This alternative trek to Inca Trail involves 4 day hike in the high mountain and Machu Picchu and the best alternative hike to the Inca Trail. The Lares trek are blessed with plenty of high mountain scenery, alpine lakes and waterfalls. This region is rich for adventure, and criss crossed with paths and routes used by the local folk. In the Lares Valley, women and children continue to wear traditional clothing, of bright red and its varying shades of natural dyes. The Lares trek is sometimes known as the 'Weaver's Way' or the Weavers Trail and is a wonderful way to immerse yourself into Peruvian culture. In the Lares region the red of the typical ponchos and skirts stand out from a distance as children herd flocks of sheep, llamas and alpaca. Stone houses are covered with thatched roofs and its like you have stepped back into the middle ages, while great herds of llamas roam the landscape as you hike. Hot springs in Lares have very healing waters and are situated on the side of a mountain looking over a stunning, narrow valley.
You will discover the Quechuan culture in the heart of the Inca land. After finishing our hike we take the train to Aguas Calientes and visit the famous Inca fortress of Machu Picchu World Heritage Site - essential for any tourist visiting this part of the world. in the afternoon train to Ollantaytambo, there you will take the bus to Cusco
Day 01: Cusco - Lares - Huacawasi
Day 02: Huacawasi - Ipsaycocha - Patacancha
Day 03: Patacancha - willoq - Pumamarca - Ollantaytambo - Aguas Calientes
Day 04: Machu Picchu - Cusco
We pick you up from your hotel between 4 and 4:30 am to take you on a scenic ride through the Sacred Valley of the Incas stopping for breakfast in the provincial town of Calca. You have an opportunity to buy any last minute snacks, water, etc. there too. At 8 am, we leave Calca and continue our ride for about 3 hours observing small Andean villages, spectacular mountain landscapes, herds of lamas and alpacas on the way. Finally, we get to the small town of Lares (3,100 m), a place famous for medicinal power of its thermal baths so that we enjoy bathing (do not forget your swimsuits!!) before seting out on our hike!!
After being fully refreshed, we start a leisurely walk up to the Trapiche River Valley. We arrive to the village of Vilcabamba after 2 and half an hour approximately. There, we have lunch and a short rest to later continue hiking up the valley for another one and half an hour. When we reach the small village of Huacawasi (3,700 m), we set up a campsite and overnight there after being served dinner.
Many of houses that you can see in Huacahuasi are built of stone and have thatched roofs. Local people produce beautiful colourful fabrics. In the morning, we learn about weaving techniques while we can admire their high quality products such as ponchos, "chullos" (woolen hats) and other garments. We start trekking later today, it means after having lunch in the village. We climb for about 2 hours to reach the top of Ipsaycocha Pass (4,500 m), the highest point of the trek. There, we can appreciate stunning views of the surrounding mountains. Then, we descending gently for about 1 hour until getting to the place of our second campsite near the stunning Ipsaycocha Lake. If we are lucky, we can see Andean geese, Puna ibis and other wetland´s birds around the lake. We then continue downhill until we arrive at our camp in Patacancha (3,750m/12,377ft) whwer we have tea and then dinner.
We continue our journey through the Patacancha Village, people of the village are locally known as "Huayruros" because of the colours of their ponchos are red and black, reminiscent of the huayruro seed. We have a chance to view some textiles made by those villagers. Their top quality weavings are well-known for their intricate designs reflecting aspects of their everyday lives and culture! We see various local communities, like Willoq, (3,600m/11,877ft),this is another traditional Andean village where locals still wear typical cloths and are proud to keep their cultural identity! then further downhill to Pallata. After we go uphill to discover the archaeological site of Pumamarca, an astonishing Inca site. We then take transport to Ollantaytambo, passing farming terraces and an ancient cemetery. We arrive at Ollantaytambo for lunch. In the afternoon we take the train to Aguas Calintes (2,040m/6,727ft), enjoying spectacular views of changing countryside from Andean highlands to lush tropical vegetation of the lower located Aguas Calientes. Here we stay the night at a hostel.
We wake up very early to climb up for 2 hours to the Inca citadel - Machu Picchu! Although it is hard to scramble up there, it is definitely worth seeing the "Lost City of the Incas" at its quietest in the early morning light!! This gives you an opportunity to take some exquisite photos and enjoy the peaceful time during the sunrise above Machu Picchu!! Then your Tour Guide shows you around the Inca city and explains you about its history and a purpose of each place during an about 2 and half an hour guided tour. Afterwards, you have an opportunity to climb for about 45 minutes up to Huayna Picchu (or Machu Picchu Mountain, a climb up takes 1.5 hour), a peak that overlooks the ancient city and serves to take some panoramic pictures of if in this way. Then, you are given time off to spend and explore Machu Picchu on your own. When you have enjoyed the place enough, you can take either a shuttle bus back down to Aguas Calientes (it is not included in the price of the tour; one way costs $9.50) or walk down slowly and take more panoramic pictures of surrounding amazing nature (recommended)!!
When in Aguas Calientes, you can visit one of many very good restaurants offering traditional Andean as well as international cuisine. You can also go to swim to the local thermal baths (entrance fee is 10 Soles and it is not included in the tour price).
In the afternoon, we return by train to Ollantaytambo (alternatively to Poroy), from where we are taken by van back to Cusco.
Single room: Please note that if you have booked the "Single Room" option for this tour, you receive your own single tent and a single room in Aguas Calientes.
Local flights: No local flights are included in the trek´s price!