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Inca Trail vs. Lares Trek

New York
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Inca Trail vs. Lares Trek

I am traveling to Peru in June with my girlfriend, we were originally planning on hiking on the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, but are now considering the Lares Trail. We are intrigued by the Lares Trail not being as crowded as the Inca Trail, and traveling through the remote villages in the countryside. However, I have read that the Lares Trail is not as scenic as the Inca Trail and you obviously miss out on some of the Inca ruins that you pass on the trail and also having to take the bus up to Machu Picchu rather than hike it for the sunrise.

Does anyone have any recommendations, or has anyone done both hikes?

Thanks.

Fox Island...
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610 posts
17 reviews
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1. Re: Inca Trail vs. Lares Trek

I did not hike the Lares Trail but I can tell you about the Inca Trail. I did not consider it crowded at all. We were never passed nor did we pass anybody the first 3 days except porters. We were at ruins with one other group one time the first 3 days. The 3rd night at Winay Wayna is crowded because everybody camps there. The 4th morning is basically a 2 hour fast walk/jog to get to MP by sunrise and that is crazy crowded. Only 200 tourists a day are allowed on the Inca Trail so it is pretty controlled.

New York
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2. Re: Inca Trail vs. Lares Trek

Fox,

When did you travel on the Inca trail? And do you know whether or not it was sold out at the time?

Fox Island...
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610 posts
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3. Re: Inca Trail vs. Lares Trek

I went last May 23-26. I think it was sold out because I ran into some people that had to do the Lares Trek because they couldn't get on the Inca Trail. They are very different styles of treks so I think you just need to decide whether you want the historical aspect of the Inca Trail, seeing the ruins that are only accessible by foot, and getting to MP the way the Incas did, or the cultural aspect of the villages and valleys of the Lares Trek.

Lima, Peru
Destination Expert
for Cusco, Lima, Arequipa, Peru
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18,253 posts
483 reviews
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4. Re: Inca Trail vs. Lares Trek

The "Real" trail is the Inca Trail, the Lares trail is a nice alternative but not the same.

chicago
8 posts
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5. Re: Inca Trail vs. Lares Trek

Imagine that you drive through Peru and see all of the beautiful mountainous scenery, that is what you see on the Lares Trek. It isn't different or special in any way. So, if people say the Lares Trek is beautiful that is what they mean. I think a lot of people who take the Lares Trek think they are hiking "the back-door route" to Machu Picchu but you aren't even near M.P. To do the Lares Trek you take a five hour bus (or van) ride to get to the start, and then you have to get back on the bus and go back to where you started when you are done. When you go to M.P. you take the bus or train just like everyone else who didn't hike anywhere.

Ashland, Oregon
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6. Re: Inca Trail vs. Lares Trek

Just got back from doing the Lares Trek and I thought it was outstanding, awesome scenery (glaciers, 5000+ meter peaks, waterfalls, lakes, etc.) but the real highlight is hiking through small farming villages with no electricity or water and interacting with the children. The 2 passes (4200 and 4600m) on Lares are higher than the Inca Trail and that was an issue for almost half our group, I'd rate it above moderate difficulty based on that alone. From the others I talked to who did the Inca Trail I think they are very different experiences, but if you want to not see any other tourists for a few days and have a great soak in the hot springs at Lares at the end I'd recommend this trek.

West Palm Beach...
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7. Re: Inca Trail vs. Lares Trek

I would like to remind everybody that these are ALL Inca Trails. Just differtent highways to the same place. Lares is a great option of the main trai is sold out. It is also a better alternative for those who want to intermingle with the locals as mentioned here. I don't think you would be unhappy with either choice.

8. Re: Inca Trail vs. Lares Trek

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