typically includes all the essentials like a guide, porters, meals during the trek, transportation from Cusco, and camping equipment. It also includes the entrance fee to Machu Picchu. At Ultimate Trekking, we include Pachamanca barbecue, a visit to Salineras Maras, and Vistadome Panoramic Trains. 

What are the typical group sizes for the Lares Trek tours?

Groups for the Lares Trek are usually quite small, about 6 to 12 people. This size is perfect because it allows everyone to get to know each other and receive personal attention from the guide.

What conservation efforts are in place on the Lares Trail?

At Ultimate Trekking, we take all necessary steps to keep the environment clean and beautiful. We educate hikers on how to care for nature, such as carrying all trash out with them. We also work diligently to maintain the trail in good condition to prevent damage. This helps ensure that the natural beauty remains intact for future visitors.

What emergency services are available during the trek?

During the Lares Trek, we are fully prepared for emergencies. We provide satellite phones, oxygen tanks, and first aid kits. All our guides are trained in mountain rescue, first aid, and evacuation procedures. They also carry communication devices to ensure that help can be quickly contacted during emergencies, ensuring the safety and well-being of all trekkers.

How can I reach the Lares Trek starting point from Cusco?

Transportation to the starting point of the Lares Trek is arranged by Ultimate Trekking. We provide a bus or van to transport you from Cusco to the Lares Valley, which is included in your trek package. If you prefer to travel independently, especially to visit the area's hot springs, we recommend taking a collective (shared taxi) from Cusco to Calca. From there, you can catch another collective for a 3-hour ride to the Lares District, where the hot springs are located.

What are the cancellation and refund policies for Lares trekking tours?

The initial 200$ payment required to book the Lares Trek is non-refundable and non-transferable. If you cancel close to the departure date, additional fees may apply. The complete terms and conditions will be provided when you book the tour.

How are local communities involved in the Lares Trek experience?

Local communities along the Lares Trek route play a significant role by providing services such as camping sites, local products, and selling souvenirs. Our horsemen are also from Lares. This involvement helps sustain their economy and allows trekkers to experience authentic local culture, enriching their journey with genuine interactions and insights into the daily lives of the residents.

What unique experiences set the Lares Trek apart from other treks?

The Lares Trek is unique because it offers trekkers a chance to immerse themselves in the local culture, explore less crowded trails, and visit remote communities that are not usually accessible on more popular treks like the Inca Trail.

Can the trek be extended to explore areas around Machu Picchu?

Yes, you can combine the Lares Trek with the Short Inca Trail for a 5-day, 4-night trekking tour to Machu Picchu. These extensions can be arranged either before or after your main trek, allowing you to fully experience the natural beauty and historical significance of these iconic routes.

What are the qualifications of the guides on the Lares Trek?

Ultimate Trekking's Guides are locals with extensive knowledge of the region. They are trained in first aid and are fluent in Spanish, Quechua, and English to ensure clear communication and safety throughout the trek.

How does the trek ensure a sustainable and respectful experience in the Lares region?

TUltimate Trekking promotes sustainability by following Leave No Trace principles, using local services, and educating trekkers on the importance of preserving the region’s natural and cultural heritage.

What preparations are recommended for the Lares Trek?

It’s recommended to prepare physically by engaging in hiking or cardiovascular exercises. Also, familiarizing yourself with your hiking gear and spending a few days in Cusco before the trek can help you acclimatize to the altitude.

Are there any special permits required for the Lares Trek route?

No special permits are needed for the Lares Trek itself, but you will need to secure tickets for Machu Picchu in advance as part of your trek package.

How can trekkers charge devices or stay connected during the trek?

While connectivity is limited in the remote Lares region, some campsites may offer solar charging facilities for small devices. However, it's a good idea to bring a power bank and extra batteries to ensure you can keep your devices charged throughout the trek.

What feedback do trekkers usually give about the Lares Trek?

Feedback from past trekkers is overwhelmingly positive. They often highlight the trek's physical challenges, the deep cultural experiences, the beautiful, less-traveled landscapes, and the personal growth they experience during the journey.