As a passionate college student, I often find myself yearning for adventure during semester breaks. My love for trekking has taken me to some breathtaking places around the world, but nothing quite compares to the enchanting Lares Trek in Peru. I picked the Lares Trek vs the Inca Trail because of several reasons, including the closer connection with local life.
This 3-day, 2-night journey through the heart of the Andes Mountains promises not only awe-inspiring natural beauty but also an immersive cultural experience that will leave you with memories to last a lifetime.
Day 1: Cuzco to Wakawasi - A Glimpse of the Andean Way of Life
Our adventure begins with an early morning pick-up in Cuzco, Peru‘s historical gem. The anticipation in the air is palpable as we board a bus that will transport us to Lares Town, situated at 2,900 meters above sea level. But before we hit the trails, there’s an opportunity to luxuriate in the soothing embrace of hot springs (for an additional cost) and soak in the stunning surroundings.
Once we’re sufficiently relaxed, it’s time to lace up our hiking boots and embark on a 6-hour trek. The ascent to the town of Wakawasi at 3,850 meters above sea level is a zigzagging adventure that offers us panoramic views of glaciers, encounters with local wildlife, and heartwarming interactions with the indigenous communities living harmoniously with nature.
Our campsite in the Wakawasi community provides a unique chance to connect with the local families who graciously share their way of life with us. As we settle into our tents under the starry Andean sky, the anticipation of the journey ahead fills the air with excitement.
Day 2: Wakawasi to Aguas Calientes - A Tale of High Passes and Mystical Lakes
The second day promises an even more exhilarating experience as we tackle an uphill 4-hour trek that takes us over the Ipsayccocha Pass at a breathtaking altitude of 4,400 meters. The vistas from this vantage point are nothing short of spectacular, and the serenity of the Andean landscape will leave you breathless in more ways than one.
After a picturesque 40-minute downhill walk, we find ourselves by the tranquil shores of a pristine lake, a perfect spot for a well-deserved lunch. The journey continues with a 3-hour hike to Patacancha town at 3,800 meters, where we’ll hop into a car for a 30-minute drive to Ollantaytambo. From there, a train will whisk us away to the enchanting town of Aguas Calientes, nestled at 2,100 meters above sea level.
Day 3: Aguas Calientes to Cuzco - Unveiling the Mysteries of Machu Picchu
Our final day begins with an early morning adventure that dreams are made of – a bus ride to the awe-inspiring Machu Picchu. As we ascend, the mist slowly dissipates to reveal the ancient city in all its glory. A guided walking tour, lasting approximately 2 hours, immerses us in the rich history and fascinating mysteries of this UNESCO World Heritage site.
As the day draws to a close, we bid farewell to Machu Picchu and board a bus back to Aguas Calientes. Here, we can explore the bustling local marketplace next to the train station, where we can shop for souvenirs until the train whistle signals our return journey to Ollantaytambo. From Ollantaytambo, we’ll hop on a bus that will safely return us to Cuzco.
The Lares Trek in Peru is not just a journey; it’s an unforgettable adventure that takes you through breathtaking landscapes, introduces you to warm-hearted local communities, and brings you face to face with the enigmatic wonders of Machu Picchu. This 3-day, 2-night expedition is a perfect blend of natural beauty, cultural immersion, and physical challenge.
So, if you’re a college student like me, yearning for an adventure that combines the thrill of trekking with the richness of cultural experiences, make sure to add the Lares Trek to your bucket list. It’s a journey that will leave you with memories to cherish for a lifetime and stories to share for generations to come.
Guest post written by Janey Karamo
Janey’s passion for traveling knows no bounds. Whether it’s exploring exotic destinations or embarking on spontaneous road trips, Janey’s curiosity and adventurous spirit are always at the forefront.