Lares Trek to Machu Picchu 4D/3N
Price: $575USD per person
- A true combination of beautiful scenery, history and culture
- Spend time at local villages you can only visit by foot
- A surprise visit to Maras salt mines to end the hike
- Enjoy 2 nights camping under the stars and your last night in a hotel in the town directly below Machu Picchu
- Hike the Lares Trek and visit Machu Picchu afterwards
- Meet local people and witness an authentic rural Andean way of life
- Learn about the Andean peoples' textiles
- Enjoy the amazing Inca constellations by using our telescopes at strategic locations
- Enjoy the famous Inca thermal baths at Lares
Day 1: Cusco – Famous Thermal Baths – Kiswarani Waterfall Campsite
We will pick you from your hotel at 5 a.m. to begin the famous Lares Trek. We can pick you from any hotel, condo, or apartment, if it is located in the cities of 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 site, where you will have your first breakfast accompanied by amazing views of the Andes Mountains. Then, you will 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 trail head, 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. Following, you will begin your expedition to Machu Picchu. To start, it will be a two hour, gradual uphill hike, until we reach our lunch spot at the first village, called Kiswarani. This section of the hike is considered the potato valley sector, where people farm many varieties of organic potatoes. Your guide will also point out some indigenous, medicinal plants growing along the way. Then, we will arrive at our lunch spot, where you will enjoy your first delicious meal prepared by our trekking chef. After a nice nap, we will be ready 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 school where the kids still speak Quecha, their native language. If you’d like, you may bring some toys, notebooks or any type of school supplies to share. Perhaps you may even teach them a few English words. It will be another two hour, gradual, uphill hike until we arrive at the campsite, where 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. Our guide will lead you to a specific location to enjoy the magnificent view of the sky, and we’ll learn about the Incan constellations, which were studied at great length by the Incan people, to learn about the seasons and to assist them in their planting. Your guide will use our telescope to spot the famous Inca constellations, such as the Southern Cross (Cruz del Sur) cosmic constellation, Orion and many others. We are the only company that provides telescopes for the Lares trek. 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 amazing views of the colorful lake and the valley of Kiswarani. The local people will already be up and about, taking their llamas and alpacas out to graze. Breakfast will be served as soon as you finish packing your gear. Then we’ll fill up our water bottles, organize snacks and you will begin the most memorable day of 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 majestic 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. Afterwards, we will enjoy the 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 perhaps 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. Cancha Cancha is a village (3,750 m/ 12,303 ft) where people still practice real traditions of the Incas. In this Incan village, 85 percent of the houses are still composed of original, ancient construction, made of stone, with grass-thatched roofs. Unlike any other village in the Lares Valley, this village where 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 join us and bring anything you would like to supplement the lives of these Quechuan-speaking children. Following, your guide will take you to one of the local family’s houses, where you will learn about the lifestyle of the locals. You can see how they raise their guinea pigs, and you will learn about the traditional, hand-woven textiles, made of llama and alpaca wool. This is the best day of your hike. 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 – Aguas Calientes
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 cultivate potatoes, fava beans, and many other traditional tubers, in the traditional Incan style. This is a great opportunity to learn about Peruvian agriculture because people still farm by hand with traditional, Inca farming tools. Now, we will start to descend to the warmer area, The Sacred Valley. You will begin to feel the micro-climate changes 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 fruits. Of course, this area has a lot of Incan history. You will end the tour at the little village of Huaran, in the Sacred Valley, at 2,700m / 8,858 ft where you will say goodbye to your horses, horsemen, chef and porters, as they will be going back to their homes.
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 salt water 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 is loaded 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 climb aboard the van for a 45 minute drive, that skirts along the Sacred Valley to Ollantaytambo. Ollantaytambo is the only living, intact Inca village. It still has many Inca water channels, houses and walls. Your guide will take you around to view this small town until it is time for dinner, which will be at a local restaurant. We’ll then catch the 7 p.m. train for Aguas Calientes, the town below Machu Picchu (train times may vary, depending on availability). Upon your arrival to Aguas Calientes, you will check-in to your hotel and relax.
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.
Day 4: Machu Picchu – Ollantaytambo – Cusco
Day four is the most magical day because you will finally experience Machu Picchu. You will wake up early to catch one of the first buses (around 5:30 a.m.), for the 30 minute ride up to Machu Picchu. You will see the Sunrise over the ruins. Your guide will take you for an informative two hour tour. Afterwards, you will have time to explore on your own and hike Huayna Picchu if you choose to (this is a separate entrance ticket and costs $35 per person). In the afternoon, you’ll catch a two hour train back to Ollantaytambo, followed by a bus back to Cusco, where we will transfer you to your hotel.
Weather: Warm and humid
- If you want to stay an extra night in Aguas Calientes, please let us know in advance. We can adjust your train tickets and arrange for a hotel, if you would like us to help.
- Rangers do not allow people to carry large backpacks inside Machu Picchu. Only day packs are allowed inside.
- No trekking poles are allowed in Machu Picchu.
- Snacks and water are allowed, but they must be inside your backpack.
The Lares Trek can leave any day of the week, 12 months a year.
$575 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.
Private tours are available and priced by party size.
2 Trekkers: $655 per person
3 Trekkers: $635 per person
4 Trekkers: $615 per person
5 Trekkers: $605 per person
6 Trekkers: $595 per person
7 Trekkers: $570 per person
8 or more Trekkers: $555 per person
* All our tours are priced in US Dollar.
This tour includes 2 nights camping and 1 night in a basic three star hotel, Inti Punku (or similar). Rooms 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.
Single Room: +$30 pp
La Cabana: +$40 pp shared (+$110 for a single)
Casa Andina: $40 pp shared ($110 for a single)
El Mapi: +$70 pp shared (+$170 for a single)
Book on your own: -$30 pp
Student Discount: $25 off per person
Student discounts apply to anyone who has a valid Green ISIC card at the time of the trek or who is 16-years-old or younger. For those using an ISIC card to receive the discount, we need to see a copy of the card at booking. For those booking children 16-years-old or younger, we need a copy of their passport at booking time. Please send all to email@example.com.
More Information about ISIC 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: $35 per person
Montana: $35 per person
Vistadome Train (one way): $75 per person
Professional Guides: All of our guides studied English and tourism at Cusco National University. They all grew up in this region and have a true passion to teach others about their heritage. They are fun yet professional, and will ensure you are safe and happy.
Briefing: The night before your trek, you will come to our office at 6:30PM for your briefing with your trekking guide. You will receive your duffel bag for your personal items which must include your sleeping bag and air matt (ours weigh 2.5 kg and 1 kg respectively). These bags will be carried by your porters and available only at your campsite (morning and evening). Any items you need while hiking should be in your daypack.
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.
Emergency Horse: All of our alternative treks include an extra horse for our clients to use if they need a break from trekking.
Hotel: The trek will include two nights of camping, close to local villages, and one night in a hotel in Aguas Calientes, the town below Machu Picchu. We include a 3 star hotel, typically at Inti Punku (or similar), if available. Your booked hotel will be listed on your confirmed invoice. Upgrades are always possible.
Transportation: All your transportation is included in this trek. You will be picked up directly from your hotel around 4:30 a.m. (unless you are staying in Ollantaytambo, before the trek) 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, and train to Aguas Calientes, where you will spend the evening in a hotel. This train, as well as your train back from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo, is Expedition class. Your trip leaving Aguas Calientes can be upgraded on your way home to the Vistadome train, for $65 per person. Once you arrive to the train station, you will be brought back to your hotel in Cusco. Your round-trip bus ticket from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu is also included.
Equipment: Alpaca Expeditions has the best equipment. We use Eureka Timberline 4 person tents that are shared by only two people. You will have a spacious dining tent to enjoy your meals in.
Food: The Alpaca Expeditions chefs cook delicious meals that many previous trekkers have raved about. We honor all food restrictions. Be sure to remind your tour guide of any food restrictions at the beginning of your trek. Food is typically served family-style. You will enjoy breakfast, lunch and dinner each day of the trek, along with a happy hour of tea and snacks. You will also be provided a snack each morning, for you to enjoy along the hike. Your last meal with your chef will be after breakfast on day four. Lunch the last day is not included. You will enjoy breakfast, lunch and dinner each day of the trek along with a happy hour of some tea and snacks. You will also be provided a snack each morning for you to bring with you and enjoy along the hike. Lunch the last day is not included.
Water: Beginning from your first lunch until your last breakfast, Alpaca Expeditions will supply all the water needed. This water will be boiled, filtered and then cooled, before distributing. You must supply your own water bottles or camel back. We recommend carrying about 3L worth. We will refill our waters at each meal.
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 problems (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.
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 mat 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.
Satellite Phones: Our top priority will always be the safety of our clients and our team. While we are prepared and all our guides are trained for most of the 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.
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: $20
Inflatable Air Mattress: $15
Walking Sticks (Pair): $15
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 $35. Arrangements need to be made at least one month in advance, due to popularity. Please understand that weather is out of our control.
The Lares 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 porter from 2000 to 2003. While he saw some companies treating their porters better than others, he felt there was not enough being 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 several different villages in Cusco region. We employ approximately 250 porters from the following villages:
- 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 understand clearly that we could not be successful without our team of porters. They have promised us that they will work endlessly to make each trekker have a magical journey, so we have made an equally important promise to them to 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 directly after the trek preventing them from traveling back to Cusco before heading home. This is unfortunately not common. They receive better wages, health insurance and all their equipment for free. This includes hiking boots, pants, jerseys, fleeces, jackets, hats, flashlights, sleeping bags, sleeping bags, and amazing food to eat. We make sure they have a comfortable bed in a lovely room to sleep before (and after if needed) the trek instead of crashing on a floor like others. We visit the communities they live in and supply toothpaste, toothbrushes, soap and other needed supplies to their families. Books for their 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 own personal stuff. This is why its so important to keep your personal duffel down in weight and not exceed our allowed 7kg. You will see other companies carrying clearly 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 our boots that are provided 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 too full at the end of the day. While you will notice that we always serve huge portions, none of this is wasted. Whatever is leftover 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 where they take only advantage of the seasons to grow their crops but Alpaca Expeditions will help them in many ways to keep growing their comunity especially 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 3 months, we take a kit of toiletries to Wakantinku elementary school for 204 quechua speaking children. They range from 3 – 12 years old from kindergarden to 6th grade. When we arrived to 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 annimals 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 amazing work and helped to graduate the first class from the village. We plan to continue this sponsorship and supply another years salary.
Every February we invite our porters and their families to come with us to visit Machu Picchu. Sadly, this was their first time to the ruins and a really special experience for us. Last year we went with families from Wakawasi village, a community we visit on the Lares Trek. We plan on doing this trip every February with new families to help them enjoy their own 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 4 computers to the school in Wakatinku village for the kids to enjoy. This was their first experience on computers and something that has been really successful. Of course its hard for 204 students to share 4 computers, so we hope to bring some more in 2016.
To help celebrate the anniversary of Llulucha village this last July, we booked and provided transpiration for an amazing 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 porters villages.
We have recently bought land in Cusco that is currently being constructed to create a dormitories, classrooms and teaching kitchens for our team. This is for those who do not live in Cusco to have a nice, warm place to sleep before their treks. We will have english classes, computer classes and cooking classes here for any member of our team and their family to use, free of charge. This is a huge project for us that we are really excited about.
This is a touch 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 responsible to make sure they are healthy, strong and capable of providing their families with the best life possible.
THE GREEN MACHINE
Another highlight of booking with Alpaca Expeditions 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.
- Valid, GREEN ISIC 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 wicking t-shirts
- 2 hiking pants
- 4 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 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, GREEN ISIC 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
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 deposit while you trek. We will grab from you the morning of your trek and return once you are back in Cusco. Make sure your bags have some kind of identification on them so they are easy to locate.
Anything you may need while hiking should be in your personal daypack, which you need to provide and bring with you (we do not offer these as a rental). We recommend them to be as small as possible and you should only carry the essentials as listed on our Packing List. Machu Picchu Citadel allows dayspacks inside as long as they are 25L or smaller. If you have a larger bag, you may use for trekking, but it will need to remain at your hotel in Aguas Calientes, or you can pay to store it at one of the facilities outside the main gates. They are inexpensive, but often have 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. This is why we always recommend spending at least two days in Cusco before beginning any trek. If you have more time, even better. Cusco is an amazing city with a lot to do, so 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 which helps bring oxygen into your blood, helping your body avoid the effects of altitude sickness. Avoid drinking a lot of alcohol and coffee. 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 when they race to the top of the mountain too quickly. Go slowly, it will give your body time to adjust to the mountain.
Your healthcare provider may prescribe medicines, such as acetazolamide and dexamethasone, to help prevent altitude sickness. Start the medicine two days before you get to a high altitude. 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. Drink lots of water. And enjoy the coca tea. If anything does happen and you unfortunately get sick, let your guide know right away – all Alpaca Expeditions guides are trained in how to help you get through it.
Of course 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 – just be prepared. No matter what month you are doing the trek, please 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 prepare for four seasons. Many of the treks through the Andes involve many micro-climates and you will need to be prepared for all seasons. Layers are always key as they are easy to adjust to the different temperatures. And evenings will always be cold, so please be prepared with a warm winter-weight jacket.
As far as Lares is concerned, this is one of our colder treks - trekking through the alpines for two days. We will help you sleep with insulated warm bottles to place in your sleeping bags, but still 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 – every single Alpaca guide attends. When guiding you, they will have with them a first aid kit for basic medical problems (traveler’s diarrhea, cuts/scrapes, etc.) and oxygen. They know how to make you feel better.
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 course 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, 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. Obtaining travel insurance before you leave home is strongly encouraged and very easy. In fact, we work with a great agency in the United States that has helped to make it easy and affordable. This is a great way to protect yourself while 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 really proud of the work we do for our community. This is a main focus for our company. We have worked with villages directly to help supply them with needs their families were missing. We have supported local schools by giving them computers and books. We currently sponsor a teacher at the village most of our porters come from to ensure their children are offered the best 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. And we are building a house for our porters to give them a safe and comfortable place to stay before and after our treks so they no longer need to sleep on the floor of a friend.
And twice every year we bring our porters and their families to Machu Picchu. This is our favorite trip to do as the guys who work tirelessly have never visited the Lost Citadel of the Incas. Showing them this place is our biggest honor.
We are always looking to do more for our partners. Please let us know of your ideas and we will work to help.
Personal Porter Included
All of our treks include porters, who are responsible for carrying and setting up all equipment. They will also carry your personal duffel, which you will receive at your briefing the night before your trek. This duffel can not exceed 7 kg/14 lbs, and must include your sleeping bag and an air mattress.
Each Alpaca Expeditions porter is given a proper uniform, salary and insurance. They are the backbone of our company.
All of these videos and blogs were created by Alpaca Expeditions clients doing the 4 Day/3 Night Lares Trek with us. They are full of helpful tips from trip preparation to packing lists. There is no better guide...
Two Scots Abroad
Wonderful blog following a couple on their pursuit to visit the world. Their Lares trek blog includes a great packing list, acclimating tips and a detail of their experience hiking with Alpaca.
Two Scots Packing List
This gets a special shout out as they separated the list into different categories including separating the needs of female trekkers from male trekkers.
The Journey is the Destination
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