An attractive alternative to the better-known traditional Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, the Lares Trail is noted for its rural atmosphere and cultural attractions, including traditional weavers, roving herds of alpacas and llamas, and a panorama of waterfalls, snow peaks, and glacial lakes. This route offers a cultural exploration of the Urubamba Valley, the celebrated ‘Sacred Valley of the Incas’, and the spectacular archaeological site of Machu Picchu, combined with hikes on an extensive network of trails through the less-visited and uncrowded Lares region north of Cuzco. The trip ends with a guided visit of the famed Machu Picchu sanctuary.


Day Place Highlights
Day 1 Begin your 4 day trek Hike 6km today from Calca to Huacahuasi, stop at a hot springs
Day 2 Trek from Huacahuasi to Palcaq Patacancha Hike approximately 7.5km today through beautiful mountain scenery
Day 3 Travel from Patacancha to Pallata Board a transfer in the morning before trekking approximately 7.7km. Board another transfer to Ollantaytambo Ruins
Day 4 Machu Picchu
Spend your last day exploring the unforgettable ruins of Machu Picchu
Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu

Day 1 Calca – Huacahuasi


Be met at your hotel in Cuzco early in the morning and driven to the provincial town of Calca in the Sacred Valley of the Incas. Begin your hike by climbing northward to a spectacular high pass then dropping down to the village of Lares on the east slope of the Andes. Here you are able to take a dip in the hot springs in the meadows outside of town and enjoy a picnic lunch. Then begin a leisurely half-day hike up the valley of the rushing Rio Trapiche, before reaching the highland village of Huacahuasi, where you will camp for the night.

Day 2 Hike Huacahuasi to Palcaq Patacancha

Llamas in the Highlands resized

Rise early to enjoy breakfast and begin a day of trekking. Climb steadily, traversing an open, treeless landscape of ground-hugging plants and flowers among pastures of Andean bunch-grass scattered with roaming herds of alpacas and llamas. Reach an altitude of 4,800m at Meloccocha Lagoon. Cross the pass of Ipsayccasa then descend into the Patacancha watershed, with the lake of Ipsaycocha to your right. You may see Andean Geese, Puna Ibis and other waterbirds in the wetlands here as you journey through the heartland of the Quechua people, who are locally nicknamed “Huayruros” – the name of a red and black seed reminiscent of the colour combinations of the local textiles. In the afternoon reach the village of Patacancha where you will camp nearby.

Day 3 Patacancha to Ollantaytambo

Ollantaytambo Ruins resized

In the morning, you will be transferred by van into the valley to Pallata, where you will begin a short, half-day hike towards Ollantaytambo, via the scenic early-Inca site of Pumamarca (Puma town). This well-preserved Inca outpost was apparently a fort protecting the approaches to the Sacred Valley. From here hike down a trail that winds gently across steep mountain slopes, through a series of agricultural terraces built by the Incas and now partially restored to agricultural use. At the village of Munaypata re-join the main road, where your transport makes the final short drive to Ollantaytambo. After lunch, visit the impressive Ollantaytambo ruins, and tour the nearby village, where people go about their daily lives among original Inca streets and houses. Spend the night at Pakaritampu Hotel in Ollantaytambo.

Featured Accommodation
Pakaritampu Hotel

Located in the heart of Sacred Valley, in the village of Ollantaytambo the Pakaritampu Hotel is perfectly located and offers a welcomed respite from the abundance of activities on its doorstep.

Day 4 Machu Picchu

This morning, walk the short distance to Ollantaytambo railway station to board the train for the 1.5 hour journey through the Urubamba Valley to Machu Picchu train station at Aguas Calientes. Upon the train’s arrival in Aguas Calientes walk to where the shuttle buses are waiting and take the 20 minute bus ride up to Machu Picchu ruins (2,380m) to begin your guided tour of the ruins. For centuries, Machu Picchu lay undiscovered in the jungle until, in 1911, the American historian Hiram Bingham stumbled upon it almost by accident. Although little is known about the ‘Lost City of the Incas’, it is obvious by the quality of the stonework and the abundance of ornamental sites that Machu Picchu must have been an important ceremonial centre. Current regulations have laid out 2 circuit options your tour must follow and your guide will discuss with you which is the better option. Your guided tour will last approx. 2.5 hours and your entry is valid for a total of 4 hours so you will have some free time to explore the ruins on your own.

*Note: Your ticket does not allow re-entry, so all exits of the site are final.

machu picchu fiona

After your free time make your way to Tinkuy Restaurant located right next to the famous Belmond Sanctuary Lodge, Machu Picchu for a buffet lunch. In the afternoon take the shuttle bus down to the little town of Aguas Calientes at the bottom of the mountain, then walk to the station to board the train to Poroy. Be met on arrival at Poroy railway station, located a few kilometres (approx. 20 minutes) from Cuzco, for your private transfer to your hotel in Cuzco.

*Note: Itinerary may be subject to change due to local conditions.

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