Mountain Excursion

Lares Trek to Machu Picchu

Cusco, Peru

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Prices From: $1,821 per person

Peru is a land of incredible natural beauty, rich cultural traditions, and mysterious ancient ruins. The lost Inca citadel of Machu Picchu is just one of many ancient ruins making this a premier destination for the explorer-at-heart. Even amid the natural splendor of the country, it is difficult not to notice the cultural, historical, and political roots of Peru, observable in the diverse architecture and cityscapes.

This alternative Inca Trail trek to Machu Picchu is an interesting mixture of spectacular mountain scenery, glacial lakes, waterfalls, high plains, hot-springs, and charming Andean villages. The views of the snow topped peaks of Veronica, Chicon, Pitusiray and Sawasiray keep us company most of the way.

This trek also boasts a chance to visit the lovely hot-springs at Lares village and a chance to barter for local weavings along the route. The final location of the Pumamarca ruins and the superb walk down on an original Inca trail along massive, remarkably well-preserved Inca terraces to the back entrance of Ollantaytambo completes this satisfying trek.

From the Inca Fortress town of Ollantaytambo, we embark on the famous and scenic Orient Express train to the lost city of the Incas, Machu Picchu, and a night is spent in the colourful town of Aguas Calientes before spending the whole day exploring the awe-inspiring, ‘new wonder of the modern world’, Machu Picchu, with a private guide. The return to Cusco is by train and private bus.

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1 - Cusco Arrival

On arrival from your spectacular flight along the Andes to Cusco, we transfer you to your hotel and start acclimatizing to the rarefied air of this beautiful city (3,326m). In the afternoon, we take a short walking tour of the center of Cusco to familiarize you with the main sights, restaurants and a chance to stretch your legs and experience hiking at 3,300m. At a convenient time you guide will arrange a full briefing for the days ahead.

Overnight: Tupac Yupanqui Palace Hotel

Day 2 - Totora - Quishuarani

Departing Cusco early we drive along the Sacred Valley before, at Calca heading high into the Andes. In just under two hours we will leave the vehicles and start our acclimatization hike up an ancient Inca trail, through a narrow canyon where Inca burial tombs can still be seen. This is a perfect hike to allow clients to experience firsthand the effects of trekking at altitude. We meet our bus further up the valley and transfer over a 4,200m pass to the small community of Quisuarani where we set up base camp for the night.

Overnight Accommodation: Camping Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 3 - Quishuarani - Lares Hotsprings - Hacahuasi

A beautiful day’s hiking as we climb out of the Quisuarani valley, hopefully meeting en route some of the colorfully dressed locals.

This whole area is famous for its weavings and at the various campsites we can barter for beautiful hand-made textiles at a fraction of the price of what they would be at home or even in Cusco. Our trekking path boarders the native tree reforestation project of ECOAN: this restored eco-system is home to several endemic birds. We descend past some spectacular waterfalls, crystal clear lakes, Llama herds and Viscachas (long-tailed rabbits) to the small village of Cuncani, where we have our picnic lunch.

The afternoon has many options either a short walk over the ridge to the village of Huacahuasi, a scenic hike down the river, road and an old Inca Trail to the Lares Hot-springs, where after a good soak in the “Banos del Inca” – The Incas’s Baths – a selection of perfectly heated pools.

Overnight Accommodation: Camping Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 4 - Huacahuasi - Patacancha - Huilloc

Now fully acclimatized and rested we set off for our final challenge to climb over a 4,200m pass and descend towards the Sacred Valley of the Incas.

We take it very slowly, stopping beside beautiful lakes and hope to arrive at the pass just after lunch for spectacular views of the snowy mount Veronica. We then descend following an old mule trail to Patacancha and so to the village of Huilloc, famous as being the town where many of the traditional porters for the Inca Trail come from and traditional dress is always worn and Quechua is spoken where we set up our final camp.

Overnight Accommodation: Camping Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 5 - Huilloc - Pumamarca - Ollantaytambo - Machu Picchu

The start of our walk today is a short sharp climb bringing us to the impressive and rarely visited ruins of Pumamarca.

After visiting this extensive site, we follow an ancient Inca trail along the many terraces of the Patacancha valley as we wind our way through eucalyptus forests to end our trail nearby the town of Ollantaytambo. After lunch, we catch the afternoon train to Machu Picchu Pueblo, checking into our hotel we have the evening free to explore the extensive artisan market and colorful bars and restaurants.

Overnight: Killa Inn (Breakfast, Lunch included)

Day 6 - Machu Picchu - Cusco

First thing in the morning we head up the hill to the fabled "Lost City of the Incas - Machu Picchu" for a fully guided tour, of the residential, religious and agricultural sectors. There is time afterwards to hike to the Inca Bridge, Watchman’s hut or else just wander through the ruins, soaking up the atmosphere. (Please note Huayna Picchu and Machu Picchu Mountain now require an extra, limited-availability permit. Please enquire at time of booking if you require one.)

In the afternoon, we board the train for an interesting ride along the Sacred Valley of the Incas. Here our waiting bus whisks us back to Cusco and our hotel. Then, if we have the energy, we can explore Cusco’s excellent nightlife.

Overnight: Tupac Yupanqui Palace Hotel (Breakfast included)

Day 7 - Cusco

Enjoy a free day in Cusco for some rest and recuperation. Whether your interest is exploring Inca ruins, visiting Colonial churches, bargain hunting in artisan markets, chocolate museums or just relaxing over a cappuccino on a terrace overlooking the Plaza de Armas, Cusco has it all.

Overnight: Tupac Yupanqui Palace Hotel (Breakfast included)

Day 8 - Cusco Departure

Today, we transfer to Cusco airport in time for your domestic and international flights home.

Accommodation Information

Tupac Yupanqui Palace Hotel

The quaint Tupac Yupanqui Palace Hotel is one of Cusco’s most historically significant as well as conveniently located accommodations. It is situated only 2 blocks from the main square, Plaza de Armas, putting you within minutes’ reach of all the entertainment, culture, dining, and nightlife that the ancient city has to offer.

The hotel itself is housed within an old Inca palace that once belonged to Tupac Yupanqui, grandson and successor to the great 9th ruler of the Inca state, Pachacutec, in the late 1400s. When the Spaniards arrived and colonized Peru in the 1500s, the noble Don Pedro de Barco became the new owner of the residence. Today, renovated to retain much of the palace’s previous glory and charm, the hotel still features parts of the original Inca walls.

Killa Inn

Strategically located a 2-minute walk to Machu Picchu Bus Station and 7 km from Machu Picchu Sanctuary, the hotel offers rooms with rustic style décor and garden views. Massage sessions are available. At Killa Inn Machu Picchu Hotel guests can enjoy views of Putucusi Mountain and Urubamba River from the charming public balcony. Rooms are styled with dark wood furnishings and wrought-iron bedsteads. There are work desks, parquet floors and private bathrooms.


Region: South America



All Meals All Meals

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Archeology Indigenous Archeology Indigenous

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General Information

Price Includes

  • Airport Transfers and transport to the trail in a private vehicle
  • All Camping and cooking equipment
  • * Thermarests
  • * Spacious 2person tents
  • * Dining tent and toilet tent
  • * An emergency kit and oxygen
  • Registered English speaking expert guide
  • Porter and Cook team
  • * Porters transport, wages, food, tent and insurance
  • Fully guided private tour in Machu Picchu
  • Entrance to Machu Picchu
  • All transport as mentioned
  • * Bus transfers between the ruins and Machu Picchu town.
  • * Vistadome/Skydome and private transfer from Ollantatambo Machu Picchu Hotel
  • All meals as indicated

Price Excludes

  • International and Domestic Flights, unless otherwise mentioned
  • Travel insurance (ask us for a quote)
  • Entry/exit fees, if applicable
  • Sleeping Bags (available for rent) and other personal items
  • Personal items such as hiking boots, backpacks, etc.
  • Tours/activities not mentioned in the itinerary
  • Expenses of a personal nature
  • Tips and gratuities
  • Huayna Picchu Entrance Ticket