Vancouver, B.C. - With Inca Trail hiking permits already sold out through September 2012, active travellers are discovering the superior experience of the Lares Trail. Tucked away from mass tourism, the Lares Trail fuses legendary Andean scenery with cultural encounters in small highland communities. Less crowded than its Inca Trail counterpart, the Lares Trail offers adventurers a true Peruvian experience.
The famed ancient highway to the lost city of Machu Picchu, the Inca Trail is a world famous trek. With the growing demand for trail access, Peru has restricted access to 500 permit holders at a time. Despite this limitation, the presence of hundreds of hikers diminishes the possibility of a secluded trekking experience. The Salkantay Trail, a popular Inca Trail alternative, compounds this problem with unlimited trail access resulting in even higher traffic than the Inca Trail.
The four-day Lares Trail trek takes place in a rural setting. This allows for cultural interactions with the Quechua people, dressed in brightly-colored and multi-layered petticoats. The mountain communities have experienced little change over the centuries and are a cultural treasure. Contact with foreigners while on the trail, however, is minimal.
Travellers will trek past mud-brick homes, alpacas and spot guinea pigs running loose around local settlements. Unlike the Inca Trail, llamas are allowed on the trail to carry supplies. Many believe the Lares Trail holds the most beautiful scenery the Andes have to offer.
The Lares Trail begins in the ancient Inca capital of Cuzco and ends in Lares, a village famous for its natural hot springs. From there, it is just a short train journey from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Callientes, the gateway to Machu Picchu.
Lares Trail trekking opportunities are offered by BikeHike Adventures. Travellers can join BikeHike's Trek the Lares Trail every Sunday from April to November 2012. Eight-day trip costs start at $2,299 USD (land only).