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Lares Trek is one of the most popular alternative treks chosen by travelers to Cusco. This route passes through typical local communities, enabling travelers to witness how the people of the Andes have conserved their traditions. The scenery in this area is spectacular, with inter-Andean valleys overlooked by soaring snow covered mountains. The trek ends in the Patacancha valley, where local people continue the weaving traditions of their forebears. Below this valley is Ollantaytambo, from where we will travel by train to Machu Picchu.
The Adventure stars when we pick you up from your hotel in Cusco at 5:30am or the sacred valley at 8:00am. Then we travel by our tourist bus for 3 hours to the village of Lares. One hour after we leave Cusco we’ll arrive to the town of Calca where you can have your breakfast, purchase last items for the trek and use the toiles if you need. Then we continue 45 minutes up to the Inca site of “Ancasmarka” at 3850m / 12631ft, where you’ll see the large quantity of Inca store houses; for approximately 20 minutes we’ll explore the site then continue the trip to the highest point from where the route descent to the village of Lares.
From Lares we’ll continue 10 minutes to the thermal baths where we’ll find the pools of volcanic water; the water is considered medicinal for the artistries, mussels, head ages, stress, etc. there are several pools with different temperatures from cold 5°C to hot 42°C; you’ll have enough time to be in the pools. While you are in the pools you cook will prepare the lunch which will ready for after the relaxed baths.
After you lunch we commence the trekking through the valley accompanied by Ice Water River and great views of the mountains; we’ll see farms of different types of potatoes, corn, Quinua and beans. The trekking will last for four hours until the community of Wacawasi (3700m / 12139ft).
Once you arrive to the camp you will pick you duffle bags and go to your tent which will be set up; after a little rest you will have your tea time where your porters will serve you a hot drink (coffee, tea or chocolate). One hour later enjoy you diner after which you can stay longer in the dining room tent chatting with you trekking guide or you can go to your personal tent to rest.
Your team of porters will give the wakeup call with a cup of tea; then you’ll have enough time to pack your duffel bag and with your day pack head to the dinning room tent for breakfast. After breakfast, your guide will take you to visit the school (it is important to bring some toys or school supplies) and one family where you’ll learn about the countryside behavior; then we continue the trekking up through farms and with the presence of spectacular mountain scenery; along the trail we’ll see Llamas and alpacas grazing around.
The trail reaches to the highest pass called Ipsay Pass (4,400 m/ 14435ft); from where you’ll be rewarded with the views of Snow Mountains and lagoons. From the pass the trail is descending for 2 hours to the shores of the IPSAY Lake here will be set up the second camp. Be prepared for a cold night and in the morning will be also very cold, we highly recommended to take warm clothes.
After breakfast in the camp, we will start the trekking. The trail descents through the open valley where you’ll observe native crops like: different types of potatoes, Quinoa, lima beans, oxalis, etc. Until we reach the Community of PATACANCHA Here, we can visit the school and see how the education system are in the Peruvian Highlands where students use the Quechua language, the official language of the Incas; after that, we’ll continue the trek down to Ollantaytambo, along the trail we’ll pass other communities like Willoc and Pumamarka, we also will see the Inca site of Pumamarka.
After 5 hours of trekking, we’ll arrive to the town of Ollantaytambo where you’ll have your lunch in one of the restaurants and then you can rest or explore this picturesque town. Ollantaytambo is considered the unique living Inca town since the contractions still can be seen in the town like the streets, the terraces, the aqueducts, the storehouses, and even the temples still exist. The town is tourist place so that here you can find nice restaurants, markets and coffee shops.
In the afternoon (subject to availability), we’ll take the train for two hours through the Urubamba Valley until the town of Aguas Calientes where you’ll have your dinner and then hotel accommodation.
Today we arrive at the long-awaited finale of our trek, one of the New 7 Wonders of the World and a UNESCO World Heritage Site – Machu Picchu! We will wake up early after a refreshing night at our hostel to beat the crowds to the top of Machu Picchu and enjoy its serenity in the soft morning light. The Machu Picchu entrance check point is open from 06:00 AM until 17:00 PM. We will hike up to Machupicchu (a bus ride is optional for $12.00) and enter the hidden Royal Citadel of the Incas. Here we will have a 2-hour guided tour through this incredible ancient city to visit temples, terraces, palaces, priest’s houses, the sundial, the industrial sector, and the farming fields. Be amazed at the engineering ingenuity of the Incas which was so far ahead of their time and still partially a mystery today! Without having modern tools or even steel and iron to work with, the people who built this city were genius in organizing this community in a sustainable and beautiful way on the side of a mountain, even bringing water in canals through its streets for the people to use. When a Peruvian guide showed this site to Hiram Bingham, it was almost unrecognizable, covered in thick vegetation and in a state of disrepair. It has since been cleaned and restored and is now protected and treasured by the world at large!
After this tour, you are free to climb up to Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain (Be sure to book in advance to get tickets for these!). Each mountain takes approximately 3 hours to hike up and down. Another lower-impact option for which you do not need an extra ticket is to trek to the Sun Gate, the main entrance from the Inca Trail (this takes about 2 or 2.5 hours round-trip). Another option is walking to see the Incan Bridge. You will be able to stay and enjoy this magical city for more than 7 hours before hiking back down to Aguas Calientes for the train ride at 18:20 hrs (subject to availability) to Ollantaytambo. A private bus will pick up our group and drop you off at your hotel in Cusco at about 21:30 hrs. Rest your feet and your body now, but we can assure you your heart will still be soaring for weeks and years to come!