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Lares Trek and Short Inca Trail

The Ultimate Lares Trek + Inca Trail – 5D/4N

Lares and Short Inca Trail to Machu PicchuThis remote and rarely visited region offers the trekker a unique view into traditional Andean life; a timeless world where farmers still tend crops on lands worked by their ancestors, watching over herds of llama and alpaca beneath the sacred snow-covered peaks they once worshipped as Gods.

The trails here originated during the rule of the Inca Empire and are still used today by their descendants, connecting the remote communities of Cancha Cancha, Quishuarani, Cuncani and Lares with everyday life in the Sacred Valley.

For this  5-day itinerary we have combined the most spectacular highlights of our Lares trekking with an unforgettable 2-day journey on the stunning Inca Trail. Spending our first 3 days hiking far from the well-trodden tourist trails, you will be treated to irresistible vistas of the majestic snow-capped Andes. We will walk amongst well-preserved Inca Trails, marveling at the engineering feats of the ancient tribes, and we will pass through remote communities who still live and work as simply as they have for many generations.

On our 4th day we rest our legs and take a wonderfully scenic and comfortable drive along the lush valley floor to the vibrant Sacred Valley town of Ollantaytambo, and its eclectic mix of ancient architecture, artisan crafts and bustling restaurants and cafes. After a comfortable overnight stay in a local hotel, we begin the final stage of our journey on the stunning Short Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.

Whilst our time on the Inca Trail is short, it provides access to some of the most iconic views in the area. Following in the footsteps of the Inca Pilgrims we will pass the ancient settlements used by travelers for respite ahead of their final destination. Your first glimpses of this sacred centre of Incan culture are simply unforgettable, and we have plenty of time on the trail to make sure you capture those memories forever.

Finally, crossing the spectacular Sacred Valley, we arrive at the magnificent Inti Punku, or Sun Gate. From here, breathless and elated, we make our final descent to the jewel in the Peruvian Crown, and one of the new 7 Wonders of the World, the ancient citadel of Machu Picchu.


Pre-trek briefing (required): We provide a full pre-trek briefing at our office or at your hotel in Cusco. This gives you the chance to ask questions about the trek itinerary. Briefings are scheduled for the day before your trek starts.

Please take this into consideration when booking your travel plans to Cusco, to ensure you arrive in time for the briefing.

Day 1: Cusco – Sacred Valley – Huaran – Cancha Cancha – Acopata

We will pick you up early from your hotel to drive you to the beginning of the trek at Huaran in the Sacred Valley. The journey takes around 1.5 hours, so you can maybe catch a little more sleep in our luxury mini-bus or just enjoy the views as the sun rises around us.

After packing the horses and making one final equipment check, we begin our trek climbing gently along the banks of the Cancha Cancha river towards the community of the same name. Along the way we will see cultivated fields and pass through old Polylepis forests.

The vegetation here is unique to the area and is home to a wide assortment of bird life, and the views across the valley as we gain elevation are spectacular.

Our team of porters will have forged a path ahead of us and will be waiting for us with a delicious lunch about halfway along the route. After lunch we will pass by the village of Cancha Cancha (3,956 m/12,976 ft) on the way to our campsite at Acopata.

Arriving before dusk, our campsite will have been fully prepared by the team and so you will be able to settle quickly into some warmer clothing, before sitting back to the watch the night sky in the Andes provide us with the most spectacular stellar display.

Our chef will prepare a sumptuous dinner which we will enjoy together before we retire for a well-deserved nights rest in our comfortable tents.

  • Meals: Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodations: Camping

Day 2: Acopata – Pachacutec Pass – Quishuarani

Our porters will gently wake you with a cup of fresh hot coffee or coca tea, and some hot water to wash with. Then, after a delicious and nutritious breakfast we will continue our trek.

The day begins with a more strenuous 2.5 hour climb to the highest point of the trek at Pachacutec Pass (4,780 m/15,678 ft).

Your efforts are well rewarded though as the view from the pass is breathtaking, with the snowcapped peaks of Pitusiray and Sahuasiray standing right before us.

After a short rest we make a steady descent for two hours until we reach our lunch spot, next to the most beautiful, crystal blue lake.

After lunch we descend further into the valley, passing several glacial lakes along the way. This area is home to a wide variety of wildlife and we will see herds of wild alpacas, llamas and sheep grazing nearby.

In the forests that surround us keep your eyes out for Gray Brocket Deer, Viscachas, Andean Geese or the rare Giant Coot. In the blue skies above, we may even be fortunate enough to see Puna Hawks or the giant wingspan of the Andean Condor.

Tonight, our camp is in the remote village of Quishuarani. With its typical rustic stone houses you will feel a million miles away from the bright lights of Cusco.

  • Meals: Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodations: Camping
  • Distance to walk: 12 km/7.5 miles
  • Minimum Altitude: 3,870 m/12,694 ft
  • Maximum altitude: 4,780 m/15,678 ft
  • Approximate walking time: 7–8 hours

Day 3: Quishuarani – Cuncani – Lares Hot Spring – Ollantaytambo

Day 3 begins with another steady climb, but don’t worry, our kitchen team always ensure that breakfast contains enough fuel to get us all through the day’s exertions!

Our ascent takes about 2 or 3 hours and brings us to the pass at Willcaccasa mountain (4,458 m/14,622 ft). As we gain elevation, the views out across the Andes and down over several beautiful turquoise lakes are nothing short of spectacular.

At almost every turn we are rewarded with a view that seems even better than the last!

After taking a rest at the summit we gradually descend for around 2 hours to village of Cuncani, and then further on towards the Lares Valley and its hot springs.

Stopping here for lunch we can take a well-deserved soak in the springs, happy in the knowledge that our hiking for the day is over. Then, relaxed and rested, our private van will be waiting to take us on a scenic 3-hour drive to the Sacred Valley town of Ollantaytambo.

After checking into your comfortable hotel room there should be time to walk around this charming town, sampling some local cuisine, and perhaps buying some locally made souvenirs from the Artesian street sellers.

We will dine together in the evening at one of the local restaurants (drinks not included) before retiring for a good night’s sleep, since day 4 starts early!

  • Meals: Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodations: Hotel
  • Distance to walk: 13 km/8 miles
  • Minimum Altitude: 2,792 m/9,158 ft
  • Maximum altitude: 4,458 m/14,622 ft
  • Approximate walking time: 6-7 hours

Day 4: Ollantaytambo – Chachabamba – Wiñay Wayna – Machu Picchu – Aguas Calientes.

After an early breakfast at your hotel, we will collect you around 6 a.m. to transfer you to the nearby train station. The train journey is stunning and provides yet another unique perspective of the surrounding mountains and countryside.

We carve along the valley floor in the early daylight for almost two hours until we reach Kilometer 104, and the start of the Short Inca Trail.

Our hike starts with a challenging 3-hour trek up to the Inca site of Wiñay Wayna which means “Forever Young” located at 2,680m/8,792ft.

After catching our breath and enjoying the views, we join the path to Machu Picchu, the anticipation and excitement of reaching our final destination very much in the air around us!

Arriving at the famous Sun Gate of ‘Inti Punku’ (2,720 m/8,920 ft) we get our first unforgettable views of this spectacular site.

No matter how many pictures you may have seen, nothing quite prepares you for the impact of seeing this wonder of the world for the first time.

There will be plenty of time to take in the view and take the photos you’ve been waiting for, before we hike down the last portion of the trail to reach the ancient city itself.

We save our tour of Machu Picchu for our final day, when we all have fresh legs and fresh eyes. So today we take the 25-minute bus journey down to Aguas Calientes.

After checking into the hotel that we have booked for you, you may want to wander around the town, or even visit the hot baths after which the town is named.

We then regroup for dinner at one of the best local restaurants in town (drinks not included) before retiring for a well-deserved rest, and to prepare for our early start and Machu Picchu tour.

  • Meals: Box Lunch / Dinner
  • Accommodations: Hotel
  • Distance to walk: 13 km / 8 miles
  • Minimum Altitude: 2,040 m/6,691 ft
  • Maximum altitude: 2,720 m/8,920 ft
  • Approximate walking time: 5-6 hours

DAY 5: Aguas Calientes – Machu Picchu – Cusco

After a very early breakfast prepared at your hotel we take one of the first buses (5:30 a.m.) along the winding road to Machu Picchu.

If the weather is kind then you may get the chance to see the magnificent sunrise over the Andes before we make our way into the site. Your entry ticket to Machu Picchu is included in the price of the trek.

After taking a little time to absorb those first iconic views, your guide will give a 2-hour walking tour, sharing with you much of the history and stories of these legendary ruins.

If you have elected to climb Huayna Picchu mountain (for more spectacular views), you will begin the hike at 10 a.m. (Note: the price for hiking Huayna Picchu Mountain is not included in the trek price).

If you are not climbing the mountain you will have some time to be at Machu Picchu.

After taking the bus back to Aguas Calientes you will board the expedition train to either Poroy or to Ollantaytambo.  From Poroy or Ollantaytambo you will travel by private transportation to Cusco and we will drop you off at your hotel.

Arrival time in Cusco depends on the time of your train ticket, but is generally between 8 and 9 p.m.

  • Meals: Breakfast
  • Lowest Elevation: 2,040 m/ 6,691 ft
  • Highest Elevation: 2,440 m/ 8,052 ft


  • Pre-Departure Briefing at our office.
  • Pick up from your hotel and transportation to Huaran (start of trek)
  • Bilingual English-speaking tour guide (additional tour guide for groups of nine people or more)
  • High quality, 4-person tent for every 2 people
  • Mattress and pillow
  • Kitchen tent
  • Dining tent with tables and chairs
  • Eco-Friendly portable toilet and toilet tent
  • Professional Chef and assistant chef
  • Wranglers and horses to carry all equipment on the Lares trek
  • Horse to transport up to 8 kg of your personal gear on the Lares trek
  • Duffle bag for your personal gear
  • Emergency horse (in case we need it!)
  • 5 breakfasts, 4 lunches, and 4 dinners
  • Hot water for washing twice daily
  • Daily morning boiled and cold water to fill the water bottles.
  • Emergency oxygen bottle and medical kit.
  • Expedition train ticket from Ollantaytambo to KM 104
  • Expedition Return train from Aguas Calientes to either Ollantaytambo or to Poroy
  • Private van transportation from Ollantaytambo or Poroy to your Cusco hotel
  • 1-night hotel accommodation in Ollantaytambo(double occupancy)
  • 1-night hotel accommodation in Aguas Calientes (double occupancy)
  • Round trip bus from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu
  • Entrance to Machu Picchu

Not Included

  • Sleeping bag (can be rented from us)
  • Trekking poles (can be rented from us)
  • Ticket for Huayna Picchu mountain (can be purchased for an extra USD $75 per person)
  • Day 5 Lunch in Aguas Calientes
  • Tips for the trek crew 
  • Travel Insurance

What to bring

  • Original passport ( if you have acquired a new one after you made your booking you MUST bring both)
  • Down or synthetic feather sleeping bag (can be rented from us)
  • Clothes (trekking boots, warm fleece jacket, tops, a few T-shirts, socks, sun hat, thermal underwear, light long pants, gloves, poncho, rain jacket)
  • Toiletries (toilet paper, wet wipes, personal towel)
  • Sun block (SPF 35+ recommended)
  • Head lamp + batteries*
  • Sunglasses and sun hat
  • Camera + batteries*
  • Binoculars
  • Trekking poles (recommended especially for the steep descents, can be rented from us) MUST have rubber tips
  • Insect repellent – 15% DEET
  • Snacks (while your crew will prepare the most amazing meals, everyone’s energy needs are different, particularly at altitude, and so you should pack some suitable snacks to make sure you are always fully energized)

Check our FAQ page for more information

NOTE *Batteries run down faster at higher altitudes


Group: USD $950
Private: USD $1010

Group versus Private Treks: What’s the difference?

  • Depending on the number of people in your booking, additional people may join the trek to make a full group.
  • If you choose “private”, no additional people will be joining your group, no matter the size.
  • Minimum booking size is two people; one person may book a group trek if Action Peru Treks is able to join that person with additional groups.


  • Under 18 years discount: USD $20
  • Under 7 years discount: USD $35


  • Hiking poles – USD $20 (pair)
  • Sleeping bag – USD $25 per person
  • Private Tent – USD $30 per person


  • Return Vistadome train – USD $60 per person
  • Return Hiram Bingham train– USD $420 per person
  • Sumaq Machu Picchu Hotel (5-star hotel) – USD $255 per person  per night (double occupancy)
  • Inkaterra El Pueblo Machu Picchu Hotel (5-star hotel) – USD $250 per person  per night (double occupancy)
  • El Mapi Hotel by Inkaterra (5-star hotel) – USD $115 per person  per night (double occupancy)
  • Tierra Viva Machu Picchu (3+ star hotel) – USD $50 per person per night (double occupancy)

Group: $950
Private: $1010
5 Days / 4 Nights


  • Hiking poles – USD $25 (pair)
  • Sleeping bag – USD $30 per person
  • Huayna Picchu Permit – USD $75 per person
  • Return Vistadome train – USD $60 per person
  • Return Hiram Bingham train– USD $420 per person
  • Sumaq Machu Picchu hotel (5-star hotel) – USD $255 per person per night (double occupancy)
  • Inkaterra El Pueblo Machu Picchu hotel (5-star hotel) – USD $250 per person per night (double occupancy)
  • El Mapi hotel by Inkaterra (4-star hotel) – USD $115 per person per night (double occupancy)
  • Tierra Viva Machu Picchu (3+ star hotel) – USD $50 per person per night (double occupancy)
  • Private Tent – USD $40 per person


  • Day 1: Cusco – Sacred Valley – Huaran – Cancha Cancha – Acopata
  • Day 2: Acopata – Pachacutec Pass – Quishuarani
  • Day 3: Quishuarani – Cuncani – Lares – Ollantaytambo
  • Day 4: Ollantaytambo – KM 104 – Machu Picchu – Aguas Calientes
  • Day 5: Aguas Calientes – Machu Picchu – Cusco
  • Beginning altitude: 3,000 m / 9,840 ft
  • Maximum altitude: 3,956 m / 12,976 ft
  • Hike Total Distance: 12 km/7.5 miles
  • Overall trek difficulty: Challenging


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