Lares Valley to Patacancha

and Machupicchu

4 days / 3 nights – Private Services

Lares Valley to Patacancha and Machupicchu

4 days / 3 nights – Private Services

The Lares Valley

The village of Lares lies north of Cusco and east of Machupicchu, giving name to a Valley and area with phenomenal landscapes including breathtaking snow-capped peaks, mountain passes, waterfalls, glacier lagoons and cloud forests as we descend into lower elevations at valley levels.

However, the most remarkable aspect of the area is its communities. The Lares Valley is dotted with small villages focused on agriculture, cattle herding and textile production, As we hike and approach villages from afar, flecks of bright red mark the landscape: it is local people dressed in their colorful traditional attire, going about their daily work. Llamas and alpacas graze the pastures, and kids coming back from school greet us with a mix of joy, shyness and curiosity. The communities are usually family-oriented and often work together. The women use hand looms to produce renowned-quality textiles, which are then sold in nearby markets or used for their own purposes. Some community houses maintain traditional style and distribution, with common areas featuring old ovens and stoves, and guinea pigs running around the floors.

Patacancha is a lovely community in the heights of Ollantaytambo, with a remarkable textile tradition and really welcoming people. Along with the inhabitants of Ollantaytambo and Huilloq, the people of Patacancha are considered true descendants of the Incas. These communities and villages, which still uphold ancient dressing codes in their modern day-to-day lives, are striving to survive, threatened by the mass-produced textile garments sold in some nearby tourist markets, putting the future of their ancient textile production and alpaca breeding activities at risk.

About this Trek

This four-day itinerary offers an outstanding combination of amazing mountain and valley scenery in a remote area, the visit of authentic Quechua communities and that of the world-famous Sacred Inca city of Machupicchu. This hike starts in the Lares Valley and village of the same name, where you can enjoy a night dip in its relaxing hot springs, to then proceed to the Andean communities of Huacahuasi, Patacancha and Willoq, reaching the village of Aguas Calientes on the third night, after a two-hour train-ride from Ollantaytambo. Finally, the fourth day is devoted to visiting the impressive Inca citadel of Machupicchu.

Enigma’s experienced trekking guides enrich the days with their knowledge and sharing, covering diverse topics such as Inca history, archaeology, architecture, social structure, economy, politics, astronomy, and fascinating traditions and beliefs. Lodging is within designated and authorized campsites along the route.

Our Insight

This is a perfect option for those in search of human and cultural interaction: it is a trek beneath the skin of rural Peru, its Andean communities, its people, and lifestyle. It’s a chance to get inside their houses, speak and laugh with them, understand their lives, their challenges, their values and their traditions. The route options in the area are many, with different villages and even some archaeological remains to be visited. We adore the unique chance of human connection along the different communities that this area offers. This four-day version includes Machupicchu…what else could we ask for?

Whereas our Sacred Valley to Lares four-day trek may include more hiking than this slightly shorter one (although with the same duration), this version includes the visit to the Patacancha community, for those with a marked cultural and textile angle and thirst in their visit to Peru.


Day 1 Cusco to Cancha Cancha

We leave Cusco at 4.00am in a private transport and drive for a approximately four hours through part of the Sacred Valley to then head towards Lares (3100m/10168ft), a little rural village located in the beautiful valley of the same name, hosting some well-known hot springs. Upon arrival, we leave our equipment and continue towards Choquecancha, an impressive archaeological site with amazing views of the neighboring valleys. After our visit, we hike back to Lares, where we can enjoy an evening dip in its hot springs before or after our dinner is served. Our camp will be set next to the thermal baths and access is open the whole night.

Meals: L, D

Total distance 10 km (6.21miles)
Estimated hiking time 3-4 hours
Maximum altitude point 3, 850 m (12,628 ft)
Campsite altitude 3,100 m (10,168 ft)

Day 2 Lares to Ipsayqocha

After an early wake up and breakfast, we meet our horsemen and horses and leave our campsite at around 9.00am to walk along an ascending path that will lead us to Huacahuasi, (3600m/11808ft). This remote Andean community is located in an impressive valley, where we can appreciate the typical lifestyle and house constructions of the Quechua communities living at high altitude. We stop to visit a typical house and family, before we enjoy our lunch. In the early afternoon, we continue our hike, ascending toward the mountain pass of Ipsay (4450m/14596ft/3h), walking past little communities and Andean flats (pampas) with grazing llamas and alpacas. The pass offers impressive views of Mount Veronica and the surrounding snow-capped peaks. Just half an hour from this point is Ipsayqocha, a beautiful lagoon next to which we set our camp and spend the night, amidst awesome scenery.

Meals: B, L, D

Total distance 16 km (9,94 miles)
Estimated hiking time 7-8 hours
Maximum altitude point 4,450m (14,596 ft)
Campsite altitude 4,200 m (13,776 ft)

Day 3 Ipsaqocha to Patacancha and Aguas Calientes / Machupicchu

We leave our camp and continue our hike following a downhill trail, until we reach Patacancha (1.5-2h). We will stop to visit this well-known Andean textile community that still preserves the ancient Quechua traditions and dressing code at its best. If time allows, we then continue an additional 1.5 hours until we reach Huilloq, hiking along a gorge with increasing vegetation as we approach the Sacred Valley. Huilloq is another well-preserved authentic Andean community, where we meet our private transport and drive to Ollantaytambo. We then board an afternoon train that takes us to Aguas Calientes. Upon arrival, we are accommodated at the selected hotel.

Meals: B, L

Total distance 7 km (4.35 miles)
Estimated hiking time 3-4 hours
Maximum altitude point 4,220 m (13,841 ft)

Day 4 Aguas Calientes / Machupicchu to Cusco

We wake up early and board a bus, which will take us up to Machupicchu where we begin a complete guided tour of the Inca citadel that will take approximately two hours. Then, if you would like, you can choose to climb Huaynapicchu or Machupicchu Mountain, where you can experience spectacular views of all of Machupicchu and the surrounding the valleys and mountains, or visit the Temple of the Moon or the impressive Inca Bridge (***). In the afternoon, we meet in the town of Aguas Calientes where, if you like, you can visit and relax in its hot springs. From here we take the train back to the city of Cusco, where we arrive after nightfall.

Meals: —

* Departure and arrival times are approximate
** Campsites are subject to change according to the designation of the governmental institution regulating the use of the Inca Trail, as well as to our guide’s criteria and the group progress
*** The visit to these sites is subject to limited capacity and additional cost, and has to be booked in advance. Please let us know at the time of your booking should you wish to add any of these options to your visit



Moderate: The hiking portion of this itinerary is concentrated on day 2 and the morning of day 3. Day 4 is devoted to visiting Machupicchu. Therefore, despite the altitude of the Mountain pass of Ipsay, this program is rated as moderate, the first day acting as acclimatization day.

Departure Dates

Daily departures are available throughout the year, except during the month of February. The period March to December is recommended to avoid the heart of the rainy season.

All private service departure dates are adapted to your request.

Group Size

Size requested by client

Price Information

Price per person
Prices per person depend on the group size, the larger the group the lower the price per person.

Please contact us to check our prices, specifying:

  • trekking program
  • number of people in the trek
  • departure date
  • requested train service: Expedition (Economy), Vistadome (Superior) or Hiram Bingham (Belmond Luxury train service)

Available discounts (these discounts are not cumulative)

  • Teenagers: US$ 20.00 (up to 18 years of age, passport copy required for all bookings)
  • Children: US$ 40.00 (up to 3 years of age, passport copy required for all bookings)

Additional discounts (may be added to the above)

  • Early bookings: 5% on full program price for all bookings confirmed at least 6 months in advance. This discount may not be applicable in case a promotional price is offered.

What’s Included

  • Pre-departure briefing
  • Pick up from your hotel in the morning and transfer in private transport to Lares (starting point of the trek)
  • 1D Machupicchu entrance fee
  • Lares hot springs entrance fee
  • Personal tents: 2 people in each 4-people-capacity tent, to allow for higher comfort and a safe keeping of backpacks. Our tents are 3-season, highly maintained to ensure an excellent performance in the field. Eureka Timberline 4 Outfitter tents are employed when double accommodation is requested and Eureka Timberline 2XT for single travelers.
  • One inflatable sleeping pad per person
  • One sleeping bag per person: our sleeping bags are -18ºC-comfort (0ºF), mummy form and include a sleeping liner. They are cleaned after every use and have a maximum usage of 30 trips
  • One pillow per person
  • Dining tent with tables and chairs
  • Kitchen tent
  • Toilet tent with bio-degradable toilet facilities
  • English-speaking, professional, and official tourist guide (2 guides for groups of over 8 people)
  • Chef and cooking equipment
  • Pack animals (to carry tents, food and cooking equipment) – days 1 to 3
  • Pack animals to carry personal gear up to a maximum of 10kg per person (including sleeping bag and sleeping pad) – days 1 to 3
  • 1 emergency horse every 6 persons – days 1 to 3
  • Wranglers – days 1 to 3
  • Accommodation for all our staff
  • Meals (02B, 03L, 02D + daily morning snack + daily tea service except last day). Vegetarian or special menus are available at no extra cost
  • One textile snack bag per person, to avoid the usage of plastic bags that contaminate our environment
  • Filtered boiled water from lunch time on first day onwards
  • Bio-degradable personal hand soaps
  • Bio-degradable dishwashing detergents used by our kitchen staff
  • Other things: hot water every morning and evening for washing purposes / boiled water to fill in your water bottle every morning and night, and at lunch time if requested with enough advance notice
  • First-aid kit including emergency oxygen bottle
  • Private transport from Huilloq to Ollantaytambo
  • Train ticket from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes – third day
  • Round trip bus ticket Aguas Calientes – Machupicchu – Aguas Calientes – fourth day
  • Train ticket from Aguas Calientes to Cusco (Expedition, Vistadome or Hiram Bingham service, upon request) (*)
  • Transfer from train station to your hotel in Cusco
  • 24-hour guest service: please ask for the emergency number available during your time of visit

(*) Should there be no train tickets available in the direct route Aguas Calientes – Poroy (Cusco), a train ticket Aguas Calientes – Sacred Valley with an additional private transportation from the Sacred Valley to your hotel in Cusco will be provided. This does not apply for the Hiram Bingham luxury train service.

What’s Not Included

  • Accommodation in Aguas Calientes on Day 3: please let us know if you wish us to assist you with this booking
  • Breakfast on the first day
  • Dinner on the third day
  • Breakfast, lunch and dinner on the last day: after the guided tour at Machupicchu, you can enjoy free time to further visit the ruins and choose to have lunch either in Machupicchu or in Aguas Calientes at your own expense. Arrival in Cusco is estimated after nightfall, dinner being at your own expense, too.
  • Visit to the hot springs in Aguas Calientes: a relaxing way to wrap-up the 4-day trek while you’re awaiting the return train to Cusco, only 10 minutes from the village center, entrance fee is s/10.00 (Peruvian Soles).
  • Huaynapicchu entrance fee: if you would like to climb this mountain, an additional entrance fee applies (US$70.00).
  • Machupicchu mountain entrance fee: if you would like to climb this mountain, an additional entrance fee applies (US$70.00). This is a separate mountain visit from the Machupicchu citadel.
  • Tips: please note that our agency staff is well paid so please feel free to tip or not as you wish.

Optional services at additional cost

  • This private service already includes the hire of a pack animal to carry up to 10kg of personal items, a personal sleeping bag and a personal sleeping pad.
  • Accommodation in Aguas Calientes can be booked for you. Please let us know if you wish us to make the hotel booking and, in this case, your requested hotel category and accommodation, and the number of nights you wish us to book. Our Reservation Department will provide you with a list of our selected hotels, services, and prices for you to choose from. Our list of hotels is based on previous client reports and is updated regularly.
  • Please contact us should you require additional services.

Please contact us should you require additional services.



Cusco’s climate is divided into two differentiated seasons: the rainy season, from November to April (the heaviest rainfalls occurring usually between January – March); and the dry season, from May to October. The dry season is colder, so temperatures can drop to below 0 ºC at night.

Along the route from Lares to Ollantaytambo, temperatures range from 10-20ºC during the day if it’s sunny, to 5-15ºC during the day if not sunny and depending on the elevation. Temperatures drop at night, especially in the second campsite, reaching 0-5ºC although rarely below. In Aguas Calientes and Machupicchu, at lower altitude, temperatures are usually warmer though warm clothes are still recommended at night.

Appropriate clothing along this trek

Hiking pants and T-shirts are commonly used during the day, complemented by sweaters, fleeces and waterproof jackets. It is very convenient to have light raingear available in the daypack (rain poncho or jacket and/or rain pants) as the weather changes easily and rains can suddenly occur. At night, warm clothing is required along the route. In Machupicchu, convertible hiking pants are useful, as can be switched into shorts if necessary. The rest of necessary implements are included in the Pack List.

Price Information

Hiking pants and T-shirts are recommended during the day, complemented by sweaters, fleeces and waterproof jackets. It is very convenient to have light rain gear available in the daypack (rain poncho or jacket and/or rain pants) as the weather changes easily and rains can suddenly occur. At night, warm clothing is required in the first two campsites, down jackets can be useful, otherwise a fleece and a jacket. During the third day (if sunny) and in Machupicchu, convertible hiking pants are useful, as can be switched into shorts if necessary. Machupicchu has a warm climate, getting only cold at night. The rest of necessary implements are included in the Pack List.

What’s Included

  • A backpack with a change of clothes for the whole period of the trek
  • Rain gear (jacket and pants if available) or rain poncho (plastic ponchos can be purchased in Cusco)
  • Strong footwear, waterproof trekking boots recommended
  • Sandals or jogging shoes for a higher comfort while at camp
  • Warm clothes, including jacket and fleeces. Thermal clothing is recommended, especially for sleeping
  • Flashlight/headlamp and batteries
  • Camera and batteries (batteries consume more quickly under cold conditions)
  • Hat or cap to protect you from the sun, rain and cold
  • Sun block
  • After-sun cream or hydrating cream for face and body
  • Insect repellent – minimum 20% DEET – no malaria risk has been reported
  • Toilet paper and tissues
  • Snacks: biscuits, energy bars, chocolate, dried fruits, muesli, etc. Please note that we do provide a daily morning snack and our meal service is very complete and well supplied. This recommendation applies for all clients being used to a specific snack, as it may happen that it is not included in our selection.
  • Water container and water for the first morning.
  • Optionally: water-sterilizing tablets in case you pick up water from streams or rivers along the route. Otherwise, we provide filtered boiled water, which is safe to drink and has never reported any health issues.
  • Small towel
  • Swimsuit (if you wish to take a bath in the hot springs)
  • Cash in soles and/or US$
  • Original passport
  • Optional: walking sticks or poles (rubber covers required in order not to damage the archaeological sites)



If you would like to make a reservation for this trek, please follow the process below:

  1. Please make sure to read and agree with the Booking Terms & Conditions as your booking is subject to these terms.
  2. Then click on the Book Now button below. This will lead you to a Reservation Form that we kindly request you to fill out and submit.
  3. Once received by us, one of our travel consultants will reply within 48 hours to confirm or discuss options available for your booking.
  4. When your booking is confirmed, a money deposit will be requested within a specific time frame to secure your reservation.
  5. Once we have received your deposit and if received in time, your booking is secured and confirmed. A service confirmation form will be sent to you including all the details of your program.

In case you have any questions or require additional information, please contact us, we will be very glad to assist you.


  • Because all our treks are only and strictly operated by Enigma and its very professional staff. Other agents claiming daily departures operate their treks jointly with other companies in service rotation. Hence, you book a departure with tour operator A, which risks being operated by tour operator B without you knowing. ENIGMA has a high quality of service and a great reputation, which is only possible by ensuring that only ENIGMA staff operates ENIGMA treks. Even if we only have a single traveller for a set departure date, we will operate this trek.
  • Because we have and can prove an excellent treatment of our staff, including chefs, porters, and wranglers. ENIGMA not only complies with the Porter Law and Regulation, but our wages are above the minimum requested by law and above the average paid by most of the tour operators. All our staff eats well and more than enough, they are provided with sleeping bags, thermal clothes, sleeping tents, trekking boots, thick rain ponchos, harnesses, and lumbar support for their duty on field. Most importantly, they have a program ensuring them a minimum number of departures per month and hence, a minimum income per month as well.
  • Because we are very careful to choose and train the best guides for each group. About 80% of our guides work exclusively for ENIGMA and are highly trained, have excellent language proficiency and communication skills, and are regularly evaluated by the reports each guest fills out after each service. We have specific guides for special requests (ornithology, history and archaeology, flora and fauna, and also generalist guides). Our guides have been trained in Wilderness First Response and/or Advanced First Aid by NOLS and are updated every two years by local authorized schools. We also have guides proficient in several languages besides English and Spanish, including French, Italian, German, Chinese and Japanese. In all of our treks, not only on the Inca Trail, there will be a guide for every 8 guests with one of them being the head guide. This ensures a higher safety and attention to guests versus other operators.
  • Because we have some of the best equipment in field, renewed every year, employing excellent brand and performance tents, surgical steel vaiselle for best hygiene, the best water filters, therm-a-rest sleeping systems, with adequate-warmth bags and inflatable and high-isolation pads, and orthopedic foamy three-level base sleeping pads, among others.
  • Because we have one of the best in-field meal services in the area: throughout our decades of operation, our chefs have been trained by several institutes in Lima and Cusco, with chefs coming from the NY Culinary Institute and renowned chefs from Lima as well, with whom menus have been designed and implemented. Their operation ensures maximum hygiene. Above all, be prepared to not only have a superb trekking experience but also a culinary one, including generous and delicious breakfasts, snacks, lunches, tea services and dinners that we can adapt to your very specific requests. Our menus include a variety of Peruvian and international food and also cater to vegetarian, vegan and special dietary requests (Atkins, Gluten-free, etc.), all at no extra cost. ENIGMA is recognized for its gourmet meals, the quantity and quality of food, as well as for its outstanding menu design. We take natural, locally sourced ingredients on the treks and prepare them in the field; we do not take prepared low-quality food, the meals being an added experience in all of our programs.
  • Because ENIGMA’s responsible operation makes sure to have a minimal impact on the environment of the natural protected areas in which it runs. We train all our staff in our environmental policy, and while ENIGMA used to be the only Inca Trail Official Operator to run a yearly Inca Trail Clean-Up, this initiative has now been taken over by the government, and we continue to participate actively.
    • Because we pay legal taxes on all services contributing to the country’s growth and development. Other tour operators do not declare their sales or most of their earnings, or declare them with a lower value, thus allowing them to lower their prices through a dishonest competition. We always declare our earnings and pay the appropriate taxes.
  • Because all our Group Services have a maximum group size of 12, whereas most tour operators work with a maximum of 16 on the Inca Trail, since this is the number authorized by law, or even higher on other routes. We have established 12 as a maximum since this increases the quality of our service, as there are spots along the treks where being 16 makes it impossible to provide a personalized service.
  • Private Services have no size limit. Enigma guarantees to assign 1 guide for each 8 trekking guests, which means an additional guide is added as of guest number 9.
  • Also, our excellent treatment to our staff is not reduced in the low season: porter wages and guide fees are maintained throughout the rainy season, a gesture highly appreciated by our staff.
  • Finally, due to all of the above, we have very highly satisfied guests, as our numerous testimonials prove. In our Testimonials section of our website, you may find reports dating from 2003 (when we started our operation) to today. The original reports are available at our office in Cusco.
  • We are aware other operators may offer the Inca Trail or other programs at a lower price. This does not mean they are offering the same program at a lower price: the level of service will not be the same. We understand price is an issue, but we kindly request our potential guests and clients to choose a responsible tour operator as otherwise, you risk indirectly promoting the exploitation of rural communities and the growth of informal and illegal operators that do not support the country’s development and growth.

The most enjoyable aspect of this trek was earning about the culture & being able to check Mahupicchu off are bucket list, we felt very well. Thank you very much. We thought everything was top notch!!

Jussi Sasaya / UK
Lares Trek 3d/2n
September 2022