9 Days – Hiking through the Andes on the Lares Trail

Cusco, Sacred Vallley, Lares Trek & Machu Picchu

Explore the highlights of Cusco and the Sacred Valley hiking and, if you wish, mountain biking while getting well acclimatized. Then hike the Lares Trail (2x nights camping, can be extended to 3x nights), an amazing trek that leads you up to 4,800 m.a.s.l. (15,748 ft), away from the crowds. Experience pristine Andean vegetation, breathtaking views on snowcapped peaks and colored lagoons, observe wide herds of llamas and alpacas and meet the original native Andean people at the communities.
Then take the Vistadome-Train to Aguas Calientes and discover the Sanctuary Machu Picchu.

Customize this trip according to your preferences and travel style.

Day 1: Arrival to Lima – Welcome to Peru!

Just cross the street when leaving the exit hall of the Airport. Your hotel is located only a few meters away on the Airport’s premises. Relax and get some rest for the next day.

There are no domestic night flights in Peru. If your international flight arrives in the evening, you’ll need to spend the first night in Lima. The Wyndham Costa del Sol Airport Hotel is located inside the premises of the airport, only a few meters away from the arrival hall. If you’re arriving to Lima in the morning, you can directly continue to Cusco, allowing for an additional day.
You may arrive any time to Lima. The itinerary will be adapted to your actual arrival time.

Day 2: Flight to Cusco & Sacsayhuaman Ruins

Enter the Airport for your flight to Cusco (approx. 1:30 hour). Visit Sacsayhuaman, the majestic Inca Fortress overlooking Cusco. After a first introduction to the Inca’s history and a guided visit, you will have time to explore the vast site on your own.

After lunch, visit Cusco’s Main Square, get familiar with the streets of Cusco and admire its beautiful architecture.

Day 3: Hiking Pisac Ruins

Drive by private car to the village of Pisac (approx. 45 minutes’ total driving duration), experiencing the fantastic Andean landscape as you gradually descend to the Sacred Valley of the Incas. Stop by a view point and enjoy the stunning view over snowcapped mountains.            
Drive up the mountain for a great view over the Valley and today’s highlight, a guided visit of Pisac Ruins on the Mountain’s top. Leave the crowds at the top and hike down to the village with more ruins on the way (approx. 3 hours’ hiking).
Enjoy your lunch at a local restaurant. Afterwards you’ll have time to explore Pisac’s famous handicraft market before driving back to Cusco.

Day 4: Mountain biking to Moray & stunning Inca Salt Flats

Mountain bike (optional) to the archeological site of Moray with its perfectly round Inca terraces, also known as the “Inca Lab”. Continue to the Inca Salt Flats and marvel at over 4,000 salt ponds built by the pre-Inca over 800 years ago, where the locals still harvest salt in exactly the same way as their ancestors did.
After lunch, drive to your nearby located hotel in the Valley and replenish your energy for the Inca Trail the next day.

The bike ride is optional, although ideal for travelers enjoying the outdoors. No former experience is required and the trail will be adapted to your preferences (easy to challenging). The car will follow the bikes the whole time, so you don’t need to carry anything.
If preferred, you can also choose to skip the bike ride and add in a hike instead or rather take it relaxed.

Day 5: Lares Trail Day 1: From the Valley to “Pumahuanca”

Get picked up in the morning at your Hotel in the Sacred Valley, drive to the starting point of the trek and meet your trekking team.

Starting at approx. 3,100 m.a.s.l., ascending the mountain on original Inca trail for about 3.5 – 4 hours to the lunch spot surrounded by the mountains.
Continue the ascend for about 2 – 2.5 hours until reaching the campsite, next to a beautiful lagoon (approx. 4,100 m.a.s.l.) and first glimpses on snowcapped mountains.
Relax at the campsite, enjoy your dinner prepared by your cook and the team and get a well merited rest.

During this first day hiking through pristine Andean landscapes, you’ll pass various small waterfalls, pre-Inca ruins of the Pumahuanca culture (“Temple of the Puma”), with the huge stones of their original quarry and a pre-Inca cemetery.

Day 6: Lares Trail Day 2: From Pumahuanaca to Quiswarani

After an early wake-up and breakfast, get ready to reach the highest point of your trekking adventure. Ascend the mountains for about 4 hours to the peak at approx. 4,600 m.a.s.l. rewarded by breathtaking views on majestic snowcapped mountains. Enjoy the sight of the whole Sacred Valley as well as Lares Valley, lying beneath you.

Descend to the lunch spot at approx. 3,900 m.a.s.l. (about 1.5 hour hiking) at the “colored lagoons” (lagoons of different colors due to the algae which live inside them). Enjoy the views and take a well-merited rest.

Now that you replenished your energy, continue hiking downhill for 2.5 hours to the campsite at the Native Community of Quiswarani (approx. 3,700 m.a.s.l.). Meet the native people of Peru, get introduced to their traditional lifestyle and observe their animals with big herds of llamas and alpacas crossing your way.

After dinner, relax under the fantastic starry sky of the Southern Hemisphere.

Day 7: Lares Trail Day 3 – To Lares & Train to Aguas Calientes

After an early wake-up and breakfast, hike for approx. 1.5 hours to the village of Lares, the connecting point between the people from the mountains and those from the jungle to interchange their products. You’ve made it!

Say goodbye to the team and continue by car to the village of Ollantaytambo.
After lunch, board the Vistadome-Train to Aguas Calientes. Enjoy the scenic train ride along the river and admire the gradually changing vegetation.

Relax and replenish your energy at your hotel for your visit of Machu Picchu the next day.

Day 8: The Sanctuary: Machu Picchu & Huayna Picchu (or Machu Picchu Mountain)

In early morning, meet your guide and drive up to the vast archaeological site of Machu Picchu for a guided visit. Climb challenging Huayna Picchu (or Machu Picchu Mountain) for a breathtaking view over the whole site.

Hop on the bus back to Aguas Calientes for lunch in a local restaurant. Then take the train to Ollantaytambo where your driver is waiting to get back to Cusco.

Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain?

For those who wish to add in an additional hike to the cultural visit of Machu Picchu should consider climbing one of the two additional mountains located on the site of Machu Picchu.
Tickets are limited per day and need to be purchased well in advance. The challenging hike uphill takes about 1 hour, rewarded with breathtaking views from the top. However, in case of Huayna Picchu, it’s important that you are not afraid of heights (narrow steps next to an abyss). In case heights are an issue, Machu Picchu Mountain would be the better choice.

Day 9: Flight to Lima & Farewell

Enjoy some free time in Cusco to further explore. Then get picked up at your hotel and drive to Cusco Airport for your flight to Lima & Outbound flight.

Safe journey home & come back soon!

There are domestic flights from Cusco to Lima all day. However, your international flight should not leave before 10 AM to make it in time to Lima. Your domestic flight will be booked in accordance with departure time of your international return flight.

hot!

9 Day Peru Adventure

Cusco, Sacred Valley, Lares Trek & Machu Picchu
as of USD 3,730per person
3 Star accommodation for 2 travelers, based on double room occupancy (outside public holidays)

as of 3,940 USD per person
4 Star accommodation for 2 travelers, based on double room occupancy (outside public holidays)

as of 4,570 USD per person
5 Star accommodation for 2 travelers, based on double room occupancy (outside public holidays)

Includes:

  • 2x domestic flights: Lima – Cusco (roundtrip)
  • All accommodation: 6x nights in the Hotel category of your choice, 2x nights at the campsite (Lares Trek)
  • Meals: 8x breakfast, 2x lunch, 2x dinner
  • All Transportation: all transportation by private car, including airport transfers
  • All entry fees: all entry fees to sites visit during the trip, including Machu Picchu & Huayna Picchu (or Machu Picchu Mountain), train tickets (Vistadome) and bus tickets up to Machu Picchu
  • All equipment: Tents, dining and private toilet tent, mattresses & sleeping bags
  • Private Trekking Team: Cook, assistant, porters & private English-speaking specialized guide
  • Private English-speaking guiding service on excursions
  • All tours and excursions

Excludes:

  • Your international flight
  • Trip insurance
  • Tips for the guides and staff

Activities

  • Visits of the main archeological sites of Cusco & the Sacred Valley
  • Hiking Pisac Ruins (2.5 – 3 hours)
  • Mountain biking (optional – no former experience required)
  • Lares Trek (3 days / 2x nights camping) – can be extended to 3x nights
  • Train to Aguas Calientes
  • Guided visit of Machu Picchu + climbing Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain

Difficulty

Challenging – you need to be in good health and physically very fit.

Time Sensitivity

Not time sensitive, except for tickets to Huayna Picchu (or Machu Picchu Mountain) which need to be arranged for well in advance, ideally 3 months prior to travel in high season.