Lares Trek, a cultural tour Cusco – Machu Picchu

Want to hike without a lot of hassle? Lares Trek, is one of the best alternatives to do it, the best of all is that it is on the way to Machu Picchu. This tour of 4 days and 3 nights is one of the most recommended options. Although 37 kilometers are traveled, the path is not very complicated. The wonderful thing about following this tour is that you visit Andean towns where you can learn about their customs, ways of eating and also enjoy the spectacular landscapes.

Lares Trek
Landscape of the Lares Trek

1. Lares Trek or the circuit of the weavers

This tour is one of the most illustrative, from a cultural point of view, since Andean villages are visited, where you can observe the way of life and visitors learn to spin . In these places the wool of the camelids is spun, a species native to these areas. This teaching was passed down from ancient times and is now accessible.

Something that is also of vital importance, if you decide to take this tour, is that you will be able to live together and learn from the towns during the visits made. It is an experiential tour, for the cultural learning that you will take when leaving these towns and camps.

Another important aspect is that, when visiting the camps, we will listen to the native language of Peru, Quechua. The passing of time in these towns was not as violent as it was in Cusco or Lima, the Peruvian capital. That these peoples are so far from globalization shows new perspectives and ancient lifestyles.

During the 4 days and 3 nights that this tour lasts, you will cross great mountains. However, something to highlight is how little difficulty these sections have. You don’t need to be a hiking expert to keep up with the most capable. Thus, you will arrive without problems on the fourth day, and you will be ready to ascend to Machu Picchu.

2. Information about the Lares

Follow this hiking tour, it is special because it is to enter little traveled spaces, where only a few people walked. In addition, it maintains a natural appeal wherever you see it.

This route is named after the presence of the Lares thermal baths. Lares is located in the province of Calca, between the Andes Mountain Range. It has an altitude of 3150 meters above sea level. This altitude gives it a pleasant temperature during the day, where the heat can exceed 21 °C. However, at night, the weather drops to 1°C.

Another attraction near Lares is the Mantto waterfall, it has a height of approximately 100 meters. The obligatory point is to visit the thermal baths. These waters have mineral properties that can be beneficial for bone pain and gastrointestinal problems.

3. How is the Lares Trek to Machu Picchu?

Lares Trek
Lares Trek

As we already mentioned, the Lares Trek is a journey through the high Andean areas of the Cusco region. It crosses different towns where you learn the way of life of the inhabitants. This tour takes 4 days and 3 nights. Starting precisely in Cusco and ending in Machu Picchu.

During the tour you will see different attractions, such as those already mentioned, thermal baths. You will also see some vestiges of Inca constructions, camelid animals and a multitude of vegetation as you enter the Cusco jungle.

The Lares Trek itinerary has the following activities:

First day:

  • The tour starts leaving Cusco towards the Sacred Valley. After a brief stop at its viewpoint, we continue towards Calca to go to the first point of the trek: Lares. Where you can enjoy the thermal baths.
  • After the thermal baths, a short section begins, about 2 hours to reach the Vilcabamba bridge. It arrives just at lunch time. After lunch, a 10-kilometer route awaits us.
  • After traveling the 10 kilometers from Vilcabamba to Wacahuasi, the night begins and you can enjoy the town and the starry night. In addition, a group of people will be ready and happy to explain the customs of the place.
  • This first night will be spent in a camp suitable for high temperatures, of course after dinner.
The bridge of Vilcabamba is a construction made in colonial times (1656). It was built with the intention of facilitating the transport of minerals to Cusco.

Second day:

  • The second day starts with breakfast at the camp.
  • The stretch that continues from Wacahuasi, where the night was spent, to Abra C’asa Pasa. It has a moderate difficulty because it is understood as a zone of ascent, it reaches up to 4500 meters above sea level.
  • However, you will be able to enjoy the extraordinary landscapes that the route leaves behind and the one that remains to be covered. In addition, you can see the Auroray Cocha lagoon. During the stay in this place, lunch will be served.
  • After enjoying lunch, you descend to the next resting point, the Punta Toro camp. From this point you can go to visit the Yuraq Cocha lagoon. Later we proceed to dinner and rest.

Third day:

  • After having breakfast and leaving the Punta Toro camp behind, the tour continues towards the town called Yanahuara, again it is a descent. Once in Yanahuara, the companions are left behind; the cook and the carriers.
  • In Yanahuara a bus is waiting so that they can be transported without any problem to Ollantaytambo. Once in this place, take the train in the direction of Aguas Calientes. This last point is where lunch is served. You can also enjoy the thermal baths of this place, after dinner.
Ollantaytambo, is a district that houses an archaeological site with the same name. It is a huge Inca fort with large terraces. The streets of this district have cobblestone floors and stone walls corresponding to the heyday of Tawantinsuyo.

Fourth Day

  • The last day is the reward day. After breakfast we proceed to ascend to the citadel of Machu Picchu by bus. Once in this place, all the tourist attractions will be visited with the presence of a guide.
  • It is estimated that the tour of Machu Picchu lasts approximately three hours. After this, you return to Aguas Calientes where you can take other walks, shop or have lunch on your own.
  • Finally, the train is boarded to return to Ollantaytambo and then take the bus to the imperial city of Cusco.

4. Tips and recommendations

  • The most important point of any trip is to bring with you the original identity document or passport. Of course, you should also have cash in case there is any eventuality or extra expense outside the tour.
  • The price of the tour is between 550 to 600 US dollars. This price may vary depending on the entity or tourist company that will provide the service.
  • It is advisable to wear suitable clothing for hiking. In addition to a swimsuit, very important if you want to enjoy the thermal baths of Lares or Aguas Calientes. A hat for the cold and another for the sun, will be necessary for the varied sections in which this route is formed.
  • Do not forget that it will be essential to have a towel, change of clothes and cleaning supplies. Likewise, have a good shoe, which is suitable for hiking or resistant and comfortable for long stretches on foot.
  • Previous acclimatization is recommended for this tour. Therefore, the interested person will have to be one or more days before the trip begins. However, if altitude sickness or Soroche occurs, it is recommended that you rest, take a deep breath, breathe in the smell of alcohol and also if you can consume coca tea (coca steeped in boiling or hot water) or directly chew this leaf.

5. Frequently asked questions about the Lares Trek

  • a) How to get to Lares?

    Lares can be reached by bus, it is the initial hiking route of a tour that culminates in Machu Picchu. However, you can go on your own and enjoy its thermal baths.

  • b) What is the weather like?

    The weather in Lares is mild in the mornings and afternoons, while temperatures drop at night. The months of May to October, it is unlikely to rain compared to the rest of the months.

  • c) Where is Lares located?

    Lares belongs to the province of Calca in the Cusco region, it is located in the Andes Mountains.

  • d) How much distance is traveled on the Lares Trek?

    It covers an approximate distance of 37 kilometers.

  • e) Is the Lares Trek ideal for children and older adults?

    Yes, the routes are not that complicated. However, children have to be used to walking and changes in temperature. Normally it is recommended, in the case of minors, that they be over twelve years of age. In the case of adults, it is recommended that before getting the tour, visit your doctor and ask for an authorization and recommendations.

  • f) What route does the Lares Trek have?

    The Lares Trek begins its journey in the city of Cusco, then heads to Lares, passing through many towns on foot, until reaching the town of Yanahuara. The tour heads to Ollantaytambo to go to Aguas Calientes and then ascend to Machu Picchu. Finally, you return through the points indicated above to take a bus in the direction of Cusco from Ollantaytambo.

  • g) How to do the Lares Trek?

    The Lares trek can be done on your own, if you want to go to the Machu Picchu sanctuary you must have the entrance ticket in advance. The most recommended for security and guarantee is to contract the service through a tourism agency.


By Imachupicchu – Last updated, February 21, 2024

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