Lares Trek and Short Inca Trail 5 Days
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.
- 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
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.
Day 1. Cusco – Lares Hot Springs – Cuncani Camp
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.
Day 2. Cuncani Camp – Sicllacasa Pass – Cuyuq Camp
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.
Day 3. Cuyuq Camp – Ollantaytambo Town
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.
Day 4. Short Inca Trail – Aguas Calientes (Machu Picchu Pueblo)
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.
Day 5. Machu Picchu Guided Tour - Cusco
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.
Note on the Itinerary
Although we do our very best to adhere to the schedule listed above, this itinerary is subject to change for numerous reasons beyond our control. Reasons which may include incidents in the location where the trip will be operated, strikes, political disputes, entry or border difficulties, extreme bad weather, flight cancellations, and other unpredictable or unforeseeable circumstances which are beyond the reasonable control of Cusco Local Friend and that Cusco Local Friend is not liable for such changes or amendments. On some occasions, these conditions may demand us to deviate from our original schedule, in which case we will provide the best available alternative options. And we’ll make a great experience of it! However, some extra expenses may be incurred, these extra expenditures will be covered by the client in their totality and not by Cusco Local Friend.
- 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.
- 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
|#||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|
Prices are based on semi-private service (intimate small group), our treks are limited to 8 participants on a group led by experienced tour guides.
What to ExpectImpressive 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
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.
- Local Culture
- Train journeys
- Scenic Vistas
- Scenic Vistas
- Train journeys
- Scenic Vistas