Article by Natasha Moon
Lares trek is less popular than Salkantay trek. Many adventure companies sell it as a trek to Machu Picchu when in reality it isn’t because it doesn’t directly take you there. This is a beautiful remote trek where you can experience the culture as it passes couple of mountain villages. I would recommend this trek even if you already did a different trek to Machu Picchu. There are different routes you can take to do the Lares trek, and you can do it in the different amounts of days. The uniqueness of this trek was to see all the locals wear their traditional colorful clothing as a part of their lifestyle. We ended up doing this trek very fast and were done in two days. I wish we had spent there more time to enjoy it better.
From Ollantaytambo we took a “colectivo” to Urubamba which cost us 2.50 soles each. In Urubamba we took a little moto taxi (paid 5 soles) to the beginning of he trail. Basically you need to go up the Pumahuanca valley. We made our way to the Sacred Dreams Lodge and found the trail from there. The road you need is on the far right side of the valley and also to the right of the river. On our way up we passed some ruins and a village of Puyoc. I would recommend camping somewhere around the village. We kept on pushing forward and camped closer to the pass. It was a long day for us and if I were to do it again, I would take it easy.
We went over the pass which I thought didn’t offer spectacular views but it was still a lot of work to get to it because it was over 15,000 feet in elevation. After the pass it is all downhill and the views are just spectacular all the way to the village of Cuncani. I would recommend to camp at this point in the village. Locals wear their colorful clothing and it would be a great place to camp. We thought that Lares wasn’t too far so we kept on walking. It was a mistake as it was still enough of walking to make us completely exhausted. Also, after visiting Santa Teresa hot springs I was a little disappointed by the Lares hot springs. We camped by the hot springs and had to pay entrance fee and also a camping fee which I think was 10 soles per tent. The water is yellowish but I didn’t mind a soak in after a long hike.From Lares you would need to take a bus to Calca and then another one to Cusco.