Trek the Lares Trail

peru lares trail
peru lares trail
peru lares trail
peru lares trail machu picchu
peru lares trail machu picchu
peru lares trail
Trek the Lares Trail
Duration:
8
Days
Priced from:
2099.00
USD

Trek the Lares Trail

Trip Overview

(Trekking and Horseback Riding) For those of you who like to get off the beaten track, the Lares Trail trek is the most scenic and cultural of all the Inca trails. The journey begins in the ancient Inca capital of Cuzco, and travels through small highland communities that have experienced little change over the centuries. We’ll witness firsthand the traditional lifestyles of the locals as we pass by artisans, weavers, and shepherds with their flocks of llamas and alpacas. With any luck, we’ll also see the impressive Andean condor soaring above. The grand finale is a visit to the legendary Machu Picchu, the “Lost City of the Incas.” This Peru trekking tour showcases the heart of Peruvian mountain culture.

MOST POPULAR WITH ACTIVE ADVENTURERS & SINGLE TRAVELLERS 

Listen to an Apple podcast we recorded about the Lares Trail vs the Inca Trail. 

WOW FACTORS

  • Wander the cobblestone streets of charming Cuzco, the former capital of the Inca Empire
  • Trek through the Peruvian mountains for four days on the remote Lares Trail with locals and llamas
  • Explore the stunning ruins of legendary Machu Picchu overlooking the Urubamba River

    Here's a great Inca Hiking FAQ video.

Activities

Difficulty Level

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Itinerary & Map

Day 1

Cuzco
Arrival
Upon arrival into Cuzco, you’ll be met at the airport and transferred to a comfortable hotel in the city. The remainder of the day is at leisure to acclimate to this high altitude colonial city located at 3,350 m / 10,988 ft. The streets of Cuzco are filled with artisans selling sweaters, pottery, and a variety of other handicrafts. Overnight in a comfortable hotel.

Meals: none

Day 2

Cuzco - Sacsayhuaman
Horseback Riding
This morning is at leisure to wander through the cobblestone streets of Cuzco exploring the cathedral, museums or shopping for local handicrafts. Later this afternoon we depart by horse, riding to the nearby ruins of Kenko, Tambomachay, and Pucapucara. Our final destination is Sacsayhuaman, a spectacular, mountaintop fortress overlooking Cuzco. We return to the hotel late afternoon. 

Horseback Riding Duration: 2 hours
Horseback Riding Distance: 11 km / 7 mi
Accommodation: Hotel
Meals: Breakfast

Day 3

Lares Trail
Trekking
This morning we set off by vehicle bright and early towards Huaran (2,840 m / 9,317 ft), a small village in the Sacred Valley and the start of the trek. We'll meet up with our pack llamas and begin our beautiful hike through the lush valley, following the gentle uphill route of the Cancha Cancha River. It will take us approximately 5 hours to reach the picturesque village of the same name where we'll set up camp for the night (3,940 m / 12,925 ft). 

Trekking Distance: 8km / 5mi
Trekking Duration: 4 - 5 hours
Ascent: + 1,100m / 3,608ft
Accommodation: Tent
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4

Lares Trail
Trekking
After having a hot breakfast, we'll leave the campsite and begin our steep ascent to Pachacutec Pass at 4,700 m /15,416 ft, the highest point of the trek. From the top of the pass there are spectacular views of the surrounding mountains, valleys and Pachacutec Lake. After the pass, we'll continue our trek and descend into the next valley to reach Quiswarani village (3,900 m / 12,790 ft) where we'll spend the night. Along the route, the scenery is dramatic with glacial lakes, waterfalls, and snow-peaked mountains. This area is also rich in birdlife and there is a possibility of seeing Andean ibis and geese. In the evening, we'll enjoy traditional Peruvian food and spend time with the local children and women weavers. Overnight camping.

Trekking Distance: 7km / 4.5mi
Trekking Duration: 7 - 8 hours
Ascent: + 760m (2,493ft)  
Descent: - 800m (2,624ft)
Accommodation: Tent
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5

Lares Trail
Hiking
We have another early start this morning! We'll begin with a 3-hour ascent to reach Huillquijasa Pass (4,440 m / 14,560 ft), the second highest pass of the trek. The views are impressive and well worth the effort. We'll then descend towards the village of Cuncani at 3,700 m / 12,140 ft, passing turquoise lakes along the way. This was the last refuge of the "Royal Panakas", an Inca sect. Overnight camping. 

Trekking Distance: 9km / 5.5mi
Trekking Duration: 6 - 7 hours
Ascent: + 542m (1,778ft)
Descent: - 742m (2,434ft)
Accommodation: Tent
Meals:
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6

Lares Trail - Aguas Calientes
Hiking
After breakfast, we'll walk down a fertile valley, passing typical vegetation and high altitude crops such as beans and potatoes. Along the trail we'll see native flowers such as begonias and wild orchids. After walking for around 3 hours we arrive into Lares at 3,230 m / 10.594 ft, capital of the district. Lares is a large village whose main attraction are hot springs. We'll treat ourselves to a well-deserved soak. We'll then transfer 3.5 hours by bus to the town of Ollanytaytambo to board the train to Aguas Calientes, the gateway to Machu Picchu. Overnight in a comfortable hotel. 

Trekking Distance: 4km / 2.5mi
Trekking Duration: 3 hours
Descent: - 470m / 1,542ft
Accommodation: Hotel
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 7

Machu Picchu - Cuzco
Walking
We have a full day dedicated to exploring Machu Picchu. There is also the option to climb Huayna Picchu, a young peak adjacent to Machu Picchu. If you are keen to climb this, you will need to get up really early as only a certain number of people can climb Huayna Picchu a day. The hike is a challenging one, but the views are well worth the effort! Afterwards, our guide will give us a tour of Machu Picchu explaining the history and significance of the major sites. The tour takes about 2 hours after which you will have free time to explore the ruins on your own. In the afternoon, after lunch in Aguas Calientes, we'll take the train through the Urubamba valley destined for Cuzco. We'll be met at the train station and transferred back to our hotel.

Walking Distance: 3 km / 1.8 mi
Walking Duration: 3 hours
Accommodation: Hotel
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 8

Cuzco
DepartureAfter breakfast you'll be transferred to the airport for your international flight home. 

Meals: Breakfast

NOTE about Ascent/Descent numbers: 

The ascent/descent numbers are usually generated using Ride with GPS. The numbers are TOTAL ascent/descent for the day and these numbers do not suggest altitude. There are usually multiple small ascents and descents added up throughout the day to reach this total ascent/descent for the day. (While our numbers are generally consistent with Ride with GPS, depending on the mapping technology used, numbers may vary).

 

What's Included

TRIP INCLUSIONS:
All accommodation (twin shared), airport transfers, internal transportation excluding internal flights (Lima-Cuzco-Lima), entrance fees, meals as indicated (B=breakfast, L=lunch, D=dinner), camping equipment, porters and cooks and English-speaking guides.

TRIP DOES NOT INCLUDE:
International and internal airfare, airport taxes, gratuities to guides, items of apersonal nature, extra accommodation due to missed flights and alcoholic beverages.

MEALS:
7 Breakfasts, 5 Lunches, 3 Dinners

ACCOMMODATION:
Hotel: 4 Nights
Tent: 3 Nights

Trip Facts

Weather in Peru

Generally the Andean trekking season, April-November is clear, dry, and cool. During the transitional months of April/May and October/November, one can experience variable weather patterns with a general build up of afternoon clouds and possible showers that rarely last throughout the night. Andean nights are cold, ranging from 25 to 40°F (-4 to 5°C) depending on the elevation, while the days are pleasantly warm with temperatures between 60 to 80°F (15 to 26°C). In spite of warmer temperatures, trekking during the Andean rainy season (Jan- March) is not recommended because of the high risk of mudslides, rock fall or lightening. Also, trails and high passes may be closed due to heavy snowfall. Expect showers or mist on most departures. The daytime temperatures will be warm between 70 to 85°F (21 to 30°C), with the nighttime temperatures around 45 to 50°F (7 to 10°C).

Lima
October to May:
 Sunny, dry, clear days with hot weather.
June to October: Still fairly hot but mornings tend to be foggy or misty.

Cuzco (includes Machu Picchu)
May to September: Dry with 8 hours of sunshine daily.
October to April: Rainy season, heaviest in January.

Travel Documents

Canadian and US citizens require a valid passport with an expiry date that is beyond six months from the date of entry. A visa is not required for North American citizens for stays up to 90 days. Citizens of other countries should contact the Peruvian Embassy for specific entry requirements.

Food and Water

One of the delights of Peruvian adventure is the delicious cuisine. Traditional food in Peru includes seafood on the coast and roasted Guinea pig in the highlands. There are a wide variety of fruits available. Most food is safe to eat, although a little common sense with regard to street food is sometimes necessary. Some of the popular traditional dishes are lomo saltado (stir-fried beef with onions, vinegar, ginger, chili, tomatoes, and fried potatoes) ceviche (shrimp or sea bass marinated in lemon, chili, and onions), papas rellenas (stuffed baked potatoes), palta rellena (avocado stuffed with chicken salad), and picarones (deep fried flour fritters made with eggs and served with honey). While in Peru, it is best to drink only bottled water. Milk should be treated with suspicion. If you do drink milk, make sure it has been pasteurized. Fruit juices, soft drinks and tea are all widely available and safe to drink. Drink plenty of fluids and try to avoid alcohol when you first arrive into higher altitudes. Some popular and traditional drinks include Inca Cola (lime green soda pop that tastes like fizzy bubble gum), pisco sour (similar to a Tom Collins made with white grape brandy), and mate de coca (tea made from coca leaves to relieve altitude sickness).

FAQ

How big are BikeHike's groups?

Our adventures are built for small groups, with a maximum of 12 travellers on each guided tour. Each group is diverse, comprised of men and women of many different nationalities and ages. By travelling in small groups we leave minimal ecological impact, cause less disruption to the native life and are able to gain a better appreciation for our surroundings. Small numbers also allow greater flexibility and spontaneity: a dinner in a local home, an impromptu village wedding invite and any such experiences that can become among the most memorable experiences of your BikeHike adventure.

Is this an “Inca Trail”?

There are many Inca Trails in Peru. Most people know about “The Inca Trail,” the one that ends at the Sun Gate. However, there are many Inca Trails…that is, routes that the ancient Incas used. The Salkantay Trail and Lares Trail are other trails that end in Machu Picchu, just at a different spots than the famous Inca Trail. The Inca Trail has an average of 500 trekkers on the trail per day. The Salkantay Trail has about 100-150 trekkers per day. The Lares Trail has about 150-180 trekkers per day along the most popular sections. However, different companies trek along different portions of the Lares Trail. BikeHike Adventures treks along the more remote section of the Lares Trail, starting where many other tours end. The Lares Trail is really special as trekkers are surrounded by pristine wilderness and pass small villages where there are great opportunities for cultural interaction.

Listen to a more detailed answer HERE.

Peru Trekking is at high altitude. What do I need to do to prepare?

Cuzco is located at 11,200 feet , so your body needs time to acclimate. Take your time settling in at the new altitude. Don’t rush things. Drink lots of water. Don’t physically exert yourselves for the first couple days. Avoid alcohol. Don’t eat heavy meals. It’s really important to spend a couple days at altitude before even thinking about starting a trip. So, many travellers arrive into Cuzco at least two or three days before starting any treks. It’s definitely NOT recommended to fly up to that altitude and then start a trip right away.

Listen to a more detailed answer HERE.

 

What are the trekking conditions in Peru?

You are right on the equator in Peru so it will be warm during the day. But, as soon as the sun goes down, it is cold. And the sun goes down quickly. Expect to be wearing a good jacket, hat, gloves. The terrain itself is nearly the same on all three trails. The trekking conditions on the Lares Trails is sometimes on dirt paths, sometimes through forests, through villages, some sections over rocks by streams, and there are many sections of up and down. The famous Inca Trail has steps because it is so much more touristy.

Listen to a more detailed answer HERE.

Can you tell me about your typical BikeHike travellers on this trip?

Our travellers share a common love for outdoor adventure. Most are looking for a physical adventure in an unfamiliar destination. This trip attracts one of our most diverse groups. A typical trip is comprised of men and women in good physical condition, who exercise regularly and are invigorated by a personal challenge. The age range on this trip is typically from 30-60, although we occasionally get younger and older travellers as well. 

How has Peru travel changed over the last twenty years?

The number of trekkers has increased exponentially since then. In the early days of Peru trekking, the Inca Trail was the most popular. However, these days there is usually a constant line of trekkers moving along the main (most famous) Inca Trail. As a result, many travellers have begun looking for alternative paths to experience Peru away from the now mainstream Inca Trail and mainstream trekking tourism. As well, the Peruvian government has begun limiting the number of trekkers allowed on the main Inca Trail each day to 500 and those spaces sell out quickly, months in advance.

Listen to a more detailed answer HERE.

 

What kinds of cultural interactions can one expect travelling in Peru?

There is a lot of cultural interaction on the Lares Trail. There isn’t a lot of cultural interaction on the Inca Trail. On the famous Inca Trail, the cultural interaction is limited to interacting with the porters. So, the interaction is more fabricated as they are there on the trail because you are there and you are not interacting with them in their villages. On the Lares Trail, trekkers actually pass through villages and have the chance to interact with locals in their homes.

Listen to a more detailed answer HERE.

 

How should I pack for this trip?

Packing for this trip must be very organized. 

We have also prepared a specific packing list with instructions that you can download by clicking the link to the right on this page. 

How fit do I need to be to join this trip?

The fitter you are, the more easily you will adjust and enjoy yourself. The question most commonly asked by our travellers is “how fit do I have to be?” This will vary according to your age and normal level of daily activity.

We understand that people come in many fitness levels, so we've graded our trips accordingly. There are four difficulty levels on our trips: Easy, Moderate, Challenging, and Strenuous.

This is a “challenging” trip. You should be able to sustain full days of activity, 6-9 hours, with breaks.

The main challenge of the trip is the physical demands of consecutive days of hiking during the trek along with the demands of altitude. Although the hikes themselves are not particularly strenuous, their length and challenging terrain will be more taxing than expected. Days are full, average 6-9 hours per day. The winds can be extremely strong and the temperatures change from one moment to the next. For the most part, you are only expected to carry your daypack on the trail while hiking. Your daypack should be large enough to include your lunch, water, camera, sunscreen and any layer clothing you may need to adapt to the changing weather on the trail.

You should have a good level of fitness and the stamina to cope with consecutive hiking days. We strongly recommend that you begin a regular fitness program that includes walking or hiking - that is if you are not already doing so. Working out four times a week (including some hiking whenever possible), 60 minutes per session should be a minimum to prepare you for this adventure. In addition, try to get in some longer distance hikes beforehand to prepare for your adventure.

Which airport do we fly in and out of for this trip?

Cuzco, Peru. You can arrive anytime on day 1 of the trip and depart anytime on day 8.

Can I take this trip if...

I am a solo traveller?

Absolutely! This trip is quite popular with singles. Unlike many adventure travel companies, we don't charge single supplement fees to solo travellers. Instead, we pair you with another traveller of the same gender. If we can't find you a roommate, you get your own room at no additional charge. A single private room supplement fee is only required if you specifically request a confirmed private room for the duration of the trip. Learn more about solo travel with BikeHike

I have special dietary requirements?

We will do our best to accommodate special dietary requests (e.g. vegetarian, gluten free, etc.), but ask that you please discuss your request with us when signing up for a trip.

I am travelling with children? Is this trip children friendly?

This trip is generally not a family focused trip for young families but could be suitable for families with strong teenagers. However, we do offer many Family Focused trips, some of which are able to accommodate children as young as six.

Accommodation

Most of our trips include comfortable mid-range accommodations. However, this trip includes a combination of hotels and multiple nights camping along the trail in tents while trekking. 

This trip includes the following types of accommodation:

CAMPING
This is an incredible experience as you'll be tenting in Peru along the ancient Inca routes! There are four consecutive days of trekking, with three nights of camping with altitudes ranging between 10,000 – 13,500 ft/3,050 – 4,100 m. Expect nighttime temperatures to be chilly (-5°C to +3°C/20°F to 25°F). Tents and Therm-A-Rests are supplied, and down filled sleeping bags are available for rent.

Camping on this trip does not involve pitching your own tent. Porters and cooks, with llamas, will carry our gear and have our campsites ready upon arrival. Our skilled cooking staff will freshly prepare all meals, and the tents will be pitched at predetermined campsites.

Our bathing facilities are the occasional river we pass and warm bowls of water in the mornings. Each morning, you will be brought a washing basin filled with warm water to wash your face and brush your teeth; bathing facilities are not available along this trek.

Other days on this trip includes stays in comfortable hotels. 

HOTELS
This trip's nights in Cuzco, Sacsayhuaman and Aguas Calientes are at mid range accommodation that provides a clean and comfortable experience in characterful surroundings that reflect the destination. To build stronger connections with the communities and support the local economies, we avoid using large international chain brands on BikeHike trips. Instead, in an effort to keep money in the communities we visit around the world, BikeHike prefers small hotels that better connect our travellers to each destination.

Click HERE for more information about accommodation styles.

NOTE: The itinerary is designed so that day one is spent relaxing and adjusting to the altitude, which can adversely affect blood pressure, digestion and energy level. We encourage participants to arrive an extra day or two before the trip begins to help your body to acclimatize. 

Adventure Dates

  • Aug 31 - Sep 07, 2019
  • Sep 14 - Sep 21, 2019
  • Sep 28 - Oct 05, 2019
  • Oct 13 - Oct 20, 2019
  • Oct 27 - Nov 03, 2019
  • Nov 10 - Nov 17, 2019
  • Apr 19 - Apr 26, 2020
  • May 03 - May 10, 2020
  • May 17 - May 24, 2020
  • May 31 - Jun 07, 2020
  • Jun 14 - Jun 21, 2020
  • Jun 28 - Jul 05, 2020
  • Jul 12 - Jul 19, 2020
  • Jul 26 - Aug 02, 2020
  • Aug 09 - Aug 16, 2020
  • Aug 23 - Aug 30, 2020
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Price

(Land only, based on twin/shared room)
2099.00
USD
per person

No single supplement fees
** Guaranteed departures on two travellers

Are You Organizing a Group Trip?
Discover our private group discounts

Add-Ons

  • It's easy to add days before and after your tour. 
  • Ask about our Arequipa, Amazon, and Lake Titicaca extensions.

    NOTE: We encourage participants to arrive an extra day or two before the trip begins to help your body to acclimatize to the altitude. 

Day Destination Activity
Duration
Distance Ascent / Descent Lodging Meals
1
Cuzco
Arrival
— / —
Hotel
2
Cuzco - Sacsayhuaman
Horseback Riding
2 hours
11 km / 7 mi
— / —
Hotel
b
3
Lares Trail
Trekking
4 - 5 hours
8km / 5mi
+ 1,100m / 3,608ft
Tent
b,
l,
d
4
Lares Trail
Trekking
7 - 8 hours
7km / 4.5mi
+ 760m (2,493ft)  
- 800m (2,624ft)
Tent
b,
l,
d
5
Lares Trail
Hiking
6 - 7 hours
9km / 5.5mi
+ 542m (1,778ft)
- 742m (2,434ft)
Tent
b,
l,
d
6
Lares Trail - Aguas Calientes
Hiking
3 hours
4km / 2.5mi
- 470m / 1,542ft
Hotel
b,
l
7
Machu Picchu - Cuzco
Walking
3 hours
3 km / 1.8 mi
— / —
Hotel
b,
l
8
Cuzco
Departure
— / —
b

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JS
Joy S
August 17, 2019

Our experience with BikeHIke was fabulous from the moment we started planning until we returned. We were a group of 11 whose ages range from 10-51. We asked LOTS of questions of the BikeHike team before we committed to taking the trip and as we were getting ready to go. We were always treated with knowledge, professionalism, and kindness. BikeHike was more than happy to customize the experience for us. The team on the ground in Peru was top notch as well. We felt very well cared for on our beautiful adventure. The food was delicious and plentiful, the equipment was in great shape, and our guide was fun and knowledgable. We hit some minor bumps along the way (that were health related and NO fault of BikeHIke), and we were grateful to BikeHIke for helping us along. The Lares trail is a remote wonderland. We highly recommend BikeHike and the Lares Trail and can't wait for our next adventure.

Washington DC, USA
DB
Donald B
May 31, 2019

We really had a fantastic trip. For me the multitude of unique experiences and thoughtful touches – large and small – are what make your trips so special. We really don’t waste any time and always come away with an incredible number of great memories. Thanks again Trish for your personal care and attention and we will keep recommending Bike Hike to all that will listen and look forward to planning another trip soon.

Las Vegas, USA
JM
Julie M
May 16, 2018

The Lares Trek was a peaceful village to village trek with opportunities to hike to high passes, but best of all, wander around and see the small villages between the passes. It was like wondering back into time and being totally amazed with what the Inca’s were able to do with stone. Our guide Miguel was AMAZING. He knew so many things about the history, the animals, and many other things about both treks and best of all, he was totally fun to trek with.

Stanley, ID, USA
TK
Theresa K
November 15, 2016

I went on the Lares Trail trek in Peru with BikeHike. I had a wonderful time - the food was great, the trip was well organized, the views were amazing, and our guide was awesome! He was very passionate and knowledgeable about hiking and Peruvian culture. It was a truly incredible experience - I would highly recommend the company, this trip, and our guide!

Chicago, IL, USA
DB
Debbie B
April 17, 2015

Trip was fantastic - loved the Lares Trail. The campsite on the last evening was as beautiful as they come. Organization and food were A+.
 

Maryland, USA
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