Tag Archives: Inca Trail

Lares Trek vs Inca Trail

Machu Picchu is a site that gathers crowds, with thousands of tourists visiting on a daily basis. Trails wind up towards the mountain peaks over some incredible views of the rugged, ancient landscape. The Inca Trail is the popular tourist route we all know about, but there’s more than one way to get there. One alternative to the Inca Trail is the Lares trek, if you’re hiking Machu Picchu, both these trails offer exciting views and are equally as challenging to get through. Here is your guide to the Lares trek vs Inca Trail.

Lares Trek

Distance: 34 kilometres
Altitude: 4,550 metres

The Lares trek is by no means an “easier” trek compared to the Inca, it has a similar difficulty rating, making it an excellent alternative to the Inca Trail if you want to avoid the crowds. Despite its proximity to Cusco and other touristic spots, the area of Lares features a very traditional way of life. You’ll be taken off the beaten track through the spectacular Lares Valley. On the road less travelled, you have the opportunity to take a step back in time and experience a rural traditional life, as you pass through remote mountain communities.

You’ll likely witness locals carrying goods on horseback, which is the only form of transport in the area. If you’re looking for a more cultural experience, then the Lares trek is an excellent alternative. You will have the opportunity to visit and interact with the Andean communities, share experiences and learn about each other’s lives. This trek offers a real insight into the lives of the people of Cusco.


Lares is characterised by its wide, glacial valleys and Andean moorland. As you descend to lower elevations near the Sacred Valley the area is much greener. As with all treks to Machu Picchu the paths will be rocky, so it is recommended you wear hiking boots to protect your feet and support your ankles. You also need to prepare for the sometimes icy temperatures at night. There will be times where the elevation is higher, and you will often walk up sloped hills, so bear that in mind to avoid any injuries.


This area is much less visited than other treks to Machu Picchu, which means you likely won’t find it very crowded. The Inca Trail is known to get booked out well in advance of its peak season, so it’s great to have this trek as an option.

Machu Picchu, Peru
Machu Picchu, Peru

Inca Trail

Distance: 45 kilometres
Altitude: 4,200 metres.

Everyone has heard about the Inca Trail, because it is one of the most popular trails to Machu Picchu. However, it is only one part of the huge network of paths winding their way up the mountain.

The actual Inca Trail doesn’t start until day two or three of our adventure, as the original has been restored in most other parts. Day two is a tough day with a steep climb and plenty of steps, but you will be rewarded with stunning views into the valley when you reach the top. The declines can be steep, and hard on the knees. On day three, you’ll climb up and down with a view of the lakes and beautiful ruins below.


The trekking terrain is difficult and challenging you will have to walk very carefully. In the beginning, the terrain is quite flat but will gradually steepen. The terrain on day three is the most different from the other days, with plenty of lush greenery. Otherwise, you can expect rocky, uneven surface on your ascent. We don’t recommend you attempt the Inca Trail if you suffer from vertigo as there are many high spots with narrow walkways.


It can be quite crowded during peak season, and places usually fill quickly. There will be days when you don’t see any people, depending on the season you go, but there may be times when you see other tour groups along the way.

What our team says…


“Walking along the Inca Trail was one of the most majestic things I have ever done, and it made me fall in love with trekking even more.

An old family member of mine did the trek about 5 years ago, and I was so captivated by what she had been through, trekking at a high altitude, and seeing those beautiful ruins and views. She told me it was hard, and that she had to take it very slow, as breathing at that altitude was very tough. I couldn’t really understand what she meant until I actually arrived in Cusco. You step out of the plane and straight away the air is so thin that walking up a set of stairs is ten times harder than back home. However, with two acclimatising days in Cusco, the Inca Trail felt achievable.

Despite going at the busiest time of the year, it never felt overcrowded. You’d definitely come across different groups along the way, but everyone walked in a different pace and to be honest, it was nice to meet other people than just my tour group (which consisted of just me, my dad, and staff). It gave me a chance to talk to them about what they were doing here, if they’ve done any other trails that could go on my bucket list – and a chance for me to rest and breath!

I’m not going to lie; day two on the steep ascend and the peak at 4,200 metres was very long and tough. But once I got to the top, the feeling of what I had just achieved together with my dad was amazing. Overall, I didn’t find the trail too hard as everyday is so different, and you see so much along the way that you forget how hard it actually is.

If I was asked to do this trek again tomorrow – I would go in an instant. That’s how incredible it was.”


“When I decided to tackle the Inca Trail after hearing so many incredible stories, I didn’t really know what to expect apart from a difficult climb and a step back in time.

We departed from Cusco on the morning of the trail in what felt like the middle of the night. Arriving at the start of the trail was very exciting with a real busy buzz of activity from all the porters, trekkers and leaders, and not forgetting a donkey or two. Every turn and step revealed a stunning view or ancient ruin buried on the hillside, it was quite amazing. I had a lovely group of 15 people that came from the USA, UK and Germany. We all helped each other to climb the trail each day with encouraging words and advice.

Every night we gathered in the tent for the most incredible three course meals prepared by our phenomenal porters and chefs. I really don’t know how they carry such huge bags up the mountain especially as they seem to run most of the time! The second day was the most challenging in terms of climbing as there were a lot of steps and it was almost all uphill! But we all made it and cheered each other when we reached the top.

The final day required us to be up and out of our tents by 3am! We then sat in the dark waiting for the gates to open. When they did, it was a mad rush of people trying to get to the top first. After a fast hour and half climb, we made it! Machu Picchu was a marvel with so many nooks and crannies to explore. I loved every minute of this adventure!”

We hope our guide has made the decision a little easier, but your Machu Picchu trek will be amazing no matter how you choose to get there!

Llamas, Peru
Machu Picchu, Peru

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The Inca Trail: A Photographic Journey

The Inca Trail is a perfect introduction to mountain trekking for first timers. The four-day hike through the Andes has its fair share of steep climbs, peaks of high altitude and tricky terrain. However, it’s not a track exclusive to athletes or mountaineers. Instead, the track calls hundreds of first-time trekkers each year, who with a bit of training and a can-do attitude, achieve the trek with no major difficulty.

The trail takes in a limited number of trekkers per season, which means the path is clear from other groups until you reach the Sun Gate on day four. The opportunity to have the Andes to yourself as you walk through four different eco-systems, from cloud forest to high jungle, is a once-in-a-lifetime adventure for all of your senses.

Machu Picchu is a must see for any traveller, and trekking your way through the Andes is the most authentic way to experience this ancient wonder.

Cusco City


After a long flight from Australia to Lima, we woke up early to board a flight to Cusco. The entire city of Cusco is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and for good reason. The Incas described the city as The Sacred City and as soon as you arrive you can feel it has a special spirituality to it.

Although it has become the leading tourist destination of Peru, Cusco never felt crowded. Instead, the city was calm and slow in pace. The streets are covered in cathedrals and dotted with cobbled stones, with the town cuddled by nearby mountains.

At our first lunch, half our team ordered Alpaca burgers, swallowing them down with Peru’s specialty – Pisco Sours. We spent the first few days acclimatising, and exploring this beautiful city at the pace it deserves.

Trekking Day One: Cusco to Llactapata


This morning we set off to the starting gate of the Inca Trail. After receiving the first of four official stamps on our passport, we crossed a small bridge and began our journey retracing the footsteps of the ancient Inca civilisation.

Today’s walk was a perfect introduction to the trail. We were blessed with the comfort of flat surfaces and being able to look up from our foot placement to take in our first 7km of the trail. As we stood above a cliff top, our guide, Jose, asked us to look down and to the right.

“Here is where we will be sleeping tonight,” he said. The sight of our first campsite was a moment for us all. For many of us we were first-time trekker, some had never even camped before.


Trekking Day Two: Llactapata to Llulluchapampa


Niceties are over. Any sign of paved steps or even real ground have been left behind. It’s a day of ups and downs … literally. Although we stare at our feet for a lot of the day, our Jose does make sure we stop to look up at some amazing sights we cross along the way. From Inca sights and ruins, to the unique botany and birdlife and the cloud high, snow-capped mountain peaks that surround us.


Trekking Day Three: Llulluchapampa to Phuyupatamarca ruins


After waking up to coco tea and a delicious breakfast of oats and fruit, we a very quickly reminded of what we are here to do. Within the first few minutes of today’s trek, the group is stopped for a rest by our guide. The incline is tough, we’re stopping every 40m for a break on our way to the highest peak of the trek, Dead Womans Pass at 4100m.

Today is known as the ST day. It is the longest distance, the hardest terrain, however, it is also the nicest scenery. As we reach the peak at Deads Womans Pass there is a sense of achievement, we’re well over half-way through our journey. From here, it downhill. The terrain proves just as demanding as our uphill challenges, but as we have done for the past few days, we take each step one at a time.

Tonight’s campsite was a definitely highlight for the team. We arrived as the sun was setting and we literally slept amongst the clouds and stars. Even for those who resisted the idea of camping, the natural beauty around us brought a real feel of luxury to the adventure.


Trekking Day Four: Phuyupatamarca ruins to Aguas Calientes


It fascinating how quickly you can adjust to things. It feels like waking up at 5am, trekking all day, showering with a bucket of water and having small sips of air is the most normal and natural thing in the world. By day four of our trek, our bodies and mind were so adjusted to the many challenges, that we could really take everything in. The best word to describe this day is euphoria. Everything looks and feels like such a well-earnt blessing. We all found enough energy to talk and share in the elation we all felt today, instead of the usual silence during our walks.

This was it, we were on our way to Machu Picchu! Just moments away. We held hands, and crossed the Sun Gate as a team. There it was, an ancient wonder of the world, Machu Picchu. There were tears, laughs, and many hugs. Despite the aches and pains, we all agree we would not want to see Machu Picchu any other way.


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Travelling with Turia

We’re pretty lucky here at Inspired Adventures to cross paths with some amazing people. Turia Pitt is one such woman.

Turia’s life was turned upside down when she was caught in a bushfire while running an ultra-marathon in the Kimberley. After an intense (and ongoing) recovery period, Turia has become an ambassador for Interplast, a charity which exists to provide medical training and free rehabilitation surgeries to people throughout the Asia Pacific region.

Turia is an author, athlete, motivational speaker, engineer, and to us here at Inspired, a true adventurer—having trekked the Great Wall of China in 2014 and soon to conquer the Inca Trail.

With so many adventures ahead, we caught up with Turia to talk all things travel…

What is your earliest adventure memory?

We didn’t have a television when we were young, so naturally all we wanted to do was watch TV! We would climb up a tree onto the roof of our house, then jump from the roof of our house to the roof of our neighbour’s house. We’d then watch the neighbour’s TV through their skylight.

What is the one thing you can’t travel without?

My iPad. I’m an avid reader and I love that it lets you travel with a thousand books.

What is your favourite international destination?

Probably the island of Nuku Hiva—it’s within the Marquesas Islands in French Polynesia. There’s not much there and you really feel like you’re away from everything and at the end of the earth!

What do you do to settle into a long flight?

I find it really difficult to sit still on a flight. So I try to break it up: watch a movie, have something to eat, go for a walk around the plane, read a book, listen to a podcast, have something to eat (I take snacks), watch a movie… You get the idea…

How does fundraising adventure travel differ from a holiday?

People are constantly asked to donate money so the key to fundraising is thinking outside the box in order to do it differently. It can be really challenging… But that makes it more rewarding when you go on the adventure.

What destination surprised you the most?

Mongolia. Gers, yaks and grass dot the landscape for as far as the eye can see. The local people love playing games, especially wrestling, and they have a deep reverence for Genghis Khan.

If you could only visit one place for the rest of your life, where would it be?

Huahine in French Polynesia. Great surf, great fishing and a really cool chilled out island vibe.

Quick questions:

Suitcase or rucksack?


Sailing or surfing?


Book or iPad?


Today or tomorrow?

I like them both!

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