Friday, December 2, 2022
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Lares Trek: to conquer Machu Picchu!

EVE OF DEPARTURE

It’s time for the brief with our guide Percy, loyal to the agency for 8 years now. He knows all the mountain roads by heart. 

He gives us information on the difficulties of the trek and advice for preparing our bags: 1L of water and gear for the day (fleece, raincoat in case of weather change). The mules will carry the rest: we are entitled to a maximum of 8kg per person. I select the things to take imperatively for these next 4 days: a good sleeping bag resistant to -10 degrees, bathing suit for the thermal baths, gloves, a hat, a fleece, T-shirts, sunscreen, cream mosquito repellent, a headlamp, and a water bottle.

DAY 1: CUSCO – LARES – HUACA WASI

Early morning departure around 6:30 is from Cusco. We arrive at the Calca market around 8 am, just in time to have a local breakfast there: a good quinoa soup with chicken! Then we take the mountain road with many switchbacks. We arrive at the end of the morning at the thermal baths of Lares at 3,200 m. We all try a swim in the thermal baths (38 degrees for the hottest pool) while our cook prepares lunch for us. On the menu this afternoon: avocado, vegetable soup, meat in sauce, vegetables, and hot drinks. After lunch, first, walk of about 3 hours in the heart of the valley to reach the Huaca Wasi camp at 3,800 m.

We arrive at the camp around 4 p.m., just in time to taste it! The whole team of porters and cooks accompanying us has already set up camp. They set up a small table for us, perfect for starting a card game with the rest of the group: 4 French people and a Quebecer are part of the adventure. On the dinner program: quinoa soup, fries, vegetables, trout, and chocolate dessert. We are spoiled!

Summary of the day

Transport time: 4h30
Walking time: 3h approx. 
Distance: 9 km
Elevation: +600m

DAY 2: HUACA WASI – IPSAYCOCHA – PATACANCHA – HUILLOC

Up around 6 am. On the breakfast menu: pancake, fruit, cereals, strawberry yogurt, bread, butter, jam, and hot drinks. What a good way to start the day! Departure from the camp at 8 a.m. for a beautiful day of walking. The first stage the Yanacocha pass at 4,550 m then passes through two other passes at 4,400 m. Continue to the Ipsaycocha lagoon (4,300 m), a superb viewpoint for photos!

Then we descend to Pachak at 3,800m for lunch. Pisco sour (local cocktail) for everyone this afternoon to give us courage for the rest of the day! We continue walking all downhill this time. Small narrow paths, you shouldn’t be dizzy… We arrive at the Huilloc camp at 3600 m at the end of the afternoon. Hot drinks and card games while waiting for dinner.

Summary of the day

Elevation: +800 m / -500 m 
Walking time: 7 hours approx. 
Distance: about 16 km

DAY 3: HUILLOC – COCHAMARCA – PUMA MARCA – OLLANTAYTAMBO – AGUAS CALIENTES

Up at 6 a.m. so as not to miss the good breakfast: ham and cheese omelet, bread, butter, jam, and hot drinks. We leave the camp for about 1h30 downhill to Cochamarca. Then we attack a steep climb of about 45 minutes to arrive at the ruins of Puma Marca. A superb site with a beautiful view of the mountains.

After a short photo break, we continue towards Ollantaytambo: a beautiful walk without difficulty with many descents, paths that cross agricultural terraces. Superb!

We see the fortress of Ollantaytambo in the distance, we soon arrive in the village! It’s party time in Ollantaytambo, there are a lot of people in the square. We visit the village and it is already time for the train to reach the village of Aguas Calientes. We deserved a good hot shower at the hotel and a good night’s sleep before discovering Machu Picchu the next day.

Summary of the day

Elevation: -1,000m
Walking time: 5h
Distance: approximately 14km

DAY 4: AGUAS CALIENTES – VISIT OF MACHU PICCHU – OLLANTAYTAMBO – CUSCO

Waking up very early at 4 a.m. to take the shuttle at 5:30 a.m. Visit of the grandiose site! The efforts of these last 3 days are largely rewarded by the splendor of the site.

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