There are many similarities to the Lares Trek, however overall they are different locations in the Andes mountains.
Within the magnificent snow-capped Andes, the beautiful Lares Valley has all the natural beauty of the magical mountain scenery and the legacy of the Incas but without the busy tourist crowds. In fact, the Lares Trek is so far off the beaten track that it has changed little over the last 500 years.
With stunning landscapes and remote settlements, the area has remained largely untouched by tourism and retains its authenticity, offering a glimpse of life the way it used to be in Peru highlands. You will meet traditionally dressed Andean farmers, and wander markets trading as they have done for centuries, see thatched stone and adobe houses and watch herds of llamas and alpacas roaming free.
The Lares trek is similar in grade to classic trek with one high mountain pass.
First of all, one good thing about the Lares Trek is that it is a little less physically complicated, but that does not mean that it is without difficulty. In terms of difficulty, the Inca is tougher due to its climbs (some steep, some with steps) and theirs descends (many steps). However don't underestimate the Lares, which has 2 of 3 passes over 4400 m and you’re trekking over 33 km (20.5 miles) in approximately 48 hours. They are approximately 33 kilometers in comparison with the 44 kilometers of the Inca Trail. Both have a lot of altitude gains and steep descents, although once again the Inca Trail slightly surpasses the Lares Trail on this front.
Compared to the Inca Trail trek, the Lares Trail is much less famous in the tourist circuit. This means that there is no competition for the tickets, it is not necessary to book so long in advance, and the walk will involve more privacy.
Also in this Lares trek vs Inca trail, there are some potential disadvantages to the Inca Trail trek. Due to its immense fame and popularity, it is necessary to plan your months of travel, and sometimes in the high season, almost a year, in advance. 500 hikers are allowed daily, half of which are guides and porters, so it can be difficult to find a place. In addition, the result is that the road can sometimes be full, especially if you are looking for a more solitary experience.
The first disadvantage of Lares Trail is the fact that you do not get to Machu Picchu through the Sun Gate.
The Inca Trail is 44 km (27 miles) in three full days and about 2 hours in the morning of Day 4. But I can say that it’s not about the distance, but the difficulty, and my personal opinion is that Inca is tougher, but not that much tougher than Lares.
The Inca Trail passes through the uninhabited areas, the Lares Trail passes through villages and farms inhabited by the modern Andean people, the descendants of the Incas who built Machu Picchu. During your trip, you probably have many opportunities to interact with the indigenous peoples of Peru, so the Lares Trail is a cultural experience in a way that the Inca Trail simply is not.
Depending how important that is to you, it may be a factor to consider. However, both treks finish at Machu Picchu and gives one an enchanting experience of one of the most impressive archeological ruins on the planet.