When Mountain Lodges of Peru launched its Lodge to Lodge Trek to Machu Picchu along the Salkantay route earlier this decade, it was an almost instant success. Prior to that, no matter how “glamping”-like the experience was for a high-end Inca Trail tour, you were still camping, using rudimentary bathroom facilities. With MLP’s lodges, you get a real bed, hot showers, and meals coming from a real kitchen.
Now they have extended their upscale adventure experience to the mountains around the Sacred Valley with their Lares Adventure tour. This is not a straight-ahead trek like the Salkantay one is since this area is served by roads and multiple trail options. You don’t have to walk to every stop as there are support vans to take you there.
I went on the five day/four night adventure, but there’s also a longer one that allows more time in the two existing lodges: one in Lamay and one in the remote village of Huacahuasi. (A third lodge is in the final approval process in another location.)
This set-up allows a lot more flexibility. If you don’t want to hike for five or six hours every day, you can branch off with part of the group to do something less taxing. If you want to visit weaving villages and see how they work, that can be an option too. You’re using the Mountain Lodges as a base in the beginning, then spending the last two nights in hotels in Ollaytantambo and Aguas Calientes (Machu Picchu town).
The video at the top is from Day 1, where there’s a dramatic hike up to 13,500 feet, then an ascent through Andean villages to Pisac. We had lunch in a tent halfway down, and in the video there’s a sample of the singing from local women, of a song that goes with the spinning of llama or alpaca wool into thread.
The video below is from Day 2, which started with a dramatic drive before and after the Ankasmarka ruins. We had the whole archeological park to ourselves, which of course wasn’t the case when we later got to Ollaytantambo and Machu Picchu! The day ended at the gorgeous Huas
You get the stunning Andes Mountains scenery of Peru no matter what kind of Lares tour or trek you take. With the Mountain Lodges of Peru version though, they control most of the experience and have a consistency in staffing you don’t find elsewhere. Also, since they’re the only game in town in the villages where they’re location, they’re providing a lot of good jobs to the local people and providing them with skills and training that can improve their families’ lives.
See our full new feature story here: Adventures Along the Lares Route of Peru