This trek is a great alternative for hikers interested in authentic views of life in the countryside with enjoyable camping and fascinating views of the mountains and villages. Pass through the Peruvian highlands where people still live as the Incas used to, in thatched stone houses shepherding their llamas and alpacas below the snow capped mountains. This trek offers you variable mountain scenery, glacier lakes, flora and fauna and a peek into a local school with all of these experiences culminating at the majestic Machu Picchu archaeological site.
Cusco - Lares Town - Wakawasi
Hostel pick-up and transfer by bus to Lares Town (2,900m) where you can go to the hot springs (10 soles extra), here is the starting point of our 6-hour trek where we will begin a zigzagging climb to the town of Wakawasi (3,850m) for 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. (14 kilometers; 5 hours approx.)
Wakawasi - Ipsayccocha Pass - Patacancha Town
Start off the day with an uphill 4-hour trek which will take us over Ipsayccocha Pass (4,400m), 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. (15 kilometers; 8 hours approx.)
Patacancha Town - Ollantaytambo - Aguas Calientes
From Patacancha mountain community (3,800m) we will make a visit to a local school (weekdays only) and we will see the education system of the Peruvian Highlands. Then we will walk for 4 more hours to Ollantaytambo for lunch and hop on a train to reach Aguas Calientes where we will spend the night in a hotel. (12 kilometers; 4 hours approx.)
Aguas Calientes - Machu Picchu - Cusco
We will catch one of the first busses (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 by yourselves. If you still have energy you can also climb Huayna Picchu (2720m/8890ft)!!!
It takes 45-60 minutes to reach the top (This is an extra walk, please talk to your guide for arrangements to climb this mountain prior to your arrival to the archaeological site. Tickets must be purchased at least 2 weeks prior to departure.) You will meet your guide in Aguas Calientes which can be reached by bus or on foot for lunch and to receive your train tickets for the return trip back to Ollantaytambo and bus to Cusco. *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.)
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 (if you haven`t already heard it all during the Inca Trail Trek). Then you will have free time to explore on your own and take pictures at your leisure. When you decide to head back down to Aguas Calientes, there are buses departing every 15 minutes from the entrance or you can take the walking trail down if you feel like another 1 hour stair stepping downhill to Aguas Calientes town.
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.
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.
AGUAS CALIENTES: Have a delicious lunch at any restaurant you desire. There are internet cafes, cafes with board games and cards, plenty of shops and places to relax. Visit the local marketplace right next to the train tracks where you can shop until the train whistle blows signaling your return to Ollantaytambo. From Ollantaytambo, you will take a bus for the last section of highway to Cusco arriving back around 10:30pm.
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Trip Name: Small Group: Lares Trek
Duration: 4 Days
From Price: $818
Supplier Tour ID: BAMCUZ/158886
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