ANDINA TRAVEL PERU Plazoleta Santa Catalina #219 Cusco-Perú Tel +51 84 251892 /

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Lares – Alternative Route to Machu Picchu

###Lares_BaaaThe remote Lares Valley is an excellent trekking place if you want to escape the crowds, clicking of cameras and experience genuine encounters with the local people.[1]

Remote Andean Villages

Breathtaking Landscapes

Hot Medicinal Springs

No Crowds or Overly-Traveled Trails

Personalized Service, Quality, Equipment, and Excellent Meals

‘Situated among the eastern slopes of the Andes and the northern sector of the Cordillera Urubamba, the Lares Valley is a wondrous place of brilliant glacial lakes and sub-tropical valleys filled with a rich assortment of vegetation and wildlife’ [2] with glaciers in the background. Small Quechua-speaking communities live in the Lares Valley continuing centuries old the farming, herding and weaving traditions of their ancestors.

Emerging from the native Andean Queuna (Polilepis) tree forest one enters to a different space-time; into the valley with typical houses made of stone with no windows dating back to the Inca period. Local children soon show up happy to spend some time with the trekkers. A fruit, a school utensil or a small coin will be a welcomed donation.


‘In collaboration with local tour operators [like Andina Travel] and non-government organisations, the people of Lares have been establishing guidelines and goals for sustainable tourism. ’[3] The local communities descending from the Incas receive the benefits directly, which allows them to balance preserving their traditional lifestyle on one hand with being up to date with the surrounding world on the other.

It’s a win-win situation that allows for authentic trekking, positive contribution to the region[4] and intercultural experience together with empowering the local communities to decide about their future. All this blends into an ethical commercial product based on the principals of responsible tourism. And consequently the symbiosis between the local communities and the guests will continue.

Lares donation


The cooperation between a local community and a travel agency can go further. All of the cooks and horse wranglers that work for Andina Travel come from the very communities though which our trekking routes go. This intertwines the tourism business with the local community even more and increases the economic benefit for the remote communities.

Even though the Lares route doesn’t walk into Machu Picchu through the famous Inti Punku (Sun Gate) the trekkers arrive well rested after having spent the night in a hotel in Aguas Calientes/Machu Picchu Pueblo. ‘It’s something that makes a big difference when exploring Machu Picchu. Many people who come off the [Classic] Inca Trail are exhausted having been awake since 4am (or even 2am depending on the agency!). Being tired and in need of a shower can certainly compromise your degree of enthusiasm, especially when the hot springs are awaiting in the town below.’ [5]

The general manager of Andina Travel (tour operator based in Cusco) – Jose Luis Olivera – has been trekking in the region for more than 20 years and has founded 16 different routes in the Lares Valley. Andina Travel continues obeying the rules of sustainable tourism, community development and the guidelines established with the local people.  What’s more the general manager continues founding new unique routes, in order to spread the positive effects of this model of tourism and include more communities into the positive development. For the locals this represents an opportunity to ‘make a future out of their connection with the past’.[6]

You can find more information about the brand new Quillatambo route here: and about our new community projects here:

[1, 3, 4, 5, 6] Mice, Lares Valley – Peru’s ethical trekking by Melisa Hurd

[2]  Rumbos, Alternative Trekking in Cusco by Leslie Dobkin

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