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7 waterfalls of lares trek

Doing the Lares Trek is one of the trekking options to get to Machu Picchu. However, it is not as popular as the Salkantay Trek or 4-day Inca Trail. This one remains in force because of the different activities and places that are known. The Lares Trek is also known as the cultural route to Machu Picchu. This is because you can visit some villages that teach their customs and traditions to tourists. However, it also allows us to appreciate incredible landscapes. One of the destinations that are visited and many leave aside are the Seven Waterfalls or Qanchis-Paccha. This natural destination is really beautiful and today we want to talk about this place.

The route of the Lares Trek to Machu Picchu

The Lares Trek is a trekking route that connects with Machu Picchu. It is known as the cultural route because it has activities linked or similar to experiential tourism. On the other hand, it can be said that it is one of the trekking experiences, slightly, simpler than the rest. Also, we should mention that it follows another route. Everything starts beyond Ollantaytambo, exactly in the heights of the Sacred Valley of the Incas. Everything will start from the district that gives its name to this tour in the province of Calca.

The tour or more precisely the Lares Trek to Machu Picchu, as usual, will begin with the trip to Lares. The starting point of this adventure will be Cusco. Upon arrival in Lares, many choose to take a dip in the hot springs of the place. This activity is completely optional. Tourists can desist from doing it. Although it is recommended to at least enter the hot springs. These waters have chemical compounds that allow the muscles to relax and even help with some stomach ailments.

Continuing with the Lares Trek, this activity is the hike to the first camp which will be in Wacahuasi, passing through Quishuarani and the 7 waterfalls. Destination which we will talk about in detail later. The Lares Trek route to Machu Picchu has different options. The most commercial or popular is the one that lasts 4 days. During these 4 days, you will spend 2 nights in camps set up by some communities. This is a place where a cultural exchange takes place. The third night will be spent in Aguas Calientes in the comfort of a hotel.

As usual, the tour of Machu Picchu will take place early on the fourth day. The convenience of spending the night in Aguas Calientes or Machu Picchu town is that you can start activities early and this would allow you to reach the Intihuatana, which usually closes its doors after 11:00 in the morning. However, for this reason, more people come at these times. On the other hand, to start the return, it is recommended to do it by direct train to Cusco or by the bimodal services that usually have a shorter trip compared to train travel.

Lares trek to Machu Picchu
Machu Picchu – Wonder of the world

Quishuarani – Lares Community

In this section, we want to talk about Quishuarani, a small community belonging to and very close to Lares. In this sense, Quishuarani belongs to the district of Lares and, therefore, to the province of Calca. Both destinations have an altitude that exceeds 3,600 meters above sea level. In the case of the district of Lares, the altitude reaches an additional 200 meters above sea level. As mentioned, Lares is located in the high zone of the Sacred Valley. This is probably one of the reasons why you can find communities that still keep ancestral customs in their daily life.

The community of Quishuarani, like most communities in Peru, especially in the Andean zone of Peru, is made up of Quechua-speaking families, the houses in these communities are quite separated. Many of them cannot even see each other because they are farther apart. Likewise, in the case of the children, they can speak their native language, Quechua, as well as Spanish. Although their Spanish is not optimal, they can express themselves, understand, and respond in both languages. In short, they can engage in a dialogue in Spanish and Quechua. Some parents also have this ability.

Like other communities, Quishuarani has tried to project itself over the years as an Andean cultural reference and protector of the environment. Thanks to the integration with naturalist organizations, Quishuarani Ccollana, as it is officially called, has been carrying out forestation and reforestation works in the Hatun Queñua Forest. In this geographic sector, they have been conserving the vegetation as well as the water sources that descend from the snow-capped mountains. All this care is of great importance, especially for the surrounding communities that are also integrated into this project.

Landscape of Quishuarani - Lares
Mountains that can be seen in Quishuarani – Lares

Seven Waterfalls of Lares or Qanchis – Paccha

One way to get to the Seven Waterfalls of Lares is to take a detour before reaching the district. Of course, this is an option for those who only want to make the trip without a travel agency. You can get to the community of Quishuarani, taking this detour in only 20 minutes, of course by car. There are also some tours or options that will allow you to get to the waterfalls by hiking from Lares, which lasts about 1 hour. The other alternative is the Lares Trek to Machu Picchu, which is an option with cultural touches as we saw above.

During the first day of the Lares Trek, you can visit an interesting natural attraction. It is a waterfall, which consists of 7 waterfalls. This place is known as the Seven Waterfalls or Qanchis Paccha. This second denomination would come from the Quechua name that was placed on it. Some tourists pass by this place without paying much attention. However, although it is not a large size to be considered a waterfall, this waterfall is a beautiful natural destination.

There are more than seven waterfalls, but 7 are the largest. The water that filters between the mountain and the waterfall is what reaches the communities. Some of the villagers reuse it as a source of water for trout breeding, others for planting and domestic use. It is also important to know that the Seven Waterfalls or Canchis Paqcha is currently part of a Private Conservation Area. For this reason, the conservation of the place is promoted with the active participation of the community.

The seven waterfalls of Lares has an altitude of approximately 5 meters. The 7 waterfalls descend at this altitude on average. Although it does not have a direct fall due to the presence of rocks, you can hear the sound of the water thanks to the impact of the rocks. Also as we mentioned, the waters of this place come from the thawing of the surrounding snow-capped mountains. The waters that descend from different points converge at the Seven Waterfalls. From this meeting point, the waters descend forming a kind of valley in the community of Quishuarani.

Another interesting fact is that above the falls, you can find a lagoon: Pukaorko. It has a large size where the water is filtered so that it descends by gravity. The waters of this lagoon are also a tributary of the falls. The lagoons in the altitude are created by the presence of thaws and especially gather their waters during the rainy season. Behind this place, you can also find the snow-capped Sahuasiray. In addition, all the mountains form beautiful landscapes. In case you reach the falls on your own, you can climb up to the lagoon mentioned above to have a better view of the whole place.

The 7 Waterfalls of Lares
The 7 Waterfalls of Lares

Can I go on my own?

Yes, throughout the blog we have mentioned some alternatives and ways to get there on your own. Besides, getting there is easy since there is vehicle access to the entrance area. Once in the place, you only have to follow the trail and the different viewpoints to better contemplate the waterfalls. In addition, you have a view of the whole place and the landscape that is formed by the presence of the flow of the waterfalls and the mountains that surround the entire community of Quishaurani.

If you are thinking of making this trip on your own, you don’t have much to worry about. The only thing you will have to keep in mind is that to get to Lares you have to board the buses that cover the Cusco – Calca route. This transportation can be found on Puputi Street, in Cusco. They are Sprinter model vehicles that leave, in some cases, according to schedule and others only if the vehicle is full. However, the wait is not long in both cases, several people make these trips because on the route you can reach Pisac and Urubamba.

When making the trip to Cusco-Lares, it would be advisable to descend in the detour that we mentioned. Make the walk for about an hour to the Seven Waterfalls, contemplate the place, take pictures, and take the return route to the district of Lares. By taking this route, you will be doing the Lares Trek in a way. You will appreciate part of the route and even have a meeting with the tourists who take it. When arriving at Lares, it is recommended to visit the thermal baths of the place. A peaceful place ideal for relaxing the muscles and opening the appetite before having an exquisite lunch.

The Seven Waterfalls of Quishuarani, are a fairly simple, safe, and economical destination to visit. If you have private transportation, the trip will be much easier and you will not have to hike. In addition, the roads for vehicles, even if they are dirt roads, are in good condition. Whichever option you choose or if you are only planning to visit the thermal baths of Lares, taking the detour to the Seven Waterfalls or Canchis Paqcha is an incredible option.


By Inca Trail Machu Picchu - Last updated, 14-03-2024

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