Taking the Lares Route, you are given an opportunity to explore around the capital Lima, the former capital of the Incan Empire - Cusco as well as the Sacred Valley of the Incas offering fantastic sceneries and stunning Incan monuments. Moreover, the tour involves the Lares Valley Trek, an amazing alternative to the Inca Trail hike. The trek leads through unspoiled Andean highlands where local farmers and villagers still keep their way of life as they did 500 years ago.
Please note that the first day is an arrival day and no activities are planned, so that you can arrive at any time. When you arrive to the airport at Lima, our Representative waits for you holding a sheet with your name and transfers you to your hotel.
The capital of Lima is also known as the "City of the Kings" as it was founded by Francisco Pizarro on the Day of the Three Kings (Epiphany) in 1535! The Plaza de Armas (main square) is a heart of old Lima. There can be found the Cathedral, Governmental Palace and Archbishop’s Palace.
In the morning, we take you to the Lima´s airport for your flight to Cusco. Our Representative awaits you in front of the Cusco´s arrival airport hall holding a sheet with your name. After he/she welcomes you in Cusco, he/she takes you to your hotel. The rest of the day is free to relax and explore around this fascinating city as well as to acclimatize to its high altitude.
Cusco is the oldest continuously inhabited city of this continent as well as a hub of he South American travel network! The city attracts people from all around the world, who arrive not only to visit a unique destination, but also to experience an antique culture that differs a lot from the occidental 21st century´s way of life. One could easily spend a week just in and around this site. Inca-built stone walls line most of the central streets and it is not necessary to go far to see other major Incan ruins. This is a city steeped in history, traditions and legends.
Every year, Cusco is visited by thousands of travelers, who come to delve into its noble, but tragic past. It is a perfect base for optional explorations around the city´s surroundings as well as for a range of outdoor activities.
The most important monument of the Cusco City is without any doubt Qorikancha - the Golden Temple and the main temple of the Incan empire - Tawantinsuyo. There, the Sun god was worshipped.
Cusco also has got numerous colonial churches. The most important of them is the Cathedral on the main square. Its construction started in 1559 and it took 100 years to finish. The Cathedral can pride itself on the biggest depository of Colonial art of the city. A vault containing remains of the famous Incan historian - Garcilaso de la Vega is just past the entrance. Other churches that are worth seeing are La Compañía, La Merced and San Francisco.
One of the most spectacular days of the tour takes us through the Sacred Valley of the Incas that was once an important source of food to Incan people. Sacred Valley is a lush agricultural region that keep supplying the city of Cusco with much of its production. As it lays 600 metres lower than Cusco, its average temperature is 5ºC higher so it has got a very pleasant climate.
The tour shows us around the major archaeological sites placed in Pisaq and Ollantaytambo. At Pisaq, an optional two hour (5 km) trek allows us to fully appreciate this huge antique Incan city nestled high in this Andean range. Later on, we can observe a colorful handicraft market at the modern Pisaq Town that is without any doubt a unique place to find perfect souvenirs! Then, we stop in Urubamba, considered to be the capital of the valley, where we have a buffet lunch offering Andean cuisine (not included in the tour). Afterwards, we continue to the picturesque town of Ollantaytambo, a place that can boast with another large Incan site. Its major ruin is known as the best surviving example of Incan urban planning and engineering! But Ollantaytambo is more than that, it is an alive and breathing Incan town!! We stay overnight here to absorb its atmosphere in its total.
Ollantaytambo is strategically situated overlooking the beautiful Urubamba River Valley. We spend the night in this small town before starting one of the best Machu Picchu tours - the Lares Valley Trek the following morning.
We leave Ollantaytambo early in the morning and travel by bus through the Sacred Valley of the Incas until we get to the village of Lares. There, we enjoy local medicinal hot springs all the rest of the morning. Later on, we start our trekking upwards the Lares Valley until we reach the indigenous community of Wacawasi where we overnight.
The second day, we cross the challenging Condor´s Pass (4,100 m) offering stunning views of Mount Veronica (5,750 m)! After that, we descend slowly to the beautiful Ipsaycocha Lake, our last campsite.
On the third day, we follow a trail leading us downhill passing stunning viewpoints of Willoc. Finally, we get to Ollantaytambo again, however, this time not to look around the town, but to take an evening train towards Aguas Calientes (a town just bellow Machu Picchu). There, we spend a night in a comfortable hotel.
In the morning of the fourth day, we get ready for the long-awaited trip to Machu Picchu. Today, we hike only for two hours until we reach the entrance of this historic and spiritual centre of the Incas. There, we enter and start our guided tour, during which our Tour Guide introduces us to its history and describes us each part of the "Lost City of the Incas"!
Afterwards, we are given an opportunity to hike either the peak of Huayna Picchu or the Machu Picchu Mountain to observe the Incan citadel from another perspective.
In the afternoon, we return by train to Ollantaytambo (alternatively to Poroy), from where we are taken by van back to Cusco.
Today is a relaxing day so you can explore the fascinating former capital of the Incas, visit its markets, buy some souvenirs, do some optional activities as well as get ready for the last night in the city.
You can explore some of many very good museums such as the Inca Museum, the Qoricancha Museum, the Archaeological Museum (which also houses a small art exhibition), the Regional Historic Museum and the Religious Art Museum.
The city is also a perfect base for those more adventurous as it offers a range of optional outdoor activities such as white river rafting on Urubamba River, horseback riding around nearby archaeological sites (Sacsayhuaman, Qenqo, Tambo Machay and Puca Pucara) or mountain biking down to Maras-Moray-Salineras and perhaps visiting some Incan sites on the way.
Transfer to the airport at Cusco to take a flight to Lima.
It is an alternate walk to get to Machu Picchu, this walk is special, because it passes through villages that preserve ancestral customs and habits, the Lares trek is possibly a culturally richer and more natural walk in Peru, since it is possible to see Shepherds through the mountains taking care of their llamas, sheep, alpacas, working the land with instruments that were used in the Inca era (chaquitaclla) and women and children continue to spin their beautiful Andean fabrics. The Lares trek is a tour that will take you back 500 years and you can imagine how the life of the ancient Peruvians was.
For this hike the government does not grant special permits as for the Inca Trail, but if you need to book in advance of a couple of months since it is necessary to buy train ticket, admission to Machu Picchu and these run out very quickly, so if He wants the tour to be all ready upon arrival and not to have any inconvenience I recommend you book in advance.
The best months to do the Lares trek tour is undoubtedly the dry season from April to November or December, which are the months where the rainy season begins in Peru.
You can also do this walk in the rainy season, the interesting thing to do at this time is that the landscape becomes very colorful, since the vegetation is at its best due to the rains.
No, in the time we have been organizing this tour we receive people of all ages, starting from 10 years old to people who were 65 years old and they all had a great time.
The use of canes in a walk is very necessary especially if you have any knee ailment or knees sensitive to effort, the canes are very helpful, but if you are in very good physical condition it would not be necessary.
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