DAY 1: CUSCO - URUBAMBA - PUMAHUANCA VALLEY - CUYOC
We will pick you up at your hotel at 6:00 am in order to take a panoramic route by car into the Sacred Valley, passing through Chincheros and stopping in Urubamba for a short and small breakfast at a local restaurant. Restrooms are available and you have the opportunity to buy last snacks and water etc. We will leave Urubamba around 7:20 am, traveling another 25 minutes by bus to the entry of the Pumahuanca valley, famous for its crop of white corn and the Chicha (traditional beer of the Incas). Here we will meet with our horses and the horse-wranglers. We begin our trek through this gorgeous valley - where the woods of the Queuñas (Polylepis) trees predominate the landscape - on a gentle serpentine ascent with impressive views into the valley and of the surrounding mountains. We will hike for about 3 to 4 hours to the archeological site of Inca-Kancha, after exploring the complex we will have our first traditional Andean lunch. You will have time to relax or take a short nap until we continue our hike through the woods of Queuñas to the community of Paccha where a spectacular mountain landscape with plenty of lamas, alpacas and sheep awaits us. We will walk for another two hours, passing an abundance of small waterfalls, and finally arrive at our campsite Cuyoc at an altitude of 4.010 m ASL.
DAY 2: CUYOC - PUMAHUANCA PASS - CUNCANI
We will start the day at 6:00 am with a cup of hot coca tea and enjoy a breakfast of Kiwicha pancakes. At 7:30 am we will begin our trek with a view of the snow capped peaks of Chicón, San Juan y Verónica (The Crybaby). Surrounded by woods, a challenging five hour adventure awaits us, climbing up on a path with steep stone steps and stairs, some parts have tight serpentine bends up to the pass of Pumahuanca at an altitude of 4.780 m ASL (the “Apachetas” at the pass are stone piles which the travelers crossing the pass have left in order to honor the Apus). Once we reach the pass, we will also honor the mountain gods with the local custom of offering coca leaves. From here we can enjoy the view of Moray, Maras and the salt mines. Now we are ready for our descent of about one hour along a stone path with a lovely view to both sides of the mountain until we are close to the impressive lakes where we will have our lunch and enjoy a brief rest. After lunch we will have to walk for about two more hours mainly downhill, on the way we will surely meet local farmers wearing the traditional and colorful clothing which is typical for the valley of Lares. Cuncani is the main community of the area, we will camp here at an altitude of 3.900 m ASL and enjoy our delicious dinner at the camp site. Cuncani is also very famous for its textiles which are still being woven according to ancient traditions and techniques. You will have the opportunity to buy handmade textiles directly from the people of Cuncani / Lares.
DAY 3: CUNCANI - LARES - OLLANTAYTAMBO - AGUAS CALIENTES
Today is the last day of the Lares Trek, it will be an easy day so you will be able to sleep a little longer, breakfast will be at 8:00 am. In this small village we will have the opportunity to visit the home of our horse-wrangler Luis Cabeza who will share with us his simple and humble way of living, always in close connection to nature, preserving the traditional customs of farming and weaving, showing us textiles which have been passed down for generations, and giving us an insight to his knowledge of medicinal plants. Afterwards we walk another four hours downhill until we reach the village of Lares, famous for its medicinal hot springs, where we will enjoy a hot bath. After lunch our private bus will take us in a three hour trip to the town of Ollantaytambo where we will catch the train to Aguas Calientes, a two hour ride.
DAY 4: SUNRISE OVER MACHU PICCHU AND RETURN TRIP TO CUSCO
At about 5:30 am we will start our excursion to Machu Picchu, either walking uphill for 1,5 hours or taking a 30 minute bus ride from Aguas Calientes up to the Sanctuary of Machu Picchu. Once at the entrance to Machu Picchu you will have to register at the control point for which you will need your entrance ticket and your original passport. Once we enter the complex we will give you a 2,5 hour guided tour of the most important sites of Machu Picchu. Afterwards you will have plenty of time to explore the complex by yourself, wander into the far off corners and take lots of pictures. During your free time you can choose to visit other important sites on the complex to make your trip more interesting, the three most important ones are the mountain of Huayna Picchu, the Temple of the Moon or Inti Punku (the Sun Gate). You should start your return down to Aguas Calientes around 1:20 pm in order to have enough time for lunch and catch the train back to Ollantaytambo around 4:00 pm where a bus will pick you up and drive you back to Cusco where you will be around 9:20 pm. You can also reserve a train going directly to Cusco, this train leaves Aguas Calientes at 4:30 pm. More info.... http://www.manutoursperu.com/en/manu-tours/lares-trek