Peru

Article Lares Trek

An alternative trek to Machu Picchu

Wrote 4 articles and follows him / her 2 travelers
(1 rating)
Lares Trek
Inserted: 19.03.2019
© gigaplaces.com
Suitable for:
Hikers
They been there:
They want there:

Most of the so-called alternative treks on Machu Picchu are not actually treks on Machu Picchu (like the Inca Trail). These are treks in the surrounding mountains, which eventually either connect to the Inca Trail or take you to Aguas Callentes (mostly by train or bus), from where you take a bus up to Machu Picchu. As far as I know, no trek other than the Inca Trail will take you to Machu Picchu from above the Sun Gate. But that does not mean that these treks are not interesting, on the contrary.

Calca

We are embarking on the so-called combined Lares + Short Inca Trail. The first part, ie Lares Trek, starts early in the morning in Cuzco, from where the minibus will take us after about two hours of driving to the village of Calca, where there is a market, ie the last chance to buy supplies.

Calca
Author: Vladimír Kučera © gigaplaces.com

Lares

After another 2 hours of driving on a beautiful mountain road, we start the trek itself in an unconventional way: by visiting the thermal baths in the town of Lares. We bathe in hot water and get breakfast. Probably a psychological preparation to stop worrying about what's to come. It helps a bit …

Lares
Author: Vladimír Kučera © gigaplaces.com

The beginning of the trek

Then we drive a little further, and finally the guide lets us on the road. The next day and a half we'll just go uphill.

The beginning of the trek
Author: Vladimír Kučera © gigaplaces.com

Qanchis Paccha Falls

For lunch we stop at a tourist base in the village of Hatun Queuna (a walled place where we can build a shelter). Then we continue uphill, after about 2 hours we have before us these beautiful waterfalls.

Qanchis Paccha Falls
Author: Vladimír Kučera © gigaplaces.com

First overnight stay

We arrive at the shore of the lake, where we are to spend the night. Unfortunately not in the nice stone house, but in the tent. We are at an altitude of 4000 m, at night there will be a nice scythe.

First overnight stay
Author: Vladimír Kučera © gigaplaces.com

Morning view of the lake

In the morning we set off around the lake and further uphill and use the moments when the fog rises to take pictures (the higher, the more fog, sometimes it also rains, for a while even hail falls)

Morning view of the lake
Author: Roman Kučera © gigaplaces.com

Pasa el Condor Pass

The pass at an altitude of 4650 m is the highest point of the whole trek. I breathe the last 150 meters as a locomotive, even though we are walking slowly. The guide offers me that I can ride a horse, which I refuse, but in the end I like to entrust my backpack to the hobby so as not to delay the others, because I stopped every 10 meters to catch my breath. The guide measures the oxygen content in our blood, they say everything is OK. Another clever psychological move, I'm feeling better right away. Or is it that we are no longer going uphill?

Pasa el Condor Pass
Author: Vladimír Kučera © gigaplaces.com

Cancha Cancha

The place of accommodation today is the village of Cancha Cancha. A place accessible only on foot, from the nearest civilization it is a day of walking uphill. People live here as in the 15th century in the Inca era (whose descendants are, they speak only the language of Quechua). In the evening we go to visit one of the houses, which are built of stones and mud, the roof is thatched. One large room with a stone fireplace where the fire burns because it is cold at night. Guinea pigs, raised for meat and fur, run on the ground. Potatoes and quinoa are grown here, and of course llamas and alpacas graze all around. When someone grows more than they consume, they go to the city, where they exchange it for something else in the market. If there's a place in the world where time has stood still for 500 years, it's here. But these villages will not survive long. The old settlers live here, but their children prefer to move to the cities, and of course no new ones come here voluntarily.

Cancha Cancha
Author: Vladimír Kučera © gigaplaces.com

Cancha Cancha in the morning

After another night in the tent, we go to visit the second house in the morning. It is exactly the same as the first one, just instead of my grandfather, my grandmother lives there. She showed us how to use stones to crush corn into flour. Then we go down the river. The herdsman who drives the llamas to graze is our acquaintance, whom we visited yesterday.

Cancha Cancha in the morning
Author: Vladimír Kučera © gigaplaces.com

Descent to the village of Puente Charan

Just two hours and the surrounding vegetation changes dramatically with decreasing altitude, there is already a regular jungle. The tourist part of the trek ends at noon in the village of Puente Charan, where our river flows into Urubamba. After lunch, we say goodbye to the escort, the guide loads us on the bus and we go to see the salt mines.

Descent to the village of Puente Charan
Author: Vladimír Kučera © gigaplaces.com

Maras salt mines

This trip was a kind of pendant to Lares Trek to kill the rest of the afternoon on the third day. Thematically, it fits into the concept of the trek, which, in addition to the mountain beauties, is supposed to show a typical way of life, which has persisted in some places in the Andes since pre-pre-Nazi times. Salt mines are such an example, it was said that they were already here before the Inca Empire, just gradually the number of pools in which natural salt water is caught and salt is obtained by evaporation has increased from several tens to several thousand. This is what it looks like today.

Maras salt mines
Author: Vladimír Kučera © gigaplaces.com

Urubamba-beginning of the Short Inca Trail

After sleeping in a hotel at the station in Ollantaytambo (finally civilization!) In the morning we take a train along Urubamba, get off in the middle of nowhere, cross the bridge over the river and join the Inca Trail.

Urubamba-beginning of the Short Inca Trail
Author: Vladimír Kučera © gigaplaces.com

Machu Picchu-coveted destination

I will not describe the abbreviated Inca Trail in detail here, but the last photo must of course show the goal of our entire effort. The entire Short Inca Trail is actually a one-day trip, leading around two other archeological sites, and ending with an ascent to the Sun Gate (Intipunku), from where there is the right view of Machu Picchu. While some versions of the treks work so that tourists spend the night in tents just below the Sun Gate and climb up in the morning to enjoy the sunrise over Machu Picchu, we took a few photos in the evening, took a bus down to Aguas Calientes and the next day we got on the bus in the morning before sunrise, drove back to Machu Picchu, where we spent half a day; we combined it with an optional and pre-booked climb to the hill in front of us called Huayna Picchu. But that's another report …

Machu Picchu-coveted destination
Author: Vladimír Kučera © gigaplaces.com
Applaud the author of the article!
Share it on:

Practical information

Thanks!

Have you been there? Write a review of this place

Already rated by 1 traveler

Have you been there? Write a review of this place

You must be logged in to post a review or