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A Complete Guide to Lares Trek to Machu Picchu

One of the most popular things to do in South America is visit Machu Picchu, and nowadays there are different ways that you can get there, from the iconic Inca Trail. that led on the ancient path to the most remote Lares Trek. Many people are confused about which route to take to Machu Picchu.

Lares hike to Machu Picchu
Hiking to the pass on Lares Trek

Here in this article, we will know why you should consider hiking through the Lares Trek and what makes it different from the other trek in Cusco.

Overview

The Lares Trek is the perfect hike to Machu Picchu. In addition to its incredible scenery, this Lares Trek offers you the chance to enjoy the peace and quiet of a remote location on a tough Andes trail in Peru, but this hike also brings you to villages for camping and interaction with the local people. You will experience all four seasons by hiking over snow-capped peaks into the rain forest with waterfalls and high alpine lakes. Unlike the Inca Trail, you will have the opportunity to witness the traditions and customs of the Quechua culture before getting to the famous Machu Picchu.

You’ll feel like you have the Andes to yourself

On a three-day hike, you could count on just one hand how many other tourists were hiking the Lares trail. The remoteness added to the magical and spiritual vibe that you’ll start to feel the second you arrive in Cusco. Sometimes on the hike, you would just stop and listen to nothing but silence while surrounded by mountain peaks more than five thousand meters high. If you want to be humbled by nature, then the Andes will happily oblige.

The stars will blow your mind

Being a city slicker, it’s easy to forget how incredible the night sky truly is. High in the Andean Mountains, the Lares Trek will treat you to some of the most impressive views of the Milky Way and constellations you’ll ever see.

What makes the Lares Trek to Machu Picchu special?

Definitely, the opportunity to experience authentic Andean culture This is the best way to understand what it’s like to live in Peru’s mountains. The Lares journey takes you through many Andean towns, where you’ll hike through common stone houses with thatched roofs while following some of the same roads that natives take every day.
On our Lares Trek, you will spend the two nights in the remote area surrounded by towering mountains and breathtaking vistas, experience a different way to live in basic but comfortable conditions, and see first-hand the way people in the Andes live. Time permitting, the family may treat you to a weaving demonstration, some Andean music, or even a chance to fish in the nearby lake!

Natural colors to dye the clothes
Preparing the colors to dye some clothes

Lares Trek vs Inca Trail: Which is the best?

The Lares Trek is not just an alternative to the overloaded Classic Inca Trail system. The Lares Trek has a lot to offer for people looking for a combination of nature, snow-capped mountains, and local culture. As the same as the Inca Trail, however, the Classic Inca Trail allows you to explore more Inca sites and history and hike on the original ancient path to reach Machu Picchu.

Let’s see some differences between those trails:

Lares Trek 4 Days

The Lares Trek is dubbed the Ultimate Cultural Trek. On the Lares Trek, you don’t just get to experience the thrill of hiking a part of the Inca Trail route to Machu Picchu. You actually get to meet the descendants of those people who built the Inca Trail and Machu Picchu. It gives you a different way to learn the Andean culture. Another drawback of the Lares Trek is that you don’t need any permits; you just need the ticket for Machu Picchu.
Compared to the Inca Trail, the Lares Trek is far less of a fixture on the tourist circuit. This means that there’s no competition for passes, booking as far in advance as possible is not necessary, and the trek will involve more privacy from other tourists.

Lares Trek to Machu Picchu Highlights

  • A particularly beautiful trek featuring waterfalls and mountain lakes
  • A chance to see local villages and experience the traditional way of life
  • Experience the authentic Andean life with locals.
  • The most incredible views on the train journey
  • Machu Picchu at the end of your journey

 

Inca Trail Trek 4 Days

The Inca Trail is definitely the more historic option. Before arriving at Machu Picchu, the hike passes through a variety of Inca sites unreachable to tourists by any other means—and while Machu Picchu can famously become quite crowded with tourists, you’re sure to find each of these sites comparatively quiet and calmer.
Another reason to choose the Inca Trail is that it is the only way to arrive at Machu Picchu through the ancient city’s famed Sun Gate. This experience is so beautiful that it can be emotionally overwhelming, and many visitors look back and find it one of the most memorable moments of their lifetimes.

Inca Trail Highlights

  • The original trail to Machu Picchu
  • The only route that arrives directly to Machu Picchu is through the Sun Gate.
  • Breathtaking vistas of Inca sites along the trail
  • Away from the buildings and the noisy cities
  • Claud forest landscapes
  • What is the difficulty in the Lares Trek vs Inca Trail?

    Lares Trek vs Inca Trail

    Why choose Lares Trek to Machu Picchu?

    The Lares Trek is also considered an authentic cultural experience while hiking through the high Andes of Peru, watching local people working on their farmlands with some typical animals around. It is easier to compare than other trails. Travelers who hike on the Lares Trek often get a chance to visit the school and the weaving association; this is a totally different experience than the average treks to Machu Picchu.

    Hiking down to the Valley
    Descending after the pass on the Lares Trek

    What is the weather like in the Lares Trek?

    The weather during the walk is cold, with variable temperatures while you hike. However, Cusco and Lares Trek have two different seasons clearly marked:

    Rainy Seasong
    This season is from November to March, with some rainfall during the day. The sky is always cloudy, and parts of the trail could be muddy and slippery. As a local tour operator, we don’t take people in January and February because it could be snowing at some points of the trail or some landslides could block the routes.

    Dry Season
    these months includes April to October with more sunny days during the weeks with temperatures around 25 °C, however, the temperatures could drop below zero during nights and the mornings. June and July are the colder months and are probably going to see snow on the trails.

    What is the distance of the Lares Trek?

    The Lares Trek covers a 37-kilometer pathway, starting in Lares Hot Springs and continuing through Quiswarani Camp to Canchacancha Hamlet in the Sacred Valley. It involves a 3-day trek, and after the 37-kilometer (22 miles) hike, the adventure ends with a magical visit to Machu Picchu Park on the fourth day.

    On the Lares Trek, does it include the entrance to Machu Picchu?

    Yes, when you book a trip with us through the Lares Trek, we include the entrance to Machu Picchu; however, we don’t include the tickets for Wayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain (they must be booked in advance, and the cost is $70 USD for one of these).
    During our Lares Trek to Machu Picchu, we included almost everything, from the meals to the round-trip train ride. You also could upgrade the train service to Vistadome with better seats and larger windows, as well as the hotel in Aguas Calientes.

    Finally Machu Picchu after 3 days hiking on Lares Trek
    Machu Picchu after the Hike of Lares Trek

    Lares Trek to Machu Picchu Packing List

    Lares Trek is one alternative to the Inca Trail, and it covers four days and three nights (two nights camping and one in a hotel in Aguas Calientes).
    The wake-up calls are early, the nights are cold, and the hardest part of the hike is reaching 4650 meters (15255 feet) above sea level at the Condor’s Pass. The reward? A hot chocolate at the top, in the snow.

    Clothes and gear (male/female)

  • Quality raincoat
  • Leggings/walking trousers
  • Waterproof trousers, the pack away ones are fine
  • Shorts (wore at Machu Picchu)
  • 3 vest tops (you will want a clean outfit for Machu Picchu)
  • A cardigan/fleece
  • Gloves (you can buy from the market for 8 soles, or 11 soles on the road)
  • 4 x underwear
  • 1 x bra
  • 4 x socks
  • Scarf? (it’s useful as a cover too)
  • Hat/headband/bandanna
  • Quality poncho (our company gave us this)
  • Sunglasses
  • Torch
  • Quality bag cover like Osprey
  • Walking sticks (you can hire for $15)
  • Camera/phone
  • Money (limited opportunity to buy during trek but needed for tipping and Machu Picchu day as lunch is not included)
  • Passport (needed for Machu Picchu)
  • Swimwear/towel for day one baths
  • Toiletries and medicine
  • Baby wipes
  • Deodorant (1 x stick / 1 x small spray)
  • Dry shampoo
  • Hair bobble and Kirby grips/bobby pins
  • Suntan lotion (vital)
  • Insect repellent
  • Tissues
  • Blister pads (you won’t find these in Cusco, invest in Leukotape US / UK before you go)
  • Coca leaves/ash or coca sweets for altitude
  • Painkillers

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