The Lares trek is a hike that lasts two or three days in Cusco, Peru starting nearby the town of Lares, approximately 64 kilometers north from Cusco and 56 kilometers east from Machu Picchu. It is placed on the mountain rage of Urupampa (on the east) crossing part of Sacred Valley. To start this trek you need to take a 5-hour trip on a bus or van. The trek route crosses typical zones from the mountains of Peru.
This road was used by the Inca culture in the past to transport food and also to send messages to others towns. Only the domestic South American camelids were employed at that time and the most employed were the llama and the alpaca. The llama could only transport 20 pounds and the alpaca was used for clothing and food. In this valleys, you can see people that still follows those traditions. During the trek we can appreciate thermal medicinal baths, lagoons, mountain ranges, cloud forest, rivers, snow-capped mountains and a variety of birds and plants.
Many traditional weaver and farmers lives on the Valley of Lares. It’s also famous for its handmade textiles. The villagers speak Quechua and Spanish and if you want they can teach you how to weave by yourself.
The Lares trek is one of the many alternatives to the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. It is a little bit smaller and bigger in altitude than the Inca Trail and it is accessible from Cusco. Unlike the Inca trail, permits are not required to do the Lares trek.
There are a vast number of different itineraries and variations available on the trek. It is also calmer than the Inca Trail as it is not well known.
The classic Lares trek route is the shortest (33km) and the easiest route because you will only cross one pass. The trekkers depart from Cusco early on the first day around 6am and then take a trip to Calca (2,928 MAMSL). From Calca you need to take another 3 hour trip to reach Lares, There are thermal baths in Lares. From Lares you trek for 5 hours to the first camping spot at Huacahuasi.
Huacauasi is a traditional weaver’s town and many tourist try to learn how to weave there. The second day is the shortest and steepest as you cross over the Ipsaycocha Pass. Then you camp beside the Ipsaycocha Lake.
The last day of trekking is all on descend. You will cross over a lot of traditional towns including Patacancha and Huilloc before arriving to Ollantaytambo.
From there you take the train to Aguas Calientes Where you can spend the night and there are also thermal baths.
The next day you take a short trip up to Machu Picchu.