Start: Cuzco / Finish: Cuzco
Category: Small Group
*Note: On day 1, you will have a free day and 1 night's accommodation in Cuzco. You will start your actual trek on day 2.
The most famous hike to reach Machu Picchu is the Inca Trail, yet other great and less crowded alternatives exist, such as the Lares Trek. This high altitude trek will please hikers interested in interacting with the local communities and seeing their way of life in the countryside. You’ll pass through the Peruvian highlands where people still live as the Incas used to, in thatched stone houses shepherding their llamas and alpacas below the snow capped mountains. This trek offers you fascinating views of the mountains, glacier lakes and villages, abundant flora and fauna, enjoyable camping and a peek into local life. Revel in the ultimate ending to an excellent trip at the one and only Machu Picchu archaeological site!
Day by Day Itinerary:
Day 1: Arrival to Cuzco & Pre-departure briefing
Arrive to Cuzco anytime and please make your own way to your accommodation. Enjoy the rest of the day to walk around town and make last minute preparations for your big trip ahead. Attend your mandatory pre-departure briefing at 6:30pm and get a good night’s sleep.
*Note: You will have a guide during the trek and on the Machu Picchu tour. However, during your bus and train transfers you will not be accompanied by a guide.
Inclusions: Pre-Departure Briefing, 1N Cuzco.
Day 2: Cuzco to Lares town & Trek to Wakawasi (L/D)
Accommodation pick-up between 5:00-6:00 am and transfer by bus to Lares Town (2,900m). There, you can spend some time to enjoy the hot springs (extra cost) before starting your 6-hour trek. We'll begin our zigzagging climb to the town of Wakawasi (3,850m) with views of glaciers, wildlife and local communities. Our campsite at Wakawasi community will afford us with the chance to meet local families living in harmony with nature.
Inclusions: Accommodation pick-up, Bus Cuzco - Lares Town, 1N Camping, Meals 1L/1D. (14km, 6hrs)
Day 3: Trek to Patacancha Town (3,800m) (B/L/D)
Start off the day with an uphill 4-hour trek which will take us over Ipsayccocha Pass (4,400m), then another 40-minute walk downhill will bring us to our lunch stop next to the lake. Continue 3 more hours to Patacancha town (3,800m) where we will camp surrounded by llamas, alpacas and amidst native crop plantations.
Inclusions: 1N Camping, Meals 1B/1L/1D. (15km, 8hrs)
Day 4: Trek to Ollantaytambo & Train to Aguas Calientes (B/L/D)
From Patacancha mountain community (3,800m) we will walk 4 more hours until Ollantaytambo. Have lunch and hop on a train to reach Aguas Calientes, where we will spend the night in a hotel. Your guide will meet with you to give you indications on the next day. Depending on time, wander around town where you will find internet cafes, cafes with board games and cards, plenty of shops and places to relax.
Inclusions: Train Ollantaytambo - Aguas Calientes, 1N Aguas Calientes 3* Hotel, Meals 1B/1L/1D. (12km, 4hrs)
We will catch one of the first buses (05:30 am) to Machu Picchu (25-minute ride) in order to appreciate the magnificent city as the mist dissipates in the early morning light. A walking tour (approximately 2 hours) is given by your guide and after this you can explore the mysterious city on your own. If you still have energy you can also climb the Huayna Picchu Peak (to book in advance at an extra cost). Take the bus back down to Aguas Calientes at your own convenience. You can visit the local marketplace next to the train station where you can shop until the train whistle blows, signaling your return to Ollantaytambo. From Ollantaytambo, you will take a bus back to Cuzco arriving around 10:30pm. You will be dropped off at the Plaza San Francisco. Please make your own way to the accommodation of your choice.
Inclusions: Round trip Bus Aguas Calientes - Machu Picchu, Train Aguas Calientes - Ollantaytambo, Bus Ollantaytambo - Cuzco, 2-Hour Machu Picchu Guided Visit, Meal 1B.
*If desired, an extra night in Aguas Calientes town can be arranged. (Please let us know whether you would like to stay an extra night when booking your tour.)
Typical Meals on the Trek:
On all of our Inca Trail Treks and Alternative Treks to Machu Picchu we search for the best cooks who put forth their best effort to provide you with the best tasting meals on the mountain.
All of our cooks pride themselves on their delicious specialty menus with the freshest local ingredients available. Every meal is prepared fresh with plenty of variety and an abundant quantity of food including a vegetarian option for every meal (please advise prior to departure). Here is an idea of what you will be eating during your trek.
Vegetarian Option Available Upon Request (please advise at least 2 days in advance).
Hot porridge, quinoa or oats, fried eggs, egg omelet or pancakes with fresh bread, fried bananas and boiled water for hot tea, coca, coffee, chocolate and milk.
LUNCH & DINNER:
First Course: Quinoa, corn, noodle, asparagus, mushroom or vegetable soup, stuffed avocado or potatoes
Second Course: Chicken breast, beef stew, quinoa, fried rice, hamburgers, fried chicken, spaghetti bolognese, typical dishes: aji de gallina (chilli pepper chicken), escabeche de pollo (marinated chicken) or ajiaco de olluco (spicy potato stew).
Deserts: Fried plantains, chocolate pudding, chocolate or vanilla cake and boiled water for hot tea, coca, coffee, chocolate and milk.
Boiled water for hot tea, coca, coffee, chocolate and milk with popcorn, cookies, crackers.
Brief History of Machu Picchu & Advice:
Machu Picchu was (relatively recently) "discovered" by American historian, Hiram Bingham, in 1911 while searching for the legendary "lost city of the Incas". Hiram Bingham and his local guides stumbled across the site which was then covered in thick vegetation which was later cleared revealing the magical mountain-top archaeological site and opening up the possibility for archaeologists to conduct research on the site by 1915. Whether arriving via Inca Trail or entering from Aguas Calientes don't miss the excellent photo opportunities from the following spots: Hut of the Caretaker of the Funerary Rock (a restored building with a thatched roof), Sacred Plaza with views of the Cordillera Vilcabamba in the distance and Rio Urubamba below. Take a short walk out to the Inca Drawbridge (30 minutes) and Inti Punku (45 - 60 minutes) for great views of the site as dawn breaks and the clouds lift over Machu Picchu.
SUGGESTED PACKING LIST: Bring or Rent in Cuzco: hiking poles, rain pants, rain poncho, trekking boots, sandals, warm socks, sweater, thermals, hat, gloves, sun hat, sun block, sun glasses, flashlight/torch, camera, extra batteries and memory card (there is limited to no electricity available during the trek), waterproof bags for your camera, hand sanitizer, personal first aid kit, water bottle. Bring extra cash for snacks, water, gatorade which doubles or triples in price along the trail. Bathing suit for hot springs in Lares town (this activity is available at an additional price).
DON'T FORGET THE ESSENTIALS: Original passport, visa (if applicable), insurance card, personal medications.
Departure dates for Day 1:
Tuesday, Friday & Sunday (Daily departures with a group of 4 or more)
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