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Lares Trek and Short Inca Trail 5 Days

Cusco - Lares Hot Springs - Pumahuanca - Ollantaytambo - Short Inca Trail - Machu Picchu
Service Level:
Activity type:
  • Hiking
  • Camping
  • Archaeology
  • Train journeys
  • Scenic Vistas
Physical Rating:
Trip Type:
Private Tour & Semi-Private Tour
Trip Length
5 days
Starting from
$ 1250
per person

Lares Trek and Short Inca Trail 5 Days

Journey off the beaten track through Cusco’s most magnificent landscapes and arrive in Machu Picchu via the Gate of the Sun on this five-day Cusco Local Friend Signature Camping adventure.

If Cusco is defined by geologic and historic features, they are highlands and Inca ruins. Mountains of every shape and size form a remarkable landscape that is more captivating and varied than we could have ever imagined and epic fairytale ruins. Our Lares Trek and Short Inca Trail leaves imagination behind, offering an up-close adventure as grand as our first destination, and plenty of time to explore the area beyond this quintessential Peruvian landmark.

This is a great combo adventure that includes the best of Lares Trek and the Best of the Inca Trail in just one trek. The hike begins at the hot springs of Lares in the Cusco region, passes through several remote indigenous communities that keep the Inca culture alive from the eastern to the western side of the Urubamba Mountain Range, and covers a section of the Classic Inca Trail. Along the way, it offers breathtaking views of the snow-capped peaks of the Andes, beautiful high-altitude lagoons, llamas/ alpacas grazing freely, locals in their typical outfits, Inca ruins along the Inca Trail. The Short Inca Trail adds a significant portion of the Classic Inca Trail but in a shorter time frame! On this hike, you will explore the Inca ruins of Chachabamba and Wiñayhuayna (forever young). You will also see a waterfall that is so gorgeous it can’t be described! Finally, you will reach Machu Picchu Inca citadel through the Sun Gate witnessing its amazing panoramic views. Join us!

Why you will love this tour

  • Reach Machu Picchu through the Gate of the Sun, and enjoy it twice.
  • Explore trail-side Incan ruins that only Inca Trail hikers have access to.
  • Visit the authentic cobblestone streets of Ollantaytambo town known as “Living Inca Town”.
  • “Lares Trek and Short Inca Trail” is a fascinating hike to immerse in the Andean culture and learn about their traditions and lifestyle.
  • Hike through wondrous mountain scenery and reach 4,800m/ 15,748ft the highest point before making your way into the Sacred Valley of the Incas.
  • Small groups, Big adventure (min 2ppl – max 8ppl — average 4ppl).
  • Spend the last day at famed Machu Picchu, “Lost City of the Incas” with a private guide.

Trip Details

  • Tour duration: 5 days
  • Activities: Hiking, history & archaeology, culture.
  • Trek starts from: Cusco
  • Trek ends in: Cusco
  • Group Size: Small groups for big adventures (min 2ppl – max 8ppl – average 4ppl)
  • Good For: Those with a sense of adventure and in good hiking shape
  • Physical rating: Demanding due to the altitude of the trail
  • Consideration: Please remember coming prepared for this trek. And allow you at least 2 days to get acclimated in Cusco before the trek begins.
  • Hiking time: 7-9 hours every day.
  • Trail distance: 47km/ 29.20 miles.
  • Highest point: 4,800 m/ 15,78 ft.
  • Departure: Daily


Welcome Briefing

You will have a thorough pre-departure briefing with our guide the evening before your trek. This meeting will be at your hotel and you can take this opportunity to ask final questions and make any final preparations for your hike. The meeting is at 5:00 pm.

Your Cusco Local Friend tour guide will pick you up from your hotel at 4:30 am, next, we’ll drive to Calca town through the Sacred Valley, where we’ll have a short stop to grab some breakfast and get some items for kids in the trail. We will then keep driving to Lares hot springs crossing the Amparaes Pass (4,500m/ 14,764 ft) for 2 hours and 30 more minutes. At our arrival at the trailhead, we’ll meet up our muleteers, horses and get ourselves introduced to them and make our rucksacks ready to get the adventure started.

Following the meeting, we’ll start our hike up the highland valley, as we’ll get hiking further, we’ll start seeing some llamas and alpacas close by, the perfect time to snap some great shots of course. The first section to lunch spot on day 1 is basically gentle, the trail goes up gradually for 2 hours. Today, we’ll have lunch at a nice scenic spot (3,650m/ 12.139ft). After lunch, we’ll still hike for 2 more hours to our first campsite located in Cuncani. village at 3,850m/ 12,631ft. Upon our arrival at the campsite, our crew will welcome you, you will have time to take a rest and change into something warmer clothes before tea time. At this campsite, we will spend some time mingling with local children dressed nicely and colorfully. Later, we’ll enjoy our just made dinner followed by a briefing for the second day. Lunch and dinner included.

  • Hiking Distance: 11 km / 6.83 miles.
  • Hiking Time: 6 hours.
  • Lowest elevation: 3,350m / 10,991ft (trailhead).
  • Highest elevation: 3,850m/ 12,631ft (camp site).
  • Meals: Lunch, tea time, dinner, and snacks.

We’ll be woken up with a hot tea or coffee in the morning still in our tents and we’ll take a nutritious breakfast which will make us ready for the toughest day. Next, we’ll start hiking up to the highest point for 4 hours, we’ll be rewarded with beautiful highland scenery of snow-capped peaks and llamas/alpacas, we can even spot condors soaring overhead if we are lucky, an important symbol of the Incan people. After strenuous hiking, we’ll reach the pass called Sicllacasa at 4,800m/ 15,748ft, this place offers us some stunning vistas in every direction, of course, a worthy picture place. And, at this place, we’ll have time to rest and make some offerings to the mountain spirits and Pachamama (mother earth). After taking some pictures and resting, we walk downhill for 1 hour to reach our lunch spot. Following lunch, the trail comes all downhill until the next campsite for 3 hours. This evening we’ll stay at the campsite called Cuyoq (4,100m/ 13,451ft) where we’ll have our afternoon tea followed by a delicious dinner. All meals included.

  • Hiking Distance: 16 km / 9.94 miles.
  • Hiking Time: 9 – 10 hours.
  • Lowest elevation: 4,100m/ 13,451ft (camp site).
  • Highest elevation: 4,800m/ 15,748ft (pass).
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch, tea time, dinner, and snacks.

After breakfast, we walk downhill for 3 – 4 hours through Pumahuanca highland valley, passing many queuña native trees towards Pumahuanca village located in the Sacred Valley, which is located 2,950m/ 9,678 ft.

As we descend down, we will see the change of flora, fauna, and temperature. When we arrive at the lunch spot, we´ll have the last lunch prepared by our cook. After lunch, we’ll say goodbye to our cook and muleteers, right after this farewell ceremony, we’ll settle in and scan the scenery for 30 minutes from the convenience of a private vehicle until Ollantaytambo town, where we’ll stay at a cozy hotel. At our arrival at the hotel, we’ll have time for rest and a nice shower, we’ll then go to the typical quaint town to explore its cobblestone streets. At night we’ll have dinner (this dinner is not included), right after dinner your guide will refresh the information for the next day. Breakfast and lunch included (except the dinner).

  • Hiking Distance: 8 km / 4.97 miles.
  • Hiking Time: 3 – 4 hours.
  • Lowest elevation: 2,950m/ 9,678 ft (end of the trail).
  • Highest elevation: 4,100m/ 13,451ft (last campsite).
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch, tea time, dinner, and snacks.

At 5:30 am, your Cusco Local Friend guide will come to the hotel to pick you up and get to the train station together, the idea to start earlier is to have enough time to enjoy the amazing scenery along the trail. We’ll take the “Expedition Class Train” at 6:10 am to Km 104, which is the beginning of the trail. At Km 104 the train stops, where we’ll get off and we’ll cross the Urubamba River over a picturesque footbridge to the checkpoint for the respective registration, where you will show your passport (need to bring your original passport), this place is located at an elevation of 2,150 m/ 7,052 ft, just after 5 minutes from the checkpoint, we’ll reach the first archaeological site called Chachabamba that consists in having temples, the main patio, sacred rock, etc, where your guide will deliver a rich history of this place. In addition, you will be immersed in the stunning landscape as you’re surrounded by lush vegetation and towering mountains watching over you.

After the history lesson, we’ll continue walking for an hour and a half a gently up, with stops at several outlooks to enjoy the view of the Urubamba River and the high jungle landscape. The next hour and a half are a slightly steeper climb with the spectacular scenery and beautiful waterfall to the most beautiful Inca site on the Inca Trail, called Winay Wayna (meaning “forever young” in Quechua) which is located at 2,650 m / 8,694 ft., where your guide will deliver you a fascinating history of these amazing Inca ruins, we’ll see ritual water fountains, a temple dedicated to the forces of nature and the beautiful agricultural terraces. Also, take some time to relax, unwind in peace, and connect to Mother Nature through birdsong and soft whisper of the wind. A little further on, we’ll spot the campsite where those doing the Classic Inca Trail spend the night. Here, you’ll have time to enjoy the tasty packed lunch.

After the break, we’ll continue the gentle hike to the Sun Gate (Inti Punku in Quechua) for 1 hour, at our arrival, we’ll have the very first sights of Machu Picchu at the background nestled among the tall mountains, and we’ll be astounded at how the Incas were able to build such a site on a mountain. The landscape is very dreamy, and you’ll feel the magic and mystery of Machu Picchu that’s withstood the test of time amazingly. Use this opportunity to capture some unique photos and honor the Incas as you ponder how they were able to lift such big stones and try to understand their deep connection with nature. Afterward, we hike down for the last 45 minutes to the Machu Picchu Citadel, taking some great snaps along the way, and you’ll also be able to watch the magical golden light of the sun setting on the immerse stone walls for some tranquility.

Once we arrive at Machu Picchu – Wonder of the World, we’ll take our time to take more pictures from the viewing platforms, as the afternoon is usually less crowded. After taking photos, we’ll take the bus down to Aguas Calientes town and head out to our hotel. At night, you’ll have a delicious supper (not included) at one of the local restaurants After dinner, your guide will eventually deliver a briefing for the next day and everyone will return to the hotel for a deserved rest. Breakfast and packed lunch included.

  • Hiking Distance: 12 km / 7.46 miles.
  • Hiking Time: 6 – 7 hours.
  • Lowest elevation: 2,100m/ 6,890 ft (trailhead).
  • Highest elevation: 2,750m/ 9,022 ft (sungate).
  • Meals: Breakfast and packed lunch.

After an early breakfast at the hotel in Machu Picchu Pueblo/Aguas Calientes, we will take the bus back to the Machu Picchu main entrance for 30 minutes. This morning, you’ll have a 3-hour private guided tour of this spectacular and mystical site.

This private guided tour includes walking through the different sections of the city like shrines, granaries, farming terraces, dwellings, solar observatory where you’ll learn the real significance of this unique place from your guide. If you have booked a permit for Wayna Picchu Mountain, you’ll climb the mountain after the tour; however, spaces are subject to availability. In the unlikely event that Wayna Picchu permits are not available for your departure date, you will climb Machu Picchu Mountain instead. If you are planning to hike one of these mountains, please let us know at the moment of booking to purchase an extra ticket. After Machu Picchu exploration, we’ll take the bus back to Aguas Calientes town, where we’ll celebrate our Lares Trek accomplishment with some Pisco Sours or Inca Kola. We’ll eventually take the train to Ollantaytambo from Ollantaytambo, you’ll be transferred by private van to your hotel in Cusco. End of the adventure. Only breakfast included.


  • Private transportation for all transfer services.
  • Camping Equipment (tents, sleeping pads)
  • Other camping equipment like a dining tent with table and chairs; and a kitchen tent.
  • Entrance tickets to Machu Picchu.
  • Permits and entrance ticket to the Short Inca Trail.
  • Bus tickets the day we arrive in Machu Picchu.
  • Round trip bus tickets in Machu Picchu.
  • Round trip train tickets.
  • 2 nights hotel (Ollantaytambo town & Aguas Calientes town).
  • “Cusco Local Friend™” Tour Guide.
  • Meals: Breakfast (4), lunch (4), dinner (2), and snacks. If you’re veggie? no problem! we have great options.
  • A professional cook.
  • Horses, and muleteers; horses carry your 8-kg / 16-pound personal items.
  • Emergency horse to escort us during the trek.
  • Oxygen tank.

Not Included

  • First breakfast on day 1. Dinner on day 3 and day 4.
  • Sleeping bags.
  • Hiking poles.
  • Entrance ticket to hot springs if want to enjoy it (optional).
  • Extra expenditure during the trek.
  • Tipping for the trek leader, porters or muleteers, and other staff.
  • Travel Insurance.

Prices per person

We require a minimum of 2 participants to book this tour
# Price / Person Book Now
1 People We have special rates for SOLO travelers. Get started by filling out the information below. Enquire Now
2 People $ 1,400.00 Enquire Now
3 People $ 1,350.00 Enquire Now
4 People $ 1,300.00 Enquire Now
5 People $ 1,250.00 Enquire Now
6+ People We have special rates for groups over 6ppl. Get started by filling out the information below. Enquire Now

What to Expect

Impressive views, mild temperatures during the hiking days although kind of windy at high points and very cold temperatures at night; mostly sunny days during the months of May, June, July, and August; mosquito area; big altitude gain and loss every day so you need to have enough time in Cusco to get acclimated before your trek begins.

Food is amazing from vegetables, just made soups, pasta, to Peruvian delicious cuisine, desserts, and buffet options. All this, prepared by our experienced cook.

Why Travel with us

Local Knowledge & Expertise

It's great to travel with professional experts from the same destination you are going, that's how you get first-hand information. With deep in-country knowledge, We know the ins and outs of all the logistics, we will ensure you can make the most of your time away.

Personalized Experiences

Your time is precious - we know that. Your experience is our top priority. No big bus groups, No flags to follow! Traveling with a private guide and driver you’ll do what you want, when you want with the freedom to change your plans on the fly.

Friendly Local Guides

Great sights don’t make an amazing tour. Great guides do! Our guides don’t read from a script, we give them the freedom to make each tour their own, and your experience unique. We love what we do and it shows. From the moment you arrive, you'll feel the buzz and excitement that Cusco Local Friend to offer.

Exclusive Itineraries

It’s not all about the destination, it’s also about the journey. We offer only the best itineraries and tours. As local experts, we know first-hand what tours or experiences are the ones that most travelers enjoy and request. Escape the crowds! Never waste any minute, never miss any highlight!

Trip Reviews

Cusco Local Friend has been awarded the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence due to the most consistent 5-star reviews in Cusco, the Sacred Valley & Machu Picchu for exceptional levels of service and care.

Kathy C
Kathy C
August 29, 2022.
Most Amazing Guided Tour EVER! I very highly recommend this amazing tour company. We worked closely with Percy and customized a 4 day trip with the incredible Juan Carlos. We had the best time and felt like family since the very beginning of our time. Hats off to our fabulous driver as well. I have already told several friends that THIS is the tour company you want. I have hired many in different countries and this was the best experience. Fell in love with Peru, I'll be back. Thank you Percy, Juan Carlos and Team for making this the best trip ever! Kathy C
Elizabeth M
Elizabeth M
August 4, 2022.
Best tour guides ever! We had Edgar and Abraham as our drivers/guides on a full day tour of the Sacred Valley and they were phenomenal! They were already outside at 7am when we walked out. Both were friendly and held meaningful conversations along the way, in addition to Abraham explaining the historical significance of each site. We loved the unexpected, fun stops we made along the way. They even took us to the train station at the end of the tour and showed us how to get there from the plaza so that we could spend time exploring the area instead of waiting 2 hours at the train station. We highly recommend them!
jason p
jason p
July 24, 2022.
A great service provider Excellent trip arrangements by Hugo to for airport transfer, and visit to Humantay lake and rainbow mountain. He took extra effort to arrange us to get visa in Bolivia consulate in Cusco and bought us SIM card in advanced which is so useful. The tour guide, Smith is also a very nice person and we enjoyed the trip very much even though it was tiring. Thumbs up to Cusco Local Friends !
Dee P
Dee P
July 22, 2022.
Cusco to Ollantaytambo made pain-free Used this service to go from Cusco Airport to Ollantaytambo and then Ollantaytambo to Cusco city. Can't say enough good things about how easy it was to book service with them and I highly recommend using a private taxi vs a bus. I was forced to use a taxi due to the bimodal service via PeruRail having issues with a bus driver strike. This meant that the bus from Cusco to Ollantaytambo was canceled. Cusco Local Friend emailed me within minutes of requesting taxi service and charged $35 USD which was such a good deal that I used them to return to Cusco even though the bus driver strike was over. Drivers Daniel and Rafael were safe and efficient on the roads. Recommend that you speak a little bit of Spanish but not necessary.
baron s
baron s
July 12, 2022.
7 day Journey through Cusco, sacred valley, macchu Picchu, rainbow mountain We planed a honeymoon 7 day adventure with local Cusco friends and my wife and I had a 5 star experience. First off the communication between Hugo and Percy were amazing in helping plan this once in a lifetime experience. A lot goes into planning a Trip to Peru including admission tickets, transportation, train tickets etc and everything was orchestrated flawlessly. Ferdinand was out tour guide and he went above and beyond in teaching us about the Incan/ preincan/ modern culture. As well as show us many local spots. Alex was our driver and he was extremely professional and was prompt at making our itinerary move smoothly. I can honestly say that by the end of the trip we were sad to leave Alex and Ferdinand as we have all become good friends. I have already referred this company to two couples that are visiting in the next few months. Go ahead and book with this company you won’t regret it.
July 6, 2022.
Yes - They are locals and they are friends! I had a terrific experience with Cusco Local Friend and wouldn’t hesitate to tell any of my friends to use them. I started working with them back in 2019 to plan my dream trip to Machu Picchu. My private tour all arranged with Cusco Local Friend included hiking the short Inca Trail, a day visit at MP with an additional hike up Huayna Picchu, another day around Aguas Calientes, and then the Belmond Hiram Bingham train back to Cusco. My trip was originally scheduled for April 2020, and the world shut down. I worked with Cusco Local Friend to postpone my trip until further notice, and they did not hesitate to make that accommodation on our arrangements. Then, a year later, I finally rescheduled the trip for September of 2021, but the Delta variant was high and Huayna Picchu was still not open, so I decided to postpone indefinitely again. Again, no issues with this from our Cusco Local Friends! I FINALLY was able to get the trip successfully completed at the beginning of June this year. When we arrived in Cusco, Hugo and a driver were there waiting for us. We went into town for coffee and talk about the details of our planned MP experience. Afterwards, the driver took us to our hotel in the Sacred Valley where we were staying to acclimate for 4 days prior to our trek. On the morning of our trek, we were greeted by our guide, Juan Carlos and a guide in training at the time, Smick. We had an incredible day! The trek was hard, but Juan Carlos kept us on pace and even brought some wine for us to have during lunch, which was a fabulous touch. Note: It was raining most of our trek, so a nice glass of red wine warmed up, and prepared us for the final push, along with our coco leaves, of course. The next day when we toured MP and climbed Huayna Picchu, we had both Smick and Juan Carlos along for the ride. They took amazing pictures for us and answered all our questions. The following day, we had not planned anything, but to relax, but Hugo at Cusco Local Friend said that Smick could hang out with us that day and take us to the butterfly place and do a hike to a waterfall that was close to town. Since Smick was in training and needed the experience, they just threw that time in for us! So generous! We had a great day with Smick! When we finished up our day, Smick got us to the train station, and we said our farewells. Back in Cusco, we planned to see Hugo again and give him our feedback on our trip. He came and met us at our hotel and even brought us a little gift. He also arranged for a transport to the airport for us in a couple days, no extra charge. I had an excellent experience with Cusco Local Friend! They are all LOCALS to Cusco and the Sacred Valley, and that is always what is important to me when deciding on what tour company to use. Plus, the communication and number of times we had to change plans, was all smooth and easy. We learned so much on our MP trek, and it will be an adventure that I will never forget. Thank you, Cusco Local Friend!
Aubry A
Aubry A
June 23, 2022.
We Loved Rumi For Helping Our Different Abilities Wonderful experience. My family and I loved Rumi our guide. Unfortunately for Rumi, we got confused about when and where we were supposed to meet Rumi, but he did really well tracking us down in no time even though we were like herding cats. The confusion was our fault not his. On the tour Rumi was wonderful. He had brought a binder full of pictures and references to show us Machu Picchu at different times in history and different references about the area. He was also very sensitive to my family members that had ability differences. He even held my mother-in-laws hands while she walked up and down the more precarious areas of Machu Picchu. Be aware that this isn't an easy hike. My father-in-law had a knee replacement a year prior to our trip and he struggled with the ups and downs and the length of the hike. If you are determined, like he is, you can do it but just be aware its not like an American National Park with rails and flattened walk ways. It was 100% worth it for all of us though. Thank you Rumi and Cusco Local Friend.
Timo W
Timo W
May 15, 2022.
Perfectly organised, great and knowledgeable guide. Unforgettable experience! From start to finish our tour was perfectly organised. During the planning of this trip Percy was our contact person. He replied quickly, proposed ideas and he felt really engaging en determined to create the best experience in and around Cusco for us. During our stay Abraham was our guide and we had a variety of drivers. Abraham was super knowledgeable and found the perfect balance between explaining but not overloading us with knowledge. All of the drivers were super punctual and drove us around very comfortable. We had some challenges as there was a strike in the region that we visited however we never noticed a thing about it. Percy contacted us in advance and was super flexible in changing our itinerary. When the train back from Aquas Calientes was fully booked due to the strike Percy upgraded us to make sure that we didn’t have to change our itinerary. If you are to plan your trip to Cusco make sure to use Cusco Local Friend as they will make sure that you will get an unforgettable journey.
May 14, 2022.
Remarkable World Wonder From the pre-booking, to booking, to post-booking, the information given and provided is spot on. Our tour guide was extremely knowledgable, gave an in-depth insight into the area and provided "theorized" answers to questions asked. Would rebook hands down without hesitation! September was a great month. Cool weather, slight rain encountered, which made the experience even better as the climate shifting throughout the day could be easily felt.
May 7, 2022.
Sacred valley tour Our guide Abraham was very knowledgeable, friendly and flexible allowing stops for photos. Edgar our driver had the van so clean and windows clear for taking pictures. He cleaned windows after each stop. We were a small group but had a wonderful experience. Would highly recommend these fine men. We did the Sacred VALLEY. Thank you so much. PAUL AND BARBARA BURLEIGH, CANADA

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