What is the Lares Trek? A primer to the "other" Machu Picchu hike

February 7, 2018

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There's more than one way to reach Machu Picchu. For many, hiking the Inca Trail — the famed 46-kilometre route to the ancient ruins — is the route of choice, but there are alternatives that are no less breathtaking. Consider, for instance, the Lares Trek: it's just as scenic and historic as the Inca Trail, but not quite so well-trod — and isn't adventure all about taking the road less travelled? Here, five things you might want to know before booking your Lares hike:

What's the difference between the Lares Trek and the Inca Trail?

The biggest — and most obvious — answer to this question is that the treks follow different routes, and are of different lengths. Perhaps the best way to explain the difference is to show rather than tell; have a look at a map charting both routes below:

How long does it take to hike the Lares Trek?

The Lares Trek is roughly 33 kilometres long, and our tours split that distance over three days, with plenty of breaks for food, hydration, and — of course — sleep.

Are there any benefits to choosing the Lares Trek?

The most significant upside to choosing Lares over the Inca Trail is that there are times when, while hiking, it'll feel like you have the entire trail to yourself. The Inca Trail is popular for a reason — from Dead Woman's Pass to the striking Sun Gate, the trek offers no shortage of history and life-changing scenery a— but Lares offers the opportunity to walk in the footsteps of the Inca with nothing but the sun at your back (and, well, the rest of your G Adventures tour mates, of course).

What will I see on the Lares Trek?

From ancient Inca storehouses to the Lares hot springs, there are plenty of attractions — both historic and geological — along the Lares Trek. There are also scenic views of beautiful lagoons, with the striking snow-capped Chicon Mountain in the distance, plus plenty of llamas and alpacas. At night, you'll sleep at G Adventures-supported community-run campsites at Cucani and Suttoq.

Does the Lares Trek go to Machu Picchu?

Yes — but not directly. Once you've hiked Lares' full 33 kilometres, a train — which is a stunning ride in itself — will bring you the rest of the way.

Getting there

Ready to trek Lares? G Adventures can get you there. Check out our 7-day Lares Trek tour here.

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