Lares & Inca Trail Trek to Machu Picchu (4 Days, 3 Nights)
Peru offers incredible archeological sites, stunning vistas in the rugged wilderness and amazing cultural experiences with some of the worlds friendliest people. The traditional Lares Trek is known for providing guests with memorable cultural experiences, through visits to remote villages in the Andes and interactions with the locals. The Inca Trail is world renowned for its historical archeological sites built by the Incas hundreds of years ago. The Lares & Inca Trail Trek enables you to experience the best of everything!
DURATION: 4 Days, 3 Nights
TYPE: Trek with camping (tents provided)
DIFFICULTY (1 - 5): 3, Moderate. Multiple days of hiking. Includes moderate to steep inclines and declines. There will be some strenuous climbs, but we will take our time. Trek preparation is recommended.
- Professionally guided tour of several Incan Archeological Sites (including Machu Picchu)
- Hike on the the exact same path built and used by the Incas in the 13th century
- Spend time with local children at remote schools (Optional: bring toys, school supplies, clothes & sports equipment to donate)
- Visit local villages
- Tour an Andean coffee farm where you'll make your own coffee straight from the bean!
- Camp at the banks of the Lares Hot Springs
- Enjoy fewer crowds and the best campsites
- Multiple micro-climates, including cloud forests, rain forests and mountain scenery
- Experience crystal blue mountain lakes and lagoons
- Entrance through the Sun Gate
- Sunset over Machu Picchu
- Sunrise over Machu Picchu
DEPOSIT for both PRIVATE and GROUP Tours: $215/Trekker. We use this deposit to secure your hiking permits and your tickets for Machu Picchu in advance. The $215 will be deducted from the Total Price below.
PRIVATE TOUR PRICE BREAKDOWN: A "Private Tour" is just your group and our guides.
2 PEOPLE - $865.00
3 PEOPLE - $830.00
4 PEOPLE - $790.00
5 PEOPLE - $760.00
6 PEOPLE - $745.00
7 PEOPLE - $715.00
8+ PEOPLE - $690.00
GROUP TOUR PRICE: $690.00
A "Group Tour" means you or your smaller group will be paired with other individuals and/or smaller groups that are doing the same hike on the same dates as you.
*A 5% Transaction Fee will be added to the Total Cost. We are charged to convert and transfer money. We do our best to keep this rate as low as possible.*
TRANSPORTATION: All transportation is included. However, if you would like to take the Vistadome train back to Cusco after the trek, rather than the "normal" train, tickets are an additional $70.
FOOD: All food is provided. In fact, we'll be hiking with a professional chef! Our chef and his staff will cook you some of the best meals you've ever eaten, and they'll do it in the middle of the Andes. Please notify our staff of any food allergies or restrictions and we will ensure that the food is prepared property.
WATER: Your guides will supply all of the water you'll need on the trek. The water will first be boiled, then filtered and then cooled. You'll need to bring a container for the water (Camelback, Nalgene, etc.), we recommend carrying at least 2L, your water container will be refilled at each meal.
PROFESSIONAL GUIDES: Kusa Treks strives for greatness and this starts and ends with our people. All of our trek leaders are locals to this region and studied Tourism and/or Archaeology at a University. They are all fluent in English and are passionate about their work. Trust me when I say, there is no better person to be on the Inca Trail with than a Kusa Treks guide, you will be in incredible hands.
PERMITS & TICKETS: Once you pay the trip deposit we will purchase your permits for the Inca Trial and Machu Picchu. The government issues permits in your name, under your passport number and for a specific time-frame; they cannot be changed once confirmed, which is why the initial deposit is non-refundable. We will also secure your train tickets and entrance tickets to Machu Picchu.
MEDICAL EMERGENCY: Alright, emergency sounds a bit dramatic. However, you can be confident in your Trek Leader. All of Kusa Trek's guides receive extensive First Aid training from a qualified and licensed physician, and we conduct mandatory review/training sessions twice a year. Your Trek Leader will carry a Hiking First Aid kit (including oxygen), and should the need arise we will get you off of the trail and to a medical facility as quickly, and comfortably, as possible.
TENT: Your tents are provided, they are comfortably, roomy and cozy. Sleep well chicos!
PERSONAL PORTER / HORSE: Porters are local men from the Andes who help carry the majority of our supplies during the trek (tents, food, cooking equipment, etc.). This trek includes a Porter who will carry up to 19.8lbs. (9kg) of your belongings, we will provide a bag for you to put your belongings in, which the Porter will take and run ahead of our group. If you choose to use a Porter you will be responsible for carrying the things you need throughout the day (sunscreen, snacks, rain jacket, etc.), you will not have access to the things the Porter carries until we reach camp at night.
Learn more about Porters on our FAQ page under "Porter's...Men or Superhero's?".
WHAT'S NOT INCLUDED:
HIKING EQUIPMENT: To complete the Inca Trail, you will need a sleeping bag, some type of air mattress (ThermaRest), and walking poles (with rubber tips). If you do not wish to purchase or travel with these items, we have high quality equipment you can rent:
- Sleeping Bag: $25
- Inflatable Air Mattress: $15
- Trekking Poles (2): $20
HUAYNA PICCHU (Wayna Picchu): Huayna Picchu is the pointy, tall mountain in the background of all the pictures of Machu Picchu. Tickets to climb it are available for travelers who wish to hike up an ancient staircase to the top of Machu Picchu's sister mountain. Hiking to the top of it provides adventurers with incredible, unique views of Machu Picchu. This secondary hike will have a 1-hour ascent, 15 minutes to take selfies and high-five at the top of the mountain, and then a 45-minute descent. FYI, the ascent and descent are pretty steep, but totally worth it! Price: $75/person
NOTE: tickets to ascend Huayna Picchu are limited, and are sold on a first-come-first-serve basis.
VISTA DOME TRAIN: On the way back from Machu Picchu to Cusco, we will book tickets on a "regular" train. However, there is a company that offers a train ride in a "Vista Dome Train" through the Sacred Valley. This train has glass walls and a glass ceiling, which provide panoramic views of the surrounding beautiful Andes mountain-side. Tickets include in-trip meals and entertainment. Price: $65/ticket.
Day 1: Early morning pick up from cusco - Our adventure begins!
- Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
- Max Altitude: 13,123ft. (4,000m)
- Min Altitude: 9,186ft. (2,800m)
- Distance Traveled: ~8.7 miles (14 km)
- Walking Time: 6-7 hours
Our private bus will pick you up directly from your hotel at 5:30AM. You can choose to recline in your seat and sleep for a couple more hours or you can enjoy an incredibly scenic drive through the heart of the Sacred Valley. We’ll drive past Chincheros and stop in the quaint town of Urubamba (Altitude = 9,400ft. / 2,800m) for a brief toilet break and a chance to buy any last minute snacks, water, batteries, etc. You’ll be served breakfast here and enjoy a warm cup of Coca Tea to officially start the day.
We’ll depart Urubamba between 7:15-7:30, and after driving for another 20-30 minutes we’ll enter the Pumahuanca Valley, known for the Peruvian white corn that the famous Inca beer Chinca is made from. This stunning valley is also where we’ll commence our hike! After stopping, we’ll meet the chef, the trek staff, the horses and horse handlers (Arrieros). All of the equipment we’ll need during the trek will be carried by mules and horses.
The hike begins with a backdrop of striking scenery of the lush vegetation of the Andes. We’ll hike on a trail made of gravel that begins with gentle switchbacks, which will take us from an altitude of 9,400ft. (2,800m.) up to 11,800ft. (3,600m.) in the first few hours. During th first stretch of our hike take your time and look around at the incredible views of the surrounding valley and mountains! After 4 hours on the trail we’ll arrive at an ancient Inca Complex called “Inca-Kancha”, where you'll enjoy a guided tour of this amazing archaeological site. After the tour we’ll find a good spot to relax and enjoy lunch. You’ll get to experience the first meal prepared by our world-renowned chef who will make some of the most incredible food you’ve ever tasted! And he’ll do it in the middle of the wilderness! We’ll unwind for a bit and enjoy the scenery that stretches out around us.
After lunch we’ll continue on the trail to the small Andean community of P’accha, where we’ll meet the local inhabitants along with their herds of llamas, alpacas, sheep and goats! After interacting with the locals we’ll hike for 2 more hours to reach our campsite for the night called Cuyoc (13,000ft. / 4,000m.), which is set in a stunning landscape of waterfalls and has lovely vistas of the peaks of Andes around us.
Day 2: mountain passes and hot springs
- Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
- Max Altitude: 15,100ft. (4,600m)
- Min Altitude: 8,792ft. (2,680m)
- Distance Traveled: ~6.5 miles (10.5 km)
- Walking Time: 8-9 hours
Our crew will wake you up at 6:00AM with smiles and a hot cup of Coca Tea. We’ve got an incredible day ahead of us, that starts with a hot breakfast, including Quinoa Pancakes! We’ll recommence our trek at 7:00AM with scenic views of the Chicon, San Juan and Veronica mountains.
The start of our hike will be a challenging 4-hour club along a dirt road and stone steps, we’re heading toward the Pumahuanca Pass (15,100ft. / 4,600m.). We’ll pass several Apacheta’s, which is a stack of piled stones, assembled by pilgrims as a symbol of gratitude and respect to the Apus (Bird of Paradise). Upon reaching the Pass we’ll honor the top of the mountain by performing a local ritual involving Coca Leaves and the blood of the youngest person in our group (kidding!). From the top of this pass you can see incredible views of Moray, Maras and Salineras stretching out far below, it's a truly breathtaking view.
After enjoying the scenery we’ll begin an hour-long descent down a stone road, which has more lovely views on both sides. At mid-day we’ll break for lunch, which we'll eat on the banks of an incredible, crystal blue mountain lake. Enjoy another fabulous meal prepared by our chef, while you relax and recoup your energy. After our lunch we’ll have 2 more hours of mainly downhill hiking to reach another local village.
This village is full of color and Campesinos (local, friendly people). The men and women of this village wear the same colorful costumes that their Inca ancestors wore hundreds of years ago. As you interact with the locals be sure to appreciate the environment that they thrive in! This village is surrounded with magnificent views of mountains and valleys, there are also herds of llamas and alpacas that graze in these hills.
In this little village we’ll visit the home of the Arriero (Lead Herder), who is a person of great respect and status in these herding communities. He will share stories of the village and tell us how to live with a deep connection with nature. We’ll learn about, and even witness, several of their ancient traditions, including: agricultural practices, weaving's, textiles, herbal-ism and much more.
After our visit in the village we’ll use a private van to get to the Lares Village, which is the namesake and pinnacle of the Lares Trek! The Lares Village is famous for its medicinal hot springs and also has brilliant mountain lagoons and lakes! If you'd like, you will have the opportunity to change into your bathing suits and soak in one of the pools fed by the medical hot springs. After a refreshing dip in the springs, we’ll enjoy another wonderful meal prepared by our chef and his staff and turn in for the night at our campsite, which will be right next to the pools of natural hot springs.
Day 3: inca trail and sunset at machu picchu
- Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
- Max Altitude: 8,792ft. (2,680m)
- Min Altitude: 6,888ft. (2,100m)
- Distance Traveled: ~4.3 miles (7 km)
- Walking Time: 6-7 hours
We start very early today! Our transportation will pick us up from the Lares Campsite at 4:00AM, and we’ll start our 3.5-hour drive to the train station in Ollantaytambo, where we’ll board an Expedition Train headed for the Trail Head of the Inca Trail (Km 104). After 1 hour and 45-minute train ride we’ll start our journey on the Inca Trail by submitting our passports at a check control point.
Once on the trail we start with an easy walk near the Vicanota River. The trail will gradually begin to incline as we head for the Chachabamba Ruins, which is a set of Inca Ruins that include a stone alter used to worship the sun and mountains. This site is still used by the locals that live in this area to pay tribute to the beautiful nature that surrounds them.
After our visit of these historic ruins our path will lead south with a steady incline up the mountain, where we’ll enter a beautiful cloud forest! The trail then opens into into a breathtaking open meadow on the top of the mountain. Our scenery will continue to impress as we begin to descend the mountain into an incredible rain forest, highlighted with a majestic waterfall! Seriously, this stretch of the trail is magnificent and will likely take up a lot of memory on your phone or camera.
Once we reach the bottom of the valley we’ll explore a set of Inca Ruins called Winaywayna, we encourage you to take your time and appreciate the beauty of this incredible place. Your guide will explain the importance and meaning of these ruins after which we’ll break for another incredible meal, which we’ll eat right on the ruins. After we finish lunch we’ll hike through another cloud forest full of bromeliads, orchids and tree ferns, which combine to make a dazzling display of Andean beauty.
After a few minutes we’ll begin to pass several age-old monuments built by the Incas including stone stairs and drums. We’ll have the opportunity to climb 60 of these stairs in order to reach the famous Intil Punku (“Sun Gate”). The Sun Gate is an architectural wonder built by the Incas hundreds of years ago, at dawn on the summer equinox the sun will pass throw the Sun Gate and strike a pool of sacred water in the Sun Temple located in the center of Machu Picchu.
From our position at the Sun Gate you will have an incredible vantage point to view the ruins of Machu Picchu below. We’ll descend stone steps built by the Incas for 45 minutes to reach the famous viewpoint that Machu Picchu is best observed; we will spend a few minutes here taking pictures and observing the sun set behind the city of Machu Picchu! After enjoying the sunset we’ll walk to the entryway of these ruins where we’ll take a 15-minute bus ride to the charming town of Aguas Calientes.
Once we reach the city we’ll enjoy a lovely meal together at a local restaurant and turn in for the night at the Seven Mapi Hotel (or something similar). Accommodations and dinner in Aguas Calientes are included in the trek. We’ll go over the plans for the next day and catch up on our sleep after a long day!
Day 4: Machu Picchu tour and back to cusco
- Meals: Breakfast & Snack
- Max Altitude: 7,872ft. (2,400m)
- Min Altitude: 6,888ft. (2,100m)
- Distance Traveled: ~5.6 miles (9 km)
- Walking Time: 4-5 hours
Our last day together starts early! We’ll eat a wonderful breakfast at the hotel at 4:30AM, so that we can board the first bus to the gates of Machu Picchu, which departs at 5:20AM. The park opens at 6:00AM and we’ll be one of the first groups to reach the ruins. We’ll start with a professionally guided tour of Machu Picchu, where you’ll explore the amazing and mysterious city for 2-3 hours while your expert guide explains certain features and buildings around the city.
Your guided tour will include visiting incredible sites such as the Royal Mausoleum, the Temple of Three Windows, the Sacred Plaza, the Main Temple, the Sun Temple and the famous Intihuatana, which is where the Incas would honor the winter solstice. During your time inside the gates of Machu Picchu you’ll also have 5-6 hours of personal time to tour the city on your own, where you can see stairways, plazas, fountains, terraces and much more. Additional activities in Machu Picchu include, hikes to Inca Bridge and Huayna Picchu Mountain (tickets are limited, reservations 5+ months in advance).
After finishing this once in a lifetime visit, you can either walk back down to Aguas Calientes (1 hour) or take a 15-minute bus ride for $12.00 USD. Once we get back to Aguas Calientes we’ll share one more lunch together (not included), afterwards you’ll have 1-2 hours to explore this quaint village before boarding a train back to Cusco. (Option for Vista Dome train upgrade).