*Note: On day 1, you will have a free day and 1 night's accommodation in Cuzco. You will start your actual trek on day 2.
Begin your adventure in Cuzco prior to Day 1 of your trek. Embark on your Lares Trek on Day 2 with a Cuzco accommodation pick-up and a bus ride to Lares Town (2,900m) for a peek into local life where you will begin your 6-hour trek along a zigzagging ascent to the village of Wakawasi (3,850m). Enjoy encounters with friendly local families and spectacular views of glaciers and snow-capped mountains. On Day 3 make a 4-hour trek to Patacancha town by crossing over the Ipsayccocha pass (4,400m). On Day 4 you will walk another 4-hours to reach Ollantaytambo where you will have lunch and then hop on a train to Aguas Calientes. Overnight in a hotel and prepare yourself for a big day at Machu Picchu on Day 5 with time to explore with your guide. Return to Cuzco after an unforgettable adventure!
Day by Day Itinerary:
Day 1: Arrival to Cuzco & Pre-departure briefing
Arrive to Cuzco anytime and please make your own way to your accommodation. Enjoy the rest of the day to walk around town and make last minute preparations for your big trip ahead. Attend your mandatory pre-departure briefing, then get a good night’s sleep.
*Note: You will have a guide during the trek and on the Machu Picchu tour. However, during your bus and train transfers you will not be accompanied by a guide.
Inclusions: Pre-Departure Briefing, 1N Cuzco.
Day 2: Cuzco to Lares town & Trek to Wakawasi (L/D)
Accommodation pick-up between 5:00-6:00 am and transfer by bus to Lares Town (2,900m). There, you can spend some time to enjoy the hot springs (extra cost) before starting your 6-hour trek. We'll begin our zigzagging climb to the town of Wakawasi (3,850m) with views of glaciers, wildlife and local communities. Our campsite at Wakawasi community will afford us with the chance to meet local families living in harmony with nature.
Inclusions: Accommodation pick-up, Bus Cuzco - Lares Town, 1N Camping, Meals 1L/1D. (14km, 6hrs)
Day 3: Trek to Patacancha Town (3,800m) (B/L/D)
Start off the day with an uphill 4-hour trek which will take us over Ipsayccocha Pass (4,400m), then another 40-minute walk downhill will bring us to our lunch stop next to the lake. Continue 3 more hours to Patacancha town (3,800m) where we will camp surrounded by llamas, alpacas and amidst native crop plantations.
Inclusions: 1N Camping, Meals 1B/1L/1D. (15km, 8hrs)
Day 4: Trek to Ollantaytambo & Train to Aguas Calientes (B/L/D)
From Patacancha mountain community (3,800m) we will walk 4 more hours until Ollantaytambo. Have lunch and hop on a train to reach Aguas Calientes, where we will spend the night in a hotel. Your guide will meet with you to give you indications on the next day. Depending on time, wander around town where you will find internet cafes, cafes with board games and cards, plenty of shops and places to relax.
Inclusions: Train Ollantaytambo - Aguas Calientes, 1N Aguas Calientes 3* Hotel, Meals 1B/1L/1D. (12km, 4hrs)
Day 5: Explore Machu Picchu & Return to Cuzco (B)
We will catch one of the first buses (05:30 am) to Machu Picchu (25-minute ride) in order to appreciate the magnificent city as the mist dissipates in the early morning light. A walking tour (approximately 2 hours) is given by your guide and after this you can explore the mysterious city on your own. If you still have energy you can also climb the Huayna Picchu Peak (to book in advance at an extra cost). Take the bus back down to Aguas Calientes. You can visit the local marketplace next to the train station where you can shop until the train whistle blows, signaling your return to Ollantaytambo. From Ollantaytambo, you will take a bus back to Cuzco arriving around 20:00. You will be dropped off at the Plaza San Francisco. Please make your own way to the accommodation of your choice.
DESCRIPTION OF MACHU PICCHU GUIDED SITE VISIT: The one and only, the most spectacular (and not to mention most popular) archaeological site in all of South America. Your guide will take you on a 2-hour tour of Machu Picchu walking you through the most important sites and covering the history of the place. Then you will have free time to explore on your own and take pictures at your leisure.
Take an OPTIONAL hike up the steep peak named Huayna Picchu, which is located inside the Machu Picchu archaeological site. This sometimes muddy peak takes about 45 - 60 minutes to hike up and awards you with unforgettable views of Machu Picchu from a coveted perspective. Keep in mind that if you want to take this optional hike, you must now purchase your ticket at least 2 weeks in advance for an additional cost in order to get one of the 400 passes (200 people are allowed up at 7:00am and 200 more at 10:00am). Please send us an email directly to request this extra ticket.
Inclusions: Round trip Bus Aguas Calientes - Machu Picchu, Train Aguas Calientes - Ollantaytambo, Bus Ollantaytambo - Cuzco, 2-Hour Machu Picchu Guided Visit, Meal 1B.
*If desired, an extra night in Aguas Calientes town can be arranged. (Please let us know whether you would like to stay an extra night when booking your tour.)
Typical Meals on the Trek:
On all of our Inca Trail Treks and Alternative Treks to Machu Picchu we search for the best cooks who put forth their best effort to provide you with the best tasting meals on the mountain.
All of our cooks pride themselves on their delicious specialty menus with the freshest local ingredients available. Every meal is prepared fresh with plenty of variety and an abundant quantity of food including a vegetarian option for every meal (please advise prior to departure). Here is an idea of what you will be eating during your trek.
Vegetarian Option Available Upon Request (please advise at least 2 days in advance).
Hot porridge, quinoa or oats, fried eggs, egg omelet or pancakes with fresh bread, fried bananas and boiled water for hot tea, coca, coffee, chocolate and milk.
LUNCH & DINNER:
First Course: Quinoa, corn, noodle, asparagus, mushroom or vegetable soup, stuffed avocado or potatoes
Second Course: Chicken breast, beef stew, quinoa, fried rice, hamburgers, fried chicken, spaghetti bolognese, typical dishes: aji de gallina (chilli pepper chicken), escabeche de pollo (marinated chicken) or ajiaco de olluco (spicy potato stew).
Deserts: Fried plantains, chocolate pudding, chocolate or vanilla cake and boiled water for hot tea, coca, coffee, chocolate and milk.
Boiled water for hot tea, coca, coffee, chocolate and milk with popcorn, cookies, crackers.
Brief History of Machu Picchu & Advice:
Machu Picchu was (relatively recently) "discovered" by American historian, Hiram Bingham, in 1911 while searching for the legendary "lost city of the Incas". Hiram Bingham and his local guides stumbled across the site which was then covered in thick vegetation which was later cleared revealing the magical mountain-top archaeological site and opening up the possibility for archaeologists to conduct research on the site by 1915. Whether arriving via Inca Trail or entering from Aguas Calientes don't miss the excellent photo opportunities from the following spots: Hut of the Caretaker of the Funerary Rock (a restored building with a thatched roof), Sacred Plaza with views of the Cordillera Vilcabamba in the distance and Rio Urubamba below. Take a short walk out to the Inca Drawbridge (30 minutes) and Inti Punku (45 - 60 minutes) for great views of the site as dawn breaks and the clouds lift over Machu Picchu.
Day 1: Hostel, 3* or 4* Hotel available.
Days 2-3: Single travelers will share a tent with another traveler, couples will have a tent to themselves.
Day 4: Single travelers will share a room with another traveler, couples will have a private room.
PHYSICAL REQUIREMENTS: This hike is difficult, good physical conditions are needed as most of the hike is at high altitudes of 4000 meters (don't forget to bring warm clothes).
SUGGESTED PACKING LIST: Bring or Rent in Cuzco: hiking poles, rain pants, rain poncho, trekking boots, sandals, warm socks, sweater, thermals, hat, gloves, sun hat, sun block, sun glasses, flashlight/torch, camera, extra batteries and memory card (there is limited to no electricity available during the trek), waterproof bags for your camera, hand sanitizer, personal first aid kit, water bottle. Bring extra cash for snacks, water, gatorade which doubles or triples in price along the trail. Bathing suit for hot springs in Lares town (this activity is available at an additional price).
DON'T FORGET THE ESSENTIALS: Original passport, visa (if applicable), insurance card, personal medications.
** Travellers who booked their trip using one passport, then renewed or replaced it afterward, must carry the old passport they used to make the booking or a photocopy with them on the trip.
Departure dates for Day 1:
Tuesday, Friday & Sunday (Daily departures with a group of 4 or more)