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Lares Trek

Cultural Trek to Machu Picchu
REGION Andean Highlands
STATS ~ 21 MI (34 KM)
High Altitude Trek
PERMIT Not Required

Journey along the secluded trail of the Lares Trek, past small rural communities of farmers and weavers, and through remote Andean highlands to reach Machu Picchu.

  • Highest Mountain Pass 14,600 ft (4,450 m)
  • Climate The Andean region experiences a dry season and wet season. Conditions during shoulder months are more unpredictable.

    Weather in the mountains changes quickly and sunshine is never guaranteed. Daytime temperatures can reach up to 68°F (20°C). Nighttime temperatures are much cooler and on average range from 14 to 23°F (-10 to -5°C).
  • Dry Season From April to October
  • Wet Season From December to March
Small communities along the Lares Trek preserve traditional practices in the Andes, including the creation of handmade textiles whose intricate designs hold deep cultural significance.
Escape to less trodden mountain passes on the Lares Trek. Snow-capped summits, grazing alpacas and llamas, and glacially-fed lagoons greet you around every curve of the trail.
Trekking Lares takes you to secluded Andean villages, some only accessible on foot, and past locals herding their livestock.
Likely constructed as a military fortress by the Incas, Pumamarka is a lesser-visited archaeological site in the Sacred Valley that you visit on the last day of trekking.
Relax in the hot springs located near the trailhead of Lares.
Complete the Lares Trek and then explore the ancient Inca city in the clouds of Machu Picchu during a guided tour.
Lares Trek Itinerary Map
Lares Trek Map
Hike Time: ~ 3 to 4 hrs Hike Distance: 5 mi (8 km) Overnight: Camping
Hike Time: ~ 3 to 4 hrs Hike Distance: 8 mi (13 km) Overnight: Camping
Hike Time: ~ 6 to 7 hrs Hike Distance: 8 mi (13 km), trail ends in Ollantaytambo Overnight: Hotel

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Lares Trek Travel Tips

  • Peak travel and trekking season in the Andean region of Peru coincides with the dry season: June, July, and August.
  • Low season coincides with the wet season from December to March. Heavy rains and occasional snow in the high mountains means that trail conditions tend to be wet and muddy. But, the benefits of travel during these months is that attractions and trails are less crowded and the mountain scenery turns a beautiful green.
  • A permit is not required for the Lares Trek.
  • Start dates are flexible. It is best though to book your trekking package in advance, especially during the high season (May to September), to assure availability for hotels and daily excursions in destinations you visit before and after the trekking experience.

Lares is a moderate trek. Good health and physical condition are required to endure walk times of up to 7 hours a day at high altitudes. Compared to Salkantay, a challenging trek, the total trail distance of Lares is about 10 miles (20 km) shorter.

  • Before doing the trek we advise our travelers to spend a few days in Cusco to adjust to the high altitude. It’s better to acclimatize in Cusco, not the Sacred Valley, because the city’s higher 11,120 ft (3,400 m) elevation is more akin to those along the Lares Trek.
  • Altitude sickness is caused by a rapid change in elevation without the necessary time for acclimatization. Mild symptoms are common and include lingering headache, nausea, and loss of appetite. Every person responds differently to the change in altitude and unfortunately there is no way to prevent it or predict how seriously it may affect you.

Lares is an alternative trek to Machu Picchu.

What this means is that unlike the iconic Inca Trail, the trail for Lares does not conclude at the Sun Gate into Machu Picchu. Instead, the trekking portion of the Lares tour package concludes near Ollantaytambo. You’ll take the train the rest of the way to Aguas Calientes, gateway to Machu Picchu, and spend one final night at a hotel. Wake up refreshed the next morning and visit Machu Picchu.

Perks | Alternative treks to Machu Picchu are often thought of as backup options to the iconic Inca Trail that concludes at the Sun Gate into Machu Picchu. However, these trails offer some nice perks that shouldn’t be overlooked.

Alternative treks to Machu Picchu, like Lares or Salkantay, are often thought of as backup options to the iconic Inca Trail that concludes at the Sun Gate into Machu Picchu. However, these trails offer some nice perks that shouldn’t be overlooked.

  • The limited number of permits for the Inca Trail sell out quickly, sometimes 5 months in advance for dates during high season (May to September). For Lares no permits are required and give you a lot more planning flexibility.
  • Foot traffic along alternative treks to Machu Picchu is far less compared to the very popular Inca Trail.
  • You can do the Lares Trek year round. The iconic Inca Trail closes every February for maintenance.
  • Clothing | Bring short-sleeved shirts and add warmth by wearing additional long-sleeve shirts and a jacket. Long, light-weight pants - not shorts - are ideal for cooler climates. Thermal undergarments, a warm hat, and gloves are recommended. Temperatures at higher altitudes are cold, especially at night. Pack a bathing suit if you want to soak in the hot springs before the trek begins.
  • Footwear | Comfortable hiking boots or walking shoes are a must. Also pack shower sandals.
  • Wet Season Gear | Rain gear is a must for the Lares Trek during the wet season. Be prepared with a rain jacket and pants or poncho. Waterproof footwear is ideal because trail conditions can get very muddy and wet.
  • Bag(s) | Bring a comfortable smaller daypack to wear along the trail to carry your water bottle, camera, and any other necessities. On the Lares Trek, pack animals will carry your larger personal bag filled with clothes as well as the camping equipment.
  • Official Documents | Don’t forget your original passport. Along with your general entry ticket, it’s required to enter Machu Picchu.

Please consult your travel advisor with specific questions regarding trekking equipment and rental options during your Lares trekking experience.

Travel is full of variables and there is always a risk, however small, that something might go wrong before or during your trip. Something as minor as a flight delay can have a significant financial impact, as can illness, bad weather or baggage delay.

Ask your travel advisor about including travel insurance in your customized travel package.


Postpone your tour with zero cost up to 30 days prior to departure

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