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Peru Travel: The Many Routes of Lares

Unlike the classic Inca Trail, there are many ways to complete the Lares trek. Read about some things you should know about this excellent alternative trek to Machu Picchu.

Some people arrive to Cusco and Peru with months of advance planning, while others come hoping to do everything on the fly, but almost everyone wants to get to Machu Picchu. Shoe-string backpackers, luxury travelers, and all in between, also choose a more adventurous way to see this world wonder and seek out treks to Machu Picchu. The most popular among these is undoubtedly the Inca Trail. But if you start planning too late, you might miss out on the chance to hike the imperial Inca road, mostly because permits are limited to 200 a day and these sell out quickly. 

Luckily, there are alternative treks to Machu Picchu which are just as adventurous and exhilarating as the Inca Trail. Here we highlight one of these, Lares. The Lares trek is also known as “Weavers’ Way” because it passes through high-altitude Andean communities that produce quality textiles using centuries-old weaving techniques inherited from the ancestors. This trek is amazing mostly because of the communities passed along the way and the opportunity to interact with the people that live there. A second reason is the landscape, characterized by lands where hardly anything grows naturally, but where farmers manage to coax some products from the earth. Then, there are the lagoons, beautifully tinted in turquoise, and the snow-capped mountains that rise up from the valleys.

If you decide to do the Lares trek, there are many possible routes to follow. Which one you choose depends on your fitness level and your interests. Most variations of this trek begin in Calca. From here, car transport gets trekkers to the village of Lares, where there are thermal hot springs. Trekkers have the option of taking a dip in the Lares hot springs, the last bath before 2 or 3 days of trekking.

From Lares, the trek can go through Huacahuasi, with an option of going over the Ipsayjasa Pass (4450m) to Patacancha and down to Ollantaytambo, or a second route over the Huacahuasijasa Pass (4500m) through the valley and down to Yanahuara. The first option goes through larger villages but descends via road on the last part. The second option is all trail and more isolated.

Two other versions of this trek begin in the village of Quishuarani, before reaching the Lares hot springs. They diverge at the same point as the 2 treks mentioned above, one going to Ollantaymbo and the other to Yanahuara.

Other versions have an entirely different starting point, this one in Huaran, a short distance beyond Calca. These are the most difficult because they involve sustained elevation climbs from 2885m in Huaran, over the 4200m Pachacutec pass, to Quishuarani at 3700m. Trekkers can choose to continue to Lares or to complete the trek at one of the other points listed above. Whichever Lares trek you choose, you are guaranteed a full dose of adventureComputer Technology Articles, and all of these have the option to go to Machu Picchu.

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This article was written by a Peru travel expert at Peru For Less who specializes in helping you organize best value Machu Picchu hiking tours.

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