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4 Day Lares Trek to Machu Picchu or the Lares Trek Peru is often considered one of the best alternatives to the Classic Inca Trail hike. The Lares Trek route seldom has Inca Ruins like the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.
It primarily takes you around the Lares Valley. The trek offers an insight into the life and culture of the local people living in the highland region apart from the jaw-dropping sights.
Although Lares Trail is shorter than most trails to Machu Picchu, its high mountain passes could be challenging to some. Especially, if you are not acclimatized. The highest point of the Lares trek to Machu Picchu is at 4850 meters above sea level (15912 ft.).
The four days Lares Trek to Machu Picchu is dotted with beautiful lakes snuggled between the snow-capped peaks of the Andean mountains. You will have plenty of opportunities to spot herds of Llamas, Alpacas, and Vizcacha (Andean Rabbit).
Unlike the Inca Trail or Salkantay Trek, most of the Trek Lares could be enjoyed in solitude. Moreover, our Lares Trek hike starts where others end.
We are a fully locally owned tour operator. Our Lares Trek to Machu Picchu experience starts where others end. Hence you will be able to experience most sites in complete solitude.
We operate the trek both in private and as a small group tour. Please note that this is a high-altitude experience. The trek has many high passes. We highly recommend you spend a few days in Cusco before the trek to avoid altitude sickness.
Check out our post on Lares Trek Tips, Lares Trek FAQs, and 10 things to know about hiking Lares Trek.
Do check out our verified traveler reviews on Tripadvisor.
Cusco Hotel Transfer
Your epic 4-Day Lares Trek to Machu Picchu begins with a pickup from your hotel in Cusco at 0400 in the morning. We will be embarking on a two hours drive through the Sacred Valley of the Incas to a small Andean town called Pumahuanca. This is the starting point of Lares Trek Peru.
Here we will be meeting our support team – chef and muleteers. While we get your things organized, our Andean chef will be serving you a traditional breakfast. Our local expert will be giving you some tips on hiking in the Peruvian Andes.
After checking our gears and safety equipment, we will begin with a gradual uphill hike through the Pumahuaca Valley to our lunch camp near Paqcha Pata – Waterfalls. The route offers spectacular views of the highland Andean villages snuggled between the snowcapped peaks.
Our Andean chef will be serving you a traditional meal at our exclusive campsite overlooking the valley.
After relishing the lunch, we will continue trekking to a lesser-known Inca archaeological site, Chupani. Our local expert will be giving you an immersive insight into the history of the complex.
Once you have had your fill of the Incan history, we will continue the hike through a region full of native plantations. Our guide will be explaining the prominence of each of them. The route is dotted with views of spectacular rocky mountains and small crystalline streams.
Later in the evening, we will be reaching our campsite in Puyoc. It nestles at 4150m/13615ft. above sea level.
Our crew will be welcoming you to the campsite with a hot cup of coca tea. We will then serve a traditional dinner.
We will be setting up tents under the clear Andean sky. You will be falling asleep with a view of the galaxy and the milky way.
Meals Included: Lunch – Dinner (Extra snack in the mornings and happy hour before dinner).
Our crew will be waking you up to a freshly brewed cup of coca tea or Peruvian coffee. We will then serve a nutritious Andean breakfast. Our crew will help you refill your water bottles with boiled water.
We will begin the second day of the Lares Trek Peru with a gradual climb to the highest point of the 4 Day Lares Trek to Machu Picchu, Siclla Qasa Pass at 4850m/16682ft. above sea level. This section of the Lares Trek takes you through a less-traveled route amidst the snowcapped peaks.
Once at the pass, we will have a brief stop to contemplate the pristine views of villages tucked amidst the snowcapped Andean peaks. Our guide will explain the prominence of the peaks (Apus) in Andean mythology and how locals worship them.
After relishing the staggering views, we will begin our descent to our exclusive lunch camp in Yanacocha (Black Lagoon). The lagoon nestles amidst a valley. Our Andean chef will be serving you our signature organic food for lunch.
Happy Gringo Tours is the only tour operator in the region to serve Organic Food on all our treks.
After enjoying the meal and a short rest, we will continue descending to a small traditional village, Cuncani. We will be hiking through different local communities. You will get to see people dressed in their colorful traditional outfits.
People living here are known for their handicrafts, so spare a few change if you would like to buy some souvenirs.
We will also be passing potato fields. Our guide will give you an insight into traditional farming methods. You will also be spotting Vizcachas (Andean Rabbits).
For the night, we will be camping in Cuncani. It nestles at 3800m/12467ft above sea level. Our crew will be welcoming you to the campsite with some snacks and a hot cup of infusions.
We will then serve dinner. Once again, you will be able to stargaze before retiring to your tent after a full day hike.
Meals Included: Breakfast – Lunch – Dinner (Extra snack in the mornings and happy hour before dinner).
After relishing a traditional organic breakfast, we will be hiking through some remote villages. You will have the opportunity to meet locals as we will be passing through typical Andean huts and farming lands.
Our local expert will be introducing you to life in the Andes. You will get an insight into the traditions and customs. People here are untouched by modernity. They continue speaking in Quechua (native language).
We will then continue our descent for two hours to Lares Hot Springs. You will have plenty of time to take a dip in the natural thermal waters. This is the best way to relax and rejuvenate after experiencing the Lares Trek Peru.
We will then have the last lunch of the trek with the Happy Gringo Tours support team.
We will then drive you to Ollantaytambo in our private transport. It is a small town that was the administrative capital of the Incas. We will be having some free time here so you can admire this last preserved Inca-inhabited town.
We will be stopping for dinner at a local restaurant. Later in the evening, we will embark on a two hours scenic train ride along the course of the Urubamba River to Aguas Calientes town. On this trip, you will witness a change in view as we will be traveling from the Andes to the tropical jungle.
Once in Aguas Calientes, our crew will be accommodating you in an ensuite hotel room in the heart of the town.
Meals Included: Breakfast – Lunch – Dinner (Extra snack in the morning and dinner in Machu Picchu Pueblo).
Note: We accommodate our guests in the Presidente hotel or similar in Aguas Calientes town.
Early in the morning, after breakfast, we will be transferring you to the bus station. You will be embarking on a 25 minutes journey up the hill to the entrance of Machu Picchu citadel.
Our tour guide will assist you with passing the security control and entering the citadel. Please note that your original passport will be verified against the entrance ticket here.
Once inside the citadel, you will be rewarded with a spectacular sight of the citadel while the clouds clear by and the golden rays of the sun shimmer on the walls of Machu Picchu.
We will be giving you a two hours guided tour. After the tour, you will have some free time to explore the citadel on your own. If you have booked to hike Huayna Picchu or hike to Machu Picchu mountains, our guide will be directing you to the trailhead.
You will need a permit to hike to these peaks which are often sold six to seven months in advance.
Alternatively, you can hike to Sun gate or Intipunku. This is the entrance to the citadel for those on the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.
After exploring Machu Picchu, you will be taking a bus back to Aguas Calientes. Here we will be serving lunch at a local restaurant. At around 04:00 PM, we will be taking a train back to Ollantaytambo.
Our representative will be meeting you on arrival and will be driving you back to your hotel in Cusco. We will arrive in Cusco by 09:30 PM.
The highest point of the Lares Trek is 4850 meters above sea level (approximately 15,682 ft). However, the average height of the trek is 3600 meters above sea level (approximately 11811 ft).
Yes, the Lares Trek goes to Machu Picchu. It’s a great alternative to the Classic Inca Trail.
The Lares Trek is 37 km long and it takes three days to complete. The trek starts in the small town of Pumahuanca and it ends at the Hot Springs of Lares Valley. Then, you will continue your journey to the citadel of Machu Picchu.
We went on a 4D/3N Lares Trek + Macchu Picchu with Happy Gringo. Our guide Mauro was super friendly and a great guide! He informed us a lot about life in the Lares Valley and was happy to answer any questions we had. The trail itself was quite off the beaten path and we only saw three other travellers on the trail. They have a different route than other Lares Treks as they finish directly at the Hot Springs, which is the perfect way to end the trek! The rest team was also super friendly and we had a great time playing cards together in the evenings! The food was also divine – we were impressed how Jonathan was always able to cook up delicious meals in such basic environments. He also baked a cake for us on our last day!
Happy Gringo has made our Lares Trek and visit Macchu Picchu super memorable, and we would definitely recommend Happy Gringo for a great experience!
Happy Gringo is a wonderful operations. From our initial contact with Marco to our final drop of with Mauro they were helpful throughout the entire process. Mauro is a special guide who lead us on the Lares trek. He is friendly, funny and cares greatly for those who he is guiding as well as all the people we met along the way. Our experience was beautiful and the private chef Grimmaldo made delicious meals at every stop considering our vegan and vegetarianism. I highly recommend booking with these guys.
We went to Peru with our children aged 10, 8 & 6. We were so lucky to walk the Lares Trek with Marco and his amazing team of cooks and horse people. We also did day trips to Sacred Valley and Rainbow mountain with Marco. His knowledge of the area and history; passion for the local culture and custom; and ability and willingness to connect with us and our kids were beyond anything we could have expected.
Marko is fantastic. We had a great time on our Lares Trek to Machu Picchu. This was an exceptional tour. He stuck to the itinerary. The trek offers a great sights on the way to Machu Picchu. All campsites were clean and the toilets they had were well maintained although they were isolated from nearby towns. The food they serve was organic and vegan. Super healthy! All food were freshly cooked. If you are looking for an ideal operator for Lares Trek… don´t look further… go for Happy Gringo.
This was a very nice trip. Marko is an excellent guide. He is very helpful and thoughtful. He organised this tre extremely well. There were a lot of times where we could not walk normally due to high altitude, and Marko never got frustrated or rushed us, infact he stood next to us and encouraged us. The food were exrtreemely delicious and the camping areas were clean and well kept.