Lares Trek to Machu Picchu 4D

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Duration: 4 Days / 3 Nights
Availability : Every Day.
Depart: Ollantaytambo
Destination: Machu Picchu
Min Age : 8
Max People : 12

About the Lares Trek to Machu Picchu

Our 4 day Lares Trek to Machu Picchu offers a unique opportunity to experience modern-day Andean life first-hand while hiking to Machu Picchu.

See Full Description

    Our Lares Trek to Machu Picchu begins near Ollantaytambo and visits Chaullacocha, a traditional highland Quechua community where we have the opportunity to visit the school (if it is a school day). Visiting this remote agricultural community is like stepping back in time, as the community lifestyle is largely unchanged since Inca times.

    Finally, after visiting other local villages, we will descend to Lares for a dip in the hot springs before taking a 4 hour transfer back to Ollantaytambo. Here, we will take the train to Machu Picchu, dedicating the last day of our Lares Trek to Machu Picchu to visiting the famous Inca citadel of Machu Picchu.

How are Apus Peru's Lares Treks Unique?

    Our multiple Lares trek routes are different than the norm, getting you off the beaten track. We have worked in community development in the Lares Valley communities since 2007, including supporting the local school. As a result, we have a very close relationship with the people there, many of whom work as part of our trek staff, from porters to cooks to muleteers. Apus Peru’s sister non-profit organization, Threads of Peru, also works with the weavers of Chaullacocha. Travelers who hike any Lares Valley Trek with Apus Peru often get a chance to visit the school and the weaving association – this is a totally different experience than the average Lares trek!

    Please tell us at the time of booking if visiting the weaving association or school is important to you!

Lares Trek to Machu Picchu Highlights

  • This is a unique Lares trek that you will not find anywhere else, drawing on our close relationship with the communities in the area.
  • Beautiful vistas and an incredible cultural immersion experience of life in the Andes including an optional family homestay.
  • A visit to the unparalleled Machu Picchu on Day 4 and a chance to soak in the Lares hot springs!
Prices are per person in USD, based on group size. We do not have fixed-date group departures. If you do not want to book a private trek, please see our Trekkers Wanted page for a list of open departures within your dates.

2 people


3 people


4-6 people


7+ people


High quality personalized experience

Unique, off-the-beaten track routes

Experienced staff

Verified sustainability practices

$20 of every trek donated to Threads of Peru

Important Details About the Lares Trek to Machu Picchu

What is Included?


  • Tent: 2 people in a 4-person tent, allowing for greater comfort and backpack storage!
  • Camping pillows
  • Basic foam mattress. If you would like greater comfort during the trek we can rent you an inflatable mattress. See Optional Extras & Upgrades below.
  • Toilet tent
  • 1 night accommodation in AguasCalientes in a basic hotel. This will be a nice, clean and safe hostel with breakfast included and private bathroom.You can also upgrade to a higher quality hotel.


  • Dining tent with camp tables and chairs, and kitchen tent for the cook to prepare meals
  • Cook and cooking equipment, plus assistants for larger groups.
  • Meals as indicated in the itinerary. Our professional cooks prepare a combination of traditional Peruvian and Western cuisine. Talk to your Travel Consultant during the booking process if you have certain preferences! Vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options available. When served, salads are washed in boiled water.
  • Boiled water to drink on the hike (which you can carry in your own reusable water bottle)
  • Filtered water provided during the drive on the first day
  • Lunch on the last day.
  • Celebratory dinner in Aguas Calientes.


  • Collection from your hotel on the morning of your Lares Trek to Machu Picchu Peru trek departure
  • Private transport from Cusco to the trailhead and return at the end of the trek
  • Bus between Aguas Calientes and Machu Picchu.
  • Train ticket (Expedition service) from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo.
  • Private transport from Ollantaytambo to Cusco.

Trekking Team

  • English/Quechua/Spanish speaking professional guide, plus an assistant guide for groups over 8
  • Horses and horsemen, who carry camping equipment, food and kitchen utensils. We provide duffel bags at your briefing for your personal items (up to 8kg /17 lbs per person).
  • Tents, sleeping bags and mattresses for our staff to sleep in, plus a budget for their meals


  • First aid kit including emergency oxygen bottle
  • 1 emergency horse which can be ridden if you are feeling ill or if you are a little slower

Additional inclusions

  • Pre-trek briefing
  • Entry fee to Machu Picchu

What is Not Included?


  • Breakfast on the first morning
  • Dinner on the last night


  • Sleeping bags. Available for rent if you don’t have one with you.
  • Additional horses for your personal luggage or to ride


  • Tips for the guide, cook and muleteers
  • Flights to/from Cusco
  • Travel Insurance
  • Entrance to the Aguas Calientes thermal springs
  • Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain Entry Fees

Optional Extras & Upgrades

We offer you the opportunity to personalize your trek and make your experience more comfortable through our Optional Extras and Upgrades. All options are available during the reservation process; please ask your sales consultant for more information.

Equipment Available for Rent

  • Extra horse to carry luggage exceeding the allowed 8kg (17 lbs)  per person
  • Llamas to carry your own things. Note that this traditional Inca beast of burden can only carry about 8kg (17 lbs) , and will only walk in groups. The cost of hiring llamas includes a small group of 3-4 llamas and a llamero (llama driver)
  • Extra horse for you to ride, and horseman to lead it
  • Sleeping Bag suitable for -5˚C
  • Deluxe sleeping bag suitable for -15˚C
  • Light-weight aluminum walking stick. Two sticks are recommended for tough hikes.
  • Thermarest inflatable mattress

Service Upgrades

Optional Activities


  • When calculating the cost of renting equipment, calculate using the length of the entire trip, not just the number of trekking days.
  • Please be careful with rented equipment! You are responsible for the cost of replacement if something is damaged or broken.
  • Any upgrades or trip extensions must be requested at time of booking.

What to Pack

The 4 day Lares trek to Machu Picchu hike is a high elevation trek. It will be cold at night, with temperatures reaching below zero. In the winter months of May to August, temperatures can reach as low as -5°C (23° F) overnight!

We recommend that you bring the following items with you:

      • A fleece or down jacket is an essential item at this elevation;
      • Hiking trousers with zip off shorts are a good idea, as day time temperatures can be quite warm, yet temperatures plummet as soon as the sun goes down. You can supplement these with leggings or thermals to wear underneath;
      • A rain poncho or waterproof jacket is also important. It can rain or even snow at certain times of the year!;
      • Water-resistant trekking boots are advisable. The trail on this hike can sometimes be muddy and wet, so we also recommend to bring extra socks!;
      • A warm sleeping bag, rated to -15°C (5°F). If you prefer, you can rent one from us;
      • A headlamp or torch;
      • A high factor (SPF) sunscreen, a sun cap and sunglasses. The sun can be really strong, especially in dry season. Sun protection is essential!;
      • Swimwear and sandals so that you can enjoy the Lares hot springs on the 3rd night;
      • A small daypack to carry your necessary items for each day’s hiking.

For our full packing list for treks in the Andes, see What to Bring.

Our blog How to Prepare for a Trek in Peru will also give you some great tips for how to get ready for your trek, before you even leave home.

Lares Route Map

Lares trek to MP

Available Discounts

  • Students: USD $30 off, in certain circumstances. Please enquire for details about eligibility.
  • Youth 12-17: 5% off. A valid passport must be presented upon booking.
  • Children 5-11 years: 15% off. A valid passport must be presented upon booking.
  • Children 0-4 years: 75% off. A valid passport must be presented upon booking. Children under 4 will not count towards the total number of guests in a group, but will be charged 25% of the per person price based on final group size. For example, a group of 4 adults and one child under 4: adults will be charged the full price per person based on a group size of 4 and the child will be charged 25% of the per person price for a group of 4. Children under 3 will not be considered to occupy a seat on any train or bus, and instead must ride on a parent’s lap. Car seats, cribs and other baby needs may not be included and must be discussed in advance. For more information about travelling with infants and toddlers, please see this blog as well as the Age Requirements section of our Booking Conditions.
  • 5% off a day tour listed price when you also book a 3-day or longer trek operated by Apus Peru

Guides & Safety on the Trail

Our whole trekking team is native to the area and know the Lares region like the back of their hand! They are some of the warmest, endearing and wonderful people you are ever likely to meet.

Our guides are all licensed and receive regular training. They share their experience, professionalism, knowledge and enthusiasm with our passengers on every trek.

Get to know our team!

Trekkers Wanted

Want to join a trek? Ready to confirm a departure date of your own, but interested in having others join you? Then Trekkers Wanted is for you! Our innovative Trekkers Wanted system matches people up who are interested in hiking the same trek, bringing costs down and multiplying the fun for everyone!

Read More about Trekkers Wanted, post your trek or search for confirmed departures!

Important Info

  • Each guide has their own preferred route and so the route you trek might not correspond exactly to the route described here.
  • The times cited in this itinerary are approximate. Walking times depend on the group, and the guide may change lunch spots and campsites, depending on the progress of the group.
  • On the Lares Trek to Machu Picchu 4 Days trail you will be visiting remote, high-altitude villages. Conditions are harsh and you should be prepared for extremely cold, rustic conditions.
  • This is a great trek for its opportunities to interact with local community members – a genuine and very memorable Andean cultural experience!
  • The Lares Trek to Machu Picchu 4 days is a great wet season trek! If you want to trek anytime between December and March, read more about our Wet Season Trekking policy.
  • One of the great things about this Lares to Machu Picchu trek is the chance to visit a living, breathing traditional Andean community. If you have your heart set on seeing a weaving demonstration or visiting a school, please tell us at booking. We otherwise can’t guarantee that these activities will be possible when you arrive at the village, as the school may not be in session (for instance, if it is a weekend or holiday), and community members may be out working in the fields.

Ready to Book?

  • Does this trek sound like just what you were looking for? If you’re ready to book or just want to find out a bit more information, fill out the Inquiry Form in the top right-hand corner of this page to get the ball rolling. You’ll be connected with one of our amazing sales people who will be able to turn your dream of hiking in the Andes into a reality. For more information on the entire booking process, please see our How To Book page.
  • Travel insurance is a must! World Nomads offers travel insurance for adventure activities.

Lares Trek to Machu Picchu 4 Day Itinerary

Day 1Cusco – Ollantaytambo – Chaullacocha

      • Total Walking Distance: 10km
      • Total Walking Time: 6h
      • Minimum Altitude: 4000m (13,123 ft) / Maximum Altitude: 4430m (14,534 ft)
      • Altitude of camp: 4100m (13,451 ft)
      • Approx. night temperature: –10°C (14°F)

We leave Cusco bright and early and travel to Ollantaytambo, a quaint living Inca city full of stone architecture and cobblestone streets. If you missed breakfast at your hotel due to our early start, you’ll have a chance to grab a bite here before we start our trek. After resting or enjoying a morning cappuccino, we’ll head up the mountain for about an hour by car until we reach the trailhead for our Lares Trek to Machu Picchu journey: Palqaq (3900m / 12,795 ft).

From Palqaq, we will walk for about 5h to the Chaullacocha Pass (4430m / 14,534 ft) where we’ll have gorgeous views of the surrounding mountains, grazing alpacas, and the lake from which the community gets its name (Chaullacocha means “fish lake” in Quechua!). Then, we walk down into the community itself (4121m / 13,520 ft) where we’ll have lunch.

Apus Peru has a special relationship with Chaullacocha as many of our porters come from this village. We have also been supporting community development projects in Chaullacocha since 2007, and it is one of the weaving associations currently supported by Threads of Peru.

Thanks to our close relationship with the community, we’ll have the opportunity to visit the local school. The nature of our visit depends a lot on the group and our timing, as we don’t want to interfere too much in the children’s daily lessons. Please note that this is not a chance for you to teach the children, only to visit and observe. Also, the school is closed on the weekend (including Fridays) and during statutory holidays. Be sure to carefully check your trip itinerary to see what day you will be passing through Chaullacocha! We encourage you to read about being a Responsible Tourist. You can also ask for our Traveler’s Code of Conduct and read about appropriate gift-giving.

For an extra-special experience, why not spend the night with a traditional Andean family? Check out our Chaullacocha Homestay add-on options!

Day 2Chaullacocha – Maranniyoq

      • Total Walking Distance: 12km
      • Total Walking Time: 8hs
      • Minimum Altitude: 4000m (13,123 ft) / Maximum Altitude: 4440m (14,566 ft)
      • Altitude of camp: 4000m / 13,123 ft
      • Approx. night temperature: -10°C (14°F)

It’s an early start this morning as we have quite a bit of distance to cover. We’ll continue to climb up to Meloq´asa Pass for 1:30hs (4440m / 14,566 ft), where we will see the vegetation start to change. With about 3-4 hours of walking through the edge of the mountain with spectacular views, we’ll have lunch beside the river. After a nice rest, we will start a 2h (500m /1,640ft) descent to the campsite in Maranniyoq, where we will spend the night.

Day 3Maranniyoq – Lares Hot Springs – Ollantaytambo – Aguas Calientes

      • Total Walking Distance: 8km
      • Total Walking Time: 3h
      • Minimum Altitude: 3300m (10,826 ft) / Maximum Altitude: 4000m (13,123 ft)

From our campsite, we can spot the town of Lares in the distance (3300m /10,826 ft), our first destination today. After breakfast, we’ll continue walking by the ravine over undulating terrain until we reach the Lares hot springs. Here, we can relax and unwind as we take a welcome dip in the hot springs, rejuvenating body and soul. We will have lunch here before our driver will pick us up to drive to Ollantaytambo, about 3 hours away. In Ollantaytambo we’ll catch the train to Aguas Calientes, the final leg of today’s journey. Once in Aguas Calientes, we will check into our accommodations and then enjoy a celebratory dinner. Then it’s off to bed, in preparation for tomorrow’s early start!

If you have good pace and the weather allows it we can increase 2/3 hours to our day and visit the archaeological site of Huaman Marka

Day 4Aguas Calientes – Machu Picchu – Cusco

After a very early breakfast at the hotel, we will take the bus up to Machu Picchu in the pre-dawn hours, allowing us to take in the sunrise from the Watchman’s Hut (also known as the Guardhouse). Your guide will give you a 2-3h walking tour of the historic citadel.

If you’re feeling adventurous you may wish to hike Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu mountain, but take note: this requires an extra permit, and they can sell out well in advance! Be sure to tell us at booking if you would like to add one of these hikes. For more tips on what to see, check out our Visiting Machu Picchu page.

Want more time to explore? Consider our Extra Day Upgrades.

After visiting Machu Picchu, you can take the bus back down to Aguas Calientes (or walk down!). From there, we return to Cusco in the afternoon by the Expedition (tourist class) train from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo, where we our driver will meet us and will transfer you directly back to your hotel in Cusco. Total travel time is about 4 hours from Aguas Calientes to Cusco.

5 Reviews
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Lucia H

Couple Traveller

It‘s just GREAT! Thanks for proposing us Lares Trek! [Our guide Mario was] very friendly, sympatic, warm and [had] a huge knowledge. The route was calm and beautiful, amazing.

1 July, 2022

Stephanie & Dan

Family Traveller

The 4D trek with Apus Peru was an amazing experience for our family. We were a little reluctant about doing this with our daughters (ages 11 & 12), but Apus really set us up for success. We appreciated the driver’s and guide’s patience and accommodation of our daughter’s motion sickness. The meals were absolutely amazing! Delicious local cuisine, generous portions, enough variety to please everyone, even our picky eater.

We loved it! Our guide was knowledgeable, fun, patient, and the rest of the staff were helpful, attentive, kind. The trek was peaceful. It was beautiful! We really enjoyed being “off the beaten path” and did not see any other trekkers the entire trip! We did run into a few locals herding sheep in what seemed like the middle of nowhere!

The night we camped we were offered extra blankets and sleeping bag liners, as it was VERY cold out. The bathroom tent was nice to have and the warm water for hand/face washing at camp was a very nice touch!

The homestay with the family and the visit to their children’s school were definitely highlights of the trip. The family was very welcoming, despite the language barriers. It really made me wish I had learned a little Quechua before the trip! We learned a bit about their family and their home and their daily lives. The mother and daughter demonstrated weaving and one of our daughters got to have a turn! I was surprised to learn that they had electricity and plumbing, which made our stay more comfortable than we expected. They had comfortable beds with warm bedding (it was SO cold out there!). They showed us one of their alpacas up close and explained about the family’s farming and alpaca herd. We also got to meet some of the neighbor’s children who were helping their dad feed the trout in the lake nearby, which was a real treat!

Visiting the school was another highlight. The teachers allowed us to have brief visits in the classrooms and tell the children a little bit about ourselves and we taught them a little English and they taught us some common Quechua phrases (good morning, how are you, my name is, etc.). Our kids really appreciated getting to see the school, learn a little about their school day, and have some interactions with the students there.

21 June, 2019

Kristina U. from Canada

Group Traveller

Awesome! a very unique trek, the highlight of the trek was meeting the families in the village and helping them sort potatoes. It was really special to have the opportunity to see the local culture.

1 September, 2018

Kurt H.

Group Traveller

Love the flexibility to see different things and places along the way as well as talk of the flora, fauna, history, culture, and economy. The scenery was amazing! truly wonderful to be the only trekkers and meet the locals.

29 August, 2018

Viv from UK

Solo Traveller

Highlights were… contact with local people; visiting someone´s home, watching alpacas being sheared, beautiful children along the way. The food was delicious! Really good. I was impressed he knew so many vegetarian dishes.

1 June, 2011

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