In many travel circles and wanderlust journals, the Peruvian Andes have become synonymous with some of the world’s best trekking. After all, it is within this particular stretch of the Andean mountain range where your soul connects with soaring mountains, jagged white-peaked glaciers, crystal-clear turquoise lagoons, and precious Incan archaeological remains!
The real benefit of hiking in Peru these days is the excellent variety of trek routes and trek areas, including, but also in addition to, the coveted Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. In this quick article, we want to shed some light on four exciting highlights to the off-the-beaten-path Lares Trek – also known as the “Weavers’ way.”
Some people claim this trek an alternative to the Inca Trail. However, it is so much more than your run-of-the-mill “second-pick” if Inca Trail tickets have run out. And if you’re an avid hiker who has already conquered the Inca Trail, you may even choose to return to Peru and add the Lares Trek as your “first-pick” this time around!
Local Andean culture
The Lares Trek is actually named after the Lares District of Peru, in the Calca Province within the Sacred Valley and Department of Cusco. And the Lares District is home to 64 individual indigenous communities. Many of these communities sprinkled throughout the region have opened their homes to trekkers passing through, and you will spend each night in a different community.
These Quechua communities, such as the welcoming enclave of Cancha Cancha, are also home to some of the most talented Peruvian master weavers! Utilizing various sheep, alpaca and llama fibers, and natural dyes, these weavers (both men and women, however primarily women) fold sacred iconography into their designs. You will get a glimpse at the weaving process of these breathtaking textiles, such as chullos (earflap hats), ponchos, and llikllas (blankets), as well as contribute to the community if you wish to purchase a unique and meaningful textile to bring home with you.
Because the “Lares Trek” essentially means hiking through the Lares District, there are a few different trails you can take, following about three different pre-established routes. You can spend as few as four full days hiking and three nights camping, or five days and up to seven days with Mountain Lodges of Peru.
Also, considering the Lares Trek in its many forms does not have a permit-limit per day, like the Inca Trail, you can add in a version of the hike that works with your schedule and exact dates, without needing to plan more than six months in advance. Not to mention, you can also tack on the shorter 2-day Inca Trail hike to Machu Picchu at the tail end of your Lares Trek if you want to combine Lares with a Machu Picchu tour.
Typically visited on the very first day of your trek, the Lares Hot Springs are a welcome respite from the searing Andean chill. Consisting of six individual pools, the Lares hot springs are considered to have healing properties due to the thermal water’s unique chemical and mineral composition.
Don’t let the yellowish hue of the water turn you off, as this is precisely due to this healing mineral composition including calcium, sodium, chlorides, potassium, magnesium, sulfates, iron, zinc, boron, and copper. And the water temperature of each pool ranges from 96 degrees Fahrenheit to an incredible 110 degrees Fahrenheit, not for the faint of heart, but also for maximum healing.
As with most hiking trails in the Andes, a trek through Lares offers sweeping panoramic views every step of the way. Including lush valley vegetation, sparse high-altitude expanse, and delicate glacial waterfalls!
If you’re itching to hike through a region of the Peruvian Andes drenched in history and vibrant living culture, then consider embarking on your own Lares Trek. Contact us for more information on how to get the planning started!