Salkantay trek vs Lares trek

salkantay trek vs lares trek

This post is also available in: Español

There are many ways to visit Machu Picchu but if you are one of the adventurous ones, surely you have considered doing a route instead of a simple visit. We know there are many options, and two of the most requested are the Salkantay Trek and the Lares Trek but which one to do? It’s a tough decision but that’s what we’re here for.

Today we tell you the difference between the two routes so that in the Salkantay Trek vs Lares trek competition you can make your winner and your final decision.

We hope to help you decide between these two treks so you can incorporate them into your Peru travel itinerary.

Starting point: Cusco

The only thing these two routes have in common is that both start in Cusco. In addition, during your last day you discover Machu Picchu and return to Cusco.

But the rest is different, both the stops you make along the way and the number of miles traveled and the level of difficulty. That said, both are a guaranteed adventure.

General view of the Plaza de Armas Cusco

Distance of Salkantay trek vs Lares Trek

On the Salkantay 4 days trek you travel 36 mil and 38 mil if you decide to do the 5-day option. In the Lares Trek however, you will do 29 mil.

Treks duration

The Salkantay Trek can be done in 4 or 5 days, you choose.
The more days, the more time you will have to enjoy the views and scenery. On the other hand, the Lares Trek is done in 4 days, there are no other options.

Altitude on the Salkantay Trek vs Lares Trek

The highest elevation of the Salkantay Trek is 15000 ft in altitude. That is, during the second day of your excursion you will visit the Salkantay Passage, the highest point of the trail. The rest of the days you will be at 14000 ft, 9000 ft and 7800 ft.

However, the highest point of the Lares Trek is Paso Pachacutect, at 15400 ft. The rest of the days at around 13700 and 12000 fts.

how hard is salkantay trek to machu picchu

Salkantay Trek vs Lares Trek stops

The first Salkantay Trek day starts in Cusco and you head to Mollepata. Then to Challacancha and to Soraypampa, where you can visit Humantay Lake. Places that with the Lares trek you won’t see.

On the second day you can enjoy the views of the valleys and snow-capped mountain peaks. Las paradas del día son:The stops for the day are:Soraypampa, Pasaje Salkantay, Huayracmachay.The rest of the stops you will make will be:

  • Colpapampa
  • La Playa Sahuayaco
  • Santa Teresa
  • Hidroeléctrica
  • Aguas Calientes
  • Machu Picchu

person in lagoon humantay green salkantay

While the Lares Trek stops in order are:

  • Cusco
  • Pisac
  • Huaran
  • Cancha Cancha
  • Quishuarani
  • Cuncani
  • Lares
  • Ollantaytambo
  • Aguas Calientes
  • Machu Picchu
  • Cusco

Dates available

Both treks are open all year round. Although it is true that it is recommended to do the Salkantay from April to November, while the Lares from May to October.

Why these months? Well, it’s simple, during these months is the dry season, so it will be more pleasant to walk these trails.

Traveler’s concurrence

None of these treks is as well known as the classic Inca Trail. But, it is true that the Salkantay is more crowded than the Lares Trek. So during the Salkantay you may meet more travelers like you and in Lares you meet the Cuncani community, but not so many passionate trekkers.


Along the Salkantay Trek you’ll sleep in campsites and lodges along the way. And if you are looking for more comfort you can do the Salkantay Trek premium, where you will rest in igloos in the middle of the valleys and mountains.

Finally, accommodation in Lares Trek will be tents and when you return to Cusco you will sleep in a hotel with private bathroom.
Igloos to sleep salkantay trek

So, Salkantay Trek or Lares Trek?

After reading the previous sections we hope you will come to this one with a little clearer ideas. Even so, we advise that before making the decision you know what your interests are and based on them choose whether Salkantay Trek or Lares Trek.

If what you want is a different route, more cultural and indigenous, we recommend doing Lares trek because you will find fewer tourists and many more animals.

In addition, you will spend time with the locals of Cuncani.

If you are looking for nature and lots of adrenaline, Salkantay Trek is the favorite route for travelers. You’ll see beautiful scenery and meet more trekking enthusiasts.

If you are looking for nature and lots of adrenaline, Salkantay Trek is the favorite route for travelers. You’ll see beautiful scenery and meet more trekking enthusiasts.

Salkantay Trek Lares Trek
Difficulty Moderate – challenging Moderate
Duration 4 days, 5 days 4 days
Remoteness Remote You pass through towns
Maximum altitudes 15000 ft/td>

15400 ft
Accommodation Camping Camping
Route 36 mil 29 mil
Best seasons April-November May – October

Have you made up your mind yet? Which one do you like more Salkantay Trek or Lares Trek?


Lucia's life motto is "go with the flow". She lets herself go with the flow and joins any plan.

She has been lucky enough to travel to many different places, but her perfect trip is any place with sun, sand and sea. Indecisive by nature, she would not know how to choose between the Canary Islands or the Balearic Islands in Spain, or between Mexican and Peruvian food. Maybe that's why she will never say no to a trip... She has to find answers!

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