4 Days & 3 Nights
Lares & Machu Picchu
TRAVEL STYLE: Trek
MINIMUM GROUP: 02 persons
DEPARTURES: Subject to availability
The LARES HOT SPRINGS TREK is a less strenuous way to see the beautiful Lares Valley and Machu Picchu.
It is one of the most beautiful treks available through the Vilcanota Mountain Range of the Andes to Machu Picchu. The Lares Hot Spring trek is more cultural as you see local stone houses and encounter local people along the way. This is an excellent and popular alternative to the Inka Trail, offering more connection to the local people and culture. On this trek to the Lares Hot Springs, you also see many beautiful lakes, snow-capped mountains, and herds of alpacas and llamas. This trek is moderately difficult, is approximately 32 km/20 miles and goes up to 4,700 m/15,420 ft.
The Lares Hot Springs Treks are usually completed over 4 days (the 4th day being in Machu Picchu), however, we can offer alternative lengths (3 or 5 days). Please email us to enquire about the itineraries and prices for alternative trek lengths. Minimum passengers necessary for trek departure: 2 people (1 person or private/custom treks possible with extra fee). Maximum trekkers per group: 10 people (special, private party groups can exceed maximum).
DAY 1: CUSCO – URUBAMBA – PUMAHUANCA – CUYOC
We will pick you up at your hotel at 5:30 am in order to take a panoramic route by car into the Sacred Valley, passing through Chincheros and stopping in Urubamba for a quick breakfast at a local restaurant. Restrooms are available and you have the opportunity to buy last minute items such as a rain poncho or extra snacks. After breakfast we drive another 25 minutes to the Pumahuanca valley, famous for its white corn and Chicha (traditional corn beer of the Incas). Here we begin our trek through this gorgeous valley, where the woods of the Queuñas (Polylepis) trees predominate the landscape, on a gentle serpentine ascent and impressive views. We hike for about 3 to 4 hours to the archeological site called Inca-Kancha, and after exploring the complex we will have lunch. You will have time to relax until we continue our hike through the Queuñas trees to the community of Paccha where a spectacular mountain landscape with plenty of lamas, alpacas and sheep awaits us. We will walk for another 2 hours, passing several small waterfalls, arriving at our campsite Cuyoc at an altitude of 4.010m/13,156ft.
Walking distance approximately 13.5km/8.4 (6-7 hours)
Meals: box breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks on the trail, boiled water at lunch and camp
Overnight: Mountain Hardwear Tent (double occupancy)
DAY 2: CUYOC – PUMAHUANCA PASS – CUNCANI
We will start the day at 6:00 am with a cup of hot coca tea and enjoy breakfast. Then we start our trek with a view of the snow capped peaks of Chicón, San Juan, and Verónica. Surrounded by woods, a challenging 5 hour adventure awaits us. We climb up a path with steep stone steps and a few tight bends to the Pumahuanca pass (4700m/15,420ft). From here we can enjoy the view of Moray, Maras and Salineras (the salt mines). After enjoying the scenery we begin our 1 hour descent along a stone path with lovely views until we are close to the lakes where we will have our lunch and enjoy a brief rest. After lunch we walk for about 2 more hours, mostly downhill until we reach out campsite in Cuncani (3,900m/12,795ft). Along the way may come across local farmers wearing traditional and colorful clothing, which is typical of Lares Valley. Cuncani is very famous for its textiles which are still being woven according to ancient traditions and techniques. You will have the opportunity to buy handmade textiles directly from the people of Cuncani/Lares if you wish.
Walking distance approximately 13 km/8.1 mi (6-7 hours)
Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks on the trail, boiled water at breakfast, lunch and camp
Overnight: Mountain Hardwear Tent (double occupancy)
DAY 3: CUNCANI – LARES – OLLANTAYTAMBO – AGUAS CALIENTES
Breakfast will be a little later because today’s hike is fairly easy and it is the last day of trekking. Today we also have the opportunity to visit a traditional home where the family will share their simple and humble way of living, connected to nature, preserving the traditional customs of farming and weaving. Afterwards we walk another four hours downhill until we reach the village of Lares, famous for its medicinal hot springs, where we can enjoy a hot soak. After lunch our private transport will take us on the 3 hour drive to Ollantaytambo where we will take the 2 hour train ride to Aguas Calientes. After arriving in Aguas Calientes we check into a hotel and enjoy dinner at a local restaurant. Then rest up for Machu Picchu bring and early tomorrow morning!
Walking distance approximately 6km/3.7 (3-4 hours)
Meals: breakfast, lunch, water, snacks on the trail, dinner at a restaurant in Aguas Calientes
Overnight: Comfortable hotel room in Aguas Calientes (double occupancy)
DAY 4: AGUAS CALIENTES – MACHU PICCHU – OLLANTAYTAMBO – CUSCO
Wake up call and breakfast is very early (Approx 4am) in order for us to take one of the first (5:30am, 25 min ride) buses directly to Machu Picchu (2,400 m/7,875 ft). Once we arrive at Machu Picchu you will show your entrance ticket and passport. If you are a student you must bring your ISIC card to the entrance or you will not be permitted entrance. From the entrance, it is a 15-minute walk to the famous views from the South Zone of the farming terraces at the end of the Inca trail. Enjoy watching the sun rise over the ruin site and the fascinating tour of Machu Picchu with your guide who will unfold the mysteries of this magical site, explaining the history and flora/fauna. Your guide will spend about 2 1/2 hours relating interesting and amazing stories, explaining temples and special sectors. Your tour of Machu Picchu will finish between 9 and 9:30am after which you will have a little free time to take photos and explore. The new rules for 2019 have split the entrance times into three slots per day. Our tour includes the first ticket (6-10am) so at 10am you would need to exit the ruin site unless you choose to purchase an extra time slot (or two). If you wish to do one of the extra hikes within Machu Picchu (Wayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain) you would need to prepurchase a permit as well as an extra time slot in Machu Picchu (these new rules are dictated by the Peruvian government and we are sorry for the inconvenience). After you are done exploring the ruin site, either at 10am or later if you’ve booked more time, take one of the many, frequent buses down to Aguas Calientes. There are many restaurants to choose from and your guide can also help suggest a nice place to eat. After grabbing a bite to eat you will take the train back to Ollantaytambo where private transport will drive you back to your hotel in Cusco.
Meals: Breakfast in the hotel, snacks on the tour
Overnight: Not Included
There are no bathrooms in the ruin site. There are bathrooms right outside the entrance, cost is 1 sol per entrance, and they provide a little toilet paper. If you leave close to the time your ticket expires it is likely they will not permit re-entry.
You are allowed to take in a small backpack (under 20L)
They are no longer allowing box lunches to be brought into the ruin site. We recommend bringing extra snacks (we provide snacks too) or going down to Aguas Calientes for lunch and returning depending on how much time you’ve booked in Machu Picchu
They no longer allow plastic water bottles so please come prepared with water bladders/reusable water bottle(s)
Please do not climb on or deface the rocks or leave trash/debris of any kind.
Our recommendation is to add one extra time slot to allow for more time in the Ruin Site (with or without an extra hike).
Machu Picchu Entrance Times: in 2019 they changed to 3 time slots with only 2800 people allowed to enter Machu Picchu each day (down from 4000 in 2018)
First Entrance: 6am to 10am
Second Entrance: 9am to 1pm
Third Entrance: 12pm to closing
Note: there will potentially be 4-5 entrance times in future years
Due to COVID19 – current capacity in Machu Picchu is has been varying based on outbreak numbers. Expect reduced capacity in 2021, extra hike closures, and difficulty obtaining time slots – we recommend booking early
HIKES WITHIN MACHU PICCHU
There are hikes within Machu Picchu that you can do on your own if you wish. The hikes that historically have not required an entrance ticket are: The Inka bridge and the Sun Gate (where the Inka Trail ends with a view of Machu Picchu city), although these may become subject to permits and charges in 2021. Further, all permitted hikes are subject to closure due to weather, erosion, pandemic/epidemic, etc., and is outside our control as this is regulated by the Peruvian Government.
Wayna Picchu Mountain and Machu Picchu Mountain hikes both require a paid ticket and there are a limited number of spots (200 at 7am and 200 at 10am). If you want to hike one of these please let us know well in advance as these spots fill up very quickly. Please note we cannot guarantee you a spot for the mountains requiring tickets and that the Wayna Picchu trail is very steep and slippery and not for those afraid of heights or with vertigo).
We recommend the 10am time slot as Machu Picchu tends to be cloudy in the morning. You are only allowed to hike one of these mountains on a given day so if you would like to do both you would need to return the next day to hike the other one.
Extra hikes are affected by the time slots meaning you can:
Stick with one entrance ticket to Machu Picchu (6am entrance time) that we include in the cost of our trips and go on the extra hike starting at 7am. This means you would miss the guided tour of Machu Picchu unless we customized your trip and added an extra time slot later.
Book an extra entrance ticket (second time slot) along with the extra hike to enter Machu Picchu at 6am, have the guided tour first and some free time and then stay for the extra hike at 9 or 10am and depart after the hike.
General Info about the Extra Hikes and Machu Picchu:
You can only hike one of the extra hikes per day – these are Peruvian Government rules. If you wish to hike both you would need to stay overnight and return to Machu Picchu the next day to hike the second one. We can help arrange this.
The hikes are permitted and require a paid ticket that is linked to your passport info
There are 200 slots at 7am for Machu Picchu Mountain and 200 slots at 7am for Wayna Picchu and 200 slots at 9am for Machu Picchu Mountain and 200 slots at 10am for Wayna Picchu Mountain.
If you want to hike both you need to return the following day to complete the second one.
A guide is required to enter Machu Picchu with you but would not go on the extra hike with you unless you specifically request that.
In 2019 they are no longer allowing box lunches to be brought into Machu Picchu so please plan accordingly with plenty of snacks (beyond the ones we provide if you feel you’ll need them).
In 2019 they are no longer allowing plastic water bottles so come prepared with reusable water bottle(s).
Extra hikes within Machu Picchu: Wayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain – please note if you choose this option we cannot guarantee a spot will be available. We recommend booking well in advance for these hikes.
Extra time slot in Machu Picchu (in 2019 the government split the entrance ticket into three time slots. We include the first one 6-10am)
Included on the Trail
- Pre-Trek briefing the night before the trek to go over the itinerary, meet your guide(s) and answer any questions
- Collection from your Cusco hotel in the morning
- Private bus transport to start of the trek and back to Cusco
- Personal porter to carry your overnight gear up to 8kg/17.6lbs
- Dry bag in which to put your overnight gear so it won’t get wet or dusty on the trail
- 3 person, 4 season tents (2 people in large and comfortable Mountain Hardwear Expedition tent)
- One-Inch thick foam mattress pad
- Toilet tent and toilet and toilet paper
- English speaking professional guide
- Full meals on the trek (3 meals per day, tea time every afternoon, and snacks on the trail)
- First-aid kit including emergency oxygen tank and emergency horse
- Chef and cooking equipment and kitchen tent
- Dining and cooking tents with tables and stools
- Dietary needs: able to cater to any dietary preference/need
- Horsemen and horses (to carry tents, food, cooking equipment, and your duffel bags)
- Hot water every morning and evening for hand washing purposes
- Boiled water to fill your water bottle every morning and afternoon
- Entrance to the Ausangate trail
- Hotel before/after trek
- Dinner on the last day
- Sleeping bags and walking poles (poles must have intact rubber bottoms)
- Entrance to hot springs
- Travel interruption & travel medical/evacuation insurance (required)
- Tip for your guide(s) and trek staff are optional but highly encouraged if you enjoy your trek
- Sleeping bags and walking poles (poles must have intact rubber bottoms)
- Recommend a sleeping bag rated for 20F/-7C or below for this trek
- Sleeping bag liner (for your sleeping bag if you wish)
- Mattress pad – while we provide a mattress pad, being rested is essential for a great hiking experience and we find that sleep habits are very individualized. Therefore we recommend bringing your own pad that you know you are comfortable sleeping on, as well as any other sleep items you might want to have (camp pillow, etc).
- Sunscreen: the sun is very strong in Cusco
- Sun hat
- Lip balm
- Hiking shoes/boots with good, grippy tread
- Optional: microspikes in case of excessive snowfall (rare)
- Hiking pants (or shorts) and shirts (layers)
- Layers – long underwear and/or warm sleep pants for cold nights
- Hand warmers if you wish
- Warm hat, gloves, scarf and thick warm socks (or you can buy a traditional Peruvian hat and scarf – they are beautiful!)
- Daypack and rain cover
- Rain gear – rain jacket and rain pants (optional for the pants), can buy an inexpensive poncho before the trek
- Cash for tipping porters (USD or Peruvian Soles are fine), cooks, horsemen, guides, buying items along the trail, for in town, emergencies, etc. Note: Cash should be in perfect condition (ripped, damaged bills of any kind are NOT accepted anywhere in Peru)
- Swim suit, flip flops, towel for any hot springs you may visit (not every trek/trip has this) if you wish to go
- Torch/flashlight/headlamp (and batteries)
- Insect repellent if you plan to visit Machu Picchu
- Hand sanitizer and face covering (for COVID-19 Pandemic)
- Extra snacks if you wish (beyond snacks provided by us)
- E.g. if you have a favorite protein bar as Cusco doesn’t sell items like this
- First aid kit, including blister protection (though your guide will have one, you may wish to carry one of your own)
- Personal medication and toiletries you might want/need
- Camera, extra memory cards, batteries and solar panel/power bank
- Water bottle or water bladder to refill
- Passport (must be valid 6 months past your final travel dates for most countries)
- Copies of passport (keep copies separate, give to travel friends to keep, etc)
- Power plug adapter
- Travel lock(s) approved by TSA (or they cut them off – US only)
- Tickets, itinerary, emergency contact information
- Any medications you currently are taking or need/may need (see suggestions below)
- Small quick-dry pak towels and/or compostable wipes for a quick wipe down at the end of the day
A minimum of 2 trekkers required for this trek. Maximum of 10 trekkers in a group. Price for 6-10 trekkers: 770 per person. Price for 3-5 trekkers: 850 per person. Price for 2 trekkers: 1150 per person. Private treks, single trekker, custom treks, large groups, and packages welcome! Please email us to customize.
Private treks, single trekker, custom treks, large groups, and packages welcome, Please email us to customize.
What to carry – Daypacks
On the trail you should carry a day pack with your camera, water bottle or bladder, snacks, hand sanitizer, face mask, cold weather clothing and rain gear or poncho in case of rain (unlikely in dry season – May to October) and anything you will need before dinner as horses do not walk alongside you. A recommended packing list is sent after you book the trip and can be found below under the “what to pack for your trek” tab. We will provide you with a dry bag for your overnight gear to be carried by horses. Your bag will be waiting for you at every campsite. Yes, we can store your luggage for you during the trek. Most hotels/hostels also provide this service.
- For more information you can write to us by email [email protected].