Machu Picchu Women's Lares Lodge Trek

Trip Length 8 Days
Group Size 4–16
Activity level
Starting from
$3,499 for REI Members
$3,899 for non-members
Departures Apr 2021-Dec 2021

This eight-day odyssey carries you from Andes mountain passes to ancient Inca marvels, including Machu Picchu.

For travelers and history buffs who want an active experience—and hikers who want an authentic experience of Peruvian history and culture—this trip begins in the ancient city of Cusco, with labyrinthine Inca stonework almost everywhere you turn. We step into the past, exploring the Sun Temple, the Plaza des Armas and the Inca Museum, while a bean-to-bar chocolate workshop gives us the flavor of contemporary Peru. Then we journey into the Andes and the heart of the fallen Inca Empire.

Hikes grant us heart-pounding views of two snow-capped giants, Ausangate and Salcantay, both with summits over 20,000 feet. Lodge stays and village visits connect us with the soul of the Lares region, legendary for the exquisite artistry of the local women’s weaving. We connect deeply with this little-known destination that typical tourists never see. Our journey reaches its zenith as we enter the historic sanctuary of Machu Picchu. Time forgot this place, but you never will.

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Trip Highlights

  • Gain an intimate understanding of centuries-old customs and traditions
  • Visit historic sites in lively Cusco during your stay at a boutique hotel
  • Discover the rich artistry of the Lares region’s weavings
  • Select from a range of activities to suit your ability and interest
  • REI Women’s Adventure—designed for women, guided by women


This trip offers two activity options on most days ranging from easy active [2] to vigorous [4]. Each traveler can choose the activity they prefer. Options are listed in the daily itinerary.

For easy active [2] outings, be prepared to walk or hike 2–4 hours (up to 6 miles) on undulating terrain. To enjoy Moderate [3] hikes, participants should be able to hike 3–6 hours (up to 8 miles) without major discomfort over terrain with some steep grades. For vigorous [4] hikes, participants should be strong hikers in excellent shape and able to hike 6–8 hours (5–10 miles) on trails with steep ascents and descents. Much of the trip is between 11,000’–15,000’ in elevation, making activity more challenging.

  • Hiking
  • Walking

What's Included

Accommodations in hotels and mountain lodges as noted on itinerary (based on double occupancy); meals as noted on the daily itinerary; English-speaking local guides; full baggage support/transfer while trekking (you carry only your daypack); all ground transportation within Peru as noted, airport transfers and rail tickets to/from Machu Picchu; all sightseeing excursions as noted including entrance tickets to Machu Picchu.

Machu Picchu Hiking Permits: We require your complete passport information in order to purchase your permit to Machu Picchu and the optional unguided hikes to Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain. We will secure a permit for one of the optional hikes, but we are unable to guarantee which specific hike since permits are limited and issued on a first come, first served basis.


Boutique hotel, 2 nights; lodges, 3 nights; luxury hotel, 2 nights

Your Adventure Itinerary

Day 1

Arrive Cusco

Welcome to Peru! After flying into Cusco, our transfer takes us to our boutique hotel just blocks from the Plaza des Armas. This afternoon we explore by foot the Koricancha Sun Temple and the Inca Museum. Enjoy a light dinner on your own this evening. All meals are on your own today.

Day 2

Explore archaeological sites near Cusco City.

This morning we’re off to visit some very well preserved archaeological sites of the Incan civilization. Our guide shares with us what archaeologists believe were the practices and traditions of the Inca. With this information, we glean a better understanding of their lives. After our visit to Sacsayhuaman, we hike down to Pachapapa for lunch. This afternoon, we visit the chocolate museum for the "Beans to Bar" workshop where we learn to prepare chocolate beverages and more. We end the day with dinner at one of Cusco’s premier restaurants. Overnight at El Retablo B&B. All meals included.

Day 3

Enter the Sacred Valley from a vantage point that few others have.

Today we explore the local towns of Pisac and Viacha and hike among ancient Inca ruins. We later return to our lodging where we are treated to a pachamanca meal, cooked under hot stones. All meals included.

  • Easy active option (Level 2): Visit the town and market of Pisac. Short drive to the village of Viacha. Hike down to Pisac ruins before driving to the lodge. Late afternoon free. Walking 1–2.5 hours.
  • Moderate option (Level 3): Begin the hike from the village of Amaru, high in the Andes, to Challwaccasa Pass (14,170') where we're rewarded with great views of impressive mountains. Hike downhill to the community of Viacha where we enjoy a well-deserved picnic lunch. Later, our hike leads us to a bird's-eye view of the stunning archaeological site of Pisac. Drive to lodge. Hiking: 6 hours, 5.1 miles. Elevation gain/loss: +1,170'/-2,740'.

Day 4

Explore ancient farming areas and cross the Lares Pass.

Today's journey begins with an hour's transfer to Ancasmarca, where we explore an old Inca site that features a variety of ancient food storages, dwellings and farming areas. After today’s activities, we end at Huacawasi Lodge. All meals included.

  • Easy active option (Level 2): Drive to archaeological site of Ancasmarca and tour the ruins. Continue driving to Choquecancha, a remote community boasting an impressive Inca tambo and colonial church. This is a unique opportunity to meet traditional weavers renowned for the quality of their textiles. Lunch in town. Arrive at lodge. Walking 1–2 hours.
  • Moderate option (Level 3–4): Begin hike at Cuncani. Hike for about two hours to Cruzccasa Pass (13,740'). From the pass, hike a one-hour descent to picnic lunch spot. Another hour's hike brings us to Huacawasi. Hiking: 4 hours. 3.4 miles. Elevation gain/loss: +1,437'/-1,240'.

Day 5

Pass through traditional villages full of culture and beauty.

This morning prepare your luggage before heading out on your excursion. Tonight’s lodging is in Ollantaytambo. All meals included.

  • Easy active option (Level 2): Scenic drive to the community of Huilloc (1 hour). Continue on to the sheepherding community of Marcacocha and participate in a traditional Andean ceremony to honor the apus for the good health of their flock. Lunch at the archeological site of Pumamarka and then easy hike to Ollantaytambo town, visiting the amazing agricultural terraces along the valley. Walking: 2 hours.
  • Vigorous option (Level 4): Depart from Huacahuasi lodge and hike over a mountain pass at an elevation of 14,646'. End in Patacancha Village. Our vehicle will meet us here to take us to the town of Ollantaytambo in the Sacred Valley. Hiking: 7.5 hours, 8 miles. Elevation gain/loss: +2,250'/-2,211'.

Day 6

Travel from the Sacred Valley to Machu Picchu.

After breakfast, our day begins with a short hike to the Pinkuylluna Ruins—structures that the Inca once used for storage. At the site, we have magnificent views of the town of Ollantaytambo. We have a guided tour of the fortress, an excellent example of Inca architecture and the perfect preview for our next destination, Machu Picchu. Midday, we embark on a scenic train ride along the Urubamba River Valley to Aguas Calientes, a vibrant town below the Machu Picchu Sanctuary. All meals included.

Day 7

Full day exploration of Machu Picchu.

Very early this morning, we head up to Machu Picchu for a full day of exploration. Several options await us: a hike to the dramatic viewpoint of Intipunku (the Sun's Gateway), an easy walk to an ancient Inca drawbridge, a more vigorous hike to the Temple of the Moon, or an ascent up Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain (based on permit availability). As a group, we tour the grounds with our guide who shares theories about the structures and their importance to the Inca. Our lodging is at the Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel for a second night. All meals included.

Hiking: Optional Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain hike may be unguided and is steep with some exposure. Permits are limited. An alternative optional hike may be available if Huayna Picchu permits cannot be obtained.

Day 8

Departure day

Bags are packed and ready before heading down to breakfast this morning. We catch the morning train back to Cusco and arrive in time for late afternoon flights home. Breakfast included.

Gear List

The key to staying comfortable while on an active trip is layering. To get maximum comfort with minimum weight, you need versatile layers that mix and match to create the right amount of insulation, ventilation and weather protection. This gear list has been created to help you in choosing your equipment for the trip. Try to bring only what is necessary as this will help you and the field staff.

What to pack

You might also consider

Travel documents

  • Airline Tickets (Confirmation and Itinerary)
  • Final Bulletin (Emailed Prior to Departure Date)
  • Mandatory Evacuation Insurance
  • Valid Passport

Contact Us

Feel free to give us a call at 800-622-2236 should you have any questions regarding the gear list. The staff at our stores and Direct Sales (800-426-4840) will also be happy to help you with gear questions. Or check out REI Expert Advice , which has great information to help you prepare for your trip.