WHY THIS TRIP
The Lares Valley encapsulates all the things that make southern Peru great: warm, vibrant people, mountains so gorgeous they are deities, and astounding ruins that tell of an incredibly advanced ancient civilization. On the Ultimate Lares Trek with 1-Day Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, you enjoy Cusco before heading out to trek the Lares Valley where you camp in small, Quechua-speaking villages and interact one-on-one with the direct descendants of the Inca’s before hiking the last day of the world-famous Inca Trail to arrive to Machu Picchu on foot via the Gate of Sun. This trip offers a great mix of culture, history and stunning scenery!
Lares trek with km104 Inca trail to Machu Picchu from Amazonas Explorer on Vimeo.
The former Inca capital and Spanish colonial city of Cusco is your base for this great expedition, a wonderful place full of culture, history, good restaurants and fun nightlife. You have a full-day tour of the ruins situated on the outskirts of Cusco, including the impressive Sacsaywaman.
From Cusco you travel through the Sacred Valley of the Incas to the spectacular Lares Valley bringing you back to an ancient Andean life where hardy locals herd llamas and plant potatoes as they have for centuries amidst beautiful Andean surroundings. Their incredibly bright, high-quality woven red clothes are startling against the mountain background.
The trek 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 you 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 weaving 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.
Next you catch the train towards Machu Picchu, where you get off at Kilometer 104 to begin the final stretch of the trek along the world famous Inca Trail, passing restored ruins and eventually arriving at the entrance to Machu Picchu at the Gate of the Sun. You will hike past perhaps the prettiest part of the Inca Trail, hiking on Inca stairways and through the tropical cloud forest. At Machu Picchu you will enjoy the overview from the Gate of the Sun, but then will head down to a hotel in Machu Picchu Pueblo where you have the evening free to explore the extensive artisan market and lively bars and restaurants before spending the next day exploring Machu Picchu with a private guide. The return to Cusco is by Vistadome train and private bus.
This trip can be combined with a number of “Excellent Extensions,” such as a trip to an Amazon rainforest lodge, the Colca Canyon, rafting the mighty Apurimac River or a boat trip on Lake Titicaca.
LOCAL OPERATOR: AMAZONAS EXPLORER
For more than three decades Amazonas Explorer has led high-quality trips and alternative adventures throughout South America. Based in Cusco, its professionally trained guides, cooks and support crew bring their passion and skills to the travelers they serve and, in turn, build rewarding careers for themselves. This talented staff of local experts is focused on providing you with safe and comfortable adventures, all centered on making your holiday as memorable as possible.
Amazing! This trip has it all and covers the best of the Cusco area. Amazonas Explorer and Detour have done their research and know what tourists want to see and the best way (and time of day) to see it. Cusco city, fascinating Inca ruins and history, the beautiful and lush Sacred Valley and then the Lares Valley. We hiked thru gorgeous rolling green hills spotted with tiny villages and packs of alpacas and llamas. Beautiful Andean children ran up to greet us, ask for candy and sell us their handmade goods. The hikes were challenging, but there is always an option to ride in the van. The full Inca Trail was sold out, but I was not disappointed with the Lares trek- and we still got to do the last day of the Inca Trail and arrive to Machu Picchu on foot!
I had never been to Peru and really wanted to experience it’s Andean culture. The Lares Trek totally delivered!
The alpine meadows touched the clouds and were full of alpacas and beautiful lagoons (lakes). Scattered amongst the Narnia-like scenery were the small villages and homesteads of traditional Andean people. Their kindness and beauty matched the natural beauty around them. We were able to meet them and directly support their communities by purchasing amazing textiles and goods directly from them along the trail.
It is clear that Detour only works with the BEST tour providers. Amazonas Explorer was a great outfitter. In addition to a knowledgeable and friendly guide, we had a van as well as horses and mules giving us a wonderful sense of comfort, support, and flexibility. We never saw another hiker in three days of hiking and had amazing meals and campsites. We even camped and soaked at a beautiful hot springs!
Kate French –
The Lares Valley Trek was much more uncrowded than I expected– we ran into only 2 other hikers during our entire Trek. The scenery was overwhelming and beautiful, almost like being in the Alps with the abundance of alpine lakes and craggy peaks. Running across locals as they watched over their grazing llamas or cows was fun and unexpected– great for practicing a bit of Spanish or Quechua. The handicrafts we found along the way were unbelievable; I must have doubled my luggage weight with the various weavings I bought on the trek! Amazonas did a wonderful job of making sure everyone got in some rest when needed (especially after my mom got food poisoning from an Aguas Calientes restaurant) and provided longer hikes when we were feeling energized. Furthermore, Amazonas educated us about the history of this lovely area as well as the current environmental and social issues. At one point, unforeseen road construction prevented our back-up vehicle from meeting us at the designated campsite (in Willoq). Our guides and porters were quick to find us a new place to set up camp, in a very nice family’s backyard. It was wonderful to meet some of the locals in town and observe a part of their daily life– the potential set-back turned into one of my favorite memories of the trip.
This trek felt like the Peru trip you dream about– beautiful, far from any crowds, abundant alpine wildlife, and very peaceful
Mary Fairall –
This was the trip of a lifetime for me and I found Peru to be even more amazing than I imagined. Simon and Amazonas Explorers demonstrated responsible environmental practices (tree planting campaign), instructed our group about local customs and accepted practices and treated our porters and cooks with respect and courtesy. I thought the comfort level was first class to moderate for a camping trip. Tents were sturdy, waterproof, sleeping pads were comfortable. Always had fresh water to refill water bottles. Simon solved any glitches that occured quickly and professionally. I didn’t expect to be accompanied to the airport even on my return trip but Amazonas stayed with me until I got to my departure gate in Cusco. Simon was an excellent guide, knowledgeable, personable, diplomatic and expert at solving anything that came up during our trip. Our guide at Machu Picchu, Marcos, was poor.
Lares trekking was less arduous than Choquequirao and more alpine-like, with local alpaca, llama, and sheep herds being over watched by women weavers, kids, and dogs on hilltops. Lots of interesting local wares to buy en route. Overall, we enjoyed a peaceful hike through beautiful and historic country side while getting to understand the local way of life in a way unattainable by bus or train.