Lares Adventure

A Lodge-to-Lodge Trek to Machu Picchu
5 Days / 4 Nights
7 Days / 6 Nights

“Mountain Lodges of Peru invites you on a cultural exploration of the Urubamba Valley, the celebrated “Sacred Valley of the Incas,” and the spectacular archaeological site of Machu Picchu, combined with activities in the less visited and uncrowded Lares region north of Cusco, noted for its rural atmosphere, traditional weavers attired in colorful dress, and roving herds of alpacas and llamas—an authentic slice of Peruvian life.”

The Lares Adventure to Machu Picchu offers the perfect combination of adventure travel and cultural immersion. Your experience on our 5 or 7 day lodge-to-lodge journey will alternate between an exploration of the astounding natural scenery of the Sacred Valley of the Incas and an intimate look at Andean culture, both in busy towns and in the most-remote of mountain hamlets.

Daily expeditions will lead you along seldom-traveled highland trails surrounded by exquisite snow-capped peaks, past roving herds of llamas and alpacas, around impossibly hued turquoise lakes, and through graceful waterfalls. Your destinations will include fascinating archaeological sites, thought-provoking agricultural and commercial Andean cooperatives, and bustling towns and markets showcasing the flavors of the region as well as the wares of its skilled artisans. Most importantly, you will travel to hidden communities unchanged for centuries for a unique up-close visit with local people.

Expert guides tailor the experience with an offer of à la carte activities and daily cultural encounters. At each day’s sunset, settle into deluxe mountain lodges run in partnership with local communities, to prepare for a new day of multi-activity adventure and exploration.





Itineraries of the
Lares Adventure Trek
with Mountain Lodges of Peru

5 Days / 4 Nights

7 Days / 6 Nights

The Lares Adventure to Machu Picchu…a journey through the ancient history, living culture and magnificent landscape of Cusco and the Sacred Valley of the Incas. Expert guides will tailor your individual experience with a choice of adventure activities and cultural encounters. Then, as breathtaking sunsets paint the Andean sky, you will settle into deluxe mountain lodges to prepare for the next day.


5 Day Adventure: Essential Treasures of the Incas

Day 0 – Evening Briefing in Cusco

Meet & greet with other guests where you receive important information for a great trekking experience.

Day 1 – Cusco | Sacred Valley of the Incas | Exploring Pisaq

After an early breakfast, your tour guide and driver will pick you up at your hotel in Cusco. The first stop will be a visit to Awanakancha (an Andean camelid exhibition and traditional textile center). We then continue to Pisaq. The Pisaq town square is often the center of activity throughout this region, but so too is the town market, and none is more alive than the famous market at Pisaq. A morning visit to check out its unique array of products will inspire you with a small taste of the rich culture yet to be explored on your journey. Travelers seeking inspiration in nature can opt for an invigorating morning hike surrounded by amazing views of the Andes Mountains that guard this magnificent valley. Later, enjoy exclusive access to the isolated community of Viacha, where you will learn about its artisanal potato farming practices and enjoy a traditional “Pachamanca” meal, cooked under hot stones. After lunch you will visit the archaeological complex at Pisaq, an afternoon excursion that offers a unique opportunity to explore the complex free of crowds, with the sun setting behind the peaks.

Note: You will officially meet your guide at a briefing the night before Day One of the trek. At this meeting you are encouraged to ask any questions you may still have as well as make additional requests.
Activity Menu (morning to noon):
- Cultural activity: Visit Awanakancha (an Andean camelid exhibition and traditional textile center), the town of Pisaq and local market, and experience an encounter with members of the local community of Viacha.
OR
- Hike: From the local community of Amaru to the local community of Viacha / Duration 2.5-3 hrs. / Moderate / Mountain pass at an elevation of 14,200´ - 4,328m.
Group Activity: Group lunch at the local community of Viacha. In the afternoon, the whole group visits the Pisaq archeological site together, before heading to the lodge.
Overnight: Lamay Lodge (el. 9,705’- 2,958m.), located in the town of Lamay, in the Sacred Valley of the Incas.

Day 2 –Lares Region | Inca Sites and Villages

Now that you have gotten a glimpse of the rich Andean tapestry, today you will have the opportunity to go even deeper with an exploration into the heart of the Lares Valley. A scenic drive into the mountains, along the celebrated “Inca Weaver’s Trail”, allows you to visit the unique and uncrowded archeological site of Ancasmarca along the hub-town of Lares. After lunch, you can choose between visiting the traditional and ancient weavers’ village of Choquecancha, or opt for hiking amidst turquoise blue lakes and towering peaks to the remote village of Huacahuasi, where we all meet to spend the night. This lodge, which is run in joint venture with the local community and aims to protect the cultural heritage and the environment, provides an interesting insight into the evolving role of the original Andean people in both the culture and commerce of modern-day Cusco.

Group Activity (morning to noon): In the morning, briefly explore the town of Lamay and visit the archeological site of Ancasmarca. Group lunch at the town of Lares.
Activity Menu (afternoon, after the group visit):
- Cultural activity: Visit the town of Choquecancha, meet with local weavers and visit the old church.
OR
- Hike: From Quelquena to Huacahuasi / Duration 2-2.5 hrs. / Easy to moderate / Mountain pass at an elevation of 12,595´- 3,839m.
OR
- Hike: From Cuncani to Huacahuasi / Duration 3.5-4 hrs. / Moderate / Mountain pass at an elevation of 13,838´- 4,219m.
Overnight:
Huacahuasi Lodge (el. 12,585’ - 3,835m.), located in the local community of Huacahuasi, in the Lares Region.

Day 3 – Sacred Valley of the Incas | Expedition to Ollantaytambo

Spend some time in the morning learning more about the heritage and day-to-day activities of the Huacahuasi community. Then, you can choose to embark on a spectacular hike through varied terrain and over a high pass, to the adjacent valley leading to the ancient town of Ollantaytambo, the oldest living city in Latin America. If you prefer to see more of the Sacred Valley, you can drive back for a visit to an ethnographic museum featuring the history of Peru’s rich civilizations of the past or choose to explore the valley on mountain bike. Afterwards, enjoy lunch in the Urubamba River countryside on your way to Ollantaytambo, where you can spend time meandering through its charming maze-like streets.

Activity Menu (all day):
- Cultural activity:
Drive back to the Sacred Valley of the Incas, visit a local farmer’s market and a Pre-Inca and Inca cultural museum. Enjoy lunch at a countryside restaurant and in the afternoon explore the town of Ollantaytambo.
OR
- Optional bike excursion: Drive back and explore the Sacred Valley of the Incas on mountain bike (2 hrs.). Enjoy lunch at a countryside restaurant and in the afternoon explore the town of Ollantaytambo.
OR
- Hike: From Huacahuasi to Patacancha / Duration 7 hrs. / Moderate to challenging / Mountain pass at an elevation of 14,646’ - 4,464m. Route lunch at Ipsaycocha lake. Afternoon arrival in Ollantaytambo.
Overnight:
Hotel in Ollantaytambo town (el. 9,284’ - 2,830m.), located in the Sacred Valley of the Incas.
Note:
Guests that opt for the cultural activity and guests that opt for the optional bike excursion will meet for lunch in Urubamba at a countryside restaurant and visit the town of Ollantaytambo together in the afternoon. Guests that opt for the hike will meet up with the rest of the group late in the afternoon at the hotel in Ollantaytambo.

Day 4 – Sacred Valley of the Incas | Discovering Ollantaytambo

From its beginnings as the royal estate of Inca-Emperor Pachacutec, to a stronghold against the Spanish conquistadors for Manco Inca Yupanqui, the temple at Ollantaytambo was regarded by the Incas as one of their most important ceremonial centers. On this day, an optional and short early morning hike to Inca storage structures high above Ollantaytambo will give you a magnificent view of the town as well as of the main archeological site across the valley. Afterwards, as your guide leads you through a morning tour of the temple and explains its strategic architectural planning, you will also get a sense of its mystical history…a perfect introduction to the wonder of Machu Picchu. Around noon you will embark on a scenic train ride along the famous Urubamba River to Aguas Calientes, the town below Machu Picchu, whose charm lies in a history that began as a small railway stop and evolved into a bustling town still bisected by the train tracks.

Activity Menu (early morning, before the group activity):
- Hike: Lower Pinkuylluna Mountain above Ollantaytambo / Duration 1-1.5 hrs. / Moderate.
OR
- Hike: Higher Pinkuylluna Mountain above Ollantaytambo / Duration 2-2.5 hrs. / Moderate to challenging.
Group Activity:
In the morning, after the optional early morning activities, explore the archeological site of Ollantaytambo, before boarding the train to the town of Machu Picchu (Aguas Calientes).
Overnight:
Hotel in Aguas Calientes town (el. 6,232´-1,900m.), located in the base town of Machu Picchu.

Day 5 – Machu Picchu | the Sanctuary | Cusco

Machu PicchuAt dawn, you begin your journey to Machu Picchu with a short and rollicking uphill bus ride. As you enter the “Sanctuary” (as locals refer to it), the morning sun rises over the iconic Sun Gate and washes the structures and terraces with resplendent light. Prepare to be awed by the imposing and skillful architecture of the Watchtower, the Temple of the Sun, and the royal Inca residences, among many others. Take a moment to quietly sit and listen to the wind…or to meditate and absorb the mystical energy that envelops you. Your imagination will soar as you contemplate the history of Machu Picchu and its mysterious origins. Some may even choose a hike to Huayna Picchu, the iconic towering mountain often seen in photographs, for dramatic views that stretch from the Urubamba River valley to the edge of the Amazon Jungle. Either way, you will be touched by a feeling of peace and rejuvenation which will linger even as you journey back to the city lights, and hustle and bustle of Cusco.

Group Activity: Early in the morning visit the Inca citadel of Machu Picchu.
Activity Menu (late morning, after the group activity):
- Cultural activity: free time to explore the Inca citadel of Machu Picchu (el. 7,872´ - 2,400m.).
OR
- Hike: Guided hike of Huayna Picchu Mountain / Duration 2-2.5 hrs. / Moderate to challenging / Mountain pass at an elevation of 8,924´ - 2,720m.

 


7 Day Adventure: Deep Immersion into Ancient Cultures

Day 0 – Evening Briefing in Cusco

Meet & greet with other guests where you receive important information for a great trekking experience.

Day 1 – Cusco | Sacred Valley of the Incas | Treasures of the Sacred Valley

Begin your adventure with a journey from the urban setting of Cusco into the Sacred Valley of the Incas, full of lush green fields and surrounded by striking mountain peaks. Explore the archeological site of Chinchero, where colonial buildings rest atop Inca foundations. Go back in time and study the natural Inca salt mines of Maras and the astonishing circular terraces of Moray, believed to be an Inca laboratory dedicated to the study of foreign plant species. If you prefer you may choose on this day to embark on a full-day, challenging yet memorable hike amongst impressive views of the Ausangate mountain range to the Inca complex of Huchuyqosqo, thought to be the Palace of Viracocha (the eight Inca ruler), where it is said he would enjoy the ‘fireworks of the gods’ during thunderstorms.

Note: You will officially meet your guide at a briefing the night before Day One of the trek. At this meeting you are encouraged to ask any questions you may still have as well as make additional requests.
Group Activity: In the morning the whole group visits the archeological site of Chinchero.
Activity Menu (morning to noon):
- Cultural activity: Guided tour of Moray Inca Agricultural site and the Salt Mines of Maras.
OR
- Hike: From Taucca to Huchuyqosqo / Duration 6 hrs. / Moderate to challenging / Mountain pass at an elevation of 14,550´- 4,436 m.
Overnight:
Lamay Lodge (el. 9,705’ – 2,958m.), located in the town of Lamay, in the Sacred Valley of the Incas.

Day 2 – Sacred Valley of the Incas | Exploring Pisaq

The Pisaq town square is often the center of activity throughout this region, but so too is the town market, and none is more alive than the famous market at Pisaq. A morning visit to check out its unique array of products will inspire you with a small taste of the rich culture yet to be explored on your journey. Travelers seeking inspiration in nature can opt for an invigorating morning hike surrounded by amazing views of the Andes Mountains that guard this magnificent valley. Later, enjoy exclusive access to the isolated community of Viacha, where you will learn about its artisanal potato farming practices and enjoy a traditional “Pachamanca” meal, cooked under hot stones. After lunch you will visit the archaeological complex at Pisaq, an afternoon excursion that offers a unique opportunity to explore the complex free of crowds, with the sun setting behind the peaks.

Activity Menu (morning to noon):
- Cultural activity: Visit the town of Pisaq and local market, and experience an encounter with members of the local community of Viacha.
OR
- Bike excursion: Bike ride along the Urubamba river from Lamay to Pisaq Town / Duration 2 - 2.5 hrs. / Easy to moderate.
OR
- Hike: From the local community of Amaru to the local community of Viacha / Duration 2.5-3 hrs. / Moderate / Mountain pass at an elevation of 14,200´ - 4,328m.
Group Activity:
Group lunch in the local community of Viacha. In the afternoon, the whole group visits the Pisaq archaeological site together, before heading back to the lodge.
Overnight:
Lamay Lodge (el. 9,705’ – 2,958m.), located in the town of Lamay, in the Sacred Valley of the Incas.

Day 3 – Lares Valley | Inca Sites and Villages

Now that you have gotten a glimpse into this rich Andean tapestry, today you will have the opportunity to go even deeper with an exploration into the heart of the Lares Valley. A scenic drive into the mountains along the celebrated “Inca Weaver’s Trail” allows you to visit the unique and uncrowded archeological site of Ancasmarca to the hub-town of Lares. After lunch, you can choose between visiting the traditional and ancient weavers’ village of Choquecancha, or opt for hiking amidst turquoise blue lakes and towering peaks to the remote village of Huacahuasi, where you will spend the night. This lodge, which is run in joint venture with the local community and aims to protect the cultural heritage and the environment, provides an interesting insight into the evolving role of the original Andean people in both the culture and commerce of modern-day Cusco.

Group Activity (morning to noon): In the morning, explore the town of Lamay briefly and visit the archeological site of Ancasmarca. Group lunch at the local town of Lares.
Activity Menu (afternoon, after the group visit):
- Cultural activity: Visit the town of Choquecancha, meet with the local weavers and visit the old church.
OR
- Hike: From Quelquena to Huacahuasi / Duration 2-2.5 hrs. / Easy to moderate / Mountain pass at an elevation of 12,595´- 3,839m.
OR - Hike: From Cuncani to Huacahuasi / Duration 3.5-4 hrs. / Moderate / Mountain pass at an elevation of 13,838´- 4,219m.
Overnight:
Huacahuasi Lodge (el. 12,585’ - 3,835m.), located in the local community of Huacahuasi, in the Lares Region.

Day 4 – Lares Valley | Exploring Huacahuasi

If you’re in the mood for a cultural experience today, you can walk through the village of Huacahuasi and learn more about its heritage and daily activities, with a possible visit to a farmer’s home. The expert weavers and farmers will share their stories, each depicted in artful textiles full of traditional Incan symbols and imagery. Then take a Peruvian cooking class and test your skills during lunch with the rest of the group. For those who want to go deeper into these remote mountains, challenge yourself with an all-day hike from the community of Quiswarani onto the “Trail of 1,000 Lakes”. Although a strenuous hike, you will be amazed and awakened by the simple but majestic beauty of this eden, as you enjoy the company of herds of alpacas and llamas grazing on hillsides, and make your way over challenging mountain passes.

Activity Menu (all day):
- Cultural activity: Explore the village, meet local weavers and participate in a cooking class.
OR
- Hike: Visit to the community of Huacahuasi and walk to nearby waterfall / Duration 1-2 hrs. / Easy.
OR
- Hike: From Quiswarani to Quelquena / Duration 6-7 hrs. / Challenging / Mountain pass at an elevation of 14,505´-4,421m.
Overnight:
Huacahuasi Lodge (el. 12,585’ – 3,835m.), located in the local community of Huacahuasi, in the Lares Region.

Day 5 – Sacred Valley of the Incas | Expedition to Ollantaytambo

Spend some time in the morning learning more about the heritage and day-to-day activities of the Huacahuasi community. Then, you can choose to embark on a spectacular hike through varied terrain and over a high pass, to the adjacent valley leading to the ancient town of Ollantaytambo, the oldest living city in Latin America. If you prefer to see more of the Sacred Valley, you can drive back for a visit to an ethnographic museum featuring the history of Peru’s rich civilizations of the past or choose to explore the valley on mountain bike. Afterwards, enjoy lunch in the Urubamba River countryside on your way to Ollantaytambo, where you can spend time meandering through its charming maze-like streets.

Activity Menu (all day):
- Cultural activity: Drive back to the Sacred Valley of the Incas, visit a local farmer’s market and a Pre-Inca and Inca cultural museum. Enjoy lunch at a countryside restaurant and, in the afternoon, explore the town of Ollantaytambo.
OR
- Optional bike excursion: Drive back and explore the Sacred Valley of the Incas, on mountain bike (2 hrs.). Enjoy lunch at a countryside restaurant and in the afternoon, explore the town of Ollantaytambo.
OR - Hike: From Huacahuasi to Patacancha / Duration 7 hrs. / Moderate to challenging / Mountain pass at an elevation of 14,646’ - 4,464m. Route lunch at Ipsaycocha Lake. Afternoon arrival in Ollantaytambo.
Note:
Guests that opt for the cultural activity and guests that opt for the optional bike excursion will meet for lunch in Urubamba at a countryside restaurant and visit the town of Ollantaytambo together in the afternoon. Guests that opt for the optional hike will meet up with the rest of the group late in the afternoon at the hotel in Ollantaytambo.
Overnight:
Hotel in Ollantaytambo town (el. 9,284’ – 2,830m.), located in the Sacred Valley of the Incas.

Day 6 – Sacred Valley of the Incas | Discovering Ollantaytambo

From its beginnings as the royal estate of Inca-Emperor Pachacutec, to a stronghold against the Spanish conquistadors for Manco Inca Yupanqui, the temple at Ollantaytambo was regarded by the Incas as one of their most important ceremonial centers. On this day, an optional and short early morning hike to Inca storage structures high above Ollantaytambo will give you a magnificent view of the town as well as of the main archeological site across the valley. Afterwards, as your guide leads you through a morning tour of the temple and explains its strategic architectural planning, you will also get a sense of its mystical history…a perfect introduction to the wonder of Machu Picchu. Around noon you will embark on a scenic train ride along the famous Urubamba River to Aguas Calientes, the town below Machu Picchu, whose charm lies in a history that began as a small railway stop and evolved into a bustling town still bisected by the train tracks.

Activity Menu (early morning, before the group activity):
- Hike: Lower Pinkuylluna Mountain above Ollantaytambo / Duration 1-1.5 hrs. / Moderate.
OR
- Hike: Higher Pinkuylluna Mountain above Ollantaytambo / Duration 2-2.5 hrs. / Moderate to challenging.
Group Activity:
In the morning, after the optional early morning activities, explore the archeological site of Ollantaytambo, before boarding the train to the town of Machu Picchu (Aguas Calientes).
Overnight:
Hotel in Aguas Calientes town (el. 6,232´-1,900m.), located in the base town of Machu Picchu.

Day 7 – Machu Picchu | The Sanctuary | Cusco

Machu PicchuAt dawn, you begin your journey to Machu Picchu with a short and rollicking uphill bus ride. As you enter the “Sanctuary” (as locals refer to it), the morning sun rises over the iconic Sun Gate and washes the structures and terraces with resplendent light. Prepare to be awed by the imposing and skillful architecture of the Watchtower, the Temple of the Sun, and the royal Inca residences, among many others. Take a moment to quietly sit and listen to the wind or to meditate and absorb the mystical energy that envelops you. Your imagination will soar as you contemplate the history of Machu Picchu and its mysterious origins. Some may even choose a hike to Huayna Picchu, the iconic towering mountain often seen in photographs, for dramatic views that stretch from the Urubamba River valley to the edge of the Amazon Jungle. After the visit you will have lunch in Aguas Calientes before your train/transfer back to Cusco. As night falls and you arrive at your hotel amidst and hustle and bustle of Cusco.

Group Activity: Early in the morning visit the Inca citadel of Machu Picchu.
Activity Menu (late morning, after the group activity):
- Cultural activity: free time to explore the Inca citadel of Machu Picchu (el. 7,872´ - 2,400m.).
OR
- Hike: Guided hike of Huayna Picchu Mountain / Duration 2-2.5 hrs. / Moderate to challenging / Mountain pass at an elevation of 8924´ - 2,720m.



GUIDES

Our guides are among the best in Peru (some even having won international awards) and have on average at least 15 years of experience guiding in the mountains, not only in Peru, but around the world. Many of them are considered pioneers in this area, having scouted many of the current routes in the country. All tour guides have excellent language skills, and are highly trained in managing group dynamics. All guides undergo continuous medical and rescue training, with a certification in “Wilderness First Aid.” You will appreciate their knowledge of history and cultural traditions, as well as their interpretation of local flora and fauna, and their great insights (and stories!) that go far beyond any guide or history book.

Guides

Salkantay Trek Map