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The Sacred Valley and Lares Adventure to Machu Picchu

Buenas tardes, amigos! Chris and I just returned from a whirlwind adventure in Peru, and I’m still in the process of unpacking my thoughts and all of our stuff, not to mention I still need to go through hundreds and hundreds of photos! But in the meantime, I thought I’d start out by posting about our trekking company and how we decided to book the itinerary we did, since that’s generally one of the first steps for anyone deciding on a trek in Peru.

If you happened to read my post waaay back in 2014 about planning a trip to Peru, you’ll know that we wanted to do an adventure trek that ended up at Machu Picchu and that we had been researching an adventure travel company called Mountain Lodges of Peru. I was sold on MLP for their commitment to eco-friendly lodging in the Sacred Valley and I loved that they partner with the Andean community, but we didn’t get around to booking a trip with them right away because of other travel plans. By the time I was ready to solidify a trip to Peru, MLP had added a new trek called the Sacred Valley and Lares Adventure to Machu Picchu, and I was hooked. Here are our top 5 reasons for choosing/booking the Lares Adventure:

1. Cultural Submersion

The Lares Adventure promised to take us into Andean villages to witness and experience local customs such as weaving, farming, and cooking, and that’s exactly what we wanted. In my research and travel planning, the Lares Adventure seemed to be a favorite for fans of slower travel who wanted to experience the Andean region at a more relaxed pace. This was the perfect combination of nature and culture, with amazing opportunities to get to know the local people.

2. Efficiency

The Lares Adventure started and ended hikes in ideal spots. I really appreciated the idea of getting right to the meat of the hikes, which saved precious time to put toward cultural experiences.

3. Customization

The Lares Adventure was designed to offer a customizable experience for each participant, so every night on the trek our group attended a briefing to go over the activity options for the next day. This flexibility appealed to me not only for the variety of experiences, but also because while I have been blessed with a strong sense of adventure, I am also cursed with an extremely sensitive digestive system. I have a few food allergies and sensitivities, but I still like to try new foods and to experience local cuisines when we travel. In doing so, I worry that I’ll try something new only to find out that I’m intolerant to it.

When I’m in civilization it’s not a big deal, but I haven’t yet taken my sensitive belly on an extended hike combined with unfamiliar cuisine, and I was a little nervous at the thought of the Salkantay Trek’s only option to hike lodge-to-lodge every day. So I liked the idea of the customizable Lares Adventure and having the option to participate in an easier or shorter day if needed, and thus we chose Lares over Salkantay. (And sure enough, there was one day on our trip that my stomach rebelled and I was thankful not to have to do an eight-mile hike.)

4. Mountain Biking

In addition to hiking and cultural excursions in the villages, the Lares Adventure also offered opportunities for bike rides! We love riding the trails at home, so we enjoyed mixing it up between hiking and biking while in Peru.

5. Comfort

I’ll be frank: I immediately fell in love with the idea of MLP for the option to sleep in a bed rather than on the ground as you do with a trekking company on the Inca Trail. Chris would do fine on the trail and with camping the entire time, but when it comes down to it, I’m just not really interested in camping for more than a night or two. Camping every single night for the whole trek simply doesn’t appeal to me. I kind of wish it did, but we can’t all love the same things, right? I’m happy to say the lodges were all gorgeous and comfortable, and they had wonderful, modern bathrooms. One of the lodges even had a hot tub! Post-hike heaven.

And as a bonus sixth reason, the Lares Adventure was a perfectly serene crowd-free alternative to the more popular Inca Trail route. Our hikes only included our group and the occasional local villagers. We walked for miles and miles without seeing another soul, and it was blissful.

We’re incredibly happy with our choice to book with Mountain Lodges of Peru, and I have lots more to tell you about the trek. First though, we spent a bit of time in Lima and Cusco – those posts are up next!

Note:  This post is not sponsored by Mountain Lodges of Peru and I did not receive anything in exchange for this post. We just loved our trip with them!

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