LARES TREK TO MACHU PICCHU (4 Days, 3 Nights)
Lares Valley is approximately 40 miles north of Cusco and 35 miles east of Machu Picchu. It is home to many traditional weavers and farmers and famous for homemade textiles. The indigenous people of this area speak Quechua and Spanish and will often give you a chance to weave something yourself.
DURATION: 4 Days, 3 Nights
TYPE: Camping and hotel, tents and hotel accommodations are provided
DIFFICULTY: 3 - Multiple days of hiking. Includes moderate to steep inclines and declines. Preparation is recommended.
- Much less crowded route to Machu Picchu, compared to the Inca Trail
- Spend time in local villages that are only accessible on foot
- Meet local people and witness an authentic rural Andean way of life
- Learn about the Andean peoples' textiles
- Enjoy the famous Inca thermal baths at Lares
- Incredible combination of elegant scenery, history and culture
- This trek is a great option for families with children who want to see Machu Picchu
DEPOSIT for both PRIVATE and GROUP Tours: $200/Trekker. We use this deposit to secure your hiking permits and your tickets for Machu Picchu in advance. The $200 will be deducted from the Total Price below.
PRIVATE TOUR PRICE BREAKDOWN: A "Private Tour" is just your group and our guides. All prices in USD.
Group Tour Price: $650
Private Tour Prices:
2 - 3 People: $790
4 - 6 People: $735
7 - 9 People: $690
9+ People: $650
GROUP TOUR PRICE: $650.00
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 & WATER: All of your water, meals and snacks are provided. We will travel with a professional chef and his crew, all of your meals are incredibly delicious (not exaggerating!) and packed with nutrients to provide you with energy throughout the trek. Please notify our staff of any food allergies or restrictions and we will ensure that the food is prepared property.
TRAIL HORSES: Horses are not allowed on the Inca Trail, however, they are allowed on the path to Lares. We will use mountain horses and their masters on this trek to carry the belongings you will not need during the day. You will receive a duffel bag that you can fill with up to 20lbs. (9kgs.) of your personal belongings, such as clothes, outer-wear, snacks, etc. The duffel bags will be carried by the horses, we strictly monitor how much weight each horse carries to make sure we are not putting too much stress on our 4-legged friends.
RELIEF HORSE: Horses are not allowed on the Inca Trail, however, on all of our treks that do not use the Inca Trail, Kusa Treks provides a "relief horse" for any trekkers that may need a little break from hiking.
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 Archeology in 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 Trail with than a Kusa Treks guide, you are in incredible hands.
PERMITS & TICKETS: Once you pay the trip deposit we will purchase your permits and tickets Machu Picchu. The government issues permits in your name, under your passport number and for a specific timeframe; they cannot be changed once confirmed, which is why the initial deposit is non-refundable. We will also secure your train and bus tickets.
TENT and HOTEL ACCOMMODATIONS: This trek has 3 nights of camping and 1 night in a hotel in Aguas Calientes, which is the town directly below Machu Picchu.
WHAT'S NOT INCLUDED:
HIKING EQUIPMENT: To complete this trek, 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
HOTEL UPGRADE: We will spend our last night in a hotel in Aguas Calientes, which is the town right below Machu Picchu. If you would like to upgrade your hotel, you may do so, Kusa Treks will cover the initial cost, however you will be responsible for the difference in price.
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: THE START OF OUR JOURNEY, WHICH INCLUDES HOT SPRINGS...
- Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
- Max Altitude: 12,631ft. (3,850m)
- Min Altitude: 10,827t. (3,300m)
- Distance Hiked: ~7.8 miles (12 km)
- Ascent: 1,804ft. (550m)
- Walking Time: 8-9 hours
Our adventure together starts at 5:00AM, when we'll pick you up in private transportation from your hotel. We'll drive through the picturesque Sacred Valley for 3 hours until we reach the Lares Hot Springs. Upon arrival you will meet our professional chef and his crew, who will travel with us for the duration of our trip, the Chef will have a delicious and nutritious breakfast waiting for us.
After eating breakfast, we'll head over to the hot springs, which range from ice cold to boiling hot, so pick which temperature you'd like and dive in! (Not really). We'll soak for 20-30 minutes to loosen our muscles and prepare our minds for the hike ahead, once we're ready, we'll have 20 more minutes by van to reach the trail head. We'll meet up with our trail horses and the horse guides at this point, where you'll hand over your duffel bag and we'll start our journey to Machu Picchu.
The trail will start with a 2 hour, uphill hike, which will lead us to our first lunch stop in a village called Kiswarani. This village grows hundreds of potato species found in the Andes mountains. Once we reach our lunch location, you'll experience another fantastic, professionally prepared meal made by our chef and his assistants. You can choose to take a quick cat-nap or take photos and selfies of the incredible scenery that surrounds us.
After lunch a quick break, we will visit a village school and play with the local children, who will grow up in these remote hills. Visitors are encouraged to bring toys and/or school supplies to donate to these children, who will reward you with ingratiating smiles and gratitude. After this unique life-experience we will continue on our journey by hiking another 2 hours uphill to reach our campsite, where our trekking staff will have our camp and tents set up to greet us.
Every night we will share a "family tea-time" with each other, when we'll enjoy hot chocolate, a variety of teas, finger foods and swapping stories. Your guide will take you on a short walk where you will enjoy the sun setting over the majestic mountains of the Andes. As dusk turns to night you will learn about the ancient Incan constellations while you look up at the brilliant number of stars stretching out in the heavens above. After start-gazing, we will head back to camp and go into the meal tent to savor another exquisite and nutritious meal.
After dinner you can continue to survey the skies, or if you'd rather retire to your warm and comfortable tents for the night you can. Sleep well chicos.
DAY 2: Up the mountain to Condor pass, stunning views and dinner with local villagers
- Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
- Max Altitude: 15,355ft. (4,680m)
- Min Altitude: 12,631ft. (3,850m)
- Distance Hiked: ~8miles (14 km)
- Ascent: 2,724ft. (830m)
- Walking Time: 9-10 hours
Your day will start early with a hot cup of coca tea arriving at your tent at 5AM. You will wake up to an incredible sunrise over a dazzling lake. After we eat breakfast and fill up our water bottles, we'll start our day will a 3-4 hour hike up the mountain to reach its summit. We'll hike using switchbacks until we reach Condor Pass, this will be the most challenging portion of the trek, however, the remarkable views along the way will make the hike worth it.
You will see waterfalls, crystal blue mountain lakes, llamas, condors and alpacas throughout the day. There is a relief horse available for those who need extra help up the hill. Our hike will take us above the clouds and mountain peaks and on clear days you will have a complete 360° view of the surrounding mountain tops and valleys. This is one of the prettiest views in all of the Andes! At the top of the mountain we'll stop for a rest, some hot tea and a lot of pictures! We'll take another family picture up here, and we'll make sure to leave plenty of time for you take several selfies.
After savoring the view, we will get back on the trail and start our 1 hour descent to our lunch spot for the day. We'll eat a relatively quick lunch, because our main stop for the day was at the top of the Condor Pass, after lunch you'll have 3 more hours of hiking downhill to reach our 2nd campsite. The hike to campsite is again full of exceptional views of lakes waterfalls and wildlife.
Our campsite will be in the village of Cancha Cancha, where the inhabitants still live their lives in the same manner that the ancient Incas did. Meaning, there is no electricity, no plumbing, no Facebook, etc. The majority of the homes that the villagers live in are the original structures built by the Incas over 600 years ago! Tonight is typically the highlight for most travelers! We will play with the village children. If you would like you can bring school supplies, sports balls and other toys to share with the locals.
We'll also tour several indigenous homes where you'll learn the lifestyle of these ancient people, who will show you how to cook and weave textiles using the same methods that the Incas used. We will share a meal with the locals and communicate through laughter and translators.
DAY 3: A Short hike to ollantaytambo, and a train to aguas calientes
- Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
- Max Altitude: 12,631ft. (3,850m)
- Min Altitude: 8,858ft. (2,700m)
- Distance Hiked: ~6.2miles (9 km)
- Descent: 3,773ft. (1,150m)
- Walking Time: 4-5 hours
Another early start and delicious breakfast to start our last day of hiking. We will have time to explore the village in the light of day and we'll make a visit to the local school where you can interact with the children and even teach a bit of English if you'd like. Once we're ready to leave we will walk 4 hours at a gradual descent on an exquisite portion of the path. As our elevation steadily decreases you'll see a lot of Alpacas and Llamas, along with several farms and crops.
Our hike will end in the village of Huaran where you'll be picked up in our private transportation, which will drive you to Maras. Maras is home to a natural salt water spring that the villagers use to create mountain salt, which is believed to have healing properties.
After a short tour of this area from your guide, we'll get back in the van and drive 45-minutes to Ollantaytambo. Ollantaytambo is the only functional and Inca Village, it still uses Incan-built water canals, houses, walls, sewers and temples. You will have a professionally guided tour of this incredible archeological site, ending with a delicious dinner at a local restaurant that serves authentic Incan dishes.
After dinner we'll board a train to Aguas Calientes, which is directly below Machu Picchu. We'll check into the hotel, and have a nice hot shower to relax for the night before Machu Picchu!
DAY 4: MACHU PICCHU AND BACK TO CUSCO
It is entirely up to the group when you would like to start this exciting day! Today you will discover Machu Picchu, the world famous Sacred City of the Incas. The majority of travelers choose to wake up around 4:30AM, so that we can eat a quick breakfast and head over the bus station where we will catch the first bus from Aguas Calientes, drive 20 minutes to Machu Picchu, and arrive right when the gates open at 6AM as the sun is rising over the lost city. It is truly magical to experience a sunrise over these ruins, as the mists part and the city rises from the clouds stone by stone.
All of our guides have been to Machu Picchu well over 100 times and will lead you to the best places to view the ruins before the "crowds" arrive that day. Once the city begins to fill with more tourists we will start our walking, guided tour, which will start with impressive Temple of the Sun. We will see several iconic areas of Machu Picchu including: The Citadel, The Royal Tomb, the Main Plaza, the Condor Temple and much more. After the guided tour you will have plenty of time to explore the City of the Clouds on your own; those who have secured permits to climb Huayna Picchu will do that hike at this time. If you chose not to hike Huayna Picchu you can join your guide on an hour long walk on the Inca Trail up to the Sun Gate, where you will enjoy a spectacular view of Machu Picchu.
The bus back to Aguas Calientes will depart between 2:30-3:00PM, we will enjoy a lunch together before you head to the train station to go back to Cusco. We usually book the 4:20PM train back to Ollantaytambo, where our private van will be waiting for you to take you the remaining 2-3 hours back to Cusco.
NOTE: If you are interested in taking the Vista Dome train back to Cusco, please let us know at your time of booking.