Trekking In Peru For A Unique Experience
I’m one of those people who enjoys solitude while I’m walking, so even though I’d love to hike the Inca trail, the high level of traffic has put me off a bit. The good news is that there are alternative routes for trekkers like me who want to get to Machu Picchu on foot, but who want to avoid the crowds on the traditional path. What are these out of the way tracks I hear you ask? Well, one that I think sounds particularly worthy of consideration is the Lares trail and here are just a few reasons why:
What attracted me to the Lares route in the first place was the lack of people who follow it, making it an incredibly appealing way to discover the Andes and still see the main attraction of Machu Picchu at the end. The walk through the Lares Valley is still a path that was once used by the Incas, it’s just not the one that’s become famous and sees thousands of people tackle it every year.
As you hike past unspoilt mountain landscapes, through remote villages and alongside glistening turquoise lakes, you’ll really feel as though you’re discovering somewhere new and, as many of the local communities still use traditional farming and building techniques, you’ll gain a genuine insight into the region’s heritage.
Experience Local Life
The thought of staying in villages largely untouched by modern life is a big plus point for me. There’s something very humbling about seeing people go about their daily work using techniques that have been passed down from generation to generation. Many of the farming methods in use are centuries old and you can pick up some wonderful souvenirs from the weavers.
As you walk, you’ll see the local Quechua people wearing brightly coloured ponchos and you can buy one yourself from the tradesmen who make these amazing textiles. It’s even possible to visit a workshop and see them in action, so you’ll have wonderful memories associated with anything you buy.
Go On A Journey Of Discovery
Most travellers who follow the Inca trail will have an idea of what to expect when they reach Machu Picchu; after all, there certainly isn’t a shortage of photos of this amazing Inca settlement in the mountains.
While Machu Picchu is one of the most impressive remnants of this fascinating society, it certainly isn’t the only one you’ll find in the Andes and following the Lares trail will give you the opportunity to discover the ruins at Pumamarca, as well as the extensive site at Ollantaytambo.
Pumamarca, where you can make out the remains of a fortress, is really out of the way, as it is located on the slopes above the village of Huilloc. As far fewer groups follow the Lares route, you’re likely to be the only people wandering around the site, making it all the more special.
There are many more remnants of religious buildings in the area, while nearby are some storehouses set high into the mountainside. It is thought these were constructed so high up because the cooler temperatures and stronger winds would help prevent the food going off.
If you’ve hiked in the Lares Valley, what do you think are the highlights? Are there any other things walkers should look out for?