Photography Lares Trek Inca Trail Machupicchu 5d/4n
The Lares Trek is an excellent alternative to the Inca Trail. Taking you off the beaten track with visits to authentic Andean communities whilst being surrounded by stunning mountains, lakes and valleys, this fabulous trek offers a real insight in to the lives of the people of Cusco as they once were. The route we offer starts in the village of Pumahuanca in the Sacred Valley and finishes in the hot springs of Lares with a visit to the village of Cuncani along the way. On Day 3 of the Lares trek you will take a bus from Lares to Ollantaytambo and then carry on by train to Machu Picchu.
During this tour, you will have many unique opportunities to photograph local people in traditional dress, as well as native flora and fauna. Flavio will not only guide you, but help you hone your photography skills in order to create beautiful images to remember your amazing experience high in the Andes. What is exceptional about this trek is the insight it will give you into local life, as well as the opportunity to explore “off the beaten track”. We will take you to places where you can practice lightpainting and night photography, where you will feel small compared to the vast expanse of the night sky. Your only regret will be that you didn’t have more time!
1 – 8 Guests
Experience | Difficulty
- Beginner, amateur, enthusiast and semi-pro photographers
- DSLR, mirrorless, compact or iPhone cameras
- Moderate schedule
- Travel by car or minibus
- Moderate elevation changes and lots of walking and hiking (none of our adventures have difficult hikes)
- (non-photographers also welcome)
Weather | Sun
May – Temps 70/40 F 20/2 C Sunrise 5:24 | Sunset 7:23 (19:23)
September – Temps 75/42 F 24/5 C Sunrise 6:10 | Sunset 6:35 (18:35)
- 5 Days
- Travel, landscape, nature, wildlife and people photography
- Professional photographer | guide
- Photo walks & discussions
- Small group size (1-8 guests)
- All Meals
- National Park Permits
- Local transportation
Arrival Airport: Cusco – Transfer time to hotel 30min
Departure Airport: Cusco– Transfer time to hotel 30 min
Our adventure begins in the Morning on the first day and ends at end of the last day.
Travel Visa:Not required
2 Nights Hotel
2 Nights Camping
ITINERARY Lares Trek Inca Trail
Our first day of the trek starts of in the small village of Pumahuanca in the Sacred Valley. We’ll gently make our way up one of the side valleys covering about 14 km in total and climbing about 1150m / 3373ft as we make our way towards the village of Puyoc. On our way up we’ll visit the small Inca site of Pumahuanca and learn about the native plants, flowers and birds that inhabit this region.
This particular route for the Lares trek is not commonly done by other companies so we can enjoy the peace and tranquility of our surroundings without any distractions or disturbance. Because so few people visit the area there is a good chance of seeing Viscachas (a rabbitlike Chinchilla) and we may also spot Andean Fox. Our campsite for the night is at Puyoc (4100m / 13451ft); it’s quite barren at this altitude and it is not uncommon for it to snow up here during the dry season, so gloves and a hat are recommended.
Today is the most spectacular day of the trek and quite a bit easier going than yesterday. From our campsite it’s about a 13km walk to the village of Cuncani, but most of that is downhill as the pass is only about a 2-hour walk in, right at the beginning.
As we make our way to Cuncani we’ll pass by snowcapped peaks high above us, serene mountain lakes (including Yanacocha – “Black Water”) and get to meet the local people dressed in their traditional bright red clothing. This side of the pass is entirely different culturally to the other side and as we wind our way down from the pass your guide will teach you about the people and their way of life. You’ll also get to learn a few Qechua phrases so that you can interact with the local people.
The focus of today is to meet the local people. Waking up early we’ll be taken by our guide to one of the houses where we’ll get to meet a local family. The people are incredibly welcoming and are just as eager to learn about you as you are of them – hopefully by now you’ll have mastered a few phrases and be able to ask a few questions (much to everyones delight and amusement). After the visit you’ll have the opportunity to give any gifts you’ve brought for the local people and also to buy some of the locally made alpaca products that the region is famed for.
Leaving Cuncani it’s just a short distance (6 km) until we reach the hot springs of Lares. Along the way we’ll pass through several small communities and see the people growing a variety of foods such as quinoa and tarwi, we’ll also probably spot flocks of Andean parrots flying overhead (they’re easy to spot thanks to their piercing calls). After a relaxing dip in the hot springs, we’ll be picked up by our bus and driven back to the Sacred Valley.
We’ll pick you up from your hotel at 06:00am to transfer you to train station for a 4 hour journey or in high season this may be with private transport to Ollantaytambo train station, then we’ll board a Tourist Backpacker Train with reserved seats for 1 hour and 45 minutes to the kilometer 104 start of the hike. As soon as we arrive to this point we will cross a bridge to the checkpoint and show your passports then we will start with a easy walk. On the other side of the Vilcanota river the trail heads off to the right towards the ruins of Chachabamba. After a visit to Chachabamba, we’ll continue along the trail heading south, climbing the mountain, before entering the cloud forest. Then the trail leaves the forest and goes west while continuing the uphill hike in open grassland. After hiking in the sun for about three hours, the trail descends into a shaded forest. This is where trekkers can enjoy a beautiful waterfall. After leaving the waterfall and forest, trekkers will arrive at the lower part of the incredible ruins of Wiñay-Wayna. It is recommended that you start the trek with at least 2 litres of water.
After lunch in Wiñay-Wayna we continue through a cloud forest full of bromelias, orchids and fern trees. You will walk the last part of the original trail with amazing features including stone steps and tambos “resting places”. To arrive at Inti Punku (Sun Gate) we will climb 60 Inca steps. From this point you will be able to contemplate and observe the marvelous Machu Picchu, where you can feel an inner peace. We will have a break for photos before heading down to Aguas Calientes. Hot spring pools are optional or you can enjoy spare time to chill out at this small village.
Early, after a good breakfast we will leave to re-live the history and the mysterious world of the Incas; we take the first bus up at approx 5.30am and arrive at the ruins at 6am. At this time is still not so crowded so we take advantage of the tranquility of this sacred site with a guided tour. This enigmatic city is explored for approx. 2 hours and its mysteries and archaeological information will be explained by your expert guide. Following this you will be free to explore at your own pace (you generally have approx. 6 hours extra spare time but this depends on train timetables in high season). You will have the option to climb to the Huayna Picchu mountain (Please check previously with your guide. Sometimes guided tour is after Huayna Picchu). Around 4pm we’ll take the bus down to Aguas Calientes for your return train. End of our Lares Trek Inca Trail.