Lares Trek vs Quarry Trail. Lares trek follows a trail through authentic Andean villages, herders of Alpacas that to this day their way of living and customs changed very little since centuries ago. On the other hand, Lares trek is split into different routes where all of these present high passes over 4 200 m but offers spectacular mountain views of lakes and snow-covered mountains.

The Inca Quarry trail and Lares trek are alternative routes to the famous Inca trail hike to Machu Picchu. Although the entry is unlimited yet these are less crowded by visitors. If you are planning a mountain hike to Machu Picchu without having to follow a busy trail, consider these alternatives.

Below we give you a breakdown of Lares trek vs the Inca quarry trail.

General Information Lares Trek Quarry Trail
Tour Length
36 KM / 22 mi
26 KM / 16 mi
Trailhead Elevation
3 700 m / 12 140 ft
3 200 m / 10 500 ft
Top Elevations
4 700 m / 15 400 ft
4 450 m / 14 600 ft


Lares trek highlights

  • Chance to interact with locals and learn from their culture
  • See hundreds of Alpacas and Llamas
  • See azure mountain lakes and waterfall
  • Stop at Lares hot springs

   Lares trek lowlights

  • Does not end in Machu Picchu, instead you travel to Aguas Calientes by train
  • Doesn’t follows an original Inca trail
  • Has very basic camping facilities

Inca Quarry highlights

  • Leads you to a Perolniyoq waterfall on the first day
  • Includes a stop at Perolniyoq Inca site
  • Follows an original Inca trail in certain sections
  • Gives views to mountain sky lodges hung to a 400 m high rock cliff
  • Offers a different view of Urubamba and the sacred valley
  • Leads you to the Sun gate over Ollantaytambo
  • Allows you to see the old carved rocks at the Quarry site

Inca quarry trail lowlights

  • Does not end in Machu Picchu, instead you travel to Aguas Calientes by train
  • Has very basic camping facilities
  • There is not an authentic Andean village like in Lares

Availability / Flexibility

  • Lares Trek.- Available 365 days a year, you can book a tour for it any time you decide.
  • Quarry trail.- Equally to Lares trek, it also has availability at any time of the year. It requires no tickets. 

Fitness Level

  • Lares Trek.- Anyone having difficulty with altitude sickness and not in regular shape may not make it when climbing the high altitude mountain passes. If not, before arriving in Peru, try to do cardio exercises and plan enough time to get acclimatized to the altitude of Cusco. And after that, there wouldn’t be anything you can´t handle.
  • Quarry Trail.- There is no need to be a trailblazer to undertake the Inca Quarry trail, but it will require a moderate level of fitness. From the first mountain pass on day 2, the footpath leads with some ups and downs to the second and highest pass, and that doesn´t mean there is another big valley between the mountain passes on the second day. No!

Best Time For Hiking

  • Lares Trek.- In brief, the best time to hike Lares trek to Machu Picchu is during the dry season from May –  September. The trail isn’t crawling with tourists or large groups of people too. Whereas in September till November, the days are frequently sunny, but it sometimes just gets cloudy threatening to rain but it either rains or fades, overall it is still a good season.
  • Quarry Trail.- It is advisable to choose the dry season or the Peruvian Winter, spanning roughly from May to September, although the night temperature in the Andes is cold. During the day, there is a high chance to have almost the entire day sunny. Sometimes, the sun’s rays can be heavy, but with a proper dress, sun creams, and glasses, the hike becomes more enjoyable to see the distant landscapes and everything else around.

Camping Facilities Lares trek vs Inca Quarry Trail

  • Lares Trek.- Camping sites are less crowded as it is a less trodden route and has several versions. Tents are set up, and the next day, these are folded up and packed to mules. Water may not be safe, therefore needs to be boiled. As for taking cleansing, it will depend on weather conditions because it usually tends to be cold. There are no showers.
  • Quarry Trail.- Camping facilities are very similar to those on Lares route. 

Mountain Scenery

  • Lares Trek.- Hiking the Lares trek, you can expect to see spectacular mountain sceneries, rocks, and boulders scattered across the mountainside where chinchillas move around from time to time, snow-covered peaks near as you hit the mountain pass, glacier-fed lagoons, and so forth.
  • Quarry Trail.- The outstanding mountain sceneries come into view on the second-day hike. From the beginning, the sacred valley, scarry sheer cliffs in the distance. Later in the afternoon, mount Veronica a snow-clad mountain towering 5 800 m. waits to be appreciated. Overall the views are worthwhile, but Mount veronica is just a pretty cool thing to see, even more on a sunny afternoon. 

Mountain Villages and Local People

  • Lares Trek.- You will surely see local people, focused on their daily duties, most of them do farm and are llama herders, dressed in their traditional clothes as it was supposed to be in the Incan times. They live in some adobe huts plastered with mud and secure their llamas and alpacas in stone fences or woven wire fences in the summer months.
  • Quarry Trail.- You have everything to see on the first day at Socma village, from local peasants, farmers doing their everyday labor, kids, ladies herding sheep, and goats nearby. Unlike in Lares trek, there are very few alpaca. In the following days, you will be traversing the mountains over Sacred Valley, enjoying peaceful lands.

Thermal Hot Springs

  • Lares Trek.- Most Lares treks pass by Lares town so you can soak in the thermal Hotsprings before continuing on the route. It is a very charming place to relax, but ask your tour operator if there will be time for it.
  • Quarry Trail.-  There is no hot spring on the Inca Quarry Trail. But, at Aguas Calientes, you have a chance for it in case you want to relax in it for a while.
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