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Lares trek vs Salkantay trek

London, United...
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Lares trek vs Salkantay trek


I am going to Peru this July with my boyfriend and we are stuck between doing the Lares trek and the Salkantay trek, seeing as the Inca Trail is now fully booked...

We are not expert hikers (speaking mainly for myself here) but at the same time a good walk would be a good challenge... also, not being able to do the Inca Trail makes us kind of want to do the next closest alternative...

On the other hand, we like the sound of the culture visit in the remote Andean villages..like Patacancha (or however you spell it). Plus, the thought that the Lares trek is not that touristy (seeing as most tourists go for the hike so pick the Inca Trail or another hard trek, which by the sounds of it is the Salkantay) is also appealing...

So, question 1. Am I wrong to think that the Salkantay and Lares treks are not that touristy..but if I'm right, which one is less touristy? Both of them don't seem that touristy to me but correct me if I'm wrong...

question 2. Which trek is harder? but at the same time worth the difficulty?- we won't necessarily be put off if its hard as long as its worth it...

question 3. Whoever has done either of them...what was it like and would you recommend them?

and lastly, which one is, overall, better???

Thank you :) x

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Chelmsford, United...
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1. Re: Lares trek vs Salkantay trek

The Lares Trek is the least touristy of the two. There are various routes and if you're interested in cultural visits and seeing less tourists then try and find an agency who is offering one of the alternatives to the Patacancha route.

I have done one of the Lares treks (leaving from close to Urubamba and going via Cuncani) and enjoyed it, we didn't see any other tourists on the route and the scenery was great.

The Salkantay Trek is harder than most of the Lares treks because it is much longer and the pass is higher. I'd say I enjoyed both treks equally.

London, United...
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2. Re: Lares trek vs Salkantay trek

Thanks so much! really helpful :D so does that mean you have done both treks? also, I have heard that all three (Inca, Salkantay and Lares) are as hard as each other, and that the Lares trek is actually higher than the Inca trail, is that true? I guess it depends on the Lares route...

Chelmsford, United...
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3. Re: Lares trek vs Salkantay trek

The Inca Trail has the lowest pass of the 3 routes, the Inca Trail's highest point is about 4200m, Salkantay is 4600m and Lares varies depending on the route with the Patacancha route having the lowest pass at 4450m and others with passes between 4500m and 4800m.

Each trek has it's own challenges - Salkantay is quite a bit longer than the other routes which is pretty challenging but when I did it I found it ok due to the gradual ascents and descents, many people find the way up to Dead Woman's pass on the Inca Trail a challenge and there is also a long stretch of stairs to go down on the third day which can be tough on the knees, the Patacancha route of the Lares trek is seen as the easiest of the 3 main treks as the distance walked is less (I have never done this route so I'm just going on hearsay).

Hope this helps

Yorktown, Virginia
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4. Re: Lares trek vs Salkantay trek

This agency, Apus Peru, does a lot of alternative treks, and their website addresses many of the differences:



I did not use this agency, so can't really recommend, but I haven't seen any complaints.

Brussels, Belgium
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5. Re: Lares trek vs Salkantay trek

The Salkantay trek is between higher mountains.

The Lares trek ... does not exist; in faxt there are several Lares treks and dome of them are better than other.

The original Lares trek started from Huaran ending at the hot springs in Lares through 2 passes, it is good, not very touristy.

Agencies have now created other Lares treks that are easier and terminate towards MP (although the original purpose was to end at the hot springs). I don't think the trek that ends at Patacancha is the most interesting, it is short and easy.

The other option that passes through the lakes than the Mandanay wood and ends at Yanahuara is better.

Chelmsford, United...
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6. Re: Lares trek vs Salkantay trek

I've also heard the route from Yanahuara mentioned as one of the nicer routes.

The Huaran route I think is supposed to be the hardest as it's quite a bit longer than the others.

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7. Re: Lares trek vs Salkantay trek

Hi. I just returned from the Salkantay trek a few days ago. I wouldn't call it touristy. The second day of the trek can be challenging, depending on the shape you are in, and whether altitude sickness whacks you or not. Of the 12 or so people on our trek, four...all young, pretty strong guys, were hit by altitude sickness. Yet we had a 64 year old woman (though a regular trekker) do the trip with no altitude problems.

Definitely give yourself a few days in Cusco or somewhere high to acclimatize. On Salkantay, you average about 20 km a day. On day two, the most challenging, you climb an elevation of about 1000 meters to 4600 meters over 10 km distance. Some people elected to horse it up, an available option on our trek. You tent it, and a warm sleeping bag is advisable for camping in the Salkantay pass. The scenery here is quite beautiful.

Food is decent, but not great, and definitely bring your own toilet paper for the camping days. I paid $250 for the trek, some others on the same trip paid less. Different agencies lumped us together because they didn't have enough people to run a trip. That was fine. The guides, especially Nicco, were decent and organized.

If there's a disappointment, it's that after Salkantay pass, once you descend through the cloud forest, you often trek on rural dirt roads. While this was welcome on the knees, it didn't feel all that adventurous or trekky at that point. I can't speak to the Lares trip and it's cultural aspects. We didn't see a lot of other trekkers doing Salkantay in March. Just one other group. There was a great option to do a very good zipline on the fourth day, before walking to Agua Calientes. Worth the 90 soles.

Chelmsford, United...
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8. Re: Lares trek vs Salkantay trek

The zipline is called Cola de Mono, another good option if you are camping in La Playa and not in Santa Teresa is to head up to Llactapata on day 4.

9. Re: Lares trek vs Salkantay trek

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Cusco, Peru
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10. Re: Lares trek vs Salkantay trek

Lares is less busy and you see more local culture. The people along the salkantay trek do not live as traditionally as they do in Lares. Patacancha itself not a lovely village as it once was, kind of spoiled. Route that comes down via Yanahuara is lovely. Or the one that not many do is via Pumahuanca / I think, I forget the exact name, lovely though, bit higher. Both those downhills as people and the Huaran one are tough on the knees than Patacancha.

Salkantay is getting much busier and as someone mentions the dirt road has kind of encroached quite a lot, still nice though