Classic Lares Trek

Classic Lares Trek

An incredible, "otherworldly" trek through the remote wilderness of the Lares mountain range. Enjoy private campsites, cultural experiences and hot springs!
Activity Level: 3  | Duration: 4 days, 3 nights | Group Size: 2-16 | Price: $675

Overview

The Lares Valley is approximately 40 miles north of Cusco and 35 miles east of Machu Picchu. It is home to many traditional weavers and farmers and famous for homemade textiles. 

You will spend 3 days hiking through the ruggedly beautiful landscape that makes the Lares Trek so special. You will visit the world famous Lares thermal baths. 

Hike to two different Inca villages where you will spend time with the local communities, including a visit to a school, where you can donate supplies to the children. 

Enjoy a tour of two towns in the Sacred Valley: Maras and Ollantaytambo before taking a train to Aguas Calientes. Spend a full day touring Machu Picchu and then take a train back to Cusco. 

Trip Highlights

  • Much less crowded than the Inca Trail Trek
  • Spend time in local villages that are only accessible on foot
  • Several authentic cultural experiences
  • Discover Andean textiles
  • Enjoy the famous thermal baths at Lares 
  • Incredible combination of elegant scenery, history and culture
  • Visits Machu Picchu

Activities

  • Hiking
  • Scenery
  • Wildlife
  • Cultural Experiences 
  • Hot springs

Accommodations

  • Kusa Treks camp for 2 nights
  • 3-star hotel in Aguas Calientes for 1 night
Elevation Map

WHAT'S INCLUDED:

TRANSPORTATION
All transportation for the trek. This includes: 
   - Pickup from your hotel in Cusco in a private van
   - Bus ticket to Machu Picchu
   - Train ticket back to Cusco 
   - Private van pickup from train station and drop-off at your hotel in Cusco
FOOD
All food is provided. In fact, we'll be hiking with a professional chef! Our chef and his staff will cook you some of the best meals you've ever eaten, and they'll do it in the middle of the Andes. Please notify our staff of any food allergies or restrictions, and we will ensure that the food is prepared properly.

NOTE: All of the meals prepared by our chef are made with locally sourced, organic ingredients. 
WATER
Your guides will supply all of the water you'll need on the trek. The water will first be boiled, filtered and then cooled. You will need to bring a container for the water (Camelback, Nalgene, etc.). We recommend carrying at least 2L of water. Your water containers will be refilled at each meal.

Please ensure that your water containers are filled when you leave the hotel on Day 1 to begin the trek. Our staff will provide clean water for the rest of the trek. 

NOTE: As a company that strives for 100% sustainability, we highly encourage our clients to bring "permanent" water containers made of metal or hard plastic. We discourage the use of cheap plastic water bottles that can be harmful to the Peruvian environment.
PROFESSIONAL GUIDES
Kusa Treks strives for greatness and this begins and ends with our people. All of our Lead and Assistant Guides are locals to this region and studied Tourism and/or Archaeology in University. They are all fluent in English and are passionate about their work. Trust us when we say, there is no better person to be on a trip with than a Kusa Treks guide. You will be in incredible hands!
PERMITS & TICKETS
Once you pay the trip deposit, we will purchase your hiking permits as well as your entrance tickets for Machu Picchu.

The government issues this permit in your name, under your passport number, and for a specific time-frame; they cannot be changed once confirmed, which is why the initial deposit is non-refundable and nontransferable after 24 hours.

We will also secure your train ticket back to Cusco at this time.
MEDICAL EMERGENCY
Alright, emergency sounds a bit dramatic. However, you can be confident in your Lead Guide and his staff. All of Kusa Trek's guides receive extensive First Aid training from a qualified and licensed physician, and we conduct mandatory review/training sessions twice a year.

Your Lead Guide will carry a Hiking First Aid kit (including oxygen), and should the need arise we will get you off of the trail and to a medical facility as quickly and comfortably as possible. *We have never had to evacuate a hiker.*

Note: Please bring whatever personal medication, such as prescriptions, that you know you will need. Our staff will be prepared with a general emergency kit, but personal medication is your responsibly. 
SUPPORT STAFF
In addition to your incredible guides, this trek requires a support staff including: chef, assistant chef, horse master and porters. We started Kusa Treks for several reasons, one of which was to provide living-wage jobs for local Peruvians.

We employ individuals passionate about Peru's culture and nature and who want to share their incredible country with our clients. You will be absolutely amazed at how hard these people work to provide you with an incredible trip.

NOTE: A personal porter is included in the price of this trip, your porter will carry 7kg (15.4lbs.) of your personal items during the hike. Each additional 1kg is $15 USD. 
EQUIPMENT
Your tents are provided. They are comfortable, roomy and cozy. We provide a 4-man tent for every 2 people (unless otherwise specified). The price of this trek also includes one night in a 3-star hotel in Aguas Calientes on Night 3. Sleep well chicos!

We also provide a foam sleeping mat throughout the trek. 

WHAT'S NOT INCLUDED:

EQUIPMENT
We have high quality equipment available for rental during this trek. If you choose not to rent these items, you will be responsible for providing them. 
   - Sleeping Bag: $25
   - Inflatable Air Mattress (Therm-a-Rest): $15
   - Trekking Poles (2): $20
   - Personal Tent: $35
   - Hiking Backpack: $20

NOTE: These rental prices are good for the duration of the entire trek. 
HUYANA PICCHU PERMIT
Huyana Picchu is the pointy, tall mountain in the background of all the pictures of Machu Picchu. Tickets to climb it are available for travelers who wish to hike up an ancient staircase to the top of Machu Picchu's sister mountain.

Hiking to the top provides adventurers with incredible, unique views of Machu Picchu. This secondary hike will have a 1-hour ascent, 15 minutes to take selfies and high-five at the top of the mountain, and then a 45-minute descent.

The ascent and descent are pretty steep but totally worth it!

Price: $75USD per person

NOTE: Tickets to ascend Huyana Picchu are limited, and are sold on a first-come-first-serve basis. We cannot guarantee permit availability less than 6 months before a trip start date. 
VISTA DOME TRAIN
For your trip back from Machu Picchu to Cusco, we will book tickets on a "regular" train called the Expedition Train. However, there are several train upgrade options available, the most popular of which is known as the "Vista Dome Train".

The Vista Dome train has glass walls and a glass ceiling, which provide panoramic views of the surrounding beautiful Andes mountain-side. Tickets include in-trip meals and entertainment.

Price: $70 USD per ticket
INTERNATIONAL FLIGHTS
The Lares & Inca Trail Trek begins and ends in Cusco, Peru. You are responsible for getting to Cusco. 

We do offer a flight booking service, and the price for international flights will depend on origin city, time of travel and preferred class of cabin. If you are interested in having us book your flights, please inform our team at the time of booking. 
HOTEL(S) IN CUSCO
We include accommodations you will need for the 4 days and 3 nights of this trek. We highly recommend that you arrive to Cusco at least 2 full days before starting a trek to ensure proper acclimation to the high elevation.

You are responsible for booking your own hotel in Cusco before and after the trek. Here is a list of our recommendations. 

As with flights, we do offer a hotel booking service. The price for hotels in Cusco will depend on your preferred class of hotel. If you are interested in having us book your hotels, please inform our team at the time of booking.

Pricing:

GROUP TOUR PRICE: $650
A "group tour" means you will be paired with other people.

PRIVATE TREK PRICES:
A "private trek" is just your group and our guides. 
2 - 3 People: $810
4 - 6 People: $765
7 - 9 People: $710
9+ People: $650

PRICES ARE PER PERSON AND IN U.S. DOLLARS ($)

NOTE: We require a minimum of 2 people to guarantee a trip start date. 

CLASSIC LARES TREK Itinerary 

High Level Itinerary:

DAY 1: The Journey Begins, Which Includes Hot Springs!

Pick up from your hotel in Cusco. 3 hour drive to the Lares hot springs. Enjoy the relaxing, medicinal effects of the thermal baths. Uphill hike and visit to a local village in the afternoon.

DAY 2: Up The Mountain To Condor Pass, Stunning Views And Dinner In An Andean Village.

Early start. Uphill hike on a trail with switchbacks to Condor Pass, where you will enjoy incredible views. Downhill hike in the afternoon to a local village where you will stay for the night.

DAY 3: Tour Of The Maras Salt Pools. Private Van To Ollantaytambo. Train To Aguas Calientes.

Another early start. A gradual downhill hike from the Andean village, enjoy views of llama herds as you trek to a road where a Kusa Treks van will pick you up. 45-minute drive for tour of Maras salt mines. 2 hour train ride from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes, where you will stay in a hotel for the night.

DAY 4: Tour of Machu Picchu!

25-minute bus ride from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu Park. Two hour guided tour of the “Lost City”. Option for personal time at Machu Picchu or hike Huyana Picchu. Train ride back to Cusco, arrive in Cusco around 7PM.


Details For Each Day:

DAY 1: The Journey Begins, Which Includes Hot Springs!
  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Max Altitude: 12,631ft. (3,850m)
  • Min Altitude: 10,827t. (3,300m)
  • Distance Hiked: 7.8 miles (12 km)
  • Ascent: +1,804ft. (+550m)
  • Walking Time: 8-9 hours

Note: Our trekking times are approximate, and will vary depending on: weather conditions, group ability and other factors.

MORNING

Your adventure starts at 5:00AM! You will be picked up in private transportation from your hotel. You will drive through the picturesque Sacred Valley for 3 hours until you reach the Lares Hot Springs. Upon arrival, you will meet our professional chef and his crew, who will travel with you for the duration of the trip. The Chef will have a delicious and nutritious breakfast waiting for you.

After eating breakfast, your guide will take you to the Lares hot springs. The hot springs consist of several pools that are fed directly from a natural spring. The temperature of the pools range from ice cold to boiling hot, so pick which temperature you’d like and dive in! You will have 20-30 minutes to relax in these medicinal thermal baths, loosen your muscles and prepare your mind for the hike ahead.

AFTERNOON

After leaving the hot springs, you will have another 20 minutes by van to reach the trail head, which is where you will meet a Kusa Treks Horse Master and his horses.

The trek starts with a 2 hour, uphill hike, which leads to the first lunch stop in a village called Kiswarani. This village grows hundreds of potato species native to the Andes mountains. Upon reaching the lunch location, you will experience another fantastic, professionally prepared meal from our chef and his crew. You can choose to take a quick nap or take photos and selfies of the incredible scenery that surrounds you.

After lunch you will visit a school in the local village, where you can play with the local children. Visitors are encouraged to bring toys and/or school supplies to donate to these children, who will reward you with smiles and gratitude. After this unique life-experience, you will continue on your journey by hiking another 2 hours uphill to reach the campsite, where the trekking staff will have camp and tents set up.

EVENING

Every night you will share a “family tea-time” with each other, when you’ll enjoy hot chocolate, a variety of teas, finger foods and swap stories. Your guide will take you on a short walk, where you will enjoy the sun setting over the majestic mountains of the Andes. As dusk turns to night, you will learn about the ancient Inca constellations while you look up at the brilliant number of stars stretching out in the heavens above. After star-gazing you will head back to camp to the meal tent to savor another exquisite and nutritious meal.

After dinner you can continue to survey the skies or retire to your warm and comfortable tent for the night. Sleep well chicos.


DAY 2: Up The Mountain To Condor Pass, Stunning Views And Dinner In An Andean Village.
  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Max Altitude: 15,355ft. (4,680m)
  • Min Altitude: 12,631ft. (3,850m)
  • Distance Hiked: 8miles (14 km)
  • Ascent: +2,724ft. (+830m)
  • Walking Time: 9-10 hours
MORNING

Your day will start early with a hot cup of coca tea arriving to your tent at 5AM. You will wake up to an incredible sunrise over a dazzling lake. After you eat breakfast and fill up your water bottles, you’ll start the day with a 3-4 hour hike up the mountain to reach the summit. You will use switchbacks on today’s hike until you reach the Condor Pass. This will be the most challenging portion of the trek, but the remarkable views along the way will make the hike worth it.

You will see waterfalls, crystal blue mountain lakes, llamas, condors and alpacas throughout the day. There is a relief horse available for those who need extra help up the hill. The hike will take you above the clouds and mountain peaks, and on clear days, you will have a complete 360° view of the surrounding mountain tops and valleys. This is one of the prettiest views in all of the Andes! At the top of the mountain you will stop for a rest, drink some hot tea and take a lot of pictures!

AFTERNOON

After savoring the view, you will get back on the trail and start a 1 hour descent to the lunch spot for today. You will have a relatively quick lunch, as the longer stop for the day was at the top of the Condor Pass. After lunch you will have 3 more hours of hiking downhill to reach your second campsite. The hike to the campsite is full of more exceptional views of lakes, waterfalls and wildlife.

EVENING

The campsite tonight will be in the village of Cancha Cancha, where the inhabitants still live in the same manner that the ancient Incas did. There is no electricity, no plumbing and no Instagram! The majority of the homes that the villagers live in are the original structures built by the Incas over 600 years ago! Tonight is usually one of the best highlights for our travelers. You will be able to play with the village children. If you would like, we encourage you to bring school supplies, sports balls and other toys to share with the locals.

You can tour several indigenous homes where you’ll learn about the lifestyle of these ancient people. The locals will show you how to cook a traditional meal and weave textiles using the same methods that the Incas used. We will share a meal with the locals and communicate through laughter and translators.

After dinner you will retire to your to sleep and rest for one more day of hiking.


DAY 3: Tour Of The Maras Salt Pools. Private Van To Ollantaytambo. Train To Aguas Calientes.
  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Max Altitude: 12,631ft. (3,850m)
  • Min Altitude: 8,858ft. (2,700m)
  • Distance Hiked: 6.2miles (9 km)
  • Descent: 3,773ft. (1,150m)
  • Walking Time: 4-5 hours
MORNING

You will have another early start and delicious breakfast to start your last day of hiking. You will have time to explore the village in the light of day and visit the local school, where you can interact with the children and even teach a bit of English if you’d like. Around mid-morning, the trek will recommence with a 4 hour hike with a gradual descent on a gorgeous portion of the path. As the elevation steadily decreases, you’ll see a lot of Alpacas and Llamas along with several farms and crops.

AFTERNOON

The hike will end in the village of Huaran, where you’ll be picked up in our private van and driven to Maras. Maras is home to over 300 salt pools, which were built over 1,000 years ago! This natural slat is believed to have healing properties and tastes delicious!

After a short tour of this area from your guide, you will get back in the van and drive 45-minutes to Ollantaytambo. Ollantaytambo is the last functional Inca Village. It still uses Inca-built water canals, houses, walls, sewers and temples. You will have a professionally guided tour of an incredible archaeological site called “Ollantaytambo Fortress”. The tour of Ollantaytambo will end with a delicious dinner at a local restaurant that serves authentic Inca dishes.

EVENING

After dinner you will board a train to Aguas Calientes, which is a quaint town directly below Machu Picchu. You will check into the hotel, and have a nice hot shower to relax for the night before Machu Picchu!


DAY 4: Tour of Machu Picchu!
  • Meals: Breakfast
  • Max/Min Altitude: 7,972ft. (2,430m)
  • Distance Hiked: ~2 miles (walking around Machu Picchu)
  • Walking Time: 4-6 hours
MORNING

Today you will discover Machu Picchu, the world famous Sacred City of the Incas! It is entirely up to you when you would like to start this exciting day, but the majority of travelers choose to wake up around 4:30AM. This will allow you to eat a quick breakfast and head over the bus station where you will attempt to catch the first bus from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu. The drive to reach Machu Picchu Park is 25 minutes back the way you came the night before, uphill on a road full of switchbacks. The gates to Machu Picchu open at 6AM as the sun is rising over the lost city. It is truly magical to experience a sunrise over these ruins, as the mists part and the city rises from the clouds stone by stone.

If you have permits to climb Huyana Picchu, your official guided tour of Machu Picchu will begin at 8AM and end at 10:30AM. If you choose not to climb Huyana Picchu, your tour will begin between 6 and 7AM and end between 9 and 10AM. All of our guides have been to Machu Picchu hundreds of times and know this site incredibly well! Your guided tour will start with the impressive Temple of the Sun. You will see several iconic areas of Machu Picchu including: The Citadel, The Royal Tomb, the Main Plaza, the Condor Temple and much more.

NOTE: Due to new regulations (effective Jan 1. 2019), the paths that lead through Machu Picchu are all “one-way”, meaning you are not able to backtrack during your visit to Machu Picchu. Each visitor without a permit to climb Huyana Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain will have ~4 hours to spend inside the park and those with permits to climb either Huyana Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain will have 6 total hours to spend inside the park (including the 2 hour climb).

AFTERNOON/EVENING

After touring Machu Picchu, your guide will take you to the bus stop just outside the gates of Machu Picchu Park. You will take this bus back to Aguas Calientes. Depending on your train departure time (see below), you will either need to head straight to the train station, or you can go to one of the many fantastic restaurants in Aguas Calientes for lunch (not included).

There are several train class options for the ride back to Cusco. The main two trains are the “Expedition Train” (included in the price) and the “Vista Dome Train” (additional $70 USD per ticket). We usually try to get tickets for a train leaving in the 15:00 (3PM) hour, which will have you back to your hotel in Cusco around 19:00 (7PM).

If you have a preference for departure/arrival time, and provide us with 4+ months notice, we are able to book tickets for the following departures:

Expedition Train

The Expedition Train is the “normal” train, with plenty of leg room and good sized windows, these train tickets  are included in price. All Expedition train tickets end at the Ollantaytambo train station, which is a 2 hour drive back to Cusco. When you arrive to the station, we will have private transportation arranged to take you back to your hotel in Cusco. The following are departure times for the Expedition train:

  • Leave Aguas Calientes: 14:55 –> Arrive to Ollantaytambo station: 16:31 –> Arrive to hotel in Cusco: 18:30
  • Leave Aguas Calientes: 15:20 –> Arrive to Ollantaytambo station: 17:08 –> Arrive to hotel in Cusco: 19:10
  • Leave Aguas Calientes: 16:22 –> Arrive to Ollantaytambo station: 18:10 –> Arrive to hotel in Cusco: 20:10
  • Leave Aguas Calientes: 18:20 –> Arrive to Ollantaytambo station: 20:05 –> Arrive to hotel in Cusco: 22:00

Vista Dome Train

The Vista Dome Train is an upgraded train, which provides entertainment and a meal. It also has a glass domed ceiling which provides better views of the Sacred Valley on your way from Aguas Calientes to Cusco. The Vista Dome train will end at either the Ollantaytambo station (2 hour drive to Cusco) or the Poroy station (30 minute drive to Cusco). The arrival station is based on the time the train leaves Aguas Calientes. These tickets are an additional $70 USD to upgrade.

The following are departure times for the Vista Dome to the Ollantaytambo Station:

  • Leave Aguas Calientes: 13:37 –> Arrive to Ollantaytambo station: 15:00 –> Arrive to hotel in Cusco: 17:30 only available for those who do not do the Huyana Picchu hike
  • Leave Aguas Calientes: 15:48 –> Arrive to Ollantaytambo station: 17:29 –> Arrive to hotel in Cusco: 19:29
  • Leave Aguas Calientes: 16:22 –> Arrive to Ollantaytambo station: 18:10 –> Arrive to hotel in Cusco: 20:10
  • Leave Aguas Calientes: 17:23 –> Arrive to Ollantaytambo station: 19:02 –> Arrive to hotel in Cusco: 21:00
  • Leave Aguas Calientes: 18:10 –> Arrive to Ollantaytambo station: 19:51 –> Arrive to hotel in Cusco: 21:51

The following are departure times for the Vista Dome to the Poroy Station:

  • Leave Aguas Calientes: 16:43 –> Arrive to Ollantaytambo station: 20:23 –> Arrive to hotel in Cusco: 21:00
  • Leave Aguas Calientes: 17:23 –> Arrive to Ollantaytambo station: 20:52 –> Arrive to hotel in Cusco: 21:30

NOTE: Train times depend on: the number of people in your group, the time of year of your trip and the class of train you prefer.