Lares Trek and Machu Picchu

9 Days
May - October

Lares Trek and Machu Picchu

Hiking to Machu Picchu in Peru via the Lares Trail gives you a unique opportunity to experience a remote, relatively unexplored part of mystical Peru that very few outsiders have ever entered.

You will be able to hike the Andes of Peru, explore the spectacular ancient Inca ruins at Machu Picchu and Sacsayhuaman, relax in natural hot springs and experience first-hand the vibrant native communities and indigenous cultures that still live as they have for hundreds of years.

Each day of the Lares Trek, we will hike for approximately four hours a day and porters will accompany our trip leaving us free to carry just a day pack. Our Bio Bio Expedition’s camp provides full comforts of a dining tent, full camp kitchen and double-occupancy sleeping tents with your knowledgeable guides and cooks attending to your every need while en route.

Along the route you will observe an ancient Andean tradition: the shearing of llamas, carding of the wool, dying with natural colors and the weaving of the cloth into beautiful ponchos performed by llama herders who still wear the clothing styles originally brought to Peru by the Conquistadors from Andalucia in Spain during the 16th century.

One the last day of trekking, we will be transported to K,104 of the Inca Trail and trek to the Sun Gate, entrance to the greatest archeological wonders of the world — Machu Picchu. A full day at Machu Picchu the following day provides with the opportunity to hike one hour to the amazing nearby ruins of Winay Wayna or up the dizzying ladder-stairs to Huayna Picchu.

Day 1
Arrive in Cusco, Peru. This usually requires departing the USA on the previous day. A Bio Bio Expeditions representative will meet you at the airport and take you to the hotel. Please be sure Bio Bio Expeditions has your complete flight and arrival information. (no meals included)

Day 2
Everyone has the opportunity to explore Cusco and acclimatize to the 11,000-foot elevation. A two-hour excursion up to the ruins called Sacsayhuaman is led by one of our local guides. 20,000 men were employed in the construction of this site over a period of fifty years. Here at Sacsayhuaman, you will see stone blocks 8.5 meters high weighing more than 361 tons. It has been said that these ruins are one of the most astounding megalithic structures of the ancient world; however, these ruins are only a preview of what you will see at Machu Picchu! For today’s dining, you are on your own to choose from one of the many tipico restaurants around town. Cusco is a shopper’s paradise, where you can choose from a myriad of Peruvian hand-crafted goods to bring home as gifts or souvenirs. Overnight stay is at the Hotel Picoagua (no meals included).

Day 3
Mountain biking into the Sacred Valley – the perfect, active way to see the Peruvian countryside and have some fun at the same time! We have front suspension 2010 Marin mountain bikes, helmets, and gloves. The ride can be tailored to all ability levels as we are followed by a support vehicle. We begin our biking adventure pedaling along the shore of the beautiful highland Lake Huaypo. We then begin our cross-country cruise at the town of Maras (elev.: 3,500 meters – 11,090 feet) until arriving at the archaeological site of Moray – a very impressive Inca agricultural experimental center. During the ride you will have ample time to take in the beautiful Andean landscape – including impressive views of the snow-capped peaks of La Verónica (elev. 5,682 meters -18,600 feet) and Chicon. (elev.: 5,530 meters or 18,140 feet) This ride takes us away from the other tourists and allows us to see the less trodden, real Peru, as we bike on dirt roads and footpaths and through traditional villages. Half way through our journey we stop for a gourmet picnic and some well deserved rest in a dramatically picturesque setting. We then begin the downhill portion of the trail, following ancient Inca footpaths, eventually reaching the salt mines of Pichingoto. These are not actually mines, but a rather amazing conglomerate of over 3000 evaporation troughs carved into the hillside where the salt-laden silt gathers and becomes gradually distilled into rock salt. This site is very ancient, but was perfected and developed to a high degree by the Incas. Depending on our time, we can either stop and visit this fascinating complex or continue straight through to the bottom of the Sacred Valley of the Incas. This ride is a true Classic! For those with no interest in riding bikes, we can arrange a modified walking tour following the same route. We arrive to our beautiful Sacred Valley hotel in the afternoon leaving plenty of time to rest and enjoy the amenities. Before dinner we will pass out the Inca trail duffel bags with instructions on how much weight to pack so they will be ready to go first thing in the morning. Overnight at the Casa Andina PC Valle Hotel* in Sacred Valley – a beautiful hotel with views of the Andes on all sides and a star observatory for stargazing the Southern Hemisphere’s night skies. (Breakfast, lunch and snacks included; dinner not included)

Day 4
Our walk starts at Huarán community, 60km away from the Sacred Valley of the Incas. We ascend a fertile valley for a period of 4 hours, following Huarán river and passing by local crop fields to finally reach the community of Cancha Cancha (11’000 feet). At this town houses are built entirely of stone. Our camp will be waiting ready for us on the outskirts of this community.

Day 5
The starting point is Cancha Cancha, we continue climbing up until the Abra of Pachacutec (Elev.: 4710 meters.-Approximately 15,000 feet), where we will appreciate much of the Cordillera Urubamba, above the snowy peaks of Pitusiray, Sahuasiray, Colquecruz, Chicon and Helancoma.

Afterwards we descend to the highland lakes of Condereancocha and Hatuncocha for lunch, while we appreciate the beauty of the landscape. We continued for another hour to reach the house of Mauro Quispe, original Quiswarani community and friend. (Elev.: 3870 meters – about 12,350 feet.). He will give us a warm welcome and we camp next to his house.

Day 6
Today, the doors of the house of Mauro will open for us. We have the opportunity to meet his family, share the morning with them and learn more about their lifestyle. They work the land and livestock for subsistence and are also very skilled weavers. We say goodbye to the family Quispe and continue trekking down our route to Lares Valley.

Once we get to the road, we will drive 30 minutes to our lunch spot, before Lares pass. Then, we will continue driving to the Sacred Valley where we rest up for the Inca Trail the next day!

Day 7
In the morning we transfer from our hotel in the Sacred valley to the train station located at the village of Ollantaytambo to Km 104 of the railway, the starting point of our trek. First we pass by the ruins of Chachabamba and then begin a four-hour ascent. Along, we have a spectacular view of the Urubamba Valley to finally reach the magnificent ruins of Wiñay Wayna (Forever Young). From this point we continue our tour by one of the best preserved sections of the trail, through a wet cloud forest full of variety of flora and fauna. Finally we cross the entry of Intipunku (Gate of Sun) after which, we find an unforgettable sweep of natural beauty and human artistry: the magical city of Machu Picchu.
Finally we board a bus to the town of Aguas Calientes. (B)

Day 8
Early morning bus to the incredible ancient Inca city of Machu Picchu. We will explore this man-made wonder of the ancient world with a knowledgeable guide that will introduce us to the fascinating city and the culture that inhabited it. We then catch our afternoon train back to Cusco. After checking in to the Picoaga hotel we will reconvene for a festive farewell dinner to celebrate a successful journey into the heart of the Andes!

Day 9
Fly to Lima and transfer onto International flight – If you have more time please ask about one of our trip extensions. Options include: Amazon Jungle tour, Mountain biking the Andes, Lake Titicaca, or Nazca lines.


Casa Andina Private Collection

A beautifully renovated 18th-century manor house, just 3 blocks from Cusco’s Plaza de Armas, replete with authentic colonial character. It offers the intimacy of a boutique hotel but the comforts and services of a much larger property.The hotel is distinguished by its 3 interior patios with wooden balconies. The principal patio, featuring a gurgling stone fountain, is one of Cusco’s emblematic colonial courtyards. In the hotel’s cozy lounge and reading room is a massive stone fireplace that’s always crackling, while the romantic gourmet restaurant invites guests to dine by candlelight in one of 4 connected salons richly decorated with 18th-century Cusco School paintings. Several rooms in the original structure of the hotel feature surviving colonial frescoes unearthed during renovation.



Urubamba Boutique Lodge

They say that the valley, the mountains, the farming terraces and the river were all home to the most important of the Inca heritage, with their magic and mysticism. The valley guards this magical sensation which helps you to relax, sharing its magnificent greenery against a shining sky.

With these pleasures in mind, Urubamba Boutique Lodge has reserved a place on our riverside terrace for you so you may enjoy the Sacred Valley of the Incas. Each of our rooms has a balcony, many overlooking the river, and our dining room offers a panoramic view of the lush surroundings.

Urubamba Boutique Lodge has 20 rooms, including 2 Suites. All of our rooms have been designed and decorated to make you feel at home while still offering a link to Peruvian culture and Inca history. With views of the river, mountains or our surrounding gardens, it´s impossible not to relax and enjoy yourself!

Our rooms include:

– One or two twin, double or queen size beds
– Private bathroom with bathtub
– Room Service
– Local handmade decorations
– Personal balconies for rooms on the second floor.

Casa Andina Sacred Valley

The Sacred Valley’s most complete hotel: a mountain chalet-styled retreat with panoramic Andes views from every room and every angle. On more than 8 landscaped acres (3 hectares), it breathes an air of tranquility and relaxation. Unique among Sacred Valley hotels – most of which remain isolated in the valley, offering precious little for guests to do – it contains an extraordinary, full-service “Sacred Spa”, a domed Planetarium & Observatory for stargazing in the massive Southern Hemisphere sky, and gourmet restaurant and bar.

The 85 inviting, spacious rooms overlook the property’s extensive gardens and feature either private balconies or sunny sitting areas. Equidistant between Urubamba and Ollantaytambo, in the Sacred Valley of Cusco, the hotel is perfectly positioned for easy access to the valley’s abundant attractions and incomparable Inca ruins, including world-renowned Machu Picchu.


Aguas Calientes

Coming soon…

Departure Dates:

Available May – October, call to inquire available dates for private tour

Minimum of 4 people needed

Trip Length: 9 Days
Deposit: $600.


U.S. citizens are required to have a passport that is valid for 6 months after your travel dates begin.


You are responsible for booking all flights, international as well as domestic.  However, if you need help, please feel free to call or email the Bio Bio office.

One travel agent we often use is:
G&G Travel | Gilda Gutierrez
866-498-0530 or 786-206-0710

Flying In…The tour officially begins in Cusco on Day 1. You will fly into Lima and then transfer to a domestic flight. Please try not to arrive in Cusco before 10:00 AM as your hotel room will not be ready and most things are closed in the city. You may want to fly in the day before and spend the night in Lima.  We can arrange a hotel for that evening if you prefer, or we can arrange extra nights for you in Cusco.
Flying Out…You can fly out of Cusco to Lima and then home all on the last day. We suggest spending a big part of the day in Cusco and then departing Cusco in the early evening. Or you can choose to spend more time in either of these cities and fly home at a later date. We are happy to help you arrange tours and lodging.
When you leave Lima, there is a departure tax of approximately US$30.

Miami to Lima: 5:25 hrs
Lima to Cusco: 1.5 hrs

Peru is on Central Standard Time


Baggage Allowance and Suggested Gear

Please see what restrictions your airline imposes, as the rules and allowances are constantly changing. Typically you are allowed two checked bags up to 50 Lbs each, plus one carry on bag and a purse.

You will be provided with one soft duffle bag when you arrive to Cusco to pack all your gear for the Lares Trek. The porters will carry this duffle bag. Your suitcase will be left at the hotel with non-trekking clothes and items – while your suitcases are kept in safe storage we still recommend using a lock on your suitcase.  Keep all important documents, including your passport, with you in your daypack. Please note that your Lares Trek bag with your camping gear will have a weight limit of 18 lbs! This is required by law in Peru to protect the porters. That does not include your tent which will be carried in a different bag.

  • Sleeping bag: A 20 or 30-degree bag is warm enough,  a compression stuff-sack is helpful to save space.
  • Sleeping pad: This is very important, and not something you want to skimp on. Thermarest makes a good inflatable pad. We can rent Thermarest pads for you in Peru if you’d like. Please let us know in advance so we can reserve them.
  • Camp pillow or stuff sack to use as a pillow
  • Travel Clothing: 2-3 pairs of pants and 4-5 shirts that are lightweight and quick drying.  A long skirt or nice pants are also nice for special dinners in towns.
  • A day backpack: We recommend that you carry the following items in your daypack:  water, sunglasses, camera and film, extra layers in case the weather turns cool, flashlight/headlamp/blister kit, any prescription medications you use, your passport, sun hat, warm hat, sunscreen.
  • Flashlight and or headlamp, extra batteries. The days are 12 hours long on the equator so it will get dark around 6:00pm.
  • Toiletry kit, personal medicines – particularly allergy and diabetic prescriptions, shampoo, soap, toothbrush, lotion, bug repellent.
  • Rain jacket and pants– lightweight Gortex or similar.
  • Shoes 2 pairs– One pair for city visits, towns, villages. One pair of lightweight hiking shoes for hiking.
  • 1 fleece light or mid weight – for layering or a lightweight wool sweater.
  • 1 fleece zip up mid weight jacket
  • 2 pairs long underwear – synthetic material both top and bottom
  • 2 or 3 T-shirts
  • Hiking pants of synthetic material or fleece pants: 1 pair of pants that are comfortable to hike in, smart pants by Exoffico or similar that have zip off options.
  • Hiking shorts
  • Down Jacket: The temperature at certain camps can drop below freezing and a warm down jacket as well as multiple layers of fleece are important to have.
  • Wide brimmed sun hat
  • Lotion and sunscreen
  • Insect Repellent – minimum recommended 20%deet (Jungle Juice) please note: no instances of malaria have ever been registered on this trip.
  • Camera, film and batteries – back up memory cards and batteries
  • Personal Snacks- You will be provided with great snacks (energy bars, trail mix, fruits) everyday and delicious food on the Inca Trail. Only bring snacks if you have a have a favorite kind or personal preference.
  • Swim Suit
  • H2O bottle (water bottle or camelback) key item! You should have at least a 2-liter water carrying capacity. Filtered water is provided. You will be able to refill your bottles in the morning, at lunchtime and when you arrive to the camp in the afternoon.
  • 2 heavy duty trash bags to keep your camp gear dry inside your duffel (and later for laundry)
  • Ziplock bags: several sizes to help organize your camp items, lotions, socks, underwear, etc.
  • Moist Towlettes: for personal cleaning
  • Small towel for washing up at camp
  • Trekking Poles (optional) – must have rubber tips on the bottom to protect the trail

*Remember when packing your carry-on bag to bring any medications needed as well as any toothpaste or lotions in a plastic zip loc bag for security.  You may want to bring a toothbrush on your overnight flight as well as a change of clothing.

BioBio Expeditions has partnered with Tahoe Mountain Sports, our local outfitter, to help you collect the gear needed for your upcoming adventure! Use the promo code BioBio1 at checkout and receive 15% off all full priced items in your shopping cart. Click this LINK to see some products offered at TMS that are on your packing list or visit their online store at:



Peru is typical of many South American countries in that it effectively operates a dual-currency system. Both the US dollar (dólares) and the Peruvian Nuevo Sol (soles) are in circulation and although the government prefers people to use soles, most sizeable purchases are made in dollars. In practice, this means that anything costing more than, say, a meal in a nice restaurant, is paid for in dollars. The Nuevo Sol is perfectly stable so you don’t have to worry about inflation problems during your stay!
Extra Expenses

You are responsible for some meals as stipulated in the itinerary. These meals will cost between $5 and $25. And of course, you can go all out at a high-end restaurant. For meals that are included, you will need to pay for your own alcohol. You will also need money for gifts and tipping.

Plus, Cirrus and other networks connecting ATMs are available in Peru. The exchange rates you get when withdrawing from cash machines are standard. This is the approach we usually recommend. Cash machines dispense both dollars and soles and most accept the major debit cards. Be aware of counterfeit currency and avoid being followed to and from an ATM machine! Go in pairs!
Credit Cards

If your credit card has been programmed with a PIN, it’s likely you can use your card at Peruvian ATMs to withdraw money as a cash advance. Always ask your bank before you leave home about the number of withdrawals you may make abroad, the limit each day, and also let them know where you are going so they do not put a hold on your card. You may be charged a fee for each transaction.

Most of the bigger restaurants and shops accept credit cards. If you have American Express, Visa, Master Card and Diners Club, you’re probably equipped for any establishment that takes cards. If you only have one, have VISA. A shopkeeper may require you to pay the credit card fee for purchases, so for the most ease, we recommend you use cash whenever possible.
Banking Hours

Banks are generally open from 9am to 6pm. Some banks close for 2 hours from 1pm to 3pm. Banco de Credito del Peru does NOT close. In Cusco you will find many banks on Sol Avenue, one block from the main square. It is recommended to go to an “exchange office”. You must bring your passport to exchange money. Never change a large sum (more than $100) and again, go in pairs, and avoid being followed by robbers.
Personal Checks

Personal checks are not accepted in shops or at your hotels. It’s a good idea, however, to bring a few for possible emergencies.
Travelers Cheques

Travel checks are less desirable as fewer and fewer places will change them, and you may end up in long bank lines. You will need to show your passport to cash your checks at the bank.

Tipping is, of course, entirely voluntary and how much you give depends on how you feel about the service you have received. Typically, you should designate 10-15% of the land cost of the trip for tips. For example, a $4000 trip would mean $400 in tips. This will be split up on 2 different occasions:

  1. At the end of the Lares Trek, each client should tip the porters $75-100. This will be divided up among the 20-30 staff that have made your Inca trek possible.
  2. At the farewell dinner of Day 8 in Cusco, you can give the largest portion of your tip to the trip leader and he will divide it up amongst himself and the various tour guides.

Other smaller tips might be for airport luggage carriers, hotel staff and drivers. This is where $1 bills or single soles come in handy. The norm at restaurants is approximately 5-15%.

For some background information, Peru has a minimum salary of 550 Nuevo Soles (US$170) monthly for a 6-day, 48-hour week. However, in many of the lower paid jobs (e.g. waiters, porters etc) this is not always enforced. 1 Nuevo Sol (soles) is roughly the equivalent of US$30.


Trip Insurance

Bio Bio Expeditions encourages all clients to obtain travel insurance to cover unexpected events such as trip cancellations, trip delay, lost baggage, medical expenses, etc. We will also forward a brochure from Travelex ( Our agent code is 05-8655. They have good rates and excellent coverage for international travel.

Although there are no immunizations required to travel to Peru, it is usually recommended that typhoid and diphtheria-tetanus protection be current. Hepatitis A, taken just before departure, is also recommended. The cholera vaccination is no longer officially required, and cholera can be avoided by practicing strict food and water precautions. In general, we advise that you consult your physician regarding recommended immunizations and other health precautions. Bio Bio Expeditions does not take responsibility for which medications or inoculations you and your physician deem necessary for your safe participation on the expedition in Peru.

For further information, call the CDC’s International Traveler’s Hotline:

Phone: 1-888-232-4636

Although it requires a little extra caution when drinking fluids in Peru, it is essential to stay well hydrated. We advise that you not drink any of the tap water in Peru; this includes no ice in your drink. Bottled water is fine to drink and can be ordered at most restaurants and found in local grocery stores. Ask for “agua mineral, sin gas (non-carbonated) or con gas (carbonated)”. When ordering sodas, it is best to request them without ice (sin hielo), as the ice is usually made from tap water. Additionally, be sure to brush your teeth with bottled water.

The major precaution regarding food pertains to raw, unpeeled fruits and vegetables (including lettuce) – avoid them unless you are dining in a high-end restaurant! If you can’t peel it, don’t eat it as it has probably been washed in tap water, or not washed at all, and that can make you sick. The high altitude also affects one’s digestive system so it is recommended to eat in moderation and avoid rich, thick foods (such as mayonnaise). However, don’t be afraid to try new foods and dishes – just be cautious. Peru has some of the finest, most delicious cuisine in the world! We want you to experience the many new flavors and local cuisine, but there are some things to consider when making food choices, especially where you are eating. The more high end restaurants in Cusco are fairly safe bets for trying new things. Street food should generally be avoided. This brings us to our next topic…
Digestive Worries

Traveling to Peru is going to have a notable impact on your body. Despite the many precautions we all take to stay healthy, occasionally one may experience diarrhea. The major problem associated with diarrhea is fluid loss leading to severe dehydration, so it is important to maintain plentiful fluid intake. Avoid milk and avoid caffeine, as it will only further dehydrate you. The best drinks are weak tea, mineral water, and caffeine-free soft drinks. Ideally it is best to let diarrhea run its course, however you may want to bring over-the-counter diarrhea medication to minimize your potential discomfort. We also advise that you carry your own supply of toilet paper, as most of the restrooms in South America either don’t have TP, or they charge you for it. The bottom line (no pun intended) is to drink plenty of fluids and get lots of rest! Lastly, we encourage that you, and all our staff, practice impeccable hand hygiene – you can’t wash your hands enough! Sanitizer gels are great when hand washing with soap and water is not available.

If you currently take prescription medications, be sure to have a plentiful supply and also the doctor’s written prescription in case you need a refill. It is best to carry medications in your carry-on bag in case of lost luggage. Also, if you wear prescription glasses or contacts, we advise that you bring along a spare set.

Electrical current in Peru is 220 volts AC, and the plugs are different from the USA two prong.

Although the Peruvians are a warm, friendly, fun-loving people, thievery is a common problem. Always keep your wits about you and be aware of your surroundings. When with other people, watch out for each other. Large crowds are prime locations for pick-pocketing to occur. Keep your money in a money belt or hidden pouch around your neck and under your shirt. When purchasing items, do not pull out lots of money. We advise that you leave all valuable jewelry, including watches, at home. Thieves often work in pairs or groups – one tries to distract you (e.g.: by squirting food or paint on your clothing) and in the ensuing confusion, another one makes off with your belongings. The areas around the main square in Cusco are well patrolled by police and tourist police. However, we encourage you to be very cautious and never be walking the streets alone after dark.
Jet Lag Precautions

When you cross several time zones to reach your destination, you often lose many hours of regular sleep. On arrival, your body then must suddenly adjust to new sleeping and eating patterns. The result is jet lag. Its symptoms are fatigue – often compounded by insomnia and restlessness – irritability and vague disorientation. You cannot totally avoid jet lag, but you can minimize it. Here’s how:

  • Start your trip well rested. Try to begin a gradual transition to your new time zone before you leave.
  • Switch to your destination time zone when you get on the plane. Attempt to sleep and eat according to the new schedule.
  • Try to sleep on overnight flights.
  • Avoid heavy eating and drinking caffeine or alcoholic beverages right before and during your flight.
  • Drink plenty of water and or fruit juice while flying. You should buy a large bottle of water at a kiosk right before boarding – once you have cleared inside security and are “inside”.
  • After arrival, avoid the temptation to nap, unless you didn’t sleep at all on the plane.
  • Don’t push yourself to see a lot on your first day.
  • Try to stay awake your first day until after dinner.

Altitude Sickness

Cusco sits at almost 11,000 feet. This is one of the highest places most of us have ever, or will ever, stay for an extended period of time. The altitude can cause some physical reaction in almost anyone. Most people experience shortness of breath, headaches, and some dehydration. We recommend taking it easy your first day and avoiding alcohol and tobacco. If you feel sick, be sure to rest, breathe deeply, drink lots of fluids (bottled water), and perhaps take a mild pain killer for headaches. Locally brewed coca tea also seems to help. True altitude sickness is rare, but if the symptoms become severe, please let a Bio Bio Expeditions representative know. The front desk of the hotel often has spare oxygen bottles if needed.

How well your individual body adapts to the thinner air depends a good deal on innate factors that you have no control over. That being said, people in top shape often acclimate better because they expend less energy hiking, leaving their bodies ready for the task of acclimatization. Proper hydration has also been proven to be essential in this task. There is no substitute for being in top shape and staying hydrated

Many altitude physicians recommend bringing the following medications for prevention and or treatment of altitude related problems:

Diamox: 125 mg, twice a day. Beginning 24 hours before ascent to a sleeping elevation of 8,000-10,000 feet and continuing through duration of climb. Please discuss with your physician.



Almost the same size as Alaska, Peru is the third largest country in South America, covering 496,226 square miles. Peru is divided into three distinct geographic regions: the narrow, dry coastal plain in the west; the high Andes Mountains roughly in the center; and the tropical lowlands of the Amazon Basin to the east. Peru shares with Bolivia the highest navigable body of water in the world – Lake Titicaca. There is little rainfall along the coast, although he winter is foggy, humid and cool. The capital city of Lima, the temperature is moderate year-round, averaging 65*F.

Several of South America’s most advanced cultures lived in pre-Columbian Peru. The last of these groups was the great Incan Empire, which was unsurpassed in the art of stonecutting and also achieved a high degree of economic and political development. Incan and earlier Chimu ruins, notably at Cusco, Chan Chan, and Machu Picchu, make Peru a favorite destination for archaeologists and tourists. In 1532, the Spanish invaded Peru under the leadership of Francisco Pizarro. They conquered the Incas the next year. The area soon became the richest and most powerful Spanish colony in South America because of its location and many mineral treasures.

Under the leadership of South American liberator Jose de San Martin, Peru declared independence from Spain in July 1821. With the help of Simon Bolivar, the Venezuelan general who liberated several other countries, the fight for full independence was won by 1826. For a century, Peru worked to secure its territory and build its social institutions.

Peru is a republic. It is divided into 24 departamentos (similar to states). The president holds executive power and serves a five-year term. All citizens age 18 and older are required to vote. The unicameral Congress consists of 120 members, who serve five-year terms. Major political parties include the Change 90-New Majority Party, Union for Peru, the Popular Christian Party, and the Popular Action Party.

The population of Peru is approximately 27 million and is growing at 1.75 percent annually. Population density is generally low due to the country’s large land area. Peru’s population is ethnically diverse. About 45 percent is Indian, descendants of the Incan Empire. Many ethnic and linguistic divisions exist among Indians, some of whom are still fairly isolated in the Amazon jungle. Another 37 percent is of mixed European and Indian heritage. Fifteen percent is of European descent (mostly Spanish), and the remaining 3 percent is composed of blacks (descendants of West African slaves), Japanese, Chinese and other smaller groups. About half of the population is younger than age 20. Lima is the largest city, with more than seven million residents.

The official languages in Peru are Spanish and Quechua but Spanish will be your most useful language, even in the highlands. The Spanish spoken in Peru is almost identical to the Castilian Spanish of Madrid, albeit with slightly different pronunciation and a few vocabulary changes. In the high Andes, particularly around Cusco and Puno, many people still speak Aymara or Quechua (the language of the Incas) as a first language, although almost all will also speak Spanish. The good news is that in most places like restaurants, hotels, etc., there is usually someone who speaks English – and, of course, all our representatives and guides speak both English and Spanish.

If you do speak some ‘Spanish’ then you shouldn’t have too many problems speaking with the locals in Peru. The major difference in accent between Peruvian Spanish and Castilian Spanish is that the letters c and z are pronounced like the English s rather than the traditional th. In general, Peruvian Spanish is a little slower and less heavily accented than most Spanish you would hear in Spain.

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2 reviews for Lares Trek and Machu Picchu

  1. Hi Marc, Peru was beautiful! Erin and I had a wonderful time and loved that country, its history, its people, the incredible pastoral landscape that surrounded us each day, etc. The Lares Trek was truly unforgettable, even though most of us did not find it ‘moderate’, as you know! I would also venture to say that our arrival to Machu Picchu was almost anticlimactic, after all we had experienced on the Lares Trek. The Bio-Bio crew was just as great. Our guides were outstanding and each has so much to contribute to this wonderful experience. I particularly loved the interaction of our guides with the rest of the crew, the way they respected and care for one another was wonderful to see. Please thank your Lares Trek Crew for me; we hope to stay in touch with them

  2. Hey Marc The trip was great all of your peeps were very cool, especially alvaro we also enjoyed hanging with paul, piero, and rueben in retrospect i think lares was better choice than inca trail. i loved not seeing other tourists and getting a feel for the real peru…after all, thats what we were there for your folks on the trek that carried gear, prepared food, set up tents, etc. were totally amazing! i can’t even imagine how much was going on behind the scene. everything was always ready for us…first class all the way. thanks Marc, you have some great people working for you. I’ll need to save up and do another trip with you guys

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