Vaya Adventures has made it their job to uncover the unknown and extraordinary. The company’s 10-day Lares Trek Plus Machu Picchu itinerary offers a spectacular, less-traveled route through the high Andes, over uncrowded passes and past stone villages seemingly unchanged since ancient times. Rates begin at $3,500 per person (land only) based on a group of four guests, with departures available from April to November. In order to trek through these ancient communities, Lutz said that permission must be received well in advance from the villagers.
“Nearly all first-time visitors to Peru have Machu Picchu on their must-see list,” explains Jim Lutz, Vaya Adventures founder and director. “Our clients are no exception. We just like to get them there a little differently than most tour companies. One great and surprisingly accessible way is via Lares, a lesser-known, relatively untouristed region where ancient ways are still a part of daily life.”
Travelers meet in Lima for air transfers to the historic Incan citadel of Cusco and spend a couple days exploring the beautiful Sacred Valley while acclimatizing to the high altitude.
Day 4 of the itinerary begins the trek, as guests hike for about six hours (with a 3,000-foot elevation gain) to Cancha Cancha, a small village of stone houses in a valley below Pachacutec Pass. After camping overnight, the trek winds up to Pachacutec Pass at 15,480 feet. The pass, named after the most storied leader in Incan history, is suitably spectacular, surrounded by snowcapped peaks with magnificent views in both directions. Guests camp again in the traditional village of Quiswarani, after an elevation gain of 2,000 feet and seven hours on the trail.
Day 6 brings guests on a six-hour trek to the Lares River for a dip in hot springs followed by overnight camping. On Day 7, guests transfer by vehicle down into the Sacred Valley where they begin a hike at the Urubamba River, following an uphill trajectory until it meets up with the classic Inca Trail. From here the trek continues along the last part of the Inca Trail, finally reaching the iconic Machu Picchu via Inti Punku, the Gate of the Sun. Lodging is at the Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel, followed by an early morning exploration of the ruins. After a return to Cusco, guests spend two nights at Palacio del Inka, enjoying a tour of the historic city and time to relax and explore. The trip ends on Day 10 with flights home via Lima.
“This trip is a fascinating twist to the standard Machu Picchu journey that most visitors do. It’s a profound experience and perfect for anyone searching for a genuinely ‘off-the-beaten path’ trip,” notes Lutz.
Vaya Adventures, www.vayaadventures.com