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Lares Trek Map

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Lares Trek Map

The weavers' route is how Lares is known. Unlike the Classic Inca trail to Machu Picchu, this walk invites us to experience the living culture of the Incas during your Vacation in Machu Picchu, their routes are full of experiential culture; where their populations keep alive the traditions of yesteryear, as are the Inca fabrics. Lares is an alternative trek to Machu Picchu that offers 34 kilometers of much living history and archaeological remains that manifest what was once the Inca empire.

The Lares trail is the excellent trek for those who want to get off the ‘beaten track’ as it pass through Andean communities which have remained unchanged over centuries.

After flying from the capital of Perú, Lima, you will arrive in Cusco to walk for four days along a path through forests and dense fog, millenary stone steps and all the time enjoying majestic views. After 46km walking on the top of the Andes, the reward comes: the first, exciting views of Machu Picchu from Inti Punku. This guided route is a unique experience that will be engraved in your heart forever. 

For travelers who want to escape to a part of Peru that has changed little the last 500 years, the Lares Walk is perfect. In this beautiful region, you can meet Andean peasants dressed in brightly colored ponchos. You will pass through local communities and see houses with thatched roofs made of stones and surrounded by llamas and alpacas. In the kitchens you can see guinea pigs running on the floor, ready to be captured and cooked. Although the people here only speak Quechua, they are very friendly and through the guide's translations you can learn about their culture and way of life.

The route takes three days to trek (one extra day to visit Machu Picchu). You are surrounded by stunning mountains, lakes and valleys but the real interest is in the fascinating villages you trek through.

The trail links the communities of Cuncani, Quisurani and Lares and the Sacred Valley, and takes trekkers through two interesting weaving communities at Huacahuasi and Patacancha.

 

Here is the route map and itinerary.

Lares Trek Map

Lares-Trek-Map

Itinerary:

Day 1: Cusco - Calca - Termas de Lares - Huacahuasi

Hikers leave Cusco (3,400m) early in the morning, usually around 06:00 in the direction of the small town of Calca (2,928m). The trip takes approximately 2 hours.

Some groups stop here for a break and also to stock up on snacks and water.

 

Then, the trip continues north for another 3 hours until reaching the town of Lares. Hikers usually visit the hot springs in Lares, where one can take a quick dip before starting the 5-6 hour hike (12 km) to the first camp: Huacahuasi (3,750 m).

 

Day 2: Huacahuasi - Ipsaycocha Lake - Patacancha

Huacahuasi is a traditional weaving community. Hikers generally spend the morning watching the villagers weave and trying on some of the beautiful and colorful ponchos made by local villagers, then continue with the hike.

 

Today's walk is short, but difficult. It begins with a climb up the Ipsaycocha Pass (4,450 m), the highest point of the hike, which lasts approximately 2-3 hours, and then a descent of just over an hour to Lake Ipsaycocha.

 

From Lake Ipsaycocha, the route descends for 2-3 hours to the community of Quechua: Patacancha (3,700 m).

 

Day 3: Patacancha - Huilloc - Ollantaytambo - Aguas Calientes

Today everything is downhill! The trail continues south and downhill to another traditional village called Huilloc (sometimes written Willoq). After a short break, the route continues to the archaeological center of Pumamarka, where Inca terraces can be seen.

 

The trail concludes here, where most tour operators organize ground transportation to Ollantaytambo (2,792m), before taking a train to Aguas Calientes (2,040m), the city below Machu Picchu.

 

Day 4: Aguas Calientes - Machu Picchu - Cusco

After a comfortable night in a hotel, you will get up early to take one of the first buses to Machu.

It is likely that your trekking company has organized a 2-3-hour tour of Machu Picchu. If you still have the energy and are not afraid of heights, it is worth going up to Huayna Picchu (the great mountain behind Machu Picchu) or visiting Inti Punku (Puerta del Sol). Both offer excellent views of Machu Picchu. Nevertheless, remember to buy Machu Picchu tickets in advance, because Huayna Picchu tickets sold out faster. It is likely that your train from Aguas Calientes to Cusco is reserved for mid-afternoon: it takes approximately 30 minutes to return by bus from Machu Picchu to Aguas Calientes.

 

Lares Trek Distances

Day 1: Cusco to Huacahuasi: 12 Km (7.46 miles)

Day 2: Huacahuasi to Patacancha: 17 Km (10.56 miles)

Day 3: Patacancha to Aguas Calientes: 12 Km (7.46 miles)

Day 4: Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu: 4 Km (2.49 miles)

Total Distance: 45 Km (27.96miles)

 

Lares Trek Difficulty

In general, the Lares walk is considered a walk of moderate difficulty. It is not a technical walk, but the altitude can affect some people.

 

We recommend you take a wooden cane, as it will help with your balance and reduce the load on your knees while walking the Lares route. We ask you not to use a cane with a metal tip, as it can damage the fragile environment along the way. You can find out more tips for Lares Trek here.

 

Lares Trek Altitudes

The highest point you will reach while trekking on Lares Trail is 4550 meters. Campsites are located at 3600 meters.

Remember it is impossible to predict who will be affected by altitude. Its genetic capacity to adapt to height is determined by its genetic composition and has little to do with physical condition or health.

Most people will not have problems as long as they take the time to acclimatize properly. A full day in Cuzco (3249 m), take it easy and drink a lot of water, it is usually enough for most people. You can find out more about altitude sickness and pills to avoid it here.

 

Lares-Trek-Altitude

 

Day

Altitude

Distance

1

Cusco - Calca – Lares - Huacahuasi

  • Starting Elevation: Cusco - 11,319 feet / 3,450 meters
  • Campsite Elevation: ‘Huacahuasi’ – 12,631 feet / 3,850 meters
  • Highest Elevation: Lares pass - 14,566 feet / 4,440 meters
  • Walking distance: 12 km approximately
  • Estimated trekking time: 3 - 4 hours
  • Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
  • Climate: Warm on the day and cold at night

2

Huacahuasi - Ipsaycocha Lake - Patacancha

  • Starting Elevation: Huacahuasi - 12,631 feet / 3,850 meters
  • Campsite Elevation: ‘Patacancha’ – 12,467 feet / 3,800 meters
  • Highest Elevation: ‘Ipsaycocha Pass’ – 14,436 feet / 4,400 meters
  • Walking distance: 17 km
  • Estimated trekking time: 8 - 9 hours
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Climate: Cold and windy.

3

Patacancha - Huilloc - Ollantaytambo - Aguas Calientes

  • Starting Elevation: Patacancha - 12,467 feet / 3,800 meters
  • Hotel Elevation: ‘Aguas Calientes’ – 6,693 feet / 2,040 meters
  • Highest Elevation: ‘Pumamarka Archaeological Site’ – 10,999 feet / 3550 meters
  • Walking distance: 12 km approximately
  • Estimated trekking time: 3 - 4 hours
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Climate: Warm

4

Aguas Calientes - Machu Picchu - Cusco

  • Starting Elevation: ‘Aguas Calientes’ – 6,693 feet / 2,040 meters
  • Machu Picchu Inca City: 7,972 feet / 2,430 meters
  • Huayna Picchu Sacred Mountain: 8,924 feet / 2,720 meters
  • Highest Elevation: ‘Cusco’ - 11,319 feet / 3,450 meters
  • Walking distance: 9 km approximately
  • Estimated trekking time: 2 - 3 hours
  • Difficulty: Moderate to challenging

 

When is the best season to hike the Lares Trek?

The best season is to do it in the dry season, which covers the months April to the end of September. In October the rains begin and you can find Machu Picchu covered by clouds. If you travel in June, we recommend you to book the Inti Raymi 2020 Tour that takes place in June 24th, and also hike the Palcoyo Mountain Tour, which is an incredible Rainbow Mountain located in the Andes. 

 

Alternative Treks to Lares Trail 

 

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