Ask anybody on the street of places where one would like to hike and one would be surprised if hiking Machu Picchu wasn’t high on the list. Lying deep in the heart of the Peruvian wilderness, Machu Picchu has long captured the imagination of aspiring hikers’ and adventurer’s alike. Today this unspoiled Incan treasure still has an air of magic associated with it and you truly feel you are stumbling back in time when you visit the ruins of this ancient Incan Empire.
Only discovered in 1911, by the American adventurer and historian Hiram Bingham, the citadel was believed to have been built in the 1400’s at the height of Incan Civilization before the invasion by Spanish Conquistadors. A fantastic example of Incan engineering, this ‘lost’ city was built from stone without the aid of wheels or Iron tools. Abandoned around a hundred years after completion after reaching an untimely demise, the ‘new’ European settlers never found Machu Picchu which resulted in it quickly becoming one of the world’s best kept hidden treasures. Today, Machu Picchu and its famous Citadel is rightly considered one of the modern seven wonders of the world and each year attracts thousands of visitors.
Each year more than 75,000 people hike the 26-mile route along the famed Inca trail. Due to permit restrictions along this popular trail, the route only accounts for one in 5 visitors making it to this ancient site. The Lares Trek, offers an excellent alternative for visitors to experience Machu Picchu and trekking in South America away from the busy crowds. Hiking the Lares Trek is a little shorter at 36km and has fewer steps to deal with than the Inca trail, however you will still have to factor in altitude and acclimatisation day will be required in Cusco as the highest pass on your trek will be 4450m above sea-level.
Hiking the Lares trek will provide you with a real Andean cultural experience. Pass by several traditional communities along your route that have changed little in the past 500 years. Mingle with the locals and families who continue to live from both agriculture and textile design which is mostly inspired by their Andean gods. A perfect keep sake to remember your time in Peru.
Visit the bustling towns of Cusco, Ollantaytambo and Aguas Calientes and see the sights and experience the colourful culture Peru has to offer. Climb to the top of the fortress of Ollantaytambo, a famous Incan battleground and gaze out over the steep terraces and ruins. Soak up the spectacular views over the Sacred Valley from Pisac and if you still aren’t blown away just wait until you set your sights on the beautiful Machu Picchu looming up from the clouds.
If you, like Bingham dream of Machu Picchu, why not take the plunge and hike the Lares Trek. You won’t be disappointed.
For more information on hiking the Machu Picchu Lares Trek or more World and European treks and challenges, please contact our travel specialists.