The Lares Trek is an alternative to the very popular and very expensive Inca Trail. Along with Salkantay Trek, Lares is the most common alternative for multi day trekking around the Sacred Valley, before visiting Machu Piccu.
Lares can be done independently of Macchu Piccu, as it doesn’t end in the town of Aguas Calientes, unlike the other treks. Its a beautiful trek in its own right, much less busy and 100x cheaper.
Now if you’re not quite up to the challenge of carrying all your own gear and hiking without a guide then G adventures do a tour, however if you are keen on an adventure, then doing it by yourself will literally save you around $1000AUD.
When we hiked this two night, three day trail, we had virtually no information on the trail. We couldn’t even locate a map. So by asking around Cusco for any information, we finally got the names of two towns where we could get collectivo’s to. Eventually we made our way to the start of the trail, in a town called Lares. Once we got there we still had no clue where to walk or how high we were going, how long the days were, or even what town the hike finished in. There was just no information.
So I’ve done you a favour, so that you aren’t as unprepared and overwhelmed as we were, here is a guide to Lares Trek!
How to Trek Lares SOLO!
Day 1. Cusco to Lares to Concani
Get a collectivo from Cusco early in the morning. You’ll need to get yourself to Calca and then get another taxi to Lares.
These collectivo’s are very inexpensive, and depending on your bartering skills will cost you around 12-25 sole. You can get a taxi to Calca from Cusco and if you ask any of the locals/tour agencies they will point in the right direction to find the streets they leave from.
From here get another Taxi to Lares, again asking the locals. The taxi will drop you off in Lares at the small main square. Walk straight down the road and when you get to the end turn left. Ask every local you see, as they will be able to guide you, “Lares Trek/trail” is what you want to ask.
Another absolute lifesaver, was the app Maps.me. I don’t think we would’ve made it through this hike, or the whole trip without it. If you look on the App it will have the road marked on it. You’ll be walking along a dirt road for about 8 kms, which is quite tedious at times, because it’s nothing more than just a dusty road. Once you get closer to the first camp ground however, it gets a bit nicer.
The first night we camped in between two massive boulders, on someone’s farm land in a town called Concani. There were lamas and cows all around us while we cooked and slept, and locals who passed us gave us the funniest stares, but it was such a cool experience. The next day we found out there was actually a designated camp site about 500m away, so maybe that’s why we were getting strange looks.
- Transport: 12-25 sole
- Accommodation: $0
- Food: 12-15 sole (whatever you have brought with you).
Day 2: Concani to unknown camp ground.
Honestly on this day we didn’t even know what direction we were headed in. Maps.me wasn’t helpful this day, so please don’t follow it. The only way we knew what way to go, was because of donkey footprints, and a G adventures group that stayed just ahead of us that night. Today is quite a big day and you reach an altitude of around 4500…..m. It’s a very steady incline for about 4 hours, before descending for about an hour. On this day there isn’t really any designated camp ground, but you will see lots of clearings, so really you can pitch your tent anywhere near the stream, so that you have access to water!
Cost: NOTHING! (Just the price for whatever food you brought in Cusco)
Day 3: Unknown camp ground to Urabamba
Today you literally just continue walking downhill until you get to the town of Urubamba, about 2 hours in you will start seeing signs of civilisation. Just as the walk started you will finish by walking on a road into town. We jumped at the chance to catch a tuk-tuk, as soon as we saw one pass us, as walking on a road for an hour in the blazing sun, wasn’t our idea of fun. If you really want to save money however you can just walk all the way to town and look up on Maps.me the bus terminal and walk straight there. Once there you can get direct collectivo’s back to Cusco for around 25 Sole. Alternatively you could spend the night in Urubamba, but personally we didn’t have the time.
Cost: 25sole aprox. for the bus back to Cusco
What to bring:
Clothes: down jacket, fleece, thermals, t-shirt, hiking pants/leggings, hat (sun and warm), gloves, warm thick socks.
Gear: Sleeping bag (at least 0 degree rating), tent, mattress, cooking stove and pot, cutlery, flash light.
Food: we pre cut and packaged ours, so all we had to do at the end of the day was boil some water and cook. We had oats for breakfast, salad wraps for lunch (one cucumber, one tomato, one capsicum, one avocado and a bag of lettuces. Banana and peanut butter work well too!) and rice noodles with veggies for dinner (pre cut sweet potato, beans, capsicum, mushrooms and carrot *add canned tuna and soy sauce if you so wish*)
For Snacks we just went to the market in Cusco and brought trail mix, fruit and chocolate, but I’m not one to eat while exercising so my snacks didn’t really get touched, but each their own!
This was such a nice hike and besides the tour group we saw on the first day, we didn’t see another tourist the whole time. If you have any other questions or what some more information just let me know via the comments below!