If you love the idea of trekking the paths of the ancient Incas to the magical citadel of Machu Picchu, but have left it too late to secure trekking permits for your preferred travel dates this year, why not take a look at the lesser known 5-Day Lares Trail… the road less travelled!
A fabulous itinerary for those who prefer to break away from the crowds and visit places that you simply wouldn’t get to see on the traditional 5-Day Inca Trail expedition, the Lares Trail will take you through narrow canyons, tiny rural villages, and breathtaking snow-capped mountains that lead the way to Machu Picchu.
With guaranteed departures every Saturday and private departures on request, there’s no reason for you not to hike the Inca Trail this year, so start training, pack your old kit bag, and take a look at the fabulous 5-day Lares Trail itinerary below:
Day 1: Totora to Quishuarani
Your trek will start in the rural village of Totora, which is reached via a scenic 2-hour drive through the Sacred Valley. Following the ancient Inca Trail, you will hike through a narrow canyon with Inca tombs perched high up in the cliffs, and pass through traditional local communities before stopping for a picnic lunch. After taking some time to enjoy the view, you will take a local bus to your camp for the night at Quishuarani.
Day 2: Quishuarani to Huacahuasi
After a delicious breakfast, you will begin your day trekking through small villages towards native forests that home an array of deer and colourful Andean birds. Pushing further, you will tackle the highest pass of your trek, the Huchayccasa Pass at 4450m above sea-level. The view from the top is spectacular, and after pausing to capture those all-important photos, you will descend to the ancient village of Cuncani at 3800m for lunch. After lunch, you will continue along the valley floor to Huacahuasi, where you will overnight.
Day 3: Huacahuasi to Patacancha
Today is another day filled with fabulous scenery, and after a hearty breakfast, you will set off towards your final pass, the Lpsaychoca Pass at 4200m. Along the way, you can expect many encounters with the locals, and may even bump into an alpaca or llama on route. The climb is moderate with just one steep section at the end, and on a clear day, you will have spectacular views of Mount Veronica. After lunch next to Lpsay Lake, you will continue to Patacancha Valley, where a vehicle will be waiting to transfer you to your hotel for the night.
Day 4: KM104 Inca Trail to Machu Picchu
Today is the day you have been waiting for, and after an early breakfast, you will catch the train to Machu Picchu, disembarking at km104 to join the Royal Inca Trail Trek. You will visit the ruins of Chachabamba, before heading upwards through the cloud-covered forest to the foothills of Wiñay Wayna, hiking old Inca stairways and across magnificent terraces along the way. After restoring your energy levels with a packed lunch, you’ll continue up the ‘Gringo Killer’ staircase to Inti Punku, the Gateway of the Sun, where you will get your first glimpse of Machu Picchu – a moment you are sure to never forget. After taking photos, you’ll continue down through the ancient site to the bus station, where you will connect with your bus down to Machu Picchu Pueblo for the night.
Day 5 Machu Picchu to Cusco
After breakfast today, you will head back to Machu Picchu to take a guided tour before the crowds arrive, and have some time at your leisure to explore this natural world wonder. In the afternoon, you will take the bus back down to Machu Picchu pueblo, where you will connect with your train back to Cusco.