Van, Bus, Train
The Lares trek and Short Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is perfect for the traveler who wants the best of the wild Andes Mountains and the most magical Inca archeological sites – this way you have the best of both worlds in 5 days!
You pass through the most isolated indigenous communities keeping the Inca culture alive, living with no road routes to the outside world, like their ancestors before them. Our own unique route is incredibly picturesque, with majestic glaciers, shockingly blue glacial lakes, waterfalls, llamas, and alpacas. The Inca Trail portion is on the original Inca trail just like in ancient times, explore the ancient Inca religious cities along the way and enter Machu Picchu through the Sun Gate, where most of the famous photos of these ancient ruins are taken. You get to visit Machu Picchu twice!
Your Cultural adventure Hike through the Lares Valley to Machu Picchu begins early with your pick up at 6:00am from your Cusco hotel. We make a quick stop at the Calca local market for any extra supplies you might need on the trek or a few souvenirs. Then we drive for 1 hourstoward Huaran, we meet your horsemen and horses. Our stop along the river bank is accompanied by a delicious breakfast to replenish our energy for the hike ahead.
As we start our ascend, be prepared for a pretty steep hike in the beginning. Pace yourself, taking in the scenery with the calming river, gently flowing down stream to your left. Flanked on your right by a statuesque lush mountain with a scattering of gorgeous flora indigenous to the region. The rest of the trail is gradual. Pass old Inca bridges, a beautiful clear lake with a couple of grazing domesticated animal, a perfect spot to stretch your legs and take a rest. We meet up with our chef along the way for a scrumptious 3-course lunch. After lunch we continue on our scenic hike to the village of Cancha Cancha.
The village is easy to spot, the snowcapped mountains creep closer and the air becomes crisp. We cross over a small stream to settle into our campsite along the river. Once we arrive in Cancha Cancha we get to interact with the locals, depending on the season, we can either play soccer with the local kids or visit a local school. We enjoy our afternoon tea and spend the rest of the afternoon taking in our surroundings, take pictures of the local women heading their llamas and alpacas in traditional clothing or the breathtaking mountain peaks that tower above you.
As the sun begins to disappear behind the mountains and the stars start to brighten the skies, we cozy up inside the dinner tent for another outstanding meal by our dedicated chef. We spend the rest of the star-studded night, getting to know the rest of our group and listening to our guide explaining how the Incas have used the constellations to guide their farming. We then settle into out tents to get ready for a challenging second day of hiking.
We depart from Cancha Cancha and walking slightly uphill through the valley, passing stone houses, scenic mountainous ranges and high Anden landscapes. After 2 hours, the path flattens out, and we arrive to the highest pass called Pachacutec Pass (4,758m / 15,610ft). After we have conquered the first summit you can relax and enjoy the views of Pachacutec Lake and the snow-capped mountain peak of Pitusiray. We then head downhill for the next 2 hours to have a well-deserved lunch before continuing downward for another 1.5 hours into the valley where we see a few glacial lakes, herds of alpacas, llamas and sheep. Our camp is at (3,870 m / 12,694ft) close to Kishuarani village.
As we are half way through our trek, it is time to take on the second mountain pass, Hillkiccasa Pass (4,200m / 13,779ft). We hike along with views of the Andean Mountain ranges Colquecruz and Pitusiray which are awe inspiring to see from the pass. Continuing on our trek through the Puna grasslands, productive agricultural sites and pristine lakes for 5 hours to reach Cuncani, small Inca community. Then head down through a lush valley with extensive agricultural areas, fruit trees, varied flora, and native flowers like begonias and wild orchids. Finally, we reach our destination, the Lares Village (3,100m / 10,170ft) where we can soak in the natural volcanic hot springs for an hour or so, have lunch and rest.
After lunch in Lares, we have a private transfer to Ollantaytambo, where we spend the night in a comfortable hotel within walking distance to the town shopping and train station.
We will pick you up from your hotel at 5:45am for a short walk to the strain stain, to catch the 6:10am train for a 1-hour & 15 minute scenic train ride to KM104, the starting point of the Short Inca Trail. After crossing the Urubamba River on a picturesque foot bridge, we show our passports at the checkpoint, pack our picnic lunch and apply some sun creen and insect repellent before proceeding. First stop is an archeoligical site just a few steps from the checkpoint, we spend some time exploring site and learning what this site was used for.
At this point, we begin our 3-hour trek to Wiñay Wayna archaeological site (2,650/8,747ft) also known as Forever Young in Quechua. The first hour and a half is a gentle hike upward. Along the way, we stop at several outlooks where you have an expansive view of the Urubamba River and pass through several microclimates, including a cloud forest. Along the way we stop at a beautiful waterfall with cristal clear waters, a convinient spot to stop and splash yourself with cold water and take a short break before the steep climb that awaits you to the age-less site of Wiñay Wayna.
Upon reaching Wiñay Wayna (Quechua for Forever Young), we explore this site that has remained well preserved for many centuries and that was only discovered after Machu Picchu. Climbing to each section with our guide giving us a quick explanation for the use of each section. Once we reach the top, we arrive at a campsite of the same name. We tuck into our gourmet box lunch and enjoy the dazzling views of this amazing site. Here we intersect with the Classic Inca Trail, this is also a great opportunity to make use of the restrooms.
After lunch, we continue on a gradual hike towards the Sun Gate (2,730m/9,00ft). You will encounter one final challenge before our first magnificent view of the Citadel, these steps are aptly nicknamed the gringo killer steps or monkey steps. Our suggestion, get on all fours and just get it done, these steep stairs are carved directly into the bedrock of the Trail. Once you walk through the Sun gate, Machu Picchu Citadel stands infront and its sheer size will take your breath away. It is just an hour hike down the flat rock stairs to Machu Picchu. Be sure to have your camera ready to take all of the incredible views of Machu Picchu Citadel along the way.
Once you reach Machu Picchu, you will have time to take more photos from the viewing platforms above the site (Guard House), where you can take the famous postcard pictures of Machu Picchu. You will arrive in the afternoon, as the archeological area starts to empty of tourists, which gives you the opportunity to take beautiful photos in the afternoon light with fewer people in your shots. Take your time to take in this magical experience before you take the bus down to Aguas Calientes to check into your hotel. Your will have a delicious dinner, then have time to walk around this picturesque little town, visit the hot springs or just go to your hotel to rest after such an exciting day.
After an early breakfast at your hotel, we are ready to get an early bus at 5:30am up to Machu Picchu just in time to witness the sunrise. It is a truly mystical site straight out of history books and not something you’ll want to miss! After enjoying the sunrise your guide will provide a guided tour of Machu Picchu, which takes around two hours. You will see many of the most important parts of Machu Picchu Citadel during your tour.
After the tour, those people that have booked an extra hike in advance will have time to hike it on their own. When they have had their fill of the incredible views of Machu Picchu, a bus back down to Aguas Calientes will be waiting. Upon arriving at Aguas Calientes lunch is waiting with numerous restaurants to choose from (lunch not included). Depending on your train departure time, there may be some time for shopping, or sightseeing.
The Expedition train will take you back to Ollantaytambo at 2:55pm or 3:20pm, following the spectacular Urubamba River. Enjoy the scenery from your window, as the lush mountain, become more rugged and the soothing river to your left. Back in Ollantaytambo, your driver will meet you at the exit from the train station to take you back to your hotel in Cusco in our private van. You can expect to arrive at your hotel about 7:00pm.
|No. OF PEOPLE||PRICE|
|2 to 8 people||$ 697 USD per person|
***This price includes the extra pack horse which will carry your belongings up to 7 kg / 15lbs. We will provide you a duffel bag to put your belongings in.
***ORANGE NATION provides large Eureka 4 person tents for each 2 trekkers.
***Private price is $100 USD extra per person
*** The short Inca trail to Machu Picchu is available year round except it is closed in February for maintenance — This trek takes you into Machu Picchu by walking through the SUN GATE like in the ancient times, you will explore some amazing Inca ruins along the way like Wiñay Wayna.
Orange Nation provides foam mattresses for every hiker, camping pillow, transfer airport to hotel (only in Cusco), duffel bags, plastic liner bags, and extra blanket for the tent are included in the trek price!
[SamCalendarAlternative rtu=”1″ package=”SIT2D” lang=”en”]
Please read the following information to help answer any questions you may have about our services and the Lares Trek and Short Inca Trail.
We will pick you up from the Cusco airport and take you to your hotel in Cusco. Please let us know your flight details at least 14 days before arrival. Our representative will be holding an orange sign reading ORANGE Nation outside the arrivals. You must exit the terminal to find our representative as they cannot enter. (Please let us know if your hotel is in the Sacred Valley so we can make the necessary arrangments).
The Briefing will be the night before the trek at 6pm in our office which is located at Garcilaso Street 210 , Office Nº:213 (2nd Floor) in the la CASA DEL ABUELO shopping center.
ABSOLUTELY! During the Classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu your main luggage can be stored at our office or at your hotel, both are free.
We will need the following information (FROM EACH PARTICIPANT in your group). This information is necessary to purchase the entrance tickets to Machu Picchu the train tickets:
SECOND, we require a deposit of $211.00 USD per personin order to purchase your entrance to Machu Picchu and train ticket. You can make you deposit by clicking on the PAYPAL symbols on the top of our home page, or you can click on the PAYPAL symbols on our booking page.
You can pay in cash at our office (US dollars or Peruvian soles) here in Cusco to avoid the additional 5.5% charged by the Credit Card companies and PayPal. We have many ATMS within the historical center to withdraw money. You can also pay by PAYPAL online but you will have to pay a 5.5% service charge, charged PAYPAL. To pay your balance through PAYPAL, you need to log into your PAYPAL account using our email address firstname.lastname@example.org to complete the payment.
Unfortunately No. Once we buy the tickets for the Inca Trail, the government does not allow any changes, so we cannot change any departure date after purchase. Tickets are also non transferable nor refundable. If you cancel your Lares Trek and Short Inca Trail, the deposit is non-refundable!
DEFINITELY! You MUST bring your original passport with the SAME passport number you sent us to book your entrance to Machu Picchu, train ticket, other entrances and reservations. They will check when you enter Machu Picchu and to board the train.
In case you are renewing your passport or changing your name, please send us a COPY of your old passport to secure your permit, and we can change it when we receive a COPY of your new passport for a fee of $25 USD per person. We must have a copy of your old and new passport to make the change. Before you change your passport keep a copy of your old one.
If you do not wish to pay this fee you will need to bring both passports to Peru with you. You can enter Peru with your new passport but you will need to show both passports, old and new to enter Machu Picchu or the train. If you do not have both the releventpersonal will not allow you entry into Machu Picchu or the train.
Remember to check your current passport to make sure it doesn’t expire within 6 months of your arrival to Peru!!! The Government of Peru is enforcing the existing law that requires all foreign travelers to have a passport valid for a minimum of six months past the time of entry into Peru. Peruvian authorities will deny entry into Peru for travelers not meeting this requirement.
The weather is very unpredictable and always changing in the Andes Mountains, so it is difficult to say with any certainty. We recommend that you be prepared for warm weather, possible rain showers (Orange Nation provides rain ponchos) and a warm jacket in case of cold. We also recommend that you dress in layers so you may take off or put on clothes as needed.
The climate in Cusco has temperatures between 10º – 20º C, with warm days and cold nights. The best time to hike the Inca trail is between the months of April through October, when the weather is warm. During the months of June, July and August nights are very cold which is why Orange Nation rents good quality 4 season sleeping bags.
The rainy season is during the months of November through March, if you want to hike the Inca Trail during this season, bring warm clothes and be prepared for rain but there will be a beautiful landscape and colorful flowers.
The Average weather conditions on the Inca Trail:
For some visitors, the first hours in Cusco can be summarized as: shortness of breath, a discomfort in the body, dizziness, headaches, stomachaches, even vomiting. As great connoisseurs of natural medicine, the Incas used coca leaves to counteract soroche, quechua for high-altitude sickness.
If you travel from Lima to Cusco, the effect can be immediate. This lack of oxygen, scientifically known as hypoxia, begins to manifest itself at 7,874 ft (2,399 m) above sea level. That’s why right after landing in Cusco, visitors can feel fatigued and have difficulty walking. It is advisable to take it really easy on the first day and, if possible, rest the first few hours to help the body acclimatize to the altitude.
How do people feel after a night of drinking? Thirsty. That’s how you’ll feel when you arrive in Cusco. As already stated, the body dehydrates quickly in high altitudes. We recommend that you drink lots of water before and during your trip to Cusco. Also, avoid heavy meals since your stomach takes longer to digest food at high altitudes. A diet of low proteins and high carbs is advisable.
No one knew better the effects of high altitude than indigenous peoples. Coca is the best natural medicine to combat altitude sickness. The locals consider coca leaves sacred because of their curative powers and they still use it in the same way now as it was in the time of the Incas. It contains iron, vitamins A, B1, B2 and calcium, among other nutrients. Coca makes it easier for your bloodstream to absorb oxygen, suppresses hunger, combats fatigue, headaches and can ease your stomach. Try drinking coca tea, which is found in the lobbies of most hotels in Cusco.
The evening before your trek, you will be given a SMALL DUFFEL BAG to pack your clothes for the next four days. Your weight allowance is up to 7kg / 15lbs. including sleeping bag, so 5kg / 11lbs. Your team of pack horses will carry your duffel bag for you, together with the food and camping gear. It’s important to be aware that you will not have access to your items in the duffel bag until the end of each day, as the pack horses will always be ahead of the group. During the trek, you need a day backpack big enough to carry your personal belongings such as a warm jacket, a rain jacket, camera, sunscreen, snacks, water, etc. A 30 to 50L backpack is sufficient.
The Lares Trek and Short Inca Trail is fairly difficult and you should be prepared and healthy prior to starting. You have to be relatively fit and exercise regularly.
In preparation: try walking 15kms in a day or go to the fitness club in the months leading up to the trek. It is also important to be well acclimatised to the altitude. Try to spend at least 2 days in Cusco (3,350m / 11,047ft) prior to starting the trek.
If you’re happy with the services provided, a tip is appreciated. It means a lot to the staff, and their families, who will take care of you during the tour. It inspires better service and is a major part of the tourism industry across many ORANGE Nation destinations. Of course you are free to tip as much as you want, depending how you feel about the quality of service and the length of your tour.
We are a local sustainable & responsible tour operator which functions according to the ethical principles of tourism: protect the environment and benefit the indigenous communities respecting their culture and religion. We have trained all of our staff to know, understand and respect the local communities and the people living there.
As a Direct Local Tour operator we provide you with a duffel bag at your briefing and INCLUDE an extra porter who will carry up to 7 kgs or 15 lbs. including your 2.5kg sleeping bag, mattress and extra clothing.
We highly recommend a small backpack (30 to 40L) for hiking in the day. A big backpack will not be allowed into Machu Picchu. The remainder of your belongings will be in your duffle bag at camp.
10/10 Amazing experience
If you’re thinking about which agency to use, look no further- Ray and Jimmy went well above and beyond and made this a memorable, safe, fun, and professional experience.
Ray is the most knowledgeable guide I’ve ever had in any country for any excursion - during both the Short Inka Trail and the actual tour of Machu Picchu, Ray’s expertise shined through in his ability to give us a detailed background on every aspect of the history, climate, nature, flora, animals.. anything!
Likewise, Ray and Jimmy were truly the friendliest, kindest hosts that I could have imagined our group having.
Thank you both so much and I will definitely book with you again if (when) I come back!
Did the 2 day Inca trail with Ray and Jimmy they were great and knowledgeable. Ray not only guided us along trail to Machu Picchu but also was an excellent photographer and taught us the history. It was a group of 10 and we had a great time. Even everything going on in Peru, we always felt in good hands.
Short Inca Trial (2-Day)
This tour was the perfect experience for our (group of 10) short trip to Peru. The trail was sometimes challenging, but the views and history made it all worth it. Ray and Jimmy were our guides and imparted sooo much knowledge about the history of Peru, Inca, and beyond. I would definitely recommend!
It was perfect! On the first day we had a great time exploring the Sacred Valley and see the main attractions and learn about the history of this beautiful place.
I would definitely recommend the short Inka trail, I think it was the best way to get to know Machu Picchu and the surrounding area. We arrived at Machu Picchu when most of the crowd was gone and it felt really special.
You won’t regret booking with this tour company, especially if Liz Montesinos is your guide. My boyfriend and I did the 4 day Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu and Rainbow Mountain (private) tour. The tour covered everything; from transportation, hotels, meals, tickets and entrance fees, to stops at local places we would’ve never known to go or check out. We did a private tour because for us we felt this would help us get the most out of our time and experience in Peru
Best mix of adventure, history and nature: Sacred Valley & Short Inca Trail to Machu Picchu
4-day trekking option seemed too intense for us, but we still wanted to experience the entrance to Machu Picchu through the ancient Inka trail, so we opted for Orange Nation’s combination of Sacred Valley & Short Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. I couldn’t be more happy about our decision.
We booked and paid the deposit to Orange Nation / Sam travel for the 4 day Inca Trail and Machu Pichu trip back in 2019. But we couldn't travel in 2020 and 2021 - but the company honoured our agreement and so we came back in 2022.
You won’t regret booking with this tour company, especially if Liz Montesinos is your guide. My boyfriend and I did the 4 day Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu and Rainbow Mountain (private) tour. The tour covered everything; from transportation, hotels, meals, tickets and entrance fees, to stops at local places we would’ve never known to go or check out. We did a private tour because for us we felt this would help us get the most out of our time and experience in Peru. This tour had so many incredible things and places packed into 4 days.
My girl and i did the Machu Pichu trek tour with Orange Nation. It was seriously the most amazing experience that we'll never forget. Gorgeous views! The long trek was worth the amazing view. The tour guide was friendly and very knowledgeable. We considered other tours but chose Orange Nation because we liked the idea of smaller groups and this was definitely worth it. I will be using Orange Nation again next year when I come back to Peru!
Wow, what a wonderful trekking experience! My trip to Peru was amazing thanks to this awesome tour that i took with Orange Nation. I did multiple tours with this company. I'm a solo traveler and everyone in my group was always still friendly and did not make me feel left out. I loved going off the beaten track with this company. It's much better to pay extra to go off the path for the quality experience of this amazing guided tour They definitely helped guide us and gave us a quality experience with a small group and paid special attention to each one of us. I highly recommend using Orange Nation for your next tour in Peru!
Has one of the most outstanding meal services. Our chefs have been highly trained to prepare the best peruavian and International food our treks. You should be prepared to not only have a superb trekking experience, but also a culinary one. "The food has been the highlight for all our hikers"