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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.
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!
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.
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.
If you’re wondering which of these alternative treks is right for you, check out our blog: Lares vs Salkantay.
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!
High quality personalized experience
Unique, off-the-beaten track routes
Verified sustainability practices
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.
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:
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.
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!
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!
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).
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.
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.
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.