The five-day Lares Trek takes you high up in the Andes, hiking during the day and overnighting in luxurious lodges along the way. Providing impressive views of snow-capped peaks and glacial lakes, it’s a relatively demanding hike that will test your fitness.

Highlights

  • Stroll the vibrant market of Pisac
  • Wander the ancient citadel of Machu Picchu
  • Hike among awe-inspiring peaks and turquoise glacial lakes
  • Visit the impressive archaeological ruins of Ollantaytambo

Overview

Treks depart from Cusco where you can stock up on hiking gear and snacks. Your first stop, which you will reach by car, will be the market town of Pisac in the Sacred Valley. Over the course of the trek, you’ll have the chance to visit a number of archaeological sites, including at Pisac, Ancasmarca, and Ollantaytambo. Well worth it for the impressive views, the trek is quite hard work although there is some time to relax too. You’ll be able to tailor your itinerary with a variety of optional activities, including visits to museums and mountain bike rides.

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 From Cusco to Pisac Lamay Lodge
Day 2 Explore Inca villages in the Lares Region Huacahuasi Lodge
Day 3 Hike an Authentic Inca Trail in the Sacred Valley of the Incas Kuychi Rumi Lodge
Day 4 Explore the Ruins of Ollantaytambo Inkaterra Pueblo Hotel
Day 5 Marvel at the Inca Citadel of Machu Picchu  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: From Cusco to Pisac

Souvenirs and local crafts on display at Pisac Market.

Your adventure starts in Cusco, a beautiful Andean city that is home to gorgeous colonial and Inca architecture. You will travel by car to Pisac, a small town in the Sacred Valley that is renowned for its vibrant market. You’ll spend some time exploring its colorful stalls before traveling on to the isolated community of Viacha, where you will learn about its potato farming practices and savor pachamanca, a traditional Peruvian meal of meat and vegetables cooked under hot stones. In the afternoon you will visit the Inca ruins of Pisac, and enjoy the site at its quietest time of day as the sun sets behind the surrounding peaks. You will overnight at Lamay Lodge (elevation: 9705 ft / 2958 m).

Morning Activities

Cultural: Visit Awanakancha, a camelid farm and weaving center; explore the town of Pisac and its vibrant market; interact with members of the Viacha community.

OR

Hike: Take part in an invigorating hike from the community of Amaru to the community of Viacha. Level: Moderate (mountain pass at 14,200 ft / 4328 m).  Time: 2.5 - 3 hours.

Day 2: Explore Inca villages in the Lares Region

Huacahuasi Lodge is partly run by members of the local community © Kiki Deere

You’ll enjoy a scenic drive deep into the Andes along the “Inca Weaver’s Trail”, and visit both the town of Lamay and the archaeological site of Ancasmarca. After lunch, you can either visit Choquecancha, an ancient weavers’ village, or hike among awe-inspiring peaks and turquoise glacial lakes to Huacahuasi, where you will overnight. Run in conjunction with the local community, Huacahuasi Lodge (12,585 ft / 3,835 m) aims to protect the environment and the cultural heritage of the Andes.

Afternoon Activities:

Cultural: Visit the weaving village of Choquecancha where you will have the opportunity to meet with members of the local community.

OR

Hike: From Quelqena to Huacahuasi. Level: Easy to Moderate (mountain pass at 12,595 ft / 3839 m) Time: 2-2.5 hours

OR

Hike: From Cuncani to Huacahuasi. Level: Moderate (mountain pass at 13,838 ft / 4219 m).

Day 3: Hike an authentic Inca Trail in the Sacred Valley of the Incas

The trek takes you through spectacular mountain scenery. © Kiki Deere

In the morning you will learn about the culture and traditions of the Huacahuasi community. You will be able to choose between a spectacular hike over a high pass into the valley that leads to Ollantaytambo, and a hike from the Lares Pass along an authentic original Inca trail to the community of Totora.

If you’re keen to learn more about the Sacred Valley, you can drive to an ethnographic museum where you can gain an understanding of the country’s rich civilizations; you can also opt to explore the valley by mountain bike. You’ll enjoy lunch in a picturesque spot by the Urubamba River, after which you’ll be able to wander Ollantaytambo’s charming narrow streets. You’ll overnight at Kuychi Rumi Lodge (9284 ft / 2830 m) in the Sacred Valley.

All day Activities:

Cultural: Drive to the Sacred Valley of the Incas where you will visit a farmer’s market, followed by a Pre-Inca and Inca cultural museum. Have a barbeque lunch at Kuychi Rumi Lodge and visit the town of Ollantaytambo in the afternoon.

OR

Inca Trail Hike: Hike from the Lares Pass to the village of Totora, and enjoy a barbeque lunch at Kuychi Rumi Lodge. Level: Easy to moderate. Time: 3 hours.

OR     

Hike: From Huacahuasi to Patacancha. You’ll have lunch at Ipsaycocha Lake, and arrive in Ollantaytambo in the afternoon. Level: Moderate to challenging (mountain pass at 14,646 ft / 4464 m). Time: 7 hours.

Afternoon Optional bike excursion: You can explore the Sacred Valley by mountain bike, and visit an artisanal brewery. Level: Easy to moderate. Time: 2 hours.

Day 4: Explore the ruins of Ollantaytambo

The terraces of Pumatallis at Ollantaytambo's Inca fortress.

You’ll have the option to hike to a series of Inca storage structures located high above Ollantaytambo, from where you’ll be able to enjoy panoramic vistas of the town and its main archaeological site, one of the Incas' most important ceremonial centers. As you later explore the ruins, your guide will shed light on the site's architectural planning and history. You will enjoy a scenic train ride along the rushing Urubamba River to Aguas Calientes, the jumping off point for Machu Picchu. You’ll overnight at Inkaterra Pueblo Hotel (6232 ft / 1900 m)

Early Morning Activities:

Hike: Lower Pinkuylluna Mountain located above Ollantaytambo. Level: Moderate. Time: Duration 1-1.5 hours.

OR

Hike: Higher Pinkuylluna Mountain located above Ollantaytambo. Level: Moderate to challenging. Time: 2-2.5 hours.

Day 5: Marvel at the Inca Citadel of Machu Picchu

The Inca citadel of Machu Picchu.

You will begin your journey to Machu Picchu at dawn with a short uphill bus ride. You’ll enter the site as the sun rises, bathing the structures and terraces in a golden hue. You will learn about the citadel’s incredible history and imposing architecture, visiting the main points of interest including the Watchtower, the Temple of the Sun, and the royal Inca residences. You can choose to hike to the imposing mountain of Huayna Picchu, which commands spectacular views that take in the Urubamba River and the fringes of the Amazon Jungle. In the afternoon you will travel back to Cusco by train.

Late Morning Activity:

Cultural: You will have some free time to explore the ruins of Machu Picchu (7872 ft / 2400 m).

OR

Hike: You can opt for a guided hike of Huayna Picchu Mountain. Level: Moderate to challenging (mountain pass at 8924 ft / 2720 m). Time: 2-2.5 hours.