The Lares Trek is one of the less traveled routes in Cusco, therefore the access to the trail is free and there aren’t check points on the way or specific campsites for trekkers to spend the night. Campsites are set in the property of the local Andean villagers
When hiking this route, it is important to not leave trash behind and maintain the area as pristine as possible. It is not likely that the Peruvian government will decide to regulate this trail due to the reduced amount of trekkers that trek it; however, it is important to know that if the environment is not respected, the government will take action as they did with the Inca Trail (one of the main reasons to have strict regulations to access the Inca Trail is that the route was trashed and not taken care of by solo trekkers and local tour operators).
The only portion of this tour package that requires an entrance ticket is Machu Picchu and the entrance ticket is included in our price. We include an entrance ticket for the morning turn and ti Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu mountains are not included in our price. Both, Huayna Picchu and Machu Picchu Mountains are located inside of the Machu Picchu park and an additional fee needs to be paid to access them.
The traditional Lares Trek connects the town of Lares with the towns of Patacancha, Willoq and Ollantaytambo. The Lares Town is located 145 kilometers away from Cusco. This trail is approximately 50 km/31.25 miles long when hiking from Lares to Ollantayatmbo and it goes through high Andean peaks ans a few small Andean Villages and Towns.
How difficult is the hike?
The entire hike is approximately 50 km/31.25 miles starting in Lares and ending in Ollantaytambo. Our itinerary will allow you to hike from Lares to Willoq for a total of 33 km / 20.6 miles. This trail is moderate hike which is easier than the Classic Inca Trail and the Salkantay Trek; however, it is still important to be used to hike or exercise. Also, acclimatization is needed for this hike.
Should I be in good physical shape to trek the Lares route?
This is a moderate trek thus it is important to be in good physical shape and used to the altitude of a high altitude city such as Cusco before starting it. It is recommended that you stay in Cusco or another high altitude city a couple of full days prior to starting the trek. In addition, you might choose to take high altitude sickness pills or chew coca leaves during the trek.
What's the most difficult section?
This is not an extraneous trek with extremely long distances to be covered each day; however, the first portion of the second day can be difficult due to the Ipsaycocha Pass which is located at about 14,650 feet above sea level (4,466 m.a.s.l.). This portion of the trek will consume an important amount of energy. For this portion of the trek expect wind and cold temperatures. Some hikers might experience symptoms of altitude sickness. Symptoms will alleviate as lower elevation is gained.
Can I hike the Lares at any time?
Yes, but at some times of the year it is not recommendable. There are not legal constrains against hiking the Lares Trek at any time during the year. However, during the rainy season (from December to mid-March) heavy rain and thunderstorms make the trek uncomfortable and dangerous. Also, mud slides are not common in this area but it can happen.
Does the Lares Trek end in Machu Picchu by foot only?
No. The traditional route ends in the towns of Willoq or Ollantaytambo. From Ollantaytambo a train needs to be take to Aguas Calientes (aka Machu Pichu Town.)
Can I bring children?
Children under 12 years old should not be at this trek. Also, children should be used to hiking long distances.
When is the best time to hike the Lares Trek?
The dry season is the best time to do the trek. The dry season runs from April to November, while the wet season runs from December to March. Temperatures at night can fall below freezing at all overnight campsites.
June to September are the most popular months for treks. May and October offer the nicest weather.
What is the weather like?
During the dry season, weather is not a major concern except. At the overnight campsites of Huacahuasi and Ipsaycocha Lake, temperatures can fall below freezing at night. The annual maximum temperature varies from 20° to 27° Celsius (68º to 81º Fahrenheit) and minimum temperatures range between -5° to 11° Celsius (20º to 52º Fahrenheit).
What should I bring to the trek?
Mainly comfortable waterproof hiking shoes, long sleeve shirts, t-shirts, a good waterproof jacket, scarf, gloves, raincoat, hat, thermal pants and socks for the cold nights, sunglasses, a good sleeping bag for cold weather, mosquito repellent for Machu Picchu, sunscreen, bottle for water, toilet paper, flashlight, hand sanitizer, a small first aid kit, some coca leaf candies, bathing suit and off course a camera.
Can I hike the Lares Trek the next day that I arrive at Cusco?
You shouldn’t. The main effects of altitude sickness show the first or second day of being in a high altitude City. For that reason, we highly recommend that you hike the Lares Trek a couple of days after arriving in Cusco.
What should I do to avoid altitude sickness?
To avoid altitude sickness, give yourself time to acclimatize to the change in altitude. (Two days minimum is recommended). Try to avoid alcohol, and make sure you eat lightly and drink plenty of water. Make sure to stay hydrated, walk slowly and take frequent breaks. Drinking coca leaf tea always helps. It is widely available, and your hotel in Cusco will probably offer it as well.
What should I do if I get altitude sickness?
Drink plenty of liquids, (coca leaf tea will definitely help), take a nap and try to rest. If you are in the middle of the trail and start feeling dizzy, extremely tired, nauseated, and have a headache, ask for advice from your guide. Guides have plenty of experience in this matter. Also, if symptoms do not improve, you should trek to a lower elevation area.
Is water available along the trail?
Yes. We will provide you boiled water every morning to refill your bottle of water. On the way, there will be several creeks, small water channels, lagoons, natural deposits of water and small rivers. This water should not be drunk before filtering it with a reliable water filter.
Are there bathrooms during the trek?
In this trek, there aren’t bathroom facilities until reaching the towns of Patacancha or Ollantaytambo; however, we will provide portable bathrooms.
Are there small shops along the trail?
At Huacahuasi, Patacancha and Willoq, there will be small shops offering small items for sale such as beverages, cookies, candies, among other similar items. Prices at these places will be significantly higher than in Cusco City. Also, once in Ollantaytambo, you will be able to find several shops with good prices.
Are mosquitos and flies an issue in this trek?
No. This trek takes place in high elevations and mosquitos don’t like cold temperatures. Once in Machu Picchu town, you will experience the presence of mosquitos, therefore you should carry an insect repellent with you (preferable a repellent containing DEET between 15% and 25%).
Are there thermal pools along the trek?
Yes. Before starting the trek, in the town of Lares, there are natural thermo medicinal pools. The site is very popular in Peru and there are several pools at the complex. The water is yellowish in color due to the high levels of minerals. This is a relaxing activity before starting the trek.
Do all the tour operators provide the same service?
No. Make sure you are hiring a professionally run tour operator that will take proper care of you and the environment. If you see prices that are too low, be careful! Some companies have hidden extra charges or fees. Many companies won’t provide all the services they advertise! We do!
Below there is a suggested checking list for the Lares Trek:
This is is a list of reasons to book the Lares Trek with GoTrekPeru.com:
2. We include a thermarest for your comfort so you can get a better sleep at night.
You will be sleeping 2 nights in tents and this item makes a big difference. Only a few providers include tis item in their price.
3.We provide 2 walking poles (black diamond) for the duration of the trek.
Walking poles are extremely helpful when covering long distances. There are no companies in the market providing this perk in their price.
4. Breakfast will be provided the first day of the Lares Trek.
Pick-up will be early in the morning (6:15 hrs) and there won't be too much time for breakfast at your hotel; therefore, breakfast will be provided in the town of Urubamba.
5. We provide a 3 star hotel in Aguas Calientes for the 3rd night of the trek (double accommodation).
A comfortable hotel with a nice room and clean private bathroom will be booked on your behalf (included in price). It is important to know that Aguas Calientes is a small town with limited accommodation options. Hotel upgrades are available and you can add them to your cart.
6. On Day 4, you will get a round trip ticket to Machu Picchu.Your visit to Machu Picchu will include a hike to the Gate of the Sun with your guide. These items are usually not included by other tour operators.
If you would like to hike to the Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu mountains, you will need to get a different set of tickets and your guide won't be able to take you there.
7. On Day 4, a buffet style lunch will be provided at a local restaurant in Aguas Calientes.
8. If you own an ISIC Card, you will get a USD 20.00 gift card to eat at Uchu Peruvian Steakhouse or Marcelo Batata restaurant.
The Lares trek connects the Andean towns of Lares and Patacancha. This trek allows travelers to observe real Andean life while enjoying beautiful landscapes. Our Lares Trek includes a visit to the hot springs of the town and personalized attention to get in touch with locals and observe their weaving ancient techniques. This journey ends with a visit to Machu Picchu.
Day 1: CUSCO - LARES TOWN - HUACAHUASI (About 4 hrs - 12 Km) (B), (L), (D)
Day 2: HUACAHUASI - IPSAYCOCHA LAKE (About 4 hrs and a half - 9 km) (B), (L), (D)
Day 3: IPSAYCOCHA LAKE - PATACANCHA - WILLOQ - OLLANTAYTAMBO - AGUAS CALIENTES (About 3 hrs - 12Km) (B), (L), (D)
Day 4: AGUAS CALIENTES - MACHU PICCHU - AGUAS CALIENTES - CUSCO (B), (L)
We offer daily depatures. Book the departure date of your preference
25% OFF for groups of 4 to 6
35% OFF for groups of 7 or more
Around 6:15a.m. your guide will pick you up from your hotel. A private transfer will take you to Lares Town where you will have time to relax at the medicinal hot springs of the town. Lares is a typical Andean valley located at about 10,170 feet above sea level .On the way to Lares, you will stop in the Urubamba valley to eat breakfast.
You will have time to enjoy the natural hot springs of Lares and then an early lunch will be served. After lunch you will start your hike towards the Andean community of Huacahuasi where you will enjoy dinner and camp for the night. Huacarhuasi is located at about 11,800 feet above sea level. This hike will take about 4 hours.
The cook’s assistant will awaken you about 6:00a.m., offering you hot tea. Breakfast will be served at about 6:30a.m. and after that a constant hike of about four hours will take you to the highest pass of the trek at about 14,650 feet above sea level. On the way, you will observe small Andean communities, llamas and alpacas, small lakes, and views of beautiful nevados and the Mount Veronica which is 18,864 feet (5750 msnm). At the pass you will have time to relax and enjoy an amazing view of the beginning of the Lares and Urubamba valleys.
Next, you will descent for about an hour until you arrive to Lake Ipsaycocha where you will enjoy lunch, dinner and you will spend the night at your tent. Andean Geese are usually seen here. You might start a conversation with a local Andean pastor. If you like astrology, this is a great place to observe the sky filled with stars.
Once again your cook’s assistant will wake you up around 7:00a.m. with a cup of hot tea. After breakfast at about 7:30a.m., you will start your hike towards Patacancha. This trek will take about 2 hours. Once in Patacancha you will continue to hike to the Andean town of Willoq. This town will be reached in another hour. Once at Willoq, you will learn the local weaving techniques and how they produce their textiles. Lunch will be served here at Willoq.
After lunch, our private transportation will be waiting for you to take you to Ollantaytambo. Once in Ollantaytambo you will take the Vistadome train to Aguas Calientes or Machu Picchu town. Once in Aguas Calientes you will be accommodated at your hotel (included in the package). At about 7:00p.m., your guide will pick you up from there in order for you to enjoy dinner at a local restaurant.
Today you will tour Machu Picchu (7875 feet above sea level) by taking a bus at about 6:30a.m. Your guided tour of Machu Picchu will last about four hours and it will start with a visit to the Gate of the Sun or Huayna Picchu Mountain (ticket to Huayna Picchu is not included in this tour package). After that you will tour the main buildings of the site and then you will go back to AGuas Calientes by bus to enjoy lunch at a local restaurant. In the afternoon, you will take the Expedition train to Ollantaytambo. Upon arrival, you will be driven to your hotel in Cusco.
Price per person - USD
(2 people minimum per booking)
We offer daily departures for the Lares Trek & Machu Picchu from April 1 to November 30. Private departures.