Lares & Inca Trail Trek

Lares & Inca Trail Trek

An incredible combination of beauty, culture and history.
Activity Level: 4  | Duration: 4 days, 3 nights | Group Size: 2-16 | Price: $715

Overview

The Lares & Inca Trail is an amazing combination of two incredible treks: the Lares Trek and the Short Inca Trail Trek. Spend 2 full days hiking in the Lares Mountain Range where you'll discover what life is like in the high-altitude areas of the Andes. 

During your time on the Lares Trek, you'll have several cultural experiences, including the opportunity to eat lunch with residents of a local village. At the end of Day 2, you will camp by the world-famous Lares Hot Springs. 

All of Day 3 will be spent hiking on the Inca Trail, where you will be able to tour several Inca archaeological sites, including Wiñay Wayña (Baby Machu Picchu). At the end of the Inca Trail hike, you will ascend to the Sun Gate in order to see the sun set behind the majestic ruins of Machu Picchu. You will have an amazing vantage point to view Machu Picchu from a distance for great pictures!

Day 4 will be spent touring Machu Picchu. 

Trip Highlights

  • Several cultural experiences throughout
  • Combination of two treks
  • Private campsites, only accessible to Kusa Treks customers
  • Prepare and eat lunch in a high-altitude Andean village
  • Hot springs!
  • Full day spent on the world famous Inca Trail
  • See Machu Picchu twice!

Activities

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

Accommodations

  • Kusa Treks camp for 2 nights
  • 3-star hotel in Aguas Calientes for 1 night
  •    (Hotel upgrade available upon request)
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, then 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 me when I 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 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 employee 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 4. 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
Huayna 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 of it 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 Huayna 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, 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 hotels 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: $715
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: $865
4 - 6 People: $800
7 - 9 People: $755
9+ People: $715

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

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

LARES & INCA TRAIL Itinerary 

LARES AND INCA TRAIL TREK:

High Level Itinerary:

DAY 1: The Journey Begins!

Pick up from your hotel in Cusco. 2.5 hour drive to the trail head. 6-7 hours of hiking through incredible mountain scenery to Cuyoc, our first campsite.

DAY 2: Mountain Passes, Local Villages and Hot Springs

Early start. Uphill hike to the Pumahuanca Pass. Lunch on the banks of a crystal blue mountain lake. Visit remote village of Campesinos, learn about llama herding. Campsite in Lares Village on the banks of the Lares Hot Springs.

DAY 3: The Inca Trail and Sunset at Machu Picchu

Very early start. Private transportation from Lares Campsite, 3.5 hours to Ollantaytambo. Train ride to the Inca Trail, full day of hiking on the Inca Trail. Visit several Inca archaeological sites, including the Sun Gate! See Machu Picchu at sunset. Hotel in Aguas Calientes.

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 Huayna Picchu. Train ride back to Cusco, arrive in Cusco around 7PM.


Details For Each Day:

DAY 1: The Journey Begins!
  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Max Altitude: 12,470ft. (3,800m)
  • Min Altitude: 9,186ft. (2,800m)
  • Distance Hiked: ~8.7 miles (14 km)
  • Ascent: +3,284ft. (+1,000m)
  • Walking Time: 6-7 hours

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

MORNING

Our private van will pick you up directly from your hotel at 5:30AM. You can choose to recline in your seat and sleep for a couple more hours, or you can enjoy an incredibly scenic drive through the heart of the Sacred Valley. You will drive past Chincheros and stop in the quaint town of Urubamba (Altitude = 9,400ft. / 2,800m) for a brief toilet break and a chance to buy any last minute snacks, water, batteries, etc. You’ll be served breakfast here and enjoy a warm cup of Cocoa Tea.

The van will depart Urubamba between 7:15-7:30AM. After driving for another 20-30 minutes, you’ll enter the Pumahuanca Valley, known for the Peruvian white corn that the famous Inca beer Chinca is made from. This stunning valley is also where the Lares Trek will commence! Once the van stops, you will meet the chef, the trek staff, the horses and horse handlers (Arrieros). All of the equipment needed during the trek will be carried by mules and horses.

The hike begins with a backdrop of striking scenery of the lush vegetation of the Andes. You will hike on a trail made of gravel that begins with gentle switchbacks, which will take you from an altitude of 9,400ft. (2,800m.) up to 11,800ft. (3,600m.) in the first few hours. During the first stretch of the hike, take your time and look around at the incredible views of the surrounding valley and mountains! After 4 hours of hiking, the trail will arrive at an ancient Inca Complex called “Inca-Kancha”, where you’ll enjoy a guided tour of this amazing archaeological site.

AFTERNOON

After the tour, your guide will find a good spot for you to relax and enjoy lunch. You’ll get to experience the first meal prepared by our incredible chef. He will make some of the most delicious food you’ve ever tasted! And he’ll do it in the middle of the wilderness! This is a great spot to unwind for a bit and enjoy the scenery that stretches out around you.

After lunch your hike will continue uphill for another 3-4 hours. The scenery continues to astound! This part of the world is truly magical. Whenever you start to feel a little tired from the hike, we encourage you to sit down and take some time to look back at the incredible vistas that stretch around you. On this first day, you will pass through several micro-climates including: jungle, cloud forest, the highlands and finally the rocky mountainous terrain that will take over as we near the top of our climb.

EVENING

After hiking uphill for the majority of the afternoon, you will be rewarded by reaching the campsite for the night called Cuyoc (12,470ft. / 3,800m.), which is set in a stunning landscape of waterfalls and has lovely vistas of the peaks of Andes around us.

Each night you will have a family “tea-time” together, where you will enjoy hot chocolate, a variety of teas and snacks together to wind down from the efforts of your hike. You’ll swap stories and prepare to eat a delicious, hot dinner created by our chef and his staff. If the weather allows, your guide will show you the Inca Constellations in the millions of bright stars that stretch overhead.

After dinner your Tour Guides will go over the plans for the next great day. Buenas Noches!


DAY 2: Mountain Passes, Local Villages and Hot Springs
  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Max Altitude: 16,000ft. (4,875m)
  • Min Altitude: 10,265ft. (3,130m)
  • Distance Traveled: 6.5 miles (10.5 km)
  • Descent: 5,735ft. (1,745m)
  • Walking Time: 8-9 hours
MORNING

Our crew will wake you up at 6:00AM with smiles and a hot cup of Cocoa Tea. You’ve got an incredible day ahead of you that begins with a hot breakfast, including quinoa pancakes! The trek will recommence at 7:00AM with scenic views of the Chicon, San Juan and Veronica mountains.

The beginning of the hike will be a challenging 4-hour climb along a dirt road and stone steps, heading toward the Pumahuanca Pass (15,100ft. / 4,600m.). You will pass several Apacheta’s, a stack of piled stones assembled by pilgrims as a symbol of gratitude and respect to the Apus (Bird of Paradise). Upon reaching the Pass, you will be able to honor the top of the mountain by performing a local ritual involving Cocoa Leaves and the blood of the youngest person in our group (kidding!). From the top of this pass, you can see incredible views of Moray, Maras and Salineras stretching out far below. It’s a truly breathtaking view.

AFTERNOON

After enjoying the scenery, you will begin an hour-long descent down a stone road, which has more lovely views on both sides. At mid-day, you will break for lunch on the banks of an incredible, crystal blue mountain lake. Enjoy another fabulous meal prepared by our chef while you relax and recoup your energy. After lunch you will have 2 more hours of mainly downhill hiking to reach a local village.

This village is full of color and Campesinos (local, friendly people). The men and women of this village wear the same colorful costumes that their Inca ancestors wore hundreds of years ago. As you interact with the locals, be sure to appreciate the environment that they thrive in! This village is surrounded with magnificent views of mountains and valleys, and there are also herds of llamas and alpacas that graze in these hills.

In this little village, you will have the opportunity to visit the home of the Arriero (Lead Herder), a person of great respect and status in these herding communities. He will share stories of the village and tell you how they live with a deep connection to nature. You will learn about and witness several of their ancient traditions, including: agricultural practices, weaving’s, textiles, herbal-ism and much more.

EVENING

After the visit to the village, you will take a private van to the Lares Village (those who would like can hike, ~3 hours), which is the namesake and pinnacle of the Lares Trek! The Lares Village is famous for its medicinal hot springs and is also home to brilliant mountain lagoons and lakes! If you’d like, you will have the opportunity to change into your bathing suits and soak in one of the pools fed by the medical hot springs.

After a refreshing dip in the springs, you will enjoy another wonderful meal prepared by our chef and his staff and turn in for the night at the campsite, which will be right next to the pools of natural hot springs.


DAY 3: The Inca Trail and Sunset at Machu Picchu
  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Max Altitude: 10,265ft. (3,130m)
  • Min Altitude: 6,888ft. (2,100m)
  • Distance Traveled: ~9.3 miles (15 km)
  • Descent: 3,377ft. (1,030m)
  • Walking Time: 6-7 hours
MORNING

Very early start today! A Kusa Treks van will pick you up from the Lares Campsite at 4:00AM and drive ~3.5 hours to the train station in Ollantaytambo. Here you will board an Expedition Train for the Trail Head of the Short Inca Trail (Km 104). After an hour and 45-minute train ride, you will start today’s hike on the Inca Trail by submitting your passports at a check control point.

Once on the trail, you will start with an easy walk near the Vicanota River. The trail will gradually begin to incline as it heads for the Chachabamba Ruins, which is a set of Inca Ruins that include a stone alter used to worship the sun and mountains. This site is still used by the locals that live in this area to pay tribute to the beautiful nature that surrounds them.

After visiting these historic ruins, the path will lead south with a steady incline up the mountain, where you will enter a beautiful cloud forest! The trail then opens into into a breathtaking open meadow on top of the mountain. The scenery will continue to impress as you begin to descend the mountain into an incredible rain forest, highlighted with a majestic waterfall! Seriously, this stretch of the trail is magnificent and will likely take up a lot of memory on your phone or camera.

AFTERNOON

Once you reach the bottom of the valley, you will have a guided tour a set of Inca Ruins called Wiñay Wayna (affectionately known as “Baby Machu Picchu”). We encourage you to take your time and appreciate the beauty of this incredible place. Your guide will explain the importance and meaning of these ruins after which you will enjoy a lovely boxed lunch prepared by our chef earlier that morning. After completing lunch, you will hike through another cloud forest full of bromeliads, orchids and tree ferns, which combine to make a dazzling display of Andean beauty.

After a few hours of hiking, the trail will begin to pass several age-old monuments built by the Incas, including stone stairs and drums. You will have the opportunity to climb 60 of these stairs in order to reach the famous Intil Punku (“Sun Gate”). The Sun Gate is an architectural wonder built by the Incas hundreds of years ago. At dawn on the summer equinox, the sun will pass through the Sun Gate and strike a pool of sacred water in the Sun Temple located in the center of Machu Picchu.

EVENING

From the Sun Gate, you will have an incredible vantage point to view the ruins of Machu Picchu below. By now it will be late afternoon, and you will begin to descend the stone steps built by the Incas. At each turn a different and wonderful view of Machu Picchu will present itself as you make your way to one of the more famous vantage points to view Machu Picchu.

Upon reaching the lookout point, you will have 15-30 minutes to take pictures and observe the sun set behind the city of Machu Picchu! After enjoying the sunset, your guide will lead you past the entryway of the Machu Picchu ruins to a bus stop, where you will board a bus and take a 25-minute ride down to the charming town of Aguas Calientes.

Upon reaching the town, you will enjoy a lovely meal at a local restaurant and then turn in for the night at your hotel. Accommodations and dinner in Aguas Calientes are included in the price of the trek. After dinner your guide will go over the plans for the next day, and you will be able to catch up on sleep after a long day!

NOTE: The incredible part about this trek (and why so many of our clients enjoy it so much) is that you will have the opportunity to see Machu Picchu twice and from different different vantage points. Once from the Sun Gate and lookout point on Day 3, where you will get a “birds eye view” that will allow you can see the entire city and again on Day 4 when you will actually enter the park to tour the ruins.


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! The majority of travelers choose to wake up around 4:30AM. This allows you to eat a quick breakfast and head over the bus station where you will catch a bus from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu. The bus ride 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 rises 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.

Your official guided tour of Machu Picchu will begin at 8AM and end at 10:30AM. 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 Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain will have ~4 hours to spend inside the park and those with permits to climb either Huayna 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 the bus back to 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.