The Sacred Valley & Lares Adventure to Machu Picchu

The Sacred Valley & Lares Adventure to Machu Picchu

5 or 7 Days

Price fromUSD$1,800

The Lares Trail, a wonderful alternative to the more heavily travelled Inca Trail, is noted for its cultural attractions, including traditional weavers attired in colourful dress, roving herds of alpacas and llamas, and a panorama of waterfalls, snow peaks, and glacial lakes. The new mountain lodges, built in the towns of Lamay and Ollantaytambo and in the rural community of Huacahuasi, serve as deluxe base camps for day hikes in the surrounding environs. You can join a fixed departure or an exclusive group from Cuzco, complete with an expert guide who will be with the group for the entire journey to Machu Picchu.

An extensive network of trails throughout the region lead to traditional Andean highland communities unchanged for centuries, where you can meet local weavers and farmers and get a glimpse of the distant past, and to spectacular Inca archeological sites including Ollantaytambo in the Sacred Valley, where the rebel Inca leader Manco Inca defeated the Spanish in battle. The lodge at Ollantaytambo is also an excellent gateway to visit the spectacular site of Machu Picchu. More challenging trails bring guests to remote passes with views of Andean peaks, with the occasional condor soaring above.

Two programs (7-day and 5-day) are designed to offer different hikes daily for a variety of experience and abilities.

CLICK HERE to download PDFs of the itineraries.

5 Days / 4 Nights

Day 1: Sacred Valley: Explore the Pisac Valley & Ruins (Total hiking time: 6 hours, including lunch) After an early breakfast, you depart Cusco for the Urubamba Valley, more famously known as the "Sacred Valley of the Incas". You'll drive past Pisac and turn off the main road at Qoya, spotting its charming colonial church along the way. Your adventure begins at the AyarCancha community, where you'll start your hike at an elevation of 3,800m. The trail winds uphill for two hours to Challwaccasa Pass where you'll be treated with great peak views of the Vilcanota and Vilcabamba mountain ranges and, in the distance, the giant snow-capped peaks of Ausangate and Salcantay. Next, it's downhill to the community of Viacha for a gourmet lunch. After a well-earned rest, it's off to join a restored Inca trail that leads to the stunning archaeological site of Pisac. The lower slopes of the surrounding mountains feature impressive agricultural terraces and irrigation systems dating from Inca times. After exploring the ruins, it's downhill for an hour to the picturesque village of Pisac, famous for its colourful handicraft market. Here, your vehicle will be waiting to take you to the town of Lamay where you'll enjoy dinner and stay one night at the Lamay Lodge.

Optional activities on Day 1: If you want to take it easy on the first day, you can enjoy a leisurely breakfast and relaxing morning at the Lamay Lodge. In the early afternoon, a private van will ferry you off to join the group for lunch with the Viacha community, this exquisite meal should not be missed! If you're feeling active after lunch, you may join the others for the hike downhill towards the Pisac archeological site.

Day 2: Trek from Quiswarani to Huacawasi, High Mountain Lakes & Villages (Total hiking time: 8 hours, including lunch) Today you will hike one of the most beautiful trails in the Cusco region! Departing Lamay early in the morning, you'll take a scenic two-hour drive toward Lares, the region north of the Sacred Valley. Leaving the main road, your hike begins at the quaint village of Quiswarani. The trail heads westward up a small valley dotted with lakes and herds of grazing alpacas, narrowing into a series of switchbacks to Abra Huchuyccasa pass, which you'll reach after three hours. From the pass you have the most amazing views of distant mountain ranges and stunning turquoise lakes, whose brilliant hues are the result of bronze metal elements in their icy waters. Continue hiking for another hour toward your second pass of the day at Phonaccasa. From here you descend to Qeywaqocha Lake for a leisurely lunch, then end your hike at the village of Qelqena. Along the way you'll enjoy spotting native bird species, including Andean geese, ducks, and plovers. Your vehicle awaits you at the trail head for the drive to the famous weavers' village of Huacawasi. Dinner and overnight stay at Huacawasi Lodge.

Optional activities on Day 2: (total hiking time 5 hours, including lunch) A short drive brings you to Ancasmarca where you will explore an old Inca site that features a variety of ancient food warehouses, dwellings, and farming areas. Its location was strategic since it connected the higher part of the Sacred Valley with the cloud forest communities of Lares. Heading over the Lares Pass, you'll arrive at Cuncani, the starting point of your hike. Walking uphill for about two hours, you'll pass farmhouses and fields. The local inhabitants, descendants of the Incas, have maintained their traditional way of life, growing an amazing variety of potatoes nearly year-round and using their llamas as transport and alpacas as food and clothing. Reaching Cruzccasa Pass, enjoy an impressive view of Veronica peak, then have an hour's descent to your picnic lunch spot. After another hour's hike you arrive at Huacawasi Lodge. In the late afternoon, you have the opportunity to experience a unique cultural encounter with the local community. Dinner and overnight stay at Huacawasi Lodge.

Day 3: Lares: Trek from Huacawasi to Patacancha, the Weavers' Trail (Total hiking time: 6.5 hours, including lunch) Huacawasi is a famous weavers' village, where the men still wear traditional colorful ponchos and women's attire includes wide handmade skirts and decorated hats. Your hike starts from the Huacawasi Lodge. As you walk through the village you'll be immersed in scenes of community life, including women working on looms and children heading to school. The wide and easy trail takes you uphill for 2.5 hours to the top of Ipsaycocha Pass where you'll enjoy stunning views of the surrounding mountains. As you hike, you'll often meet locals traveling from village to village with their goods and herds of animals. Next, you descend gently for 40 minutes to Lake Ipsaycocha where you may have the chance to see condors circling effortlessly in the sky while enjoying your lunch. You continue your descent for 2.5 hours to the village of Patacancha where high quality weavings are also produced. Your vehicle will meet you here to take you to the Inca town of Ollantaytambo in the Sacred Valley. Dinner and overnight stay at a hotel.

Day 4: Explore Ollantaytambo Inca Sites and Transfer to Machu Picchu Town After your three-day hike, you can enjoy a more relaxing day by having a leisurely breakfast and visiting Ollantaytambo, which boasts an impressive archaeological site and a well preserved Inca town structure. This was the estate of Emperor Pachacutec who conquered the region, building the town and the ceremonial centre. Ollantaytambo dates from the late 15th century and has some of the oldest continuously occupied dwellings in South America. After lunch at the hotel, you catch your train for the 1.5-hour ride to Aguas Calientes, also known as Machu Picchu town. Dinner and overnight stay at Inkaterra Pueblo Hotel.

Optional hike for the very keen trekkers: Sacred Valley: Hike Inca trails above Ollantaytambo and Transfer to Machu Picchu Town (Total hiking time: 4.5 hours) A short drive brings you to the settlement of Pallata, from here you'll hike gradually uphill to Pumamarca, a small and little visited Inca archaeological site overlooking the Patacancha Valley. After exploring the site wit's downhill for three hours through extensive Inca-built agricultural terraces and along an old Inca trail back to Ollantaytambo. After lunch at your hotel, you'll have the opportunity to explore on foot the town's magnificent ruins, including the fortress, the ceremonial centre, and the town itself, once an Inca capital and the last stronghold against the Spanish conquerors. In the late afternoon, you catch your train for the 1.5-hour ride to Aguas Calientes. Dinner and overnight stay at the Inkaterra Pueblo Hotel.

Day 5: Visit Machu Picchu Sanctuary and Return to Cusco After a very early breakfast at the hotel, it's a walk to the bus station for a 30-minute ride up to Machu Picchu Sanctuary. Your trip leader will give an introductory two-hour guided tour of the evocative ruins, after which you'll have the option of climbing the sheer Inca staircase of Huayna Picchu, a steep and challenging hike that affords encompassing views of Machu Picchu and the surrounding mountain ranges (about a two-hour hike). Afterwards, you meet up with your guide again and return by bus to Aguas Calientes for a late lunch. The afternoon train ride from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo takes about 1.5 hours, and then a private vehicle drives you back to Cusco. Upon arrival in Cusco you are dropped off at El Mercado Tunqui Hotel (or other hotel of your choice) for an overnight stay.

7 Days / 6 Nights Day 1: Sacred Valley: Explore Chinchero and Huchuyqosqo (Total hiking time: 7 hours, including lunch) After an early breakfast, you depart Cusco for the village of Chinchero where you will stop for a brief visit of the Inca archeological site and the 16th century colonial church. A short drive to the small community of Taucca brings you to the start of your scenic hike, which includes views of the beautiful Lake Piuray and the Urubamba and Vilcabamba mountain ranges. You hike for about 2.5 hours uphill to Huallata Pass and on to Huchuyqosqo Pass, from where you can see the spectacular Sacred Valley of the Incas. You start your descent to Huchuyqosqo, once an important religious and commercial centre, and known for it's stunning observations of thunder and lightning. After lunch, you continue your descent for an hour to the community of Calca. On this section of the trail you'll enjoy views of the Pitusiray and Sahuasiray glaciers. Your vehicle will meet you at the end of the hike and take you to the lush green town of Lamay. Dinner and overnight stay at Lamay Lodge.

In the event that you prefer a softer hike for your first day of trekking, we suggest the following alternative:

Optional Hike on Day 1 Explore the site of Moray and the salt mines of Maras After an early breakfast, you depart Cusco for the village of Chinchero, where you stop for a brief visit of the Inca archeological site and the 16th century colonial church. Next, it's a short drive to the small community of Taucca, where you'll say goodbye to the group doing the Huchuyqosqo hike. Another 30-minute drive takes you to the start of your day's tour. Your first stop is Moray, an unusual site set on a high plateau with several enormous terraced circular depressions that the Incas may have used as agricultural laboratories. You'll hike for around two hours along a gentle trail with views of snow-capped peaks and terraced hillsides toward the small, charming town of Maras.

After a brief visit of the town, with its eclectic mix of building styles dating from the pre-Columbian and colonial times, you hike for another 40 minutes to the nearby terraced salt evaporation ponds called Las Salineras. Since pre-Incan times, salt has been gathered in Maras by evaporating salty water from a local subterranean stream. The effect of sunlight reflecting from the complex maze of ponds is simply stunning. After your visit you follow a downhill trail to the Urubamba River where a van will be waiting to take you to Lamay. Dinner and overnight stay at Lamay Lodge. Total hiking time: 5 hours (including lunch)

Day 2 : Sacred Valley: Explore the Pisac Valley and Ruins (Total hiking time: 6 hours, including lunch) You depart after breakfast for the nearby town of Pisac and turn off the main road at Qoya, with its charming colonial church. After about a 1.5-hour drive (the last section on a dirt road), you reach the AyarCancha community where you start hiking at an elevation of 12,467 feet. The trail winds uphill for two hours to Challwaccasa Pass, which grants you spectacular peak views of the Vilcanota and Vilcabamba mountain ranges and, in the distance, the giant snow-capped peaks of Ausangate and Salcantay. Next, it's downhill to the community of Viacha, where you'll enjoy a gourmet lunch. After a well-earned rest, you join a restored Inca trail that leads to the stunning archaeological site of Pisac, dominating the valley below. The lower slopes of the surrounding mountains feature impressive agricultural terraces and irrigation systems dating from Inca times. After exploring the ruins you'll continue downhill for an hour to the picturesque village of Pisac, well known for its colorful handicraft markets. Your vehicle will be waiting to take you back to Lamay. Dinner and overnight stay at Lamay Lodge.

If you prefer an easier hike, we suggest the following alternative: Optional activities on Day 2 Start the morning with a leisurely breakfast and fun activities around the Lamay Lodge. At lunch time, a private van takes you to join the group of trekkers at Viacha community, this exquisite meal should not be missed! If you are feeling active after lunch you may join the other trekkers for the hike downhill towards Pisaq archeological site.

Day 3: Lares: Trek from Cuncani to Huacawasi, Meet the Communities (Total hiking time: 5 hours, including lunch) A short drive brings you to Ancasmarca, where you'll explore an old Inca site that features a variety of ancient food warehouses, dwellings, and farming areas. Its location was strategic since it connected the higher part of the Sacred Valley with the cloud forest communities of Lares. Heading over the Lares Pass, you arrive at Cuncani, the starting point of your hike. Walking uphill for two hours, you'll pass farmhouses and fields. The local inhabitants, descendants of the Incas, have maintained their traditional way of life, growing an amazing variety of potatoes nearly year-round and using their llamas as transportation and alpacas as food and clothing. Reaching Cruzccasa Pass, you'll enjoy an impressive view of Veronica peak, then have an hour's descent to your picnic lunch spot. Another hour's hike brings you to Huacawasi Lodge. In the late afternoon, you'll have an opportunity to experience a unique cultural encounter with the local community. Dinner and overnight stay at Huacawasi Lodge.

Optional Activities on Day 3 If you;d prefer not to do this day's hike, you can spend a relaxing day at the lodge and do short hikes to the surrounding local communities. You may also experience different cultural encounters with the locals, such as learning from their pottery and unique weaving abilities.

Day 4: Lares: Trek from Quiswarani to Huacawasi, High Mountain Lakes & Villages (Total hiking time: 8 hours, including lunch) A great day awaits as you hike one of the most beautiful trails in the Cusco region! From the quaint village of Quiswarani, you begin hiking westward up a small valley dotted with lakes and herds of grazing alpacas. Your trail then narrows into a series of switchbacks to Abra Huchuyccasa pass, which you reach after three hours. From the pass you have the most amazing views of distant mountain ranges and stunning turquoise lakes, whose brilliant hues are the result of bronze metal elements in their icy waters. Descending slightly, you continue hiking another hour toward your second pass of the day at Phonaccasa.

From here you descend to Qeywaqocha Lake for a leisurely lunch, then end your hike at the village of Qelqena. Along the way you'll enjoy spotting native bird species, including Andean geese, ducks, and plovers. Your vehicle meets you at the trailhead for the drive back to Huacawasi. Dinner and overnight stay at Huacawasi Lodge.

Optional Activities Day 4 This alternative option is well suited for guests that are not feeling confident in doing the longer and more challenging hike. After breakfast you drive for 40 minutes to Qelqana. From here you start an easy yet beautiful 3 hour hike back to Huacawasi Lodge. After lunch, we may visit the famous Lares hot springs, only 40 minutes away by car.

Day 5: Lares: Trek from Huacawasi to Patacancha, the Weavers' Trail (Total hiking time: 6.5 hours, including lunch) Huacawasi is a famous weavers' village, where the men still wear traditional colorful ponchos and women's attire includes wide handmade skirts and decorated hats. As you begin your hike from the lodge, you are immersed in scenes of community life, including women working on looms and children heading to school. The wide and easy trail takes you uphill for 2.5 hours to the top of Ipsaycocha Pass (4,442m) where you'll enjoy stunning views of the surrounding mountains. As you hike, you'll often meet locals traveling from village to village with their goods and herds. You descend gently for about 40 minutes to Lake Ipsaycocha (4,292m) where you may have the chance to see condors circling lazily in the sky while enjoying your lunch. You continue your descent for 2.5 hours to the village of Patacancha where high quality weavings are also produced. Your vehicle will meet you here to take you to the Inca town of Ollantaytambo in the Sacred Valley. Dinner and overnight stay at a hotel.

Day 6: Explore Ollantaytambo Inca Sites and Transfer to Machu Picchu Town After your five-day hike, you can enjoy a more relaxing day by having a leisurely breakfast and visiting Ollantaytambo, which boasts an impressive archaeological site and a well-preserved Inca town structure. This was the estate of Emperor Pachacutec who conquered the region, building the town and the ceremonial centre. Ollantaytambo dates from the late 15th century and has some of the oldest continuously occupied dwellings in South America. After lunch at the hotel, you catch your train for the 1.5-hour ride to Aguas Calientes, also known as Machu Picchu town. Dinner and overnight stay at Inkaterra Pueblo Hotel.

Optional Hike Day 6 Hike to Pumamarca, above Ollantaytambo A short drive brings you to the settlement of Pallata (3,120m), from where you hike gradually uphill to Pumamarca, a small and little visited Inca archaeological site overlooking the Patacancha Valley. After exploring the site you hike downhill for three hours through extensive Inca-built agricultural terraces and along an old Inca trail back to Ollantaytambo. After lunch at our hotel, you explore on foot the town's magnificent ruins, including the fortress, the ceremonial centre, and the town itself, once an Inca capital and the last stronghold against the Spanish conquerors. In the late afternoon, you catch our train for the 1.5-hour ride to Aguas Calientes, also known as Machu Picchu town. Dinner and overnight stay at the Inkaterra Pueblo Hotel. Total hiking time: 4.5 hours

Day 7: Visit Machu Picchu Sanctuary and Return to Cusco After a very early breakfast at the hotel, you walk to the bus station for the 30-minute ride up to Machu Picchu Sanctuary. Your trip leader will give an introductory two hour guided tour of the evocative ruins, after which you'll have the option of climbing the sheer Inca staircase of Huayna Picchu, a steep and vertically challenging hike that affords encompassing views of Machu Picchu and the surrounding mountain ranges (about a two-hour hike). Afterwards, you meet up with your guide again and return by bus to Aguas Calientes for a late lunch. The afternoon train ride from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo takes about 1.5 hours, and then a private vehicle drives you back to Cusco (an additional 1.5 hours). Upon arrival in Cusco, you are dropped off at El Mercado Tunqui Hotel (or other hotel of your choice) for an overnight stay.

• All transport services mentioned in the detailed itineraries. • Daily activities "a-la-carte" (Daily choice of hikes, soft adventure or cultural activities). • Entrance fees to tourist and archaeological sites including a one day entrance to Machu Picchu and a permit to climb Huayna Picchu (if you wish to). • 4 or 6 nights of accommodation in lodges/ hotels. • All Meals - Starting with Lunch on Day 1 and ending with Lunch on the last day of the programme. • English speaking local guides • All gratuities to Lodge staff (Gratuities for the guides is at your discretion).

Pricing (per person) $USD

Type TWIN SINGLE

2018

5 Days / 4 Nights

Apr 1 - Oct 31

Nov 1 - Dec 14

Dec 15 - Dec 31

7 Days / 6 Nights

Apr 1 - Oct 31

Nov 1 - Dec 14

Dec 15 - Dec 31

-

-

$2,400

$1,800

$2,400

-

$3,100

$2,300

$3,100

-

-

$3,000

$2,250

$3,000

-

$3,875

$2,875

$3,875

2019

5 Days / 4 Nights

Mar 1 - Mar 31

Apr 1 - Oct 31

Nov 1 - Dec 14

Dec 15 - Dec 31

7 Days / 6 Nights

Mar 1 - Mar 31

Apr 1 - Oct 31

Nov 1 - Dec 14

Dec 15 - Dec 31

-

-

$1,899

$2,500

$1,899

$2,500

-

$2,299

$3,300

$2,299

$3,300

-

-

$2,374

$3,125

$2,374

$3,125

-

$2,874

$4,125

$2,874

$4,125

Departs

2018 5 Days / 4 Nights Jul 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 11, 12, 24, 28, 29
Aug 2, 3, 7, 8, 13, 14, 15, 16, 20, 21, 22, 28, 29
Sep 2, 3, 4, 12, 13, 14, 18, 23, 25, 26, 27, 28
Oct 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 10, 11, 24, 25, 26, 27, 31
Nov 1, 3, 7, 8, 9, 17, 18, 21, 22, 28, 30
Dec 2, 4, 7, 11, 13, 19, 21, 27, 29

7 Days / 6 Nights Jul 8, 17, 25, 30
Aug 30
Sep 5, 15, 29
Oct 14, 18
Nov 14
Dec 8, 15, 22

2019 5 Days / 4 Nights Mar 2, 4, 9, 10, 12, 13, 15, 19, 21, 26, 27, 30
Apr 4, 5, 9, 13, 14, 15, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29
May 1, 2, 8, 9, 10, 14, 15, 23, 24, 25, 31
Jun 5, 6, 7, 12, 13, 14, 20, 21, 25, 26, 27
Jul 4, 6, 7, 8, 9 10, 11 16, 16, 17, 25, 26
Aug 2, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 29, 30, 31
Sep 4, 5, 9, 11, 12, 13, 17, 18, 19, 20, 25, 26, 27
Oct 4, 8, 9, 10, 16, 17 18, 23, 24, 25, 30, 31
Nov 7, 12, 13, 14, 19, 21, 23, 24, 26, 28
Dec 3, 5, 11, 13, 18, 20, 27, 28, 30, 31

7 Days / 6 Nights Mar 6, 16, 31
Apr 1, 10, 20
May 3, 11, 16, 28
Jun 1, 8, 17
Jul 1, 18, 30
Aug 3, 5, 17, 24
Sep 1, 14, 28
Oct 5, 19, 26
Nov 2, 9, 16, 29
Dec 7, 14, 21

Booking conditions

The Single Room rate is based on a guaranteed Single Room. Children under 12 years of age will be granted a 20% discount off the Twin Room rate when sharing the room with the parent - Maximum two children per room. The child discount does not apply in a single room. If a child stays in a single room the full adult single room rate will apply.

Please refer to World Journeys terms & conditions.