Lares Valley Cultural Trek 3D

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Duration: 3 Days / 2 Nights
Availability : Every Day.
Depart: Lares
Destination: Machu Picchu
Max People : 12

About the Lares Cultural Trek

The Lares Valley Cultural Trek combines high Andean trekking with a chance for genuine interaction with locals in a remote village. This is a totally unique Lares trek itinerary designed by Apus Peru which includes Machu Picchu.

See Full Description

Two days of remote trekking gets you totally off the beaten track, far away from the crowds and deep into the Andean wilderness. You’ll hike the classic Lares trek but in reverse, passing through little-visited villages like Chaullacocha which are not on the normal route.

Apus Peru has a close relationship with these villages, so you’ll have a warm reception and an opportunity for genuine interaction and possibly even a visit to the local school! You can also choose to spend the night in a family homestay, rather than camping on Day 2. 

The Lares Valley Cultural Trek itinerary is capped off with a visit to Machu Picchu, traveling by train from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes on Day 3. Lunch in Aguas Calientes followed by an afternoon tour of Machu Picchu is the perfect way to end an otherwise spectacular trip!

Are you travelling with your family?

The Lares treks are a pretty family-friendly choice, with their more gentle terrain and opportunities for cultural immersion. If you’re planning to travel to Peru as a family, check out our tips for families travelling to Peru.

The Lares Trek makes a great wet season trek!

While many of the alternative treks in Peru can be dangerous during the rainy season, the Lares trek is one of the few that you can trek all year round. Check out this blog for advice on travelling to Peru during the rainy season.

Salkantay or Lares, which is the right trek for you?

If you’re wondering which of these alternative treks is right for you, check out our blog: Lares vs Salkantay.

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 many of Apus Peru’s Lares Valley Treks 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 Cultural Trek Highlights

  • Gorgeous mountain scenery, glacial lakes and a chance to take a dip in the Lares hot springs
  • An immersive cultural experience with an option to spend a night in a remote family homestay
  • Two days of off-the-beaten-path trekking and a visit to Machu Picchu on the third day
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 Cultural Trek

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


  • 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
  • Celebratory dinner in AguasCalientes


  • Collection from your hotel on the morning of your trek departure
  • Private transport from Cusco to the trailhead and return at the end of the trek
  • Private transport from Chaullacocha to Ollantaytambo
  • Train ticket from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes
  • 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 lb  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
  • Entrance 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

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

  • If hiking Huayna Picchu or spending more time at Machu Picchu is important to you, we suggest adding an Extra Day at Machu Picchu.


  • 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 Lares Valley cultural trek 3 day 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


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 Valley Cultural trek 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 Valley Cultural Trek 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 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.

3 Day Lares Cultural Trek Itinerary

Day 1Cusco – Lares Hot Springs – Maranpaqui

      • Total Walking Distance: 9km
      • Total Walking Time: 5hs
      • Minimum Altitude: 3100m (10,170ft) / Maximum Altitude: 4000m (13,123ft)
      • Altitude of camp: 4000m (13,123ft)
      • Approx. night temperature: -10°C (14°F)

To begin our Lares Cultural Trek, we leave Cusco and drive for about 2h until we reach the Lares hotsprings. This is a well-known spot for trekkers and locals alike, and you will have a chance to take an enjoyable soak. We’ll have lunch here and then begin our climb up towards Maranpaqui, continuing on until we reach our campsite for the night (4000m / 13,123ft).

Day 2Maranpaqui – Chaullacocha

      • Total Walking Distance: 14km
      • Total Walking Time: 8hs
      • Minimum Altitude: 4000m (13,123ft) / Maximum Altitude: 4450m (14,599ft)

We start off early from our campsite this morning, and head towards the Colquepata Pass (4400m / 14,435ft), a strong uphill climb. Continuing along the ridge for most of the day, we pass a series of stunning glacial lakes along the way.

Then, we turn and head down towards the village of Chaullacocha, arriving there in the late afternoon. Apus Peru has a long-time and close relationship with this community, and it is also one of the communities supported by Threads of Peru.

Time permitting, we’ll have an opportunity to really engage with some community members, perhaps learning about their weaving tradition or visiting the school if it is a school day. In preparation for this community visit, we encourage you to read about being a Responsible Tourist. You can also ask for a copy of our Traveler’s Code of Conduct and read about appropriate gift-giving. We will camp for the night near Chaullacocha.

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

Day 3Chaullacocha – Ollantaytambo – Aguas Calientes – Machu Picchu – Cusco

It’s another early morning and this morning as we get picked up in our private transport at about 7am in order to drive 2 hours to Ollantaytambo. After a brief rest and a chance to purchase some snacks, water or a coffee, we will catch a morning train to Aguas Calientes. After lunch in Aguas Calientes, we will take the bus up to Machu Picchu itself.

We will enter Machu Picchu at around 1 or 2 pm. Your guide will give you a 2-3 walking tour of the historic citadel. For more tips on what to see, check out our Visiting Machu Picchu page.

Please note: It is not possible to hike Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain in this itinerary, because the hikes are only open in the morning. If hiking Huayna Picchu is important to you, we suggest adding an Extra Day at Machu Picchu. Hiking Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain 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.

After visiting Machu Picchu, we head back down to Aguas Calientes where you will catch an evening train to Ollantaytambo. We’ll have dinner in Ollantaytambo before continuing the rest of the way to Cusco by private transport, arriving around 10 or 11pm.

1 Review
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Lee B

Solo Traveller

The service from Apus Peru was excellent. Logistics were handled seamlessly. Urbano is a fine guide and a truly humane person.

The most rewarding part of the trip for me was the stay with the family. Agustin, Demesia and their children are a joy to be with. Leaving them after just 4 days of being with them had me nearly in tears. Sharing the lives of such good people in a world apart from my own is a heart-warming experience.

Guide: Urbano is a wonderful, kind guide who treats everyone he meets warmly and with respect. He helped make everything go well.

Meals: The meals were excellent, tasty and very well presented.

This client did a modified version of the 3 day Lares Cultural Trek, including extra days spent in a homestay in the village of Chaullacocha.

13 February, 2020

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