Lares vs Salkantay (Alternative routes to Machu Picchu)

At the time you’re planning your holidays in Peru, Machu Picchu, one of the Modern Wonders of the World, is your first destination. When you look for tours you will see several possibilities to arrive to this magical place; from 1-day quick trips to traditional tours that involve famous archaeological centres arriving by train or by world-famous treks such as the Inca Trail.   


Therefore if you are interested in complete the trail without invest too much money or maybe did not arrive to get a ticket to the Inca Trail, we offer you two great alternatives to take a trek walking through valleys, pampas and mountains towards Machu Picchu.


The Salkantay and Lares routes are winning world-renown gradually as they offer the possibility to know Machu Picchu although from a more experimental and less commercial perspective. Both routes have ins and outs; in this blog we will explain you some alternatives so that you can choose a trek that fits you perfectly.


Salkantay Trek

Also known as the Alternative Inca Trail, this route is a little more known by travelers, as they let you get to Machu Picchu on foot or (if you wish) boarding a train. The trek’s duration is up to your choice from 4-5 days.


The journey begins in the city of Cusco then continues in the Limatambo Valley until Mollepata zone where trek will start, during the trek the ascent will reach 4.600 m.a.s.l. through the Apu Salkantay pass. Later on you will descend to the peruvian forest, and then to Machu Picchu.


Lares Trek

This route begins in the city of Cusco where the touristic bus goes through the Sacred Valley until Calca town. Then visit the famous relaxing and healing thermal waters of Lares.  After this excursion begins the climb which highest point is at 4 400 m.a.s.l. During all journey you will be surrounded by mountains such as the snow peak Apu Ausangate as well as the flora and fauna of the Peruvian Andes.


On the way you can see crystalline water lakes and visit communities that still keep their original traditions making of this journey an unforgettable experience, since you could live with the local population and learn a bit more of their customs.


The trek continues through communities such as Patacancha and then descent to the town of Ollantaytambo from where you will have to board the train towards Aguas Calientes and finally visit the citadel of Machu Picchu.


Pros and cons



1.- It is a famous trek, which makes it very popular between agencies that offers it at a competitive price.

2.- Most of agencies arrange groups daily which provides the trek efficiency and promptness at the time you hire the tour.

3.- Cheap: The journey is carried out on both on foot and by bus transfers which economizes the tour.





1.- Experiential: Unlike Salkantay trek  communities that inhabit this area still keep their traditional customs such as their ancient costumes, celebrations and adobe shacks.

2.- Offers a large number of lakes than Salkantay trek and being a not too commercial route there is still a larger number of animals to see.

3.- Not too commercial: It is one of the few trips that still offer a route where you can feel as one with the nature since the inflow of foreign tourists is still very low.

Inca World
04 Agosto 2017

Inca World

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