Spend a few days surrounded by the pure magic of the Andes and its people in the Lares Valley, a unique and spectacular cultural experience encompassed by nature. In Lares Valley, we can find beautiful, traditional towns full of colorful, breathtaking landscapes, such as sparkling lagoons, giant mountains capped with glaciers, and peaceful llamas and alpacas grazing in the surrounding hills.
Guided by children or accompanied by women with braids weaved through their hair and in their vivid, multicolored skirts, you will get a true taste of Andean culture and dress and have an authentic experience during your tour. This trek will be sure to leave you with unforgettable memories climbing the high steps, standing in the crisp, cool night, and watching the clear evening skies ablaze with stars.
Day 1: Leaving the City of Cusco and Entering the Lares Valley
As the sun rises over the roofs of Cusco in the early morning, your guide will pick you up from your hotel and you will immediately head in the direction of the Sacred Valley. Before leaving these big cities, you will stop by the Calca market where you will be able to buy any last minute items you may need for your trip. The road that leads to Lares crosses the Amparaes Pass and is a phenomenal drive that winds through arid landscapes and by occasional rivers and the distant mountains.
Finally, you will reach the hot baths of Lares. Here, these natural, relaxing thermal waters will await you before your trek. From the thermal baths, pass through hand tilled fields, crops of quinoa and potato, and quaint stone houses on your hike on a small path, often used by the locals. After a gradual, few hours climb, stop for a delicious lunch before continuing on to the community of Cuncani, where you will camp for the evening.
Day 2: A Day Hike to Paso de Pumahuanca
Wake up to the stunning view of Colque Cruz, a majestic mountain with snow capped peaks that provide water to the community. You will follow the path next to an icy stream that will take you towards the Paso de Pumahuanca. You will hike for a few hours on this demanding yet rewarding uphill, rocky trail, passing through incredible landscapes and high altitude lagoons. Upon reaching the summit, you will be greeted with a marvelous view of the Pampa de Anta before your descent. The descent is steep but beautiful; you will cross through a small forest filled with Polylepis, the endemic and endangered trees of the high Andes. After the forest, you will stop for lunch and have time to enjoy an incredible view of the valley. Afterwards, you will reach your camp for the night, a tranquil paradise surrounded by trees and a stream, and enjoy a campfire before you rest for the night.
Day 3: Traveling to Aguas Calientes
This morning will be your last one on the trail. After breakfast, you will take a leisurely walk to the piscigranja or fish farm. During your stroll, you will notice the weather becoming more lively and warm and will spot new variety in the vegetation and the various hummingbirds. After a few hours, your private transportation will take you to the Ollantaytambo station to board the train to Aguas Calientes.
On the train ride, the valley will turn into a canyon and the cloud forest will appear as you approach the Machu Picchu sanctuary. After disembarking the train at Aguas Calientes, the hotel staff will be waiting to help you with your luggage and will escort you to your hotel. Tonight, have a nice, hot, well-deserved shower and enjoy a delightful dinner at one of the best restaurants in town.
Day 4: Guided Tour at Machu Picchu and Return to Cusco
Your last day begins very early in the morning once again. Accompanied by your guide, you will take a 25 minute bus ride to the sanctuary of Machu Picchu. Your guide will lead you to explore and discover the many curious corners within this enigmatic citadel. This guided tour will last 2 hours. Afterwards, you will still have time to visit places you did not cover with your guide. For example, you may visit the Inca bridge, a 30 minute walk along a narrow path that is located west of the center of Machu Picchu, or the Huayna Picchu, one of the two mountains surrounding Machu Picchu, if you are up for an uphill challenge. To climb Huayna Picchu, you must buy a separate ticket in advance. Please confirm that you want to make this climb when you book this tour with us. This hike of Huayna Picchu occurs at either 7 or 10 AM, and the trail consists of many steep, narrow steps along the 300m climb up the 2700m mountain. At the end of your visit, you will take the bus down to Aguas Calientes for lunch before boarding the train to return to Ollantaytambo. There, your private transportation will take you back to Cusco.
At your briefing, you will be provided with a duffel bag where you can put all the things you need for the trek. This duffel bag will be accessible at night at your campsite. For things that you need during the day, you will need to have a day back.
In your duffel bag, bring:
In your day pack, bring:
Born in Cusco, my family has always loved being active. In fact, I come from a family of champion kayakers and guides. My dad was one of the first kayak guides in all of Peru, and my brother was a pioneer in the field, kayaking through the toughest rivers in the Americas and representing Peru in international competitions. Seeing the passion and adventure within my family made me want to follow in my father’s footsteps and become a guide.
After working for many years in mainstream tourism, I decided I wanted to lead my own tours rather than work for other companies. I wanted my tours to really focus on protecting the environment, providing high-quality experiences, and taking travelers off the beaten path. I’ve worked in tourism for 15-years, and I love being outside everyday, sharing the beauty of Peru with travelers and exploring my own country. In fact, when I’m not leading tours, I’m often bringing my five kids on treks of our own. Already I can see some of them develop a dream to lead tours, just like I did as a kid on tours with my dad. I guess you can say adventure really does run in my family!
Growing up in a small village near Cusco, some of my richest childhood memories involve learning about my ancestral heritage. As the son of a family of farmers, my culture’s rich agricultural tradition was an integral part of my life and taught me to be truly proud of my background. As I heard the stories of my culture, I was always excited and wanting to learn more, so much so that it became my ultimate dream to go to university. Determined to make it to university, I worked many odd jobs and spent endless hours studying. Not only did I get my degree, but through school I realized my true dream, to become a tour guide.
I’ve been working now as a tour guide for the past 11 years and still feel extremely lucky to have achieved my dream. Whether I’m meeting a tour group, listening to cooking tips from one of our chefs, or discovering a new path along the Inca Trail, I’m so happy to have found a job that lets me do what I do best: learn. I love taking my guests off the beaten path, showing them the real Peru beyond what the tourists see. Through my tours, I love to share my ancestor’s culture, customs, and beautiful land.
Through my many years as a tour guide, I’ve discovered that my ultimate partner in leading tours is Mother Nature. As an adventure guide in Peru, I have led tours in the mountains and jungles on all sorts of tours like trekking, mountain biking, and birdwatching. Not only have I taken travelers all over my beautiful home country of Peru but also to fascinating neighboring countries like Chile, Ecuador, and Bolivia.
I’ve been so lucky to have witness such beauty in South America, and because of this experience I have developed a profound appreciation for the environment and commitment to ecotourism. Through my tours, I hope to not only show travelers to beautiful parts of Peru but also educate them on the importance of protecting the land. My tours are also centered around social responsibility and supporting local communities through education and preservation. Peru is a beautiful place, and I want to show this to travelers from all over the world. I hope that by going on my tours I can provide them with a newfound love for Earth and our local culture. Through responsible travel, we can really create a global appreciation for the world we live in, and in turn we can protect it.