Lares Trek or Inca Trail?
Updated: Sep 23, 2019
Now that you have decided to visit Peru and you want to hike your way to the sacred site of Machu Picchu, you need to choose which route to go. Here I will outline the differences between one and the other so you can make a sound decision.
The Inca Trail:
• The most popular, which in turn means more people/foot traffic.
• 4 full days (6-8 hours) of hiking, 3 camping nights, 26 miles total.
• View of 7 small ruins.
• Requires planning of 6 months ahead, limit 500 hikers per day, and permit required.
• Horses not allowed- Make sure you are fit and used to the altitude because there's no turning back quickly in case of an emergency.
• Over 3,000 steps up and down, steep, and narrow.
• Famous Dead Woman’s Pass (13,828 ft).
• Start at 8,858 ft with the high point at 13,828 ft.
• Hike all the way to the entrance of Machu Picchu , the Sun Gate for the sunrise.
Here are some photos for a better idea of the Inca Trail:
From left to right: The Dead Woman's pass, the ruins on the path, the Sun Gate entrance to Machu Picchu
The Lares Trek:
• Not as popular, less touristy, off the beaten path.
• 3 full days (6-8 hours) of hiking, 2 camping nights, 21 miles total.
• Horses allowed- Can come in handy in case of an emergency
• Starts at 10,499 ft with the high point at 15,092 ft.
• Hike through the famous Sacred Valley
• Very cultural as you will walk through villages and meet Andean people, the descendants of the Incas.
• Beautiful landscapes of rivers, waterfalls and valleys.
• Spend 1 night at Aguas Calientes (bottom of Machu Picchu) and soak in the hot springs before making your way by bus up to the sunrise at Machu Picchu the next day.
Here are some photos from Lares Trek:
From left to right: The rivers and waterfalls, the mountain side on one of the highest elevations, The Sacred Valley.
To read more about the hike on the Lares Trek please click here
Both routes are strenuous and challenging . Choose which fits better as to which sites speak more to you, if you are more or less of a hiker and know that whichever one you choose, it will be a great experience.
The below are hiking ESSENTIALS- trust me, you need this to be able to function in the dark, primitive camping and the high altitudes. The water bottle with the built in filter is just common sense. If you are sensitive you may want to filter even their "purified" water in this bottle. During the hike, there are no bathrooms until you reach the campsite. The headlight will ensure you have your hands free, especially when you go to the primitive bathroom (plastic bag in a hole with a toiled sit for support). The Chloroxygen will help you the entire hike. Doesn't taste much like anything but gives you the stamina to keep going! Happy Hiking!!!