The Lares trek is one of the hiking trails that lead to Machu Picchu. It lasts 4 days in which 37 kilometers are covered in total. The route is famous for touring Andean towns where the visitor soaks up the Andean culture. The difficulty of this walk is not much. On the penultimate day you arrive in Aguas Calientes through the train ride from Ollantaytambo. The last day you visit Machu Picchu and return by train to the city of Cusco.
The Lares trek is an excellent adventurous option heading to Machu Picchu, especially if you did not get availability for the Inca Trail or you are afraid to complete the challenging Salkantay trek. The Lares trek is a simple route. It only travels 37 kilometers in 4 days and 3 nights (two are in camp and the last night in a tourist accommodation). Although you can do this route on your own, choosing a tour is the safest option. These services include everything: transportation, entrance fees, food, camping, guide and more.
The cultural route to Machu Picchu
The Lares trek is known as the ‘Cultural Route to Machu Picchu’. The reason? During the walk, Andean towns such as Wacahuasi or Lares are crossed. There, visitors learn cultural aspects such as the spinning of alpaca garments or the way of working in the fields.
This hike covers 37 kilometers in 4 days and 3 nights. The first two nights are spent in a camp conditioned to withstand the intense cold. The last night you rest in a tourist accommodation in the town of Aguas Calientes. Thus the visitor will be able to know Machu Picchu on the last day with total comfort.
The Lares trek is a route of moderate difficulty. You do not need to be an expert mountaineer to complete it. The first day includes a relaxing time in the thermal baths of Lares. Then two days of walking are carried out until arriving at the town of Ollantaytambo. There you board the train to Aguas Calientes. That night, they rest in a tourist accommodation so that they have the next day available to visit Machu Picchu.
There are two versions of this walk. The most common is the route that crosses the town of Yanahuara. The other version of the Lares Trek is the one that goes through the Patacancha community. Both offer similar adventures. What may vary are the designated campgrounds. The purchase of the tour can be done with a tourism agency, both online and in the city of Cusco.
Summary Lares trek 4 days
|Total distance||37 kilometers|
|Available routes||Yanahuara route and Patacancha route|
|Camp on day 1||Wacahuasi|
|Camp on day 2||Punta Toro|
|Camp on day 3||Aguas Calientes|
|Highest section||Abra C’asa Pasa (4,500 m.a.s.l.).|
|Less elevated section||Aguas Calientes (2,160 m.a.s.l.).|
|Maximum temperature||Machu Picchu (24ºC. On average).|
|Minimum temperature||Abra C’asa Pasa (0ºC. On average).|
|Tourist attractions||Thermal baths Lares, Aguas Calientes, Machupicchu.|
|Geographies||Mountainous and tropical.|
This is the Lares trek: day by day
Most tourism agencies offer this Lares trek itinerary:
Cusco | Lares y Wacahuasi
- The adventure begins with the visitor’s pick-up in the city of Cusco and the subsequent transport trip to the town of Lares in the Sacred Valley of the Incas.
- In the town of Lares, visitors will have a few hours of relaxation in the thermal baths of the place. Then the visitors will pack their backpacks to begin the walk. The first section is short. There will be a stop at the Vilcabamba bridge where the team of cooks will have lunch ready.
- Then continue the hike uphill through mountains. After approximately 10 kilometers we will arrive at the Wacahuasi camp. There we can visit the town of the same name where a group of people will teach cultural aspects of the place.
- Back in the camp it is time to dine and rest in the appropriate camps for the cold of the place.
Wacahuasi | abra C’asa Pasa and Punta Toro
- The second day starts very early with breakfast at the camp. Then it is time to continue with the route uphill to the highest point of all: the C’asa Pasa pass located 4,500 meters above sea level.
- In the C’asa Pasa pass, tourists will enjoy the imposing mountainous landscape where they will also be able to appreciate llamas and alpacas. At a short distance, tourists will also be able to appreciate the Auroray Cocha lagoon. In this impressive geography you will stop for lunch.
- After lunch, it is time to follow the route, this time downhill, until arriving at the Punta Toro camp. There will be time to see the Yura Cocha lagoon. Then you will have to have dinner and rest in the conditioned camp for that night.
Punta Toro | Yanahuara and Aguas Calientes
- The third day begins very early with breakfast at the Punta Toro camp. Then restart the hike down mountainous landscapes until arriving at the town of Yanahuara.
- In Yanahuara it is time to say goodbye to the cooks and porters as tourists will take a transport that will take them to the town of Ollantaytambo.
- In Ollantaytambo, visitors will board the tourist train that will take them (trip of almost 2 hours) to the famous town of Aguas Calientes. Here you have lunch at a local restaurant.
- At night the visitor will have the option to enjoy the hot springs of Aguas Calientes (not included in the tour). After dinner (in a local restaurant) you will spend the night in a tourist accommodation.
Aguas Calientes | Machu Picchu and return to Cusco
- The last day begins early with breakfast at the tourist lodge. Then the visitors will board the buses that will take them to the entrance gate of Machu Picchu.
- In Machu Picchu, visitors will tour the archaeological site in the company of a tour guide (the same one who will accompany them during the four days). The tour takes approximately 3 hours. It also includes free time to take photos.
- After the visit, it is time to return by bus to Aguas Calientes. In the town the tourist will have free time to visit the place, shop for souvenirs or simply have lunch (not included in the tour).
- Finally the tourists will board the train to Ollantaytambo. From there a tourist transport will take you back to the city of Cusco.
The price of the tours depends on each tourism agency. Generally the costs vary between 600 and 700 US dollars.
Please note that this route can be done without a tour, that is, on your own. However, for this it is necessary to purchase each service in advance: tickets, train tickets, accommodations, etc. It is also necessary to organize a suitable travel backpack: with food, tents, sleeping bags, etc.
If you do this route, do not forget to bring your swimsuit with you. You can use it in the thermal baths of Lares as well as in the thermal baths of Aguas Calientes. Nor should you forget your towel, sunscreen, repellent against mosquitoes, a rain poncho, hat (or cap), good shoes and the personal accessories that you consider necessary.
The Lares trek can be done by the whole family. Of course, it is recommended that the little ones like this type of adventure. Older adults must be in good health.
The best time to do the route is between May and October as there is less chance of rain. Likewise, the route is available all year round.
More things you should know
The Lares trek crosses mountainous landscapes where it is possible to see: llamas, alpacas, vizcachas and even the famous Andean condor.
The services included in most tours are: entrance to Machu Picchu Solo, Expedition train service and 2-star tourist accommodation in Aguas Calientes. If the tourist wishes, they can improve these services. For example: the entrance to Machu Picchu with Huayna Picchu, Vistadome train service or tourist accommodation 3 stars or more. All this, of course, for an additional cost.
By Inca Trail Machu Picchu - Last updated, 04-11-2021
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