Lares Valley (Quishuarani) to Machu Picchu (4 days)
Lares (Quishuarani) to Machu Picchu Trek (4 days) Route Option 2
Duration: 4 days
When to go: Best from April to December although can be done year round.
Altitude: 2700m to 4500m
Trek fees: None although you have to pay to enter Machu Picchu on the final day of the trek
See our Introduction to the Lares Valley to Machu Picchu Trek which includes information about the region, trek prices and responsible tourism and also describes the various trek options on offer.
Typical Trek Itinerary Route 02
(the actual trek itinerary may change slightly from company to company)
Day 1: Cusco - Calca - Quishuarani (Lares) - Cuncani
Our bus leaves Cusco at around 06:00. Its a scenic drive through the Sacred Valley, passing through Pisac and stopping for breakfast for about 40 minutes in the provincial town of Calca. In Calca you will also have the opportunity to use the bathroom and buy any last minute snacks, water, etc. Departing Calca around 08:00 we head off for the 2 hour drive to Quishuarani (3700m) which is the starting point for the trek. Along the way you will be able to observe small Andean communities, spectacular mountain landscapes, herds of llamas and alpacas.
Heading west up a small valley we’ll arrive at a lake at the head of the valley and start a steep zig-zag climb up a narrow trail to the top of the first pass known as Abra Huillquijasa (4200m), about 3˝ hours from Quishuarani village. Below you lies a series of stunning turquoise lakes. We’ll drop down and have lunch beside the lakes before continuing on for the short trek to the next village of Cuncani (3750m) in the bottom of the valley (2 hour from the pass). Arriving in the village around 4pm we’ll set up camp. Walking distance approx 12km (5-6 hours)
Day 2: Cuncani - Huacawasi - Ipsaycocha Lake
After breakfast we'll get back on the trail around 07:00. We will walk slightly downhill for the first 2 hours to the Chancachaca Valley (3600m) and then up for about 1˝ hours to the small village of Huacawasi (3700m). Many of the houses that we see are built from stone and have thatched roofs. The people of this village produce beautiful colourful textiles. Here we will learn about the weaving techniques and be able to admire some of their high quality ponchos, chullos (wool hats) and other garments. We will rest and have lunch. We will then continue to climb for approximately 2 hours to the top of Ipsayccasa Pass which, at 4500m, is the highest pass along the trek. From here we get stunning views of the surrounding mountains. We will descend gently for about 1 hour until we reach the site of our second night's camp beside the beautiful Ipsaycocha Lake. We may be lucky enough to see Andean Geese, Ouna Ibis and other wetland birds. Walking distance approx 15km (6-7 hours)
Day 3: Ipsaycoccha Lake - Patacancha - Willoq - Ollantaytambo - Aguas Calientes
Today is a much easier day. After an early breakfast we'll walk gently downhill through a wide-open valley for about 2˝ hours until we arrive at the village of Patacancha. The people from this area are known locally as "Huayruros" - the name of a red and black seed reminiscent of the colour of their ponchos. We'll have a chance to view some textiles made by the people of this community - the high quality weavings are famous for their intricate designs reflecting aspects of their everyday lives and culture. We'll walk slowly down the valley to Willoq, another Quechua village where the locals still wear their traditional dress and are proud to maintain their cultural identity. Our transport will be waiting for us to take us further down the valley to Inca town of Ollantaytambo where we will rest and have lunch. In the early afternoon we will catch a train to Aguas Calientes. This is a spectacular journey that starts in the Quechua highlands and slowly descends to lush tropical vegetation as we near Aguas Calientes. Total journey time about 1˝ hours. We'll spend the night in a hostal in Aguas Calientes where you'll no doubt enjoy the opportunity to soak under the hot showers!! Early night.
Walking distance approx 12km (5-6 hours).
Day 4: Aguas Calientes - Machu Picchu - Aguas Calientes - Cusco
Rise early around about 04:45 !! to take one of the first buses up to Machu Picchu. I'm sure you'll agree that, although it's tough getting up, it's well worth the effort to see the "Lost City of the Incas" at its quietest in the early morning light. You'll have plenty of opportunity to take photos and have some peaceful time alone to enjoy the sun rising from behind the mountains. Our guide will give you a tour of Machu Picchu telling you about Inca history and significance of the major sites of interest. The tour takes about 2 hours after which you will have free time to explore the ruins on your own or climb Wayna Picchu - the mountain that overlooks the ancient Inca city (allow a minimum of 1˝ hours). By 11:00 Machu Picchu quickly fills up with tourists arriving by train and appears crowded by comparison with the early morning. Most people are ready to take the bus back to Aguas Calientes around 1pm where you can have lunch in one of the many restaurants. Late afternoon train back to Ollantaytambo where a bus will be waiting to bring you back to Cusco.
(trek itinerary used with permission from Peru Treks)
Companies offering this version of the Lares trek include:
Andean Travel Web Guide to Peru. Copyright Andean Travel Web Guide to Peru 2000-2015. All material used within this web site is original work and is subject to international copyright law. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited without prior permission from the editor. This web page was last updated in January 2015.