Lares Trek to Machu Pichu

Duration 5 or 6 day (6 day recommended)

Day 1 – Arrive to cusco – we pick you up & take you to your hotel in Sacred Valley or Cusco
Day 2 – Rest day (or start trek)
Day 3 – Cusco – exploring sacred Valley to Thermal Baths
Day 4 – Trek to Cuncani – meet local communities
Day 5 – Trek the Pumahuanca pass (sacred place of the puma) at 15,800 feet above sea level
Day 6 – trek back to Ollantaytambo; train from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes
Day 7 – Explore Machupicchu

Lares is an extremely large area covering many districts and Quechua communities. Included within its attractions are the incredible snow-covered mountains that reach more than 18,000 feet above sea level. The people of Lares still live in a traditional ways dedicating themselves mostly to growing potatoes and pasturing llamas and alpacas. Their way of life has not changed much in the last 200 years, mainly because they have self-isolated themselves from traditional communication routes, to maintain their traditions and culture.

This self-isolation has led to not only keeping traditional farming methods alive, but at the same time keeping the cultures of ancestral handmade weaving techniques alive as well. These beautiful, bright and colorful hand woven garments and blankets abound in message and meaning for the Quechua community.

First day

We start our journey at the incredible Sacred Valley of the Incas, at the basins of the majestic Urubamba River.  Sacred valley is a region in Peru’s Andean highlands, it once formed the heart of the Inca Empire. Stretching roughly 60 kilometers, it’s an area of fertile farmland and Spanish colonial villages.

We will drive to a village called Pisac – Pisac is known for its lively handicrafts market in the main square. A path winds from the square past agricultural terraces up to Pisac Archaeological Park, a hilltop Incan citadel with ancient temples, plazas and the Intihuatana, a stone structure thought to have been a sundial.

We will continue through the sacred valley until reaching Calca at 2900 meters above sea, which shall serve as our first stop for lunch. After lunch we will continue to the thermal baths of Lares where we will make our first camp for the night. Our luggage and support team will be waiting for us ensuring an easy and comfortable arrival. The remainder of the afternoon and evening will be free for us to enjoy the thermal pools –  which are very relaxing! Around 8:00pm dinner will be served and our guides shall brief you with next day’s itinerary.

Second day

After our respective breakfast we will start our trek following the course of a river that is fed directly from ancient glaciers. Our walk will be surrounded by a beautiful landscape with local vegetation and Eucalyptus trees. After about 2 hours we will take a short rest and enjoy a snack, the various high mountain peaks in the distance will be coming into view.

Continuing along the river for the next few hours, we will arrive at a small village called Cuncani, a high Andean community located around 12,800 feet above sea level. The area is surrounded by a small Quechua community that survives primarily from llama and alpaca herding. This area will also serve home for the night. We shall set up our second camp at this elevation.

After enjoying an exquisite lunch prepared by our chef, we will visit the local villages. We want you to get a glimpse into the life of local communities that call these highlands home. You will also be treated to a demonstration of local weavings, farming and cooking – the way of the Quechua.

Third day

Today we shall be trekking to the highest elevation of the Larres trek, the Pumahuanca pass (sacred place of the puma) at 15,800 feet above sea level. This trip will take approximately 4 hours, offering spectacular and unique vistas and landscapes.

After a brief rest at the summit, we will descend for about an hour before we arrive at the lunch point where our support staff will be waiting for us ready with another delicious meal. From here we have another hour or two before arriving at our campsite for the day at Qeuña pampa.

Fourth day

In the morning after a healthy breakfast we will start our journey downhill to the base of the mountain back towards the Sacred Valley of the Inkas. The mountain landscapes will transform back to a sheltered and temperate climate landscape with greener vegetation. We will have our private van waiting to drive us to Ollantaytambo. It’s known for the Ollantaytambo ruins, a massive Inca fortress with large stone terraces on a hillside. Major sites within the complex include the huge Sun Temple and the Princess Baths fountain.  It is here where we will take our train to Aguas Calientes (town located at the base of the Inca city of Machu Picchu). After a short trip of one hour and 45 minutes we will check into our hotel and rest for a bit before heading out to dinner at a restaurant in town.

Fifth day

Very early in the morning we will take the public bus to Machu Picchu. We will visit Machu Picchu in the first group of the day. More than just a visit, this will be a reunion with the past. By walking the grounds and listening to the stories of Machu Picchu, we can understand a little bit better the people of the Andes and what made them work so tirelessly to build this wonder. After orienting with our surroundings, we climb the Waynapicchu mountain, the typical mountain of Machu Picchu on the postcards. This climb will allow us to enjoy the landscape and impressive views from the highest part of Machu Picchu. The climb up and down takes about 2 and a half hours, after which we will take our bus to Aguas Calientes where we shall have lunch.  After lunch we shall take the return train from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo. Here we will meet our private van which will drive the group to the city of Cusco, a journey of just under 2 hours.

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