Why Lares Trek is the Best Alternative to the Inca Trail

Nov 24, 2023

Looking for an extraordinary and off-the-beaten-path adventure in Peru? Searching for an alternative to the crowded Inca Trail? Look no further! At MachuPicchuPath.com, we present to you the remarkable Lares Trek. In this comprehensive guide, we will unveil the beauty and advantages of this scenic route, known to captivate the hearts of adventure seekers and nature lovers alike.

The Lares Trek: A Hidden Gem

Tucked away in the magnificent Sacred Valley of the Incas, the Lares Trek promises an authentic and less-traveled experience compared to the renowned Inca Trail. This awe-inspiring route takes you through picturesque landscapes, traditional Andean villages, and encounters with indigenous communities that have preserved their ancient customs and traditions for centuries.

Unlike the Inca Trail, which requires permits and can become overcrowded during peak seasons, the Lares Trek offers a more intimate adventure, allowing you to immerse yourself fully in the stunning natural surroundings and connect with the local culture. Its unspoiled beauty and tranquility make it an increasingly popular choice for those seeking a unique and sustainable trekking experience.

Scenic Beauty

The Lares Trek takes you through the heart of the Andes, offering breathtaking views of snow-capped mountains, lush valleys, and stunning alpine lakes. As you hike along ancient pathways, you can witness the sheer grandeur of nature, surrounded by wildflowers, exotic wildlife, and cascading waterfalls.

The highlight of the Lares Trek is undoubtedly the awe-inspiring vistas of the majestic Humantay Glacier. Prepare to be mesmerized as you witness the glistening white peaks contrasting against the vivid blue sky, creating a picture-perfect postcard scene. It's a sight that will forever be etched in your memory.

Cultural Immersion

One of the unique aspects of the Lares Trek is the opportunity to interact with local indigenous communities along the way. These communities still preserve their ancient Inca traditions and warmly welcome trekkers, eager to share their customs, music, arts, and rich cultural heritage.

During your journey, you have the chance to visit local homes, where you'll be greeted with open arms and a warm cup of mate de coca, a traditional Andean herbal tea. You'll gain an insight into their daily lives, witnessing the textile weaving techniques that have been passed down through generations. This cultural exchange will leave you with a profound appreciation for the vibrant and resilient Andean people.

Trekking Itinerary

The Lares Trek typically spans over 4 days and 3 nights, allowing you to thoroughly explore the region and soak in its natural and cultural wonders. Here's a brief overview of the itinerary:

Day 1: Cusco - Huacahuasi

Your adventure begins with a scenic drive from Cusco to the trailhead. You'll embark on your trek, passing through rural Andean landscapes, witnessing stunning vistas along the way. The day concludes at the community of Huacahuasi, where you'll camp for the night.

Day 2: Huacahuasi - Mantanay

On the second day, you'll continue your trek, meandering through remarkable valleys and encountering charming Andean hamlets. As you ascend higher into the mountains, you'll catch glimpses of llamas and alpacas grazing peacefully. The day ends with a tranquil evening at Mantanay, where you'll camp overnight.

Day 3: Mantanay - Yanahuara

As you traverse through breathtaking mountain passes on the third day, you'll be rewarded with unparalleled vistas of the surrounding peaks. The trail guides you to the charming village of Yanahuara, where you can interact with the local community and learn more about their traditional way of life.

Day 4: Yanahuara - Machu Picchu

The final day of the trek begins with a visit to the mystical ruins of Ollantaytambo, a well-preserved Inca site that offers a glimpse into the ancient civilization. You'll then take a scenic train ride to Aguas Calientes, the gateway to Machu Picchu. After a refreshing night's rest, you'll rise early to witness the awe-inspiring sunrise over the legendary Machu Picchu, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Lares Trek vs. Inca Trail

Now, let's delve into the comparison between the Lares Trek and the Inca Trail.


While the Inca Trail requires permits and often becomes fully booked months in advance, the Lares Trek offers more flexibility and availability. It allows you to embark on your adventure without the need for advanced planning or securing permits, making it a convenient choice for those seeking spontaneity or last-minute travel options.

Scenery and Climate

Both treks boast spectacular landscapes, but the Lares Trek allows you to immerse yourself deeper into the Andean wilderness, away from the crowds. The Lares Trek also offers a more varied climate, allowing you to experience the various microclimates of the region as you traverse through different altitudes.

Cultural Experience

While the Inca Trail takes you through stunning archaeological sites, the Lares Trek offers a more immersive cultural experience. Interacting with local communities enables you to gain firsthand knowledge of their traditions, rituals, and way of life, creating lifelong memories and connections. It's an opportunity to go beyond mere sightseeing and truly engage with the vibrant Andean culture.


The Lares Trek places a strong emphasis on sustainable and responsible tourism. By choosing this route, you actively contribute to the economic development of local communities, empowering them to preserve their cultural heritage and protect their natural surroundings. It's a trek that not only offers a remarkable adventure but also allows you to make a positive impact on the communities you encounter.


At MachuPicchuPath.com, we believe the Lares Trek is the perfect alternative to the Inca Trail. Its scenic beauty, cultural immersion, and reduced accessibility make it an exceptional choice for both adventure enthusiasts and those seeking a more authentic experience. Discover the wonders of the Lares Trek with us and embark on an unforgettable journey that will leave you with cherished memories and a newfound appreciation for the Andean spirit.

Book your Lares Trek adventure with MachuPicchuPath.com today and let us guide you through the hidden gems of the Sacred Valley. Unravel the mysteries of Peru's ancient civilizations, connect with local communities, and witness the majestic Machu Picchu in all its grandeur. Your extraordinary adventure awaits!

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