Does The Lares Trek Go To Machu Picchu?

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Does The Lares Trek Go To Machu Picchu?

The quick answer to the question – Does The Lares Trek Go to Machu Picchu? NO!

The Inca trail is the only trek where your finishing trekking point is the Sun Gate and the entrance to Machu Picchu.

But I would like to go into a little more detail and answer the question properly!

Many people have Machu Picchu on their Bucket List’s and they start the research, but sometimes this research is too late, and people soon discover that all of the permits for the Classic Inca Trail trek have sold out – There are only 200 permits each day for the Inca Trail.

They then find the Lares trek and their research changes. 

The Incas built thousands of miles of Inca Trails through South America and the Camino Inca or Camino Inka is the one trail that terminates at Machu Picchu. The Lares Trek follows another of the Inca Trails through Peru. 

For many people their ultimate goal is to see Machu Picchu and actually does it really matter which route you use to get there? Surely the best option for you is the important one?

The Lares trek offers history, remoteness, NO Crowds (you generally don’t see any other trekkers on the Lares trek apart from your group), Quechuan culture, stunning mountainous scenery and a slightly higher altitude that you get on the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.

The Lares Trek is one of many options for treks to Machu Picchu. There are also many different variations of the Lares Trek and providers start and finish at different locations meaning that not everyone is following the same route.

All Lares Treks are 4 days in duration and will end up in the town of Ollantaytambo on day 3 and then get the train to Aguas Callientes for a night in a hotel before visiting Machu Picchu on day 4.

Lares Trek - hot springs

Lares Trek vs Inca Trail

The Lares trek is considered the Cultural Trek of the main contenders. I always explain to people if you want to see Inca ruins then do the Inca Trail trek. If you want to see Mountains then look at the Salkantay trek and if culture and community is for you then check out the Lares Trek.

Although the Lares Trek has a higher altitude gain, I would say it was definitely the easier of the treks. There are a lot less steps on the Lares trek than the Inca Trail and this makes for a much more enjoyable experience. Many people enjoy the challenge of Dead Woman’s Pass and the Gringo Killer on the Inca Trail, but also a lot of people struggle.

I have also written an article Lares Trek vs Inca Trail where I go into more details on this.

Lares Trek Route Itinerary

As I said earlier each Lares trek is slightly different with its itinerary but below is our itinerary as a guide.

Day 1 of The Lares Trek

Leave your hotel in Cusco and drive to the small town of Calca in the Sacred Valley. Here you will have your last chance to buy any last minute supplies. It is also good to buy Coca leaves for locals you meet on the trail and sweets for the children you will come running to see you.

You will then drive for a further 3 hours to Lares. On route you will drive over a pass of 4265m where the Sawasiray and Pitusiray mountains rise up. We then descend into the valley through native Quechuan farmland to the village of Lares.

Before we start our trek we will make use of the amazing Hot Springs in Lares which are famous through the sacred valley. 

From Lares, we head off on foot towards Huacawasi located at 3600m. The trek for today is around 4 to 5 hours. 

Trekking Time – 4-5 hours

Trekking Distance – 10km

Day 2 of The Lares Trek

After breakfast we start our trek to 4500m, the highest point of our Lares Trek. It’s a steep climb but the views from the top are certainly worth it. We then start our descent towards Aruraycocha Lake where we will stop to enjoy lunch.

We then pass through the Mantanay conservation area and continue our descent to 3800m to the village of Mantanay where we will camp for our second night. 

Trekking Time – 7 Hours

Trekking Distance – 14km

does the lares trek go to Machu Picchu

Day 3 of The Lares Trek

Our final day of trekking is a relatively easy walk between four and five hours. We leave Mantanay after breakfast and head towards the colonial town of Yanahuara. 

Once we reach the town we will have our final lunch together as a team. Our cooks and porters (Horseman) will leave us at this point.

After our goodbyes with the team, we will then take the minibus to Ollantaytambo where they have one of the most famous ruins in the Cusco region. You will have time to explore the town before we have to get our train to Aguas Calientes. Once we arrive in Aguas Calientes we will check into our hotel before heading out from a group meal in the evening.

Trekking Time – 4 Hours

Trekking Distance – 7km

Day 4 of The Lares Trek

It will be an early start in the morning as we want to be on the first buses to Machu Picchu. 

Once we have driven the zigzagged road to the top, we will pass through the gates of Machu Picchu and enjoy our guided tour of the ancient citadel. You will get to see the House of Guardian, the Intihuatana, the Temple of the Sun, the Sacred Plaza as well as other key locations. The tour will last 2-3 hours. 

Lares Trek to Machu Picchu

Once we have finished our tour, we will take the bus back down the hill to Aguas Calientes where you will have the time to explore, have some lunch before we jump back on the train and head back to Poray and Cusco.

The Lares trek is certainly one to consider when thinking about visiting Machu Picchu. I always say it is my favorite trek out of the 3, so please do consider it!

I have also written ‘The Ultimate Guide to Machu Picchu’ which has all the information for the 3 main treks to Machu Picchu and you can download a copy by clicking the link.

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