AAPT12    Lares Trek  - Machu Picchu        4D/3N

Lares-Machu-Picchu-600

This trekking is a very good alternative to the extremely busy Inca Trail. The Lares Valley is so far off the beaten track that it has changed little over the last 500 years. With original Inca trails, spectacular and diverse scenery (even more so than the main Inca Trail) and the promise of a glimpse of life the way it used to be in Peru, it is amazing that the area has remained untouched by tourism. Somehow, it has slipped from view and retains an authenticity like nowhere else in Peru. Travel here and you will meet Andean farmers dressed in traditional brightly coloured ponchos, wander markets trading as they have done for centuries, see thatched stone and adobe houses and watch herds of llamas and alpacas roam free.


 

Day 1: Cusco – Quishuarani – Cuncani (3780m)

We depart Cusco early in the morning and travel to the town of Calca (2900m) in the Urubamba Sacred Valley of the Incas. Here we will stop for a coffee and we can visit an ancient bakery where there is a chance to snack on delicious freshly baked bread and watch traditional cooking methods. Perhaps we also visit the local market selling a multitude of Andean crops including colourful corns, seeds and spices. The markets are a fantastic place for authentic photographs or simply to spend a while soaking up the atmosphere of life – and everyday trading. Continuing from Calca, we drive for an hour to the highest point of the day passing Inca burial tombs, local farms and herds of llamas on route. Stopping for a short guided walk, we visit the vast Inca ruins of Ascasmarca with stunning views of the surrounding valley and mountains. From here, we make our way down into the Lares Valley, towards the small community of Quishuarani at 3750m above sea level. After lunch, we begin the first part of our trek up to the Huillquisaca Abra (pass) at 3940m and then descending to the Queullacocha lagoons, where there is an abundance of wildlife. Then we continue our trek down to the village of Cuncani (3780m) where our crew had already set up our camp. (5 - 6 hrs walking). BL, D.

Day 2: Cuncani – Huacahuasi – Ipsaycocha

Rising early, we first enjoy a hearty breakfast and then prepare ourselves to continue our trek. Departing Cuncani, we climb steeply passing Huacahuasi pass at 3800m and then we continue upward reaching an altitude of around 4400m before we descend for lunch at Azul Cocha (Blue Lake) at 4200m. Surrounded by the peaks of the Andes – including the snow-capped Mount Veronica – the scenery is quite amazing. Climbing steadily once again, the open landscape is often dotted with herds of llama and alpaca. A tough but rewarding final push brings us to the highest point of the trek, the Ipsaycocha pass at 4450m, from where we enjoy spectacular views. Then we descend through the heartland of the traditional Quechua people to our second campsite at Ipsaycocha lagoons at 4200m. On these lakes, we can observe Andean Geese, Puna Ibis, mountain gulls, etc. and other water birds. B, BL, D. (7 - 8 hrs walking).

Day 3: Ipsaycocha – Patacancha – Ollantaytambo – Aguas Calientes

The final section of our trek with a steady 3 hours walking is a descent to the valley of Patacancha (3700m). Here we find the town of Patacancha with a long-established textile community with strong ancient Quechua traditions surrounded by stunning scenery. Little visited by tourists this area gives a privileged insight into the lives of the Quechua inhabitants and their welcome is warm. Departing Patacancha by minibus, we head towards the extensive Inca ruins of Pumamarca which stand sentry on the hillside overlooking the old Inca settlement of Ollantaytambo. Clinging to the hillside, Pumamarca is a remarkably well preserved Inca fort built to protect the Sacred Valley. Continuing down into Ollantaytambo, we visit the small Inca museum and have time to wander through the delightful streets to see many of the original Inca walls and doorways on which the modern town has been built. After lunch, we take the train to Aguas Calientes, the starting point for tomorrow's visit to the fabulous lost Inca City of Machu Picchu and our home for tonight. B, L.

Day 4: Machu Picchu – Cusco.

After an early wake up we take the first bus (6 a.m.) up to Machu Picchu to avoid the thronging crowds which arrive mid-morning. Then we start a full guided tour of the site. You will also have some free time to explore this mystical Inca city and perhaps climb the vertiginous Huayna Picchu (Young Mountain) which overlooks the site. Return to Aguas Calientes by bus and then we catch the late afternoon train back to Cusco. B.

 Gross Rates per Person in US$:

  Pax Number

2

3

4

5

6

7/8

 9/10 

 11/12 

 13/14 

 15/16 

 SS 

 Gross US$ pp 

 920 

 710 

 625 

 584 

 535 

 505 

480

450

430

415

55

 

Included: private transport to/from trek start point, English speaking trekking guide, noted meals, complete camping equipment (tents for 2 persons, dining tent, kitchen tent, and toilet tent), complete food services while on the trek, cook, helpers, horses/donkeys for cargo, first aid kit, and Machu Picchu entrance fee.

Not included: International and domestic flights, airport taxes, extras, personal trekking equipment, tips, train Ollantaytambo – Aguas Calientes – Cusco (Poroy station) (Vista Dome: us$ 170. - pp; Expedition: us$160.-), and personal travel insurance.

Grading: Moderate - hard

Personal weight allowance per passenger: 8 kgs (this to be carried by horses)

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