Lares Trail Peru & 2D Inca Trail with Camping
5 Days / 4 Nights
Lares Trail Peru & 2D Inca Trail with Camping 5 Days / 4 Nights
Day 1: Famous Thermal Baths – Kiswarani Waterfall Campsite
To begin the Lares Trail trek we will pick you from your hotel at 5 AM to begin the famous Lares Trail. Pickup can be done from any hotel, condo or apartment within Cusco, Urubamba, Huaran or Pisaq. It will be a three-hour drive along the beautiful landscape of the Sacred Valley and through the Andes until we arrive at the Lares Hot Springs where you will enjoy your first breakfast accompanied by amazing views of the Andes Mountains. After breakfast, you will have time to enjoy the hot springs, which are divided into various pools ranging from freezing cold to boiling. They are all composed of pure volcanic water, which is medicinal in nature and considered to be good for your bones, stress, muscles, and headaches. After soaking in the baths for a while, you will drive 20 minutes to the trailhead, Punta Carretera at 3,300 m/ 10,827 ft above sea level. It is here that you will meet up with your horses and horsemen. You will give your duffel bags to the horsemen to be transported to the campsite.
Your trekking will begin with a two-hour gradual uphill hike, until lunch at our first village, Kiswarani. They consider this part of the hike the potato valley section, where people farm many varieties of organic potatoes. Your guide will also point out some indigenous medicinal plants growing along the way. Lunch will be excellent and prepared by your trekking chef.
After lunch, our horsemen (llameros) will do a ceremony with llamas showcasing these beautiful animals. Llamas were considered sacred to the Incas and fundamental to their economy. Our llameros will introduce you to these animals and discuss their importance and why owning one was a sign of privilege. Today they are disappearing, constantly breaded with smaller animals. We hope to continue the tradition of the Incas and give some llamas work. We do this to support the community that helps protect them. Llamas are pleasant to walk with and are friendly animals. Just don´t get too close, they might try to kiss you.
You will also have time to explore the village and visit some local homes, where you will learn about the lifestyle and ancient traditions of the local people. If there is time, we will visit the schoolhouse where the kids still speak Quecha, their native language. You may also bring toys, notebooks, or school supplies to distribute. Perhaps you may even teach them a few words in English. It will be another two hours, gradually uphill hiking until we arrive at the campsite. There you will be welcomed by our trekking staff, who will have your tents set up. We’ll enjoy some hot drinks, as the sky darkens and the stars start appearing. Finally, you will enjoy a lovely dinner prepared on-site. If you want to keep star-gazing, you may stay up for a while longer or, if you’d rather, you can turn in to your tent.
Trekking Distance: 10 km/ 6.21371 miles
Camp Elevation: 3,850 meters / 1,2631 ft
Day 2: Quiswarani – Condor Pass – Cancha Cancha Village
Today you will be woken up around 5 a.m., with our service of hot drinks. You will have spectacular views of the colorful lake and the valley of Kiswarani. You will see the local people will already be up and about, taking their llamas and alpacas out to graze. Breakfast will be served once you have finished packing your gear. Then we’ll fill up our water bottles, organize snacks, and you will begin your expedition to Machu Picchu. It will be a three or four-hour climb to get to the summit of the mountain. This pass is called Pachacute, or Condor Pass. We’ll zigzag our way up to compensate for the steep uphill. The views of the area are stunning. You will see lakes, waterfalls, llamas, and alpacas. We will have an emergency horse to ride in case you are tired. Once you arrive at the Condor Pass, you will be above the clouds, above the mountain peaks, and the surrounding 360-degree views are astounding. In front of you will be the beautiful mountain of Pitusiray, which is at 5,700 m/ 18,700 ft high, and the Condor pass is at 4,680 m/ 15,354 ft high. Afterward, we will enjoy a hot drink service that your porters will carry with them. We will take advantage of some phenomenal photo opportunities and start our descent.
You will begin the one hour, downhill, descent towards El Mirador (Vista Point), where you will enjoy lunch. There will be some llamas grazing nearby. After lunch, you will hike the last three hours downhill, with fantastic views of many lakes, llamas, and alpacas, before arriving at your campsite, the village of Cancha Cancha, which is the only village that does not have modern technology. Located at (3,750 m / 12,303 ft), where people still practice original Inca traditions. In this Incan village, 85 percent of the houses are still built by ancient construction methods, made of stone and grass-thatched roofs. Unlike any other village in the Lares Valley, this village has no electricity or cars. Here, you will not only enjoy the wilderness, but your porters will also set up your tents. You will have some time to meet with the local children. We provide them with food and school supplies, so we invite our travelers to share this support in the education and the health of this native village. You can bring anything you would like to give to these Quechuan-speaking children that you think they could use for school or home. When you are done, your guide will take you to one of the local family’s houses, where you will learn about the lifestyle of the locals. You will see how they raise their guinea pigs, and learn about the traditional hand-woven textiles made of llama and alpaca wool. In the evening you will enjoy hot drinks and dinner.
Walking Distance: 14 km/8 miles
Elevation Gain: 830 meters / 2,723 ft
Camp Elevation: 3,750 meters / 12,303 ft
Day 3: Cancha Cancha – Huaran – Maras Salt Mine – Ollantaytambo
Our porters will wake you up with a hot drink, and you will have some time to pack your bags and enjoy breakfast. After breakfast, you’ll have time to explore the village and visit the local elementary school, where the ancient Inca language, Quechua, is still taught. Once you are ready, you’ll begin the last leg of your Lares trek. It will be four hours of walking downhill along this lovely path where you will pass by more llamas and alpacas. We’ll pass by farms where they grow potatoes, fava beans, and many other traditional crops the traditional Incan style. You will have the chance to learn about Peruvian agriculture from people who still farm by hand with traditional Inca farming tools. Now, we will start to descend to the warmer area of the Sacred Valley. You will start to feel the changes of the micro-climate and start seeing crops that are different from in the high mountains. Around the Sacred Valley, people farm corn, quinoa, kiwi, peaches, avocados, and other types of fruit. This area has a lot of Inca history, and you will end your tour at the little Sacred Valley village of Huaran that sits at 2,700 m / 8,858 ft. Here you will say goodbye to your horses, horse riders, chef, and porters.
From Huaran, we will catch a van and make the short drive into the valley to visit the Salineras salt pans, in the town of Maras. Here, at 11,000 feet above sea level, a saltwater spring gushes forth and spills down the side of the mountain. Over 3,000 small evaporation chambers have been created and look as if they are tumbling down the mountainside. These have been in use since pre-Incan times. The salt is said to have healing properties because it´s filled with natural minerals, some of it even comes out pink. Local families each own one of these pans and make their living supplying salt to the towns around the area. There is a small shop on-site if you care to take some salt home with you.
After visiting Salineras, we will head to our hotel in Ollantaytambo for the night at the hotel.
Walking Distance: 9 km /6.2 miles
Aguas Calientes Elevation: 2,000 m / 6,562 ft
Weather: Cold in the morning, warm in the afternoon. Watch out for mosquitoes this day.
Hotel in Ollantaytambo. Included
Day 4: Hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu
You will be picked up for your short Inca trail hike from your hotel at 5:30 a.m. Following, we will go to the train station and leave on the 6:10 a.m. train from Ollantaytambo. This is one of the most beautiful train rides in the world, with its extraordinary views of the Urubamba River, the snow-capped mountain peaks, and cornfield farms. As we descend, you will see the micro-climate changes, from the mountains and cornfields to green jungle valleys with ferns, bromeliads, and orchids, as the temperature starts to get warmer. This train ride is one hour and 45 minutes to Km 104, where we’ll disembark to meet your trekking chef and porters. You will also enjoy breakfast before starting your trek. Be sure you bring your original passport since this is the very first checkpoint along the Inca Trail.
After breakfast, you will have some time to prepare before beginning the hike. Soon after, we will get to explore the first Inca site Chachabamaba. Chachabamaba was the first ancient Incan checkpoint for entering to the Inca trail. Your tour guide will give you some background history on this ruin, followed by the three-hour climb up to the most famous Inca site along the trail, Wiñay Wayna. You will see amazing views of the Machu Picchu Valley and the Urubamba River along the trail, as well as the flora and fauna native to the area. There are also waterfalls and spectacular views of the Machu Picchu Mountain. The trail itself has some flat areas, as well as some short uphill and downhill hikes. It also has steps arranged in sections that can be narrow in some areas, but not dangerous.
Once you arrive at the Wiñay Wayna Inca site, you will have time for a tour by your tour guide. He will also provide time for exploring the Inca site, temples, waterfalls, gardens, storehouses, watchtowers, and farming terraces. It is only a short walk to the lunch spot, where your trekking chef and porters will be ready with cold drinks and delicious, fresh food, prepared by our cook, and served buffet-style. After lunch, there will be time for a short nap. Following, it will be a one hour, gradual up and downhill hike to get to the Sun Gate, where you will have spectacular views of Machu Picchu, Huayna Picchu, and the surrounding valleys. The Sun Gate was used by Incas to observe the sunrise from Machu Picchu during the summer solstice. From here, it is another hour hike to the Machu Picchu ruins.
Once in Machu Picchu, you can explore the watchtower area where you can get charming pictures of Machu Picchu (without crowds). We’ll then take the 20-minute bus ride to the campsite of Puente Ruinas. When you arrive at the campsite, your tents will be all set up. You will meet your porters, and enjoy a social happy hour with hot drinks and dinner. Later in the evening, we’ll have a small ceremony with your chef and porters to say goodbye to them. They will still be there the next morning to cook breakfast. This is the proper goodbye.
* This hiking route is identical to our 2 Day Inca Trail with Hotel.
Lares Trail Highlight: Trekking the Inca Trail, enjoying the views from the Sun Gate, sunset views from Machu Picchu, camping at the foot of Machu Picchu
Walking Distance: 15 km / 8 miles
Elevations: Trek starting point 2,000 m, the highest point is Sun Gate 2,720 m, the camp is at 1,900 m
Weather: Hot and humid
Day 5: Visit Machu Picchu & Return to Cusco
There will be an early wake-up call with hot drinks. You will have time to prepare your duffel bags and day packs and enjoy breakfast. We’ll walk 30 minutes to the bus station to be one of the first in line to go up to Machu Picchu (sometimes there is a 20-30 min wait in the line to board the bus). The first buses will depart at 5:30 a.m. and arrive at 6:00 a.m., into Machu Picchu. You must have your original passport at the checkpoint. Your tour guide will take you to the perfect spot to enjoy the sunrise over the mountains (weather permitting). We’ll then have a two hour, private, guided tour of the Machu Picchu ruins, with all of its fascinating history. You’ll also have free time to explore Machu Picchu on your own. If you have booked a permit to climb Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain, this is a good time to climb (in the second slot which starts at 10:00 a.m.). However, there are a lot of other things to see around Machu Picchu: the Inca Bridge is one of the best options – you can climb up to Sun Gate for free, or walk around the temple and residential areas of Machu Picchu to mingle with the llamas. You will need to catch your bus back down to the town of Aguas Calientes for lunch and to catch the afternoon train to Ollantaytambo. From there, you will go by private van back to Cusco, where we will drop you off at your hotel.
Lares Trail Highlight: Arrive early to Machu Picchu to enjoy the sunrise
Temperature: Warm and humid
Meals: Breakfast Only
Train: Expedition tourist class
Included in your Trek
- Lares Trail Professional Guides: All of our guides studied English and tourism at Cusco National University. They all grew up in the Cusco region, and are committed to teaching others about their heritage. They are fun yet professional and will ensure you are safe and happy.
- Lares Trail Permits: Since this tour enters the Inca Trail on Day 4, you do need us to secure a permit for the government. As soon as we receive your details and a deposit, we will purchase your permits (pending availability, check our Inca Trail Availability link). These permits are for a specific date and in your name. They can’t be changed once confirmed. Only your passport number is allowed to be updated. The permit includes an entrance to Machu Picchu.
- Lares Trail Porters & Horsemen: We include a personal porter, who is responsible for carrying your duffel bag containing your personal items. There is no additional fee for this. We will give you your duffel bag at your briefing the night before, to be filled with the things you will need for the next night and day. You will not have access to your duffel bag until your arrive at your evening campsite.
- Hotel: This trek includes one night hotel in Aguas Calientes, the town below Machu Picchu. We include, Inti Punku or something similar and one night in Ollantaytambo el Tunupa or el sol hotel – the hotel name will be listed on your confirmed invoice. Upgrades are always possible.
- Transportation: You will have transportation included for this trek. You will be picked up directly from your hotel around 4:30 a.m. ( unless you are staying in Ollantaytambo, before ) and brought to the trailhead to begin your trek. Hiking will end on day three, and you will head to Ollantaytambo. Once your hike is over, you will take the train to Aguas Calientes, where you will spend the evening in a hotel. Your departure and return train to Aguas Calientes & back to Ollantaytambo will be the Expedition Class Train. Your return train from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo can be upgraded to the Vistadome Class Train for $75 per person. Once you arrive at the train station, you will be brought back to your hotel in Cusco. Also included is your round-trip bus ticket from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu.
- Food: We will make sure that you enjoy some amazing food on the way to Machu Picchu. Lunch will be served around Wiñay Wayna ruins, and dinner will be in the best restaurant in the town of Aguas Calientes, called Indio Feliz. Breakfast will be enjoyed at your hotel the next morning. Lunch the last day is not included.
- Water: We will give you a bottle of water for your morning hike and another bottle during lunch. We encourage you to bring extra on your own, as being well hydrated is the key to feeling great in the mountains.
- Emergency Horse: Horses are not allowed on the Inca Trail, so you will only have this available for the 2 days of hiking Lares.
- First Aid: Every Alpaca Expeditions guide has received training in first aid from a physician. We conduct mandatory training sessions every February, which every single Alpaca tour guide must attend. Your tour guide will always have a first-aid kit for basic medical situations (traveler´s diarrhea, cuts, scrapes, etc.) and oxygen. We will get you off the trail as quickly and comfortably as possible if needed, and ensure you get directly to a clinic for treatment.
- Satellite Phones: Our top priority will always be the safety of our clients and our team. While all our guides are prepared and trained to deal with most issues clients have on the mountain. Being a phone call away from any doctor, hospital, or friend helps everyone feel assured that they are safe. Radios, which all our guides have, are limited in how far they can reach, so Alpaca Expeditions has added Satellite Phones to every trek. Every guide will have a fully charged phone that can be used anywhere on the mountain to connect us anywhere in the world. And they can be used by our clients for non-emergencies as well. While they are not cheap to use, they are available just in case you need to check in on the puppy you left at home with grandma.
- Lares Trail Extras: We believe it´s the attention to small details that separates us from other tour companies. Every trekker receives a small pillow to sleep with, a foam mattress for insulation, a day pack cover to protect their things while hiking, and a rain poncho. We will work hard to create your best vacation.
- Rentals: Every trekker needs a sleeping bag, when camping. Inflatable air mattresses and walking sticks (with rubber tips) are optional, but encouraged. If you don’t want to bring any of the above, they are all available for rent:Sleeping Bag: $25
Inflatable Air Mattress: $20
Walking Sticks (Pair): $20
- Huayna Picchu: Huayna Picchu is the mountain that stands next to Machu Picchu. It is a 45 minute hike to the top. Going back down is quite steep, if you are scared of heights. This is done after your tour of Machu Picchu. The cost is $75. Arrangements need to be made at least one month in advance, due to popularity. Please understand that weather is out of our control.
- Rentals: Every trekker needs a sleeping bag, when camping. Inflatable air mattresses and walking sticks (with rubber tips) are optional, but encouraged. If you don’t want to bring any of the above, they are all available for rent:Sleeping Bag: $25
We really can do this Lares Trail tour any day of the week, any month of the year other than February, when the Inca Trail is closed.
$905 per person
A group tour means that it is open for other trekkers to join you. This means that your group will have varying hiking and fitness abilities. All our guides are experts on how to keep the trek moving and happy no matter how fast you hike.
* All our tours are priced in US Dollar.
Ollantaytambo: Sol Natura Hotel or similar
Room all include private bathrooms, hot showers and wifi. Prices are based on a shared room (Double, Matrimonial or Triple available) and single rooms are available for a $30 US supplement (all solo travelers are given a single room). Other hotels are available upon request at the prices listed below.
$25 off per person
Student discounts apply to anyone who has a valid UNIVERSITY STUDENT CARD at the time of the trek or who is 17-years-old or younger. For those using a University Student Card our under 17-years-old, we need to see a copy of their card or passport at the time of booking to receive the discount.
Please send all to email@example.com.
More Information about STUDENT CARD
There are several optional upgrades you can include in this trip. Below is a quick list of prices, but check our Overview section for more details.
Huayna Picchu: $75 per person
Montana: $75 per person
Vistadome Train (one way): $75 per person
Getting to Cusco
The airport in Cusco currently is only for domestic flights, so all international travelers by plane must disembark in Lima and go through Customs. Even if your flight to Cusco is the same day by the same airline carrier, you must grab your bags in Lima and then check them back in.
The best way to get to Cusco is by air, and there are several options in airlines. LAN tends to be the most expensive but has the most options and flights. Expect delays or flight cancellations. Due to the high altitude of Cusco, it tends to be difficult to land, and any acclimate weather will stop air traffic. Bus travel is always available, and while the trip can be long, especially from Lima, the buses in Peru are very well maintained and comfortable. This option is strongly encouraged if coming from a city closer to Cusco, like Puno. Lima buses will take about 20 hours to arrive.
Any extra luggage you have with you can be left safely in Cusco at either your hotel or with us at the Alpaca Expeditions while you trek. We will store your luggage on the morning of your trek and return it once you are back in Cusco. Make sure your bags have tags on them, so they are easy to locate.
Alpaca Expeditions does not provide daypacks, so you need to bring your own. Try not to pack large items, to keep your pack light, while trekking. Machu Picchu does not allow packs larger than 25L. You will need to check your bag at the entrance if it does not meet the size regulations. Checking your bag is inexpensive but often has long lines.
As soon as people book their trip to Peru, specifically Cusco, they start wondering about altitude sickness. The air at high altitudes contains less oxygen than at sea level and forces your body to work harder to get the oxygen it needs. Over several days at high altitude, your body adjusts to the lower amount of oxygen in the air. For this reason, we always recommend spending at least two days in Cusco before beginning any trek in the Andes. Cusco is a marvelous city with lots to do, so if you have more time to acclimate, you won´t be bored.
With altitude sickness, you may first feel like you have the flu or a hangover. You may have a headache, tiredness, loss of appetite, nausea or vomiting, dizziness, trouble sleeping, trouble breathing during exercise. If any of these effects become severe, please contact our office, and we will help you get to a doctor.
Most of the time, these symptoms will be mild. We always recommend easing into activity slowly, allowing your body to adjust. Drink plenty of fluids such as water or coca tea. Coca tea has been used since ancient times to help prevent altitude sickness. Leaves from the Coca Plant contain alkaloids that help bring oxygen into your blood, helping your body avoid the effects of altitude sickness. Avoid drinking a lot of alcohol and coffee, since they will cause you to urinate more often and become dehydrated. Avoid smoking. Smoking makes it more difficult for your body to get oxygen. Avoid sleeping pills. They may cause shallow breathing at night, making it more difficult for your body to absorb oxygen while you sleep.
Remember, the trek to Machu Picchu is not a race. Even those in the best shape will suffer from altitude sickness if they race to the top of the mountain too quickly. Go slow, and it will give your body time to adjust to the elevation. Your healthcare provider may prescribe medication such as Acetazolamide and Dexamethasone to help prevent altitude sickness. Start the medicine two days before you get to high altitude, and continue to take it while you are at high altitude. You must remember that this is your holiday and you do not want to stress out about the possibility of getting sick from the mountains. Do everything slowly and drink lots of water, and enjoy the coca tea. If anything does happen and you, unfortunately, get sick, let your guide know right away. Alpaca Expedition guides are trained to help you get through it.
Of course, the weather is unpredictable. Typically the dry season in Cusco is from April through October, but this does not stop rain from falling in June or the sun from coming out in December, so just be prepared. No matter what month you are doing the trek, make sure that you have rain gear that includes a waterproof jacket, pants, poncho, and waterproof gloves. Many people forget about gloves, but being cold and wet makes hiking very unpleasant.
Also, be ready for four seasons. Treks in the Andes involve various microclimates, and you will need to be prepared for each one. Layers are always key since they are easy to adjust to different temperature changes. Be prepared with a warm packable down jacket since the evening will be cold. As far as Lares is concerned, this is one of our colder treks – trekking through the alpines for two days. We will place in your sleeping bags insulated warm bottles to help you sleep at night, but also remember your extra layers to keep cozy.
Every Alpaca Expeditions guide has received training in first aid from a physician. We conduct mandatory training every February, and every single Alpaca guide attends. When guiding you, they will have with them a first aid kit for basic medical situations (traveler’s diarrhea, cuts, scrapes, etc.) and oxygen. They will take good care of you.
In case something unexpected happens, and you feel you can no longer complete the trek, they will figure out the safest and quickest way off the trail and to a clinic. You will never be left alone; you will have a member of the team escort you every step of the way until safely with a doctor. When you are feeling up to it, we will make sure that you still have the chance to visit Machu Picchu and re-connect with your group. This way, you can finish your trip, traveling by train comfortably.
We ask that all clients help us keep them safe by letting your guide know of any chronic medical issue you may have before the trek, so we are prepared to help if something happens.
To protect your travel investment, we highly recommend the purchase of travel insurance. Getting travel insurance before you leave home is strongly encouraged and very easy. We work with a great agency in the United States, that has helped to make it easy and affordable. What an excellent way to protect yourself while you are visiting Peru.
If interested in booking through our trusted partner, Ahart, Frinzi & Smith, CLICK HERE.
Alpaca Expeditions uses biodegradable soap and transports all our garbage back to Cusco. Our porters are trained to look after the trail and pick up any waste from other groups, as well. We also use environmentally-friendly chemical portable toilets that allow us to pack waste out. We believe in leaving no footprint behind.
Alpaca Expeditions is proud of the work we do for our community, as this is the main focus of our company. We have worked with villages directly to help supply them with the needs their families were missing. We have supported local schools by giving them computers and books. Alpaca Expeditions also sponsors a teacher at the village where most of our porters come from and ensures their children have the best opportunity for education.
We buy all our food from local farmers and markets and serve the freshest ingredients. We provide English classes for all our team: guides, porters, chefs, and drivers. We are also building a house for our porters. By giving them a safe and comfortable place to stay before and after our treks, they no longer need to sleep on the floor at a friend’s house. And twice every year we bring our porters and their families to Machu Picchu. The men and women who work tirelessly have never visited the Lost Citadel of the Incas. So that makes this trip our favorite to-do. It is an honor to show them this place.
We are always looking to do more for our partners. Please let us know about your ideas, and we will work to help.
Personal Porter Included
All of our camping treks include porters, who are responsible for carrying and setting up all equipment. They will additionally carry the duffel bag you receive at your briefing the night before your trek. Each duffel bag CAN NOT exceed 7kg/14lbs and must include your sleeping bag and air mat. Alpaca Expeditions gives each porter a proper uniform, salary, and insurance. They are the backbone of our company.
ESSENTIALS for the Lares Trail :
- Valid, STUDENT CARD (if you booked as a student)
- Immigration Card (given on the plane as you enter Peru)
- Good daypack (the smaller, the better)
- Water storage: Water reservoir like Camelbaks are encouraged – but enough for at least 2-3 liters.
- Comfortable hiking boots (lightweight with good soles)
FOR YOUR DUFFEL:
Remember you are packing for 2 nights of camping and 1 night in a hotel. Porters will carry up to 8 kg of your personal items. This must include your sleeping bag and air matt (if you bring/rent one). From us these two items weigh 3.5 kg.
- 2-3 wicking t-shirts
- 2-3 hiking pants
- 5 sets of undergarments.
- 3 sets of hiking socks
- 1 Fleece
- 1 Warm, down jacket: this trek includes 2 cold nights camping
- 1 Rain jacket and pants
- 1 sun hat
- 1 wool hat
- Headlamp: essential
- Waterproof gloves (even if they are ski gloves, take them)
- Comfortable shoes for camp
- Walking boots
- Waterproof jacket/rain poncho
- Quickdry towel. We provide small ones, you might enjoy something a little larger.
- Small bottle of soap: we provide warm water each day to clean – might make you feel fresh if you had a little soap.
- Battery Charger: There is no place to plug in while trekking!
- Large plastic bags: to help organize and keep clean from dirty.
- Sleeping bag: Recommend down bags for -10C at least
- Face moisturizer
- Bug spray
- Wet wipes
- Toothbrush and paste
- Personal medication
- First aid kit: band aids, moleskin, etc.
INSIDE YOUR Lares Trail DAYPACKS:
Daypacks can be any size for hiking, but we always recommend the smaller, the better. Inside Machu Picchu, no bag larger than 25L will be allowed in. If larger, you will need to store outside citadel gates.
PassportValid, STUDENT CARD (if you booked as a student)Immigration Card (given on the plane as you enter Peru)Good daypack (the smaller, the better)Water storage: Water reservoir like Camelbaks are encouraged – but enough for at least 2-3 liters.Comfortable hiking boots (lightweight with good soles)
- Water: we supply clean water at each meal. You are responsible for your first morning of water only as we won’t have time to filter water until your first lunch.
- Rain gear
- Music (IPhone)
- Toilet paper and small plastic bag for waste
- Extra Money for Souvenirs, Drinks & Tips
EQP & Food
Another highlight of booking with Alpaca Expeditions to hike the Lares Trail is getting top equipment and probably the best food you will eat while in Peru.
Every camping tour includes a spacious 4 man tent that will be shared by only two people so you can spread out a bit. These are all Eureka Timberline Tents made for all seasons. Our rentals are top of the line: Black Diamond Adjustable Walking Sticks and Thermarest Luxury Air Matts. Sleeping Bags rented from us are mummy style down bags for -15C and liners are always included.
For more information on our equipment, CLICK HERE.
Every trek includes a chef that has been trained in culinary school. They have learned the magic of mountain cooking and you will be amazed. You will enjoy full breakfast, lunch and dinner all served hot and tasty. We also include Happy Hour with snacks and some hot tea before dinner. The key to feeling good on a trek like this is eating well and staying hydrated.
Meals are all served family style – large plates for everyone to take what they like. And all food restrictions are honored. No matter if you are vegetarian or gluten free, you will always be well fed.
Water is provided by Alpaca Expeditions at every meal. We will boil, filter and cool down all water before distributing out to our clients to ensure that its healthy for drinking. Because of this process, you do need to provide your own water for the very first morning of your trek. We won’t have a chance to get you clean water until lunch on Day 1.
You should always begin your hike with 2-3 liters of water – so make sure you have a large enough water bottle or camelback to store this.
For more information on our Food & Water, CLICK HERE.
Porters & Horsemen
The Lares Trail trek will include a combination of porters and horsemen to help carry all the needed equipment and bags. We also include an extra emergency horse that can be used at any time if you need a break from hiking.
Our porters, who we lovingly call the Green Machine, are the pride and joy of our company and what separates us from others. We are dedicated to making a difference in their lives and their family’s life and for that, we are rewarded with the hardest working team in the mountains.
Alpaca Expeditions Porters:
Raul Ccolque Ccolque, the owner & general manager of Alpaca Expeditions, worked as a porter from 2000 to 2003. While he saw some companies treating their porters better than others, he felt there was not enough done for them and their families. We could not have a company without our porters, and because of that, we want them to be part of our family. We want to know them, listen to them, and follow through on our promise to make their lives better.
Our porters range from 18 years old until 55 and come from different villages in the Cusco region. We employ approximately 250 porters from the following communities:
- Comunidad Wakatinku 25 porters, located at 3800 meters
- Comunidad Llullucha 20 porters, located at 3700 meters
- Comunidad Choquekancha 25 porters, located at 3400 meters.
- Comunidad Pumapunko $ 25 porters located at 3700 meters
- Comunidad Kachin 25 porters located at 3700 meters
- Comunidad Anparaes 25 porters located at 3500 meters
Quechua is their main language and farming is their main economic activity. Being a porter is a second income for them.
Our Promise to Our Porters:
We clearly understand that we would not be successful without our team of porters. They have promised us that they will continually work hard to make sure each trekker has a magical journey. In return, we made a promise to them that we will do what we can to make this difficult job a little less daunting.
As we explained earlier, most of our porters live in a village outside of Cusco – typically 2 to 4 hours away. We cover all entrance fees (45 soles – $15 US per porter) and transportation to and from the trek for our porters, separate from their salary. They are paid promptly after the trek eliminating the need to travel back to Cusco before heading home. Unfortunately, this is not common. They receive better wages, health insurance, and all their equipment for free, including great food to eat. We make sure they have a comfortable bed and a nice room to sleep in before (and after if needed) the trek instead of sleeping on the floor. We visit the communities they live in and provide needed supplies to their families, like toothpaste, toothbrushes, soap, and books for students. This is just the beginning for us, and we are always looking for ways to do more.
How much does the Alpaca Expeditions Porter Carry?
While the government allows each porter to carry up to 25kg, we keep our limit at 20kg. Each porter will carry up to 15kg from the company and 5kg of their stuff. The reason why it´s so important to keep your duffel light and not exceed our allowed 7kg. You will see other companies carrying more than the allotted weight – we will not allow our porters to carry this burden.
Keeping them Comfortable
Every year Alpaca Expeditions provides a new sleeping bag and sleeping pad for each porter. Our jackets are all lined and warm, and the boots that we provide are all waterproof.
What do the Porters Eat?
Our porters will eat the very same amazing meals you have. Our chef buys enough food to cook for all our trekkers and porters and makes enough for everyone to be full at the end of the day. We serve large portions, and none of it is wasted. Whatever is left over after you and our team eats will go directly back home to the families of the team for them to enjoy themselves.
Helping Their Families
All our porters are Quechua language speakers who come from farming villages. They take advantage of the seasons to grow their crops, and Alpaca Expeditions helps them in many ways to keep growing their community. In education, health, and culture. We have different ongoing projects and hope to add many more. Some of the projects we have completed or continue doing are:
Every three months, we take a kit of toiletries to Wakantinku elementary school for 204 Quechua speaking children. They range from 3 – 12 years old from kindergarten to 6th grade. When we arrived at this village for the first time a few years ago, kids had trouble keeping up with daily hygiene. We make sure they always have toothpaste, toothbrushes, soap, and hand sanitizer.
We planted more than 3,000 native trees, Queuña (Andean Polylepis), in the community of Wakatinku to reforest their village. This tree will be more sustainable than others they have used and will eventually be a fertilizer for their village to help grow more grass for their Alpacas, which are the most common and typical animals located at this village. We covered the 2015 salary of a full-time teacher in the High School of Wakatinku to teach math, art, and English. This teacher has done great work and helped to graduate the first class from the village. We plan to continue this sponsorship and supply another year’s salary.
Every February, we invite our porters and their families to come with us to visit Machu Picchu. Last year we went with families from Wakawasi village, a community we visit on the Lares Trek. It was their first time in the ruins. We plan on doing this trip every February with new families to help them enjoy their history.
In October 2015, we helped celebrate the end of the school year with 17 students and their parents and some of our porters for a trip through the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu. This 2-day trip followed the same itinerary that our clients enjoy.
Often our clients have asked how they can help. Some Alpaca Expeditions trekkers raised money back at home to buy some computers to donate to a local village. We matched their donation and went together to donate four computers to the school in Wakatinku village for the kids to enjoy. Being their first time donating computers, this was something new. We know it is hard for 204 students to use four computers. That is why we have provided computers in 2019.
To help celebrate the anniversary of Llulucha village this last July, we booked and provided transpiration for a local band, Alicia de Acomayo, to play. It was a great party for everyone to enjoy.
We are working with a local clinic in Cusco to provide dental care and provide skin examinations for the children of each of our porter’s villages.
We have recently bought land in Cusco that is currently being constructed to create dormitory classrooms and teaching kitchens for our team. We created this for our porters outside of Cusco to have a place to sleep before their treks. We will have free English, computer, and cooking classes for any member of our team and their family to use. We are excited about this big project.
Those are just some of the projects we have done and continue to do. We are a small local company here in Cusco, who promises to be as dedicated to our team as they are to us. We are lucky enough to have the best porters in the region, and we feel it´s necessary to make sure they are healthy, stable, and capable of providing for their families the best life possible.
THE GREEN MACHINE
Lares & 2 Day Inca Trail with Camping 5D/4N
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The Alpaca Difference
Alpaca Expeditions is a 100% peruvian, indigenous owned company. Started by Raul Ccolque, a former porter and tour guide, Alpaca Expeditions separates ourselves by our dedication to both our customer and our team. We work very hard to make sure that all our clients needs are taken care of throughout the tour with us. At the same time, we never forget about our brothers and sisters working tirelessly for us to make all of this possible. Responsible and sustainable tourism that gives as much to our community as to our clients.
Meet the AE Trekking Team!
Everyone on the Alpaca Team is from Cusco region, living the traditions and history they share with you while on one of our tours. Our guides are all graduates of university studying tourism, history and english. Our chefs are trained every February by a professional cooking team learning new meals, adding varieties of entrees for all types of eating. And all our porters are from HUARQUI, HUACAHUASI, PATACANCHA, QUISWARANI, CANCHACANCHA, QUEYUPAY, UMACHURCO and CCACCACCOLLO villages, very often working this job on top of maining their farms back at home. Most of our team has been with us for years, as we have the most loyal, hard working, happy employees in Cusco. We know how lucky we are to have the best team trekking and you will immediately fall in love with all the men and women who call Alpaca Expeditions their home.
Our Porters represent the Peruvian people, both men, and women who are at the heart of our...
Alpaca Expeditions aims to promote gender equality and empower women, hiring first Peru Wo...
Travelling and trekking along the mountains is one of the best activities in the World. Co...
Trekking along the mountain on your way to conquer Machu Picchu is a once in a lifetime ex...
What do we do for our porters?
Alpaca Expeditions would not be where we are today without these hardworking men and women. We could not imagine a harder job and our team does it smiling. We do our best to thank them for their hard work and loyalty by doing as much as we can to make their lives and their families lives better. All our porters receive all their equipment for free from warm winter hats to proper hiking boots. They sleep in proper tents and are given warm sleeping bags for night. They enjoy the same food we serve our clients and all leftovers are donated to their families. We visit their villages with doctors and dentists, donate school supplies and sports equipment. And our favorite time of the year is when we bring a group of porters and their families to Machu Picchu to visit the ruins for the first time.
Our Porters represent the Peruvian people, both men, and women who are at the heart of our company. It is not possible to ...
Alpaca Expeditions aims to promote gender equality and empower women, hiring first Peru Women as Porters opening the door ...
Free Medical Assistance to Porters
In 2019, we hired our first Alpaca Expeditions Medical Doctor to help tend to our guides, drivers, chefs…
Our Porter’s bus
We treat our porters with the same dignity and respect as we do our clients. Just as our clients enjoy our…
Our Porter’s House
As we mentioned above, our Porters like many Peruvian people come from distant villages to work our treks…
Tents and Sleeping bags
Again, this is something unique that Alpaca Expeditions provides, and sad others are not doing. We supply…
Proper Equipment for our Porters
Every porter of ours receives proper equipment. That includes moisture-wicking long/short sleeve shirts…
Nutritious Meals for our Porters
A general comment from trekkers on an Alpaca Expeditions tour is that we serve too much food. Well…
Alpaca Expeditions is always ready to make your trip safe and as easy as possible for you. Because these trips are a bit more complicated than your typical tour, we have put together some notes on logistics, storage, and even recommendations on where to stay in Cusco. And of course our team is ready to answer any other question, as we promise to be your partner from the moment you first contact us to our last goodbye in Cusco.
Alpaca Expeditions Recognitions
ISO (International Organization for Standardization)
In the pursuit to stand out from the rest, Alpaca Expeditions has obtained four ISOs plus our carbon footprint certificate to date. These achievements result from our efforts to implement the internationally-recognized integrated management system. They also represent our commitment to all of our clients and staff of operating sustainability and responsibility in every way possible.