8-Day Lares Trek by Horseback and Hike

8-Day Lares Trek by Horseback and Hike

April 7th - April 14th, 2024

Cultural Sightseeing

8 days, 7 nights

4-star hotels & Camping

from $1,995 USD

Meet Kat Shortsleeve, Georgetown alum and Columbia MBA grad, founder of Shortsleeve Travel, specializing in crafting luxury travel experiences accessible for all budgets. Originally from Boston, her adventurous spirit has led her to over 40 countries, while living in vibrant hubs like NYC, DC, Prague, as well as a brief stint in Colorado and LA. Dedicated to empowering young people through the transformative power of travel, Kat’s mission is to curate journeys that inspire independence, discovery, and global stewardship.

The Lares Trek is one of the most popular alternative treks to the classic Inca Trail in Peru offering a fascinating hike through magical landscapes and an in-depth look at local life in this Andean region. You’ll have the chance to soak up the magic of Cusco, before setting off for the valley of Lares where the trek begins.

On this four-day Lares Trek that takes you deep into the heart of the Andes with your professional guides, to a remote landscape of towering mountains, shimmering mountain lakes and staggering views – you’ll spend the first 2 days on horseback, and the 3rd and 4th days on foot. You’ll also experience the living traditions of the local people as you pass through ancient villages of agricultural and alpaca farmlands, meeting friendly Quechua people who will be happy to share their culture with you. And then, of course, there’s your final destination: Machu Picchu. You’ll arrive there on Day 4 and will have plenty of time to explore this magnificent Inca citadel, one of the seven new wonders of the world!

To top off this epic adventure, you’ll hop on two wheels to experience the wonders of Maras and Moray by bike on day 7, before returning to Cusco for your final overnight and farewell celebration.


8-Day Tour Pricing
$1,995 USD per person in a double / twin occupancy room. Single supplment $335 USD total.

Please Note: A 30% deposit of the total trip cost will be required at time of booking. The final balance will be requested 65 days prior to departure.

Cancellations 65 days out or more will be subject to a 30% cancellation fee (for non-refundable permits)
Cancellations 64-35 days before trip start are subject to a 50% cancellation fee
Cancellations 15-34 days before trip start are subject to a 75% cancellation fee
Cancellation 14 days or less before trip start are subject to 100% cancellation fee
Please Note: You can transfer your trip to another participant with prior approval from the host at a cost of USD $100 for the name change.


Arrive in Cusco and transfer to your hotel. A welcome meeting will be organized by your guide for the group to take part in a tour briefing which will outline the days of adventures ahead!

The rest of the day can be spent exploring Cusco, the ancient capital of the Inca Empire, set in the Andes Mountains. Discover Spanish churches and mansions that sit alongside Inca remains and enjoy the vibrant nightlife of Cusco, or dining on classic Peruvian cuisine.

Overnight: Hotel Jose Antonio, Cusco
Meals: None
Transport: Cusco Airport – Hotel (20 minutes)

After breakfast, enjoy a free day to explore Cusco at your leisure with your group. Cusco is the capital city of the Inca Empire, and is the undisputed archaeological capital of the Americas, as well as the continent’s oldest continuously inhabited city. In short, it’s a wild combination of colors, history, culture, and outright magic!

Overnight: Hotel Jose Antonio, Cusco
Meals: Breakfast
Your first day on the Lares trek begins with an early morning pick up from the hotel at 5:00 am in Cusco. Then, it’s off to Calca (1 hour by bus), a small town in the Sacred Valley. Here you will have your last chance to buy any last minute supplies for the Lares trail.

Continuing, you’ll drive for about three hours in the direction of Lares, passing the highest point of the day at 4,265 meters above sea level (13,992 feet), where the Sawasiray and Pitusiray mountains rise. This is the region of the alpaca, and you’ll enjoy endless views of rolling hills and farmlands of the native Quechua people.

Then, you’ll descend to the Valley of Lares until reaching the small town of Lares. In Lares, the group can make the most of the local hot springs, which are famous in the Cusco Region for their healing properties.

You’ll have lunch in Lares and then get ready to begin the trek. Specialized chefs on your trek not only produce the most delicious food but also use locally sourced ingredients from the nearby villages so that you are directly contributing to the areas where this trek takes place.

From Lares, you’ll saddle up and head off on horseback towards Huacawasi, a colorful little town of adobe houses and roaming llamas, located at about 3,600 m (11,811 ft) above sea level. You’ll ride to Huacawasi, where the group will enjoy dinner and camp for the night. Huacawasi is a traditional weaving community, and you’ll be able to spend some time watching the local weavers at work, and maybe have a go yourself.

Overnight: Huacawasi Camp
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Distance: 3 hours riding, 10 km / 6.2 m
Lowest Point: 3,207 m / 10,521 ft
Highest Point: 4,265 m / 13,992 ft
Today is another early start with a hearty breakfast, to get your energy levels up for what is probably the toughest day of the trek! Setting off, it’s a steep uphill climb on horseback to a mountain pass at about 4,500 meters above sea level – the highest point reached on our Lares trek. The view from up here is sublime, looking out across the surrounding mountains and down to the beautiful Aruraycocha Lake below.

You’ll then head downhill towards the lake, stopping off to admire its clear glacial waters where your horses can drink. You’ll then pass through the Mantanay conservation area, where the natural environment changes. This region has forests of polylepis trees, known locally as queuñas, which provide an important refuge for many bird species, including some that are endangered. Mantanay is also dotted with lagoons, around which various hardy shrub and tree species grow. We’ll have lunch on the banks of one of these pretty lakes. If you’re lucky, you might even see a huge Andean condor as it swoops overhead.

After lunch the group will continue downhill until reaching the village of Mantanay, your second campsite, at about 3,800 meters. This is another great opportunity to interact with the local villagers and see how they live their lives in this remote region. At Mantanay you’ll savor a tasty dinner and bed down for the night at camp.

Overnight: Mantanay Camp
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Distance: 5-6 hours riding, 14 km / 8.6 m
Lowest Point: 3,800 m / 12,467 ft
Highest Point: 4,500 m / 14,763 ft
The final day on the Lares Trek will be a relatively easy hike on foot of between four and five hours. You’ll leave Mantanay after breakfast and head towards the pretty colonial town of Yanahuara in the Sacred Valley, passing through more spectacular scenery where the Incas once roamed. The weather should be warmer as you descend towards Yanahuara, passing near fields of white corn, typical of this region. Once you reach Yanahuara, you’ll have your last meal together with the trekking team. At this point, the cooks and porters will leave your group in the capable hands of your guide. This marks the end of the Lares trek.

From here, the group will travel by minibus to the wonderful Inca archaeological site of Ollantaytambo, one of the most famous ruins in the Cusco Region. The sprawling mountainside complex was once the royal estate of the Inca emperor Pachacuti. After exploring these extensive ruins, you’ll take the train to Aguas Calientes, where you’ll have dinner at a local restaurant and spend the night in a hotel, not far from your final destination: the magnificent citadel of Machu Picchu!

Overnight: Hatun Inti Boutique Machu Picchu, Aguas Calientes (suite room)
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Distance: 4 hours hiking, 7 km / 4.3 miles
Lowest Point: 2,950 m / 9,678 ft
Highest Point: 3,800 m / 12,467 ft
To best appreciate Machu Picchu, the group will rise early in the morning to get to the citadel in good time. You’ll have time for breakfast first, and then your guide will pick the group up from the hotel at around 5:40 a.m. You’ll then walk to the bus departure point for the short but zigzagging ascent up the road to Machu Picchu.

Passing through the gates into the Machu Picchu archaeological site, you’ll begin your guided walking tour with an experienced and highly knowledgeable guide. Your tour of Machu Picchu will last about two hours and will take you to all the most famous and most spectacular parts of the extensive archaeological complex. These include the House of the Guardian, the Intihuatana, the Temple of the Sun, the Sacred Plaza and other key locations. As you walk around, you’ll revel in spectacular views of the agriculture terraces of Machu Picchu and across to the surrounding mountains and plunging gorges.

After the guided tour you’ll have time to explore Machu Picchu as you please, perhaps walking to some less visited parts such as the Inca Bridge.

Overnight: Hotel Jose Antonio, Cusco
Meals: Breakfast
Distance: Flexible
Your biking tour will begin with pick up from your hotel in Cusco at around 7:30 am today by your guide and driver. You’ll then drive to Chinchero town, which you’ll have the chance to visit briefly before getting on bikes and setting off. After about 1.5 hours, you’ll reach Moray, which you’ll have plenty of time to explore. Then you’ll cycle to the town of Maras, where you can see some of the town’s 38 colonial doors, visit some local artisans, and learn how to prepare chicha, the local fermented corn brew. At around 1 pm you’ll enjoy a boxed lunch and then set off towards the salt evaporation ponds, where the group can take in this miraculous landscape and also learn about the salt evaporation process.

After soaking up the sights in Maras, you’ll cycle to the Tarabamba Bridge, where the bike tour ends around 3pm. After lunch, it’s time to jump back into the vehicle for the trip back to Cusco for your final night of the tour. Your guide will be more than happy to help you organize a special farewell dinner for the group this evening at one of Cusco’s top restaurants!

Overnight: Hotel Jose Antonio, Cusco
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
After breakfast enjoy your last day at leisure before transferring to the airport for your return flight home via Lima.

Meals: Breakfast
Transport: Hotel – Cusco Airport (20 minutes)


This tour is based in hotels and camps. Four nights are spent at a 4-star hotel in Cusco, 1 night at a 4-star hotel in Aguas Calientes, and 2 nights in tented camps on the Lares trail.

Hotels on this trip are 4-star and offer modern conveniences that can make this trip more pleasant. Rooms are double occupancy, and single travelers will pay a supplement. In some cases, accommodation listed below may need to be substituted for other, comparable accommodations.
hotel il gatto

Nights 1, 2 and 3

Hotel il Gatto, Rapallo (3-Star)

This laid back hotel is centrally located and is the perfect place to be based in Rapallo, with the train station just a short walk away as well as nearby beaches and ancient sites. Guests will enjoy air-conditioned rooms and a delicious breakfast here each morning.

Nights 4, 5 and 6

Hotel Cinque Terre, Monterosso (3-Star)

This laid-back hotel boasts incredible views of the Dolomites, welcoming guests into a warmly decorated home-away-from-home featuring upscale-Italian and alpine influences.


  • 7 breakfasts, 4 Lunches and 3 dinners (if you would like to request vegetarian food or a special diet, please let us know in advance.)
  • 4 Nights: Cusco – Jose Antonio Cusco Hotel. Standard Room with private bath
  • 2 Nights: Lares route – Camping
  • 1 Night: Aguas Calientes – Hatun Inti Boutique. Suite Room with private bath
  • All private transportation as per the itinerary, including airport transfers for the group
  • Train tickets from Machu Picchu on the Expedition Train
  • Round trip bus ticket from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu
  • Professional English-speaking guide
  • All national park fees, entrance fees, taxes, permits
  • 24/7 support and emergency line available throughout the itinerary
  • Horseman and mules during trek
  • Personal horses during trek (first 2 days only)
  • Bike equipment for Maras & Moray
  • Camping equipment including tent.

Not included

  • Flights
  • Insurance
  • Visas if required
  • Any meals not noted as included
  • Personal expenses like drinks, tipping, souvenirs etc.
  • Anything not mentioned as included
  • Mat, sleeping bag and hiking poles (can be rented at time of booking).

Optionals extras

  • Single room supplements where available
  • Additional nights before or after the tour
  • Airport transfers
  • Hotel upgrades
  • Cancellation up to 45 days prior the arrival no penalty
  • Cancellation from 39 to 20 days prior the arrival penalty of 25% of the whole amount
  • Cancellation from 19 to 10 days prior the arrival penalty of 50% of the whole amount
  • Cancellation from 9 to 5 days prior the arrival penalty of 75% of the whole amount
  • Cancellation 4 days prior the arrival penalty of 100% of the whole amount