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District of Lares
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Lares Hot Springs

Lares is one of the most representative high Andean districts of Cusco. Lares is located in the high mountains of the Sacred Valley of the Incas. This was not an impediment for the ancestors not to build some enclosures in this place. Likewise, the inhabitants of Lares are not only convinced that their town was the passage to Paititi, but they also have many other attractions. It is common to start one of the most emblematic treks to Machu Picchu from Lares. In this blog, we will learn more about this district in order to know more about this beautiful place. Let’s start.

The district of Lares

Lares is one of the districts with the largest geographical extension of all the districts in the province of Calca. Belonging to this province, it has territories that connect with the high jungle and also with the Cusco Andes.

The district of Lares has a particular history that little by little was modifying some data about its creation. According to the resolution of the mayor’s office N° 158 -2022-MPC-C, the district of Lares according to José María Tarazona, was founded in the time of the Independence, precisely in the year 1825.

According to some documents it would be annexed to the province of La Convención, this in the year 1857. Years later and according to the laws of 1872, Lares would become part of the province of Calca again on May 22nd. This document was signed by the President of the Republic Mariscal Ramón Castilla.

Years later, the town of Lares was created as the capital of the district of Lares. This new document would be signed during the year 1892. In this sense, the town of Lares would form part of the fourteen rural communities that make up the entire district of Lares.

For all these reasons, every May 22nd some celebrations are held in honor of the reincorporation of the district of Lares to the province of Calca. That is why at present even sporting events, agricultural fairs, dance contests, equestrian competitions and celebrations in general with musical groups and more are held.

Location of Lares

Lares belongs to the province of Calca and therefore to the region of Cusco. If we start from Cusco, it is approximately 98 kilometers away. Likewise, we can say that Lares is located between some important snow-capped mountains such as Sihuasiray, Capacsaya, Sirihuani and Chicón.

It is for this reason that we mention that it is located between the high Andean zone that belongs to the Sacred Valley of the Incas. In addition, it has an important connection with the jungle and with part of the Andes that will connect with Ollantaytambo and then reach Machu Picchu.

Unfortunately, due to its location in 1958, it was part of one of the strongest landslides that occurred. The overflow occurred from the district of Yanatile and devastated part of the towns of Lares. In this cataclysm, produced by heavy rains, it is estimated that many homes were lost, including human lives.

Location of Lares in the Cusco Region
Location of Lares in the Cusco Region

Geographical details of Lares

Lares is 3,150 meters above sea level. In other words, it is above the Sacred Valley with a difference of 400 to 500 meters above sea level. This gives it a temperate climate with few incidences of cold.

The average temperature is between 16 to 23 °C. This in the morning hours, more precisely during the course of the day. Since the temperature can drop drastically to reach 0 °C. This temperature is registered in the nights and early mornings.

Abra Lares
Abra Lares

How to get to Lares?

To get to Lares you have to pass through the districts of Pisaq, Lamay, Calca, to mention a few. The travel time can extend up to about 4 hours. The average cost of the trip can vary between 10 to 15 PEN. Of course, in public transportation. The best way to get there, leaving from Cusco, is to go to Calca. This because there are transports to that place.

From Calca you have to take another transport to the town of Lares. In total, making both trips you can spend the 15 PEN that we mentioned. The trip is made by road. During the trip you can appreciate all the splendor of the Sacred Valley of the Incas and some mountains, as well as snow-capped mountains.

How to get from Cusco to Lares

The population of Lares

All the rural communities in the district of Lares have around 6,000 inhabitants. Exactly according to some statistical studies of 2017 we can find 5 743 inhabitants. Number that surely increased until the date of publication of this blog.

The entire district of Lares is exposed along 74 467 square kilometers. In all this area you can find the thermal baths, the routes to Machu Picchu and other tourist attractions that increasingly surprise more and more tourists. Especially when they are told about Paititi.

Tourist attractions of Lares

  • Route to Machu Picchu

    • The route to Machu Picchu through this district is called Lares trek.
    • It is a 4-day trekking activity.
    • It is also known as the cultural route to Machu Picchu.
    • It allows the tour through the Andes of Cusco. In addition to seeing beautiful landscapes you can also see a few lakes and lagoons.
    • During the route you will visit some of the communities of Lares.
    • It is called cultural tour because it allows the coexistence with these communities.
    • The first two nights are spent in the homes of these communities.
    • During the trip you will learn more about the ancestral traditions.
    • It is also possible to taste the local cuisine and learn how to weave.
    • Upon arrival at Machu Picchu, the return to Cusco will be by train or by the bimodal services that include the train ride.
  • Lares Hot Springs

    • The thermal baths of Lares are its most popular destination.
    • There are many people who only come to this place.
    • It is usually visited by the people who go on the Lares Trek.
    • Also, many local tourists come to refresh themselves in the waters.
    • The waters of the pools have medicinal properties.
    • They help to overcome muscular and bone pains. They also say that it is very good for the skin and for some stomach ailments.
    • The prices of admission to the thermal baths of Lares are, in the case of adults, 15 PEN and 8 PEN.
    • The first price is for foreign tourists, while the lower price is for national tourists.
    • In the case of tickets for children it is half the price. That is, in the case of domestic tourists is 4 PEN and foreigners 7.50 PEN.
  • Seven Waterfalls of Quishuarani

    • It receives this name because there are 7 waterfalls.
    • It is actually a waterfall.
    • The seven waterfalls are located in the community of Quishuarani.
    • It also receives the Quechua name of Canchispacccha, making a direct translation.
    • It is located on private property. More precisely in a private conservation area.
    • These waterfalls have an average fall that is comprised of 5 meters high.
    • These waterfalls will be easily visited by those who dare to do the Lares Trek.
    • You can find more information in Lares Trek How are the 7 waterfalls of Quishuarani?
    • It is also easy to get there by private vehicle.
  • Puyas de Raimondi Stand

    • It is located in a private natural conservation area.
    • It is called Pampacorral Private Conservation Area.
    • It has a total area of 767 hectares.
    • This area is located 88 kilometers from Cusco. Therefore, it is located a little closer than the Cusco – Lares trip.
    • The altitude at which part of this region is located is 4,461 meters above sea level.
    • The Puya de Raimondi is a plant with many peculiarities. It is said that it comes from the time of the mega-mammals.
    • Its importance lies in the fact that it is the main plant for many birds to nest.
    • Among these are almost 17 species of hummingbirds. The giant hummingbird stands out, which is more regular to see.
    • Raymondi’s puyas have a height of 12 to 15 meters.
    • The life cycle of the Puya de Raimondi is between 80 and 100 years.
    • The closest place to Cusco to see the Puyas de Raimondi is here.


By Inca Trail Machu Picchu - Last updated, 23-05-2024

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