If you had planned to trek to Machu Picchu in 2019 but left it too late to secure your Inca Trail Permits, you’ll be pleased to know that there is more than one route to the iconic Ancient Incan Citadel.
The Lares Trek might not be as well-known as the Inca Trail, but it is a magnificent journey in its own right, and as you traverse the narrow canyons, rural villages, and breath-taking mountains that make up the Sacred Valley, you will be confident that you have made the right choice.
Less crowded than the Inca Trail, the Lares Trail is ideal for those who are looking for a more peaceful and personalised experience. You’ll have more opportunities to meet the locals on this route, and you’ll learn more about Inca history and culture along the way, and so it should never be considered as second best. It’s simply a different route to Machu Picchu, and any comparisons are unfair.
The beauty of Trekking the Lares Trail to Machu Picchu is that you do not need an Inca Trail Permit, and so you can visit at almost any time of the year. 5-Day Lares Trail Tours are recommended due to the altitude, although shorter treks are available on request, and there are guaranteed small group departures every week.
Here’s an idea of what to expect on your 5-Day Lares Trek:
Day 1: Totora to Quishuarani: Your trek will start in the rural village of Totora. Following the ancient Inca Trail, you will hike through a narrow canyon with Inca tombs perched high up in the cliffs and pass through traditional local communities before stopping for a picnic lunch. After taking some time to enjoy the view, you will take a local bus to your camp for the night at Quishuarani.
Day 2: Quishuarani to Huacahuasi: Today you will begin your day trekking through small villages and native forests that home an array of Peruvian wildlife and birds. You will tackle the highest pass of your trek, the Huchayccasa Pass at 4450m above sea-level, where you will be treated to spectacular views. After a short break to take those all-important selfies, you will descend to the ancient village of Cuncani, before continuing to Huacahuasi for the night.
Day 3: Huacahuasi to Patacancha: You’ll tackle the Lpsaychoca Pass at 4200m today as you make your way to Patacancha Valley. Along the way, you’ll have the opportunity to interact with locals, and if the weather is good, enjoy beautiful views of Mount Veronica. In Patacancha Valley, a vehicle will be waiting to transfer you to your hotel for the night.
Day 4: KM104 Inca Trail to Machu Picchu: Today is the day you have been waiting for! Your day will start with a train ride to Machu Picchu where you join the Royal Inca Trail and trek to the Inca Site of Chachabamba. Next, you’ll head up through the clouds to Wiñay Wayna, where you’ll break for lunch. Finally, it’s time to take the ‘Gringo Killer’ staircase to Inti Punku and the Gateway of the Sun, where you will get your first glimpse of Machu Picchu. After taking a moment to admire the view (and catch your breath), you’ll hike down through the ancient site before transferring to Machu Picchu Pueblo for the night.
Day 5 Machu Picchu to Cusco: Like most 5-Day Inca Trail Tours, today you will head back to Machu Picchu to take a guided tour before the crowds arrive. In the afternoon, you will take the bus back down to Machu Picchu pueblo, where you will connect with your Vistadome Train Ride back to Cusco.
With the Lares Trek, there’s no need to put your Machu Picchu dreams on hold, so book today, and enjoy the Andes to yourself on this magnificent journey through the land of the Incas.