Lares Trek to Machu Picchu is the best alternative hike after Inca Trail if you are looking to explore lightly trodden paths. This fantastic trek will take you to visit Andean villages, schools, and hike along with llamas and alpacas while you enjoy spectacular views of the ice glacier mountains and lakes. Tour departures every day all year round!
Lares Trek to Machu Picchu takes you far off the beaten track to where you can meet and interact with members of traditional Andean communities and explore the Andes in solitude. You will learn all about life in these isolated villages, become familiar with their culture and traditions, hike along with llamas and alpacas, and even visit a local school. We finish your TreXperience, spending an unforgettable day exploring Machu Picchu.
- Duration: 4 Days / 3 nights
- Hiking Distance: 45 km – 27 miles
- Depart: Cusco
- Difficulty: Moderate to Challenging
- Season: All year round
- Destination: Machu Picchu
- Type: Adventure – Camping – Hotel
Highlights of the Lares Trek
- Book with Confidence and Flexibility
- Visit the natural hot springs of Lares.
- Take part in a PACHAMANCA(underground cooking)
- Explore the Maras Salineras and Ollantaytambo
- Panoramic trains to return (Vistadome or 360°)
- Support social projects in the villages we visit
Price per person: 590.USD
To book the Lares Trek 4 days, you need to make an initial payment of 200.USD per person, the remaining balance can be paid online, in installments, or Cusco with any credit card at no booking fees at all.
All travelers under 17 will have a $40. If you are 25 years old or under at the time of traveling, you can get the 40$ discount with your student ID. Please advise by email to give you a code for the discount.
Day-by-day summary of Lares Trek 4 days
Day 1: Cusco – Lares Thermal Baths – Blue Lagoon (10 km, 4 hrs)
Start in your hotel in Cusco and drive for 3 hours to Lares’ hot springs, with several natural pools with different temperatures. After breakfast, we start the first day with a 2-hour hike and lunch in the village of Kiswarani. Next, you will hike for 3 hours through beautiful Andean lakes until the Village of Kiswarani.
Day 2: Kiswarani – Condor Pass – Cancha Cancha Community (16 km, 7hrs)
Wake up with a cup of coffee or tea and enjoy breakfast with the mountains and lake; it’s a 4-hour hike up to condor pass at 4750mts, then two more down to lunch. After lunch, we continue for 1 more hour to Cancha Cachcha village, the campsite at 3600mts.
Day 3: CanchaCancha – Huaran– Ollantaytambo – Aguas Calientes (12km, 4 hrs)
Wake up in your tent and have breakfast; we start hiking down to the Sacred Valley for 4 hours, where we will have a special Pachamanca underground hot-stone barbecue, visit Salineras, Ollantaytambo, and take the train to Aguas Calientes.
Day 4: Machu Picchu (The Lost City Of The Incas) – 4 hrs
After breakfast, we take the early buses up to Machu Picchu for the sunrise, then explore Machu Picchu with your guide to later take the Panoramic train bus back to your hotel in Cusco.
Included In the Lares Trek 4 days tour
- Safety briefing the day before the tour at 6:00 pm in our office
- Pick up from your hotel on the morning of the tour.
- All transportation during the duration of the Trek
- Duffle bag up to 7 kilos for your stuff carried by horses
- Professional, highly trained mountain tour guides
- Experienced chefs, porters, and horsemen
- Pachamanca Cooking demonstration
- Two nights camping in the mountains with comfortable equipment
- One night in a 3-star hotel in Aguas Calientes
- All meals during the Trek with local organic ingredients
- Entrance ticket to Lares, Salineras, and Machu Picchu
- Buses up and down to Machu Picchu
- Panoramic Exclusive train on the last to come back to Cusco.
Not Included in the Lares Trek
- Sleeping bags, air mattresses, or trekking poles
- Last day Lunch
- Huayna Picchu Mountain or Montaña Machu Picchu entrances
- Tips for porters, chefs, guides
Optional hikes after the Machu Picchu guided tour:
Similar Tours to Machu Picchu:
Day 1: Cusco – Lares Thermal Baths – Blue Lagoon
Depart Cusco at 4.30 am by van to the famous Lares thermo-medicinal baths – arriving around 8:00 am. You will have time to jump straight into the medicinal pools with different temperatures good for bones, muscles, and stress, and relax with the mountain’s beautiful views. Then you will have an energizing breakfast prepared by your trekking chef.
The adventure starts with a 2-hour hike to Kiswarani Village, where we enjoy a fresh lunch prepared with local products. After lunch, we continue hiking for 3 hours, passing beautiful Andean lakes, waterfalls, and amazing views of the mountains until we reach Kiswarani village. Upon reaching our campsite, your tents and a hot cup of tea will be waiting for you.
- Campsite Altitude: 3880 m/ 12730 ft
- Trekking distance: 17 km/10 miles
- Duration: 7 hours
- Meals: Breakfast, snacks, lunch, dinner
- Accommodation: Camping under million stars
- Difficulty: Moderate
Day 2: Blue Lagoon – Condor Pass – Cancha Cancha Community
Wake up bright and early with a cup of coffee or tea, then start packing for the most challenging day of the Lares trek. After breakfast, you will begin a 4-hour hike uphill to the Condor Pass’s highest point (4700 m / 15354 ft). Along the way, you will be able to enjoy beautiful lakes where Wallatas (Andean geese or ‘lovebirds’) swim in crystal clear waters. Upon arrival at the summit of Condor Pass, we will serve you a well-deserved cup of coca-tea, and you can take some time to rest while your tour guide performs a spiritual offering ceremony to the sacred mountains. Then, it’s a 2-hour descent from the top of the mountain down to the valley, where lunch is served.
After lunch, you will continue downhill for 2 more hours to Canchacancha village through the breathtaking scenery. Upon arrival, your tents will be ready with a hot drink to enjoy the view of the mountains. You will have time to interact and walk around the village, chase llamas and alpacas, visit a local school; you can even teach some English and learn Quechua from them as well.
- Campsite Altitude: 3750 m / 12303 ft
- Highest altitude: 4700 m / 15354 ft
- Distance: 16 km/ 9.9 miles
- Duration: 8 hours
- Meals: Breakfast, snacks, lunch, dinner
- Accommodation: Camping
- Difficulty: Moderate to challenging
Day 3: Canchacancha – Salineras – Ollantaytambo – Aguas Calientes
Starting the day with a beautiful view of the mountains and a delicious breakfast, prepare yourself for the final 4-hour downhill into the Sacred Valley from the highlands. First, you will say goodbye to the last remaining village, still practicing Inca traditions, isolated from modern technologies. Along the way, you can observe different types of ecosystems – from the colder highlands, where only potatoes are grown, to the fertile soils of the sacred valley, where maize is the main product.
The Lares Trek to Machu Picchu concludes in a small town called Huaran (2700 m / 8856 ft), and from here, a private bus will drive you to Salineras and Ollantaytambo; “Last Living Incan City.” Or as it is sometimes known, the “World Capital of the Native American.” You will take some time to explore these ancient streets and the water channel that has been in use since Inca time. Dinner in a local restaurant in Ollantaytambo before catching the 7:00 pm train to Aguas Calientes, where we will spend the night in a 3-star hotel.
- Campsite Altitude: 2700m / 8856 ft
- Highest altitude: 3,750 m / 12,303 ft
- Distance: 12 km / 7.4 miles
- Duration: 4 hours
- Meals: Breakfast, snacks, lunch, dinner
- Accommodation: Hotel
- Difficulty: Easy
Day 4: Machu Picchu (Lost City of the Incas)
Enjoy the final day by waking early in your hotel, having breakfast, and taking the first buses up to Machu Picchu to watch the spectacular sunrise over Machu Picchu. The tour guide will take an extra hike before starting the citadel’s 2-3 hours guided tour.
The guide will take you to the most important places and explain the history, mysteries, and incredible Inca technology used to build Machu Picchu. Later you will have time to Explore by yourself or take the extra hikes like Huayna Picchu or Montaña Machu Picchu; both mountains have to be booked in advance. Once you are done with the citadel, you need to take the bus from Machu Picchu back to Aguas Calientes for lunch (not included) and then take the exclusive panoramic trains to return to Ollantaytambo and private van to Cusco. Drop is back at your hotel around 7:30 pm.
- Highest altitude: 2700m / 8858ft
- Distance: 6km / 3 miles
- Duration: 3 hours
- Meals: Breakfast (hotel)
- Difficulty: Easy
Lares Tour Packing List
During the Lares trek, your main luggage will remind in your hotel in Cusco, or you can leave with us. To the Trek, you will take your daypack plus a duffle bag that TreXperience will provide during the briefing held the day before your tour in our office in Cusco.
During the briefing held at 6.00 pm, your tour guide will provide you final details of your trip and give you the duffle bags to put up to 7 kilos of your stuff. Our porter will carry this bag together with the food and camping equipment.
What to put in the backpack.
The backpack will be with you at all times; you are responsible for carrying it while hiking during the day, and it must be as light as possible. Remember that duffle bags you will find only at the campsite and all you need during the day must be in your daypack.
Passport.- Passports must be with you at all times in a safe and dry place; we recommend placing them inside Ziploc bags together with money and other documents.
Student Card.- if you have booked as a student, you must bring your student ID with you, especially when we enter Machu Picchu.
Water bottle or camelback.- You must bring reusable water containers; they must be easy to handle and have a capacity of at least 2 liters.
Rain Ponchos, rain jackets. – Plastic rain ponchos will be provided to you together with the duffle bags; you still need to bring a waterproof or windproof jacket.
Sunscreen, hat, and long-sleeved shirts.- You will be hiking over an open space with no shelter, and you need to be always protected.
Warm jacket.- Early in the morning, the weather is chili. You will start hiking with all your layers and remove them slowly as you begin warming up; always keep a warm jacket with you, even on the hottest day. The temperature in the Andes might vary in a matter of minutes.
Mini First Aid Kit.- You must always have with you your medication as well as band-aids, altitude medicine, pain killers, Cipro, a pill for allergies, insect repellent, and others.
Headlamp, camera, cellphone, sunglasses
Toilet paper.- Must be in your day pack always with you
Extra Cash.- It’s important to have always travel money with you; we recommend around 600 soles (200.USD) in Cash; it is better to have in small coins about 20 Soles at least for anything to buy along the train like water souvenirs. The travel is not to spend; this is just for emergencies.
What to put in the duffle bag?
Sleeping bag. – A 4 season (-10°) sleeping bag is required for this trek; you can bring your own or rent from us. If you rent from us, you will be provided with a liner, so you don’t need to bring this. All our sleeping bags are suitable for the Lares weather and are cleaned and sanitized after every trek.
Inflatable mattress. – We will provide a foam mattress; however, if you prefer to have extra comfort at night, we recommend bringing or hiring an inflatable mattress.
Pillows. – We will provide you with small camping pillows during this trek.
Shoes: For this trek, we strongly recommend wearing hiking boots
Socks: You will need about 5 pairs of thick wool hiking socks plus 3 pairs of light socks for the nights or to walk around after the trek.
3 pairs of long trousers, hiking pants, or legging works for ladies.
Thermal Underwear.- this is very important for the nighttime.
Swimsuit.- We will visit the Lares Thermal baths, we strongly recommend bringing a swimsuit for the first day.
Sandals.- To change after the trek and in the hotel.
Toiletries.- Toothpaste, soap, shampoo, lip balm, moisturizer
Towel.- Small and light towel
Hand sanitizer and toilet paper
All you need to know about Lares Trek 4 days to Machu Picchu
There are many trekking routes to Machu Picchu like the Salkantay Trek, Classic Inca Trail, the Jungle Trek, and also we have lesser-known tours like the Lares Trek to Machu Picchu. This beautiful route takes you off the beaten path to explore remote villages in the Peruvian Andes, visit pristine glacier lakes, and hike along with llamas and alpacas in their natural habitat.
What is the Lares Trek?
The Lares Trek is an alternative trek to Machu Picchu that takes you on 4 to 5 days of adventure. This trek is perfect for those travelers who prefer a more cultural interaction, visit non-crowded routes, and explore remote mountains where llamas and alpacas are the locals.
How many days is the Lares Trek to Machu Picchu?
The Lares Trek can be done in 4 days and 5 days itinerary as well:
The Lares Trek 4 days tour starts in the district of Lares. First, we visit the hot springs, hike through the mountains visiting the remote villages, visit the Salineras of Maras, and finish the Machu Picchu tour.
The Lares Trek 5 days itinerary follows the same route as the 4 days Lares Trek and includes the Short Inca Trail hike at the end instead of just traveling to Machu Picchu by train.
Where is this tour located?
It is located on the Andes’ eastern side, near the District of Lares, approximately 150 km – 93 miles from Cusco. The trek starts in Lares’ hot springs (3250 m / 10662 ft), 3 hours drive from Cusco. Lares district belongs to Calca province in Cusco.
What is the average height?
- This tour’s pick-up is from your hotel in Cusco city at 3399m / 11151ft.
- Lares district, where the hot springs are located, is 3250 m / 10662 ft.
- The first campsite is located at 3750 m / 12303 ft.
- The highest point is Condor’s pass at 4700 m / 15354 ft.
- The second campsite is located at 2700m / 8856 ft.
- The final destination is Machu Picchu at 2430m / 7972ft
When is the best time to visit Lares Trek to Machu Picchu?
The Lares Trek weather is similar to Cusco, the Inca trail, or the Salkantay Trek. The average temperature during the day is from 10°C to 21° (50°F – 70°C). The nights are cold and could reach below 0°C (30°F).
All the region of Cusco has 2 seasons only; we don’t have summer, winter, fall, or spring in the Andes; we only have rainy and dry season:
- Lares Trek weather January: January usually starts with rain; this is when we expect rainier days and an average of 16 to 17 days of rain in the whole month. The positive part is that nights are not so cold, we have fewer travelers, and everything is green, perfect for spending a beautiful time away from the crowds.
- Lares Trek weather February: This month is known as the crazy February. Although we have lesser rain than in January, we expect more substantial rainfall. Same as January, Lares Trek is the route to go hiking during the rainy season.
- Lares Trek weather March: March is still inside the rainy season; however, we expect less rain than January or February. Temperature is warm during the day and at night is not so close; it is the beginning of the harvesting season for farmers, and children are back to school.
- Lares Trek weather April: Just finishing the rainy season, there are still occasional rains; during a sunny day, temperatures are sweltering, and nights start to get cold.
- Lares Trek weather May: This month is one of the best of the year to hike any trek to Machu Picchu; it is the beginning of the dry season. However, there could be occasional rains, even in the driest months.
- Lares Trek weather June: The weather in June in the Lares Trek during the days are around 21°C (70°C) and at night could reach below 0°C (30°F). Morning is frigid due to the frost, and we see occasional snow in the Mountains.
- Lares Trek weather July: The weather in June in the Lares Trek during the days are around 21°C (70°C) and at night could reach below 0°C (30°F). Morning is frigid due to the frost, and we see occasional snow in the mountains. Despite being the driest months of the year, sometimes we have rain, and you need to be prepared.
- Lares Trek weather August: August is the month of the Pachamama (Mother Earth) and is celebrated with great devotion by the villagers offering presents. This month is expected to have the rains back vital for farming; the locals believe that the first days of August represent each month of the year; this way, if we have rain during the 1st of August, it will be a good January for farming.
- Lares Trek weather September: With the rains back after the long dry season, the landscape becomes green, ponds are back, and birds. The day temperature is warm, and the night temperature is not so cold anymore.
- Lares Trek weather October: The beginning of the wet or rainy season; however, some year dry season could extend longer like this 2020 that rains were back almost December. Days are warm, and the night temperature is not very cold.
- Lares Trek weather November: The beginning of the wet or rainy season; however, some year dry season could extend longer like this 2020 that rains were back almost December. Days are warm, and the night temperature is not very cold.
- Lares Trek weather December: The weather in the Andes is unpredictable; we could go weeks during October, November, December and not see rain at all, or it could be the opposite. Rains are expected during this month; however, we can have one day raining in a week and the rest.
What are the best attractions in the Lares Area?
- Hot springs of Lares: The highlight of the trek, the natural hot springs are compound of different pools with different temperatures from cold to very hot (36°C – 44°C or 96°F – 112°F). Pure volcanic water contains many minerals considered by locals to be good for your bones, stress, muscles, and headaches.
- Kiswarani Waterfalls: Visit the beautiful 7 waterfalls near the Kisawarani village on the first day.
- Blue Lagoon: Locally known as K’oyalay, this beautiful Andean lake is located at 3750 m / 12303 ft.
- Llamas and Alpacas: Staring on the first day, you will see herds of llamas and alpacas grazing high in the mountain.
- Condor pass: With 4700 m / 15354 ft is the highest mountain pass in the Lares trek and gets this name since we can sometimes see the Andean Condor and other birds. The view of the highest mountain in this place is spectacular.
- Canchacancha Village: Located at 2700m / 8856 ft, this remote village is located 4 hours from the closed route, local travel on foot to get supplies and use llamas to transport goods.
- Salineras de Maras: Located in the Sacred Valley area, there are more than 3000 saltpans where locals harvest salt using ancient techniques.
- Ollantaytambo: Ollanataytambo town is considered the “Last Living Inca Citadel” since locals still use the original Inca streets, doorways, and even water channels running since the Inca times.
- Machu Picchu: The Final destination, after a long 3 days tour, we arrive on the morning of the last day to the great city of Machu Picchu.
What is the best Itinerary?
All trekking trails lead to Machu Picchu; the best itinerary with different experiences are:
- Day 1: Cusco – Lares Thermal Baths – Kiswarani Village
- Day 2: Quiswarani – Condor Pass – Cancha Cancha Community
- Day 3: CanchaCancha – Huaran– Ollantaytambo – Aguas Calientes
- Day 4: Machu Picchu (The Lost City Of The Incas)
This itinerary will allow hiking from Lares to Machu Picchu rather than going back and forth.
How to book the Tour?
Book your trip to Machu Picchu with a trekking tour operator rather than with an online travel agent; this way, the money paid will benefit straight to locals.
Ensure the company you are hiring is a locally licensed tour operator and verify reviews pictures.
Verify the hotel category offered in the tour, the inclusions, the buses to Machu Picchu, and the train category included.
Book as early as possible your tour to get the best shifts in Machu Picchu, the best hotels, and the best train schedule.
How much is the cost of a group tour?
There are many tours and itineraries for Lares Trek; for a group tour of about 8 people, the regular prices are between 500.USD to 600.USD per person. TreXperience charges 580.USD per person for an almost all-inclusive tour with 3-star hotels and Panoramic Vistadome Trains.
How challenging is the Lares Trek?
Comparing the best trekking tour to Machu Picchu: the Classic Inca Trail, Salkantay Trek, and Lares Trek, this last one is considered less intense; however, it reaches the highest altitude. This trekking is considered in a medium moderate range with a daily hike of an average of 6 hours. Travelers must be in a moderate physical condition capable of hiking for several hours on an average of 3500 meters high.
How to prevent altitude problems in the Lares Trek?
We cannot avoid altitude sickness; it doesn’t matter the age, fitness level, or experience; altitude sickness can affect anyone, even experienced hikers. The best way to prevent this is by arriving at least 2 days before your trek departure, resting in Cusco before the tour, eating light, and drinking a lot of water; you must also bring altitude medicine.
When is the best time to hike the Lares Trek and visit Machu Picchu?
Unlike the Salkantay Trek or Inca Trail, Lares Trek is available all year round due to the heavy rains.
The best time to visit Machu Picchu is from April to November, when it is Dry season, April and November are the Shoulders months, and a weather increase is expected.