Cusco is a tourist destination that offers a great variety of options to the traveler. Its greatest attraction is Machu Picchu, however, there are many places to see and enjoy. For example, in the district of Lares, which is located in the province of Calca, department of Cusco, there’s significant biodiversity and an enviable natural landscape. For this reason, we offer you 10 reasons to visit Lares.
1.- Visit Lares: The Qanchis Paccha Falls
Nature has formed one of the most beautiful places in the Andean community of Quishuarani Collana, where you can see the Qanchis Pacha waterfalls or seven fountains, which refers to the number of waterfalls that make it up. Due to its scenic value, the place is considered a Private Conservation Area (ACP). It’s a natural heritage of Peru.
Along this route to this beautiful waterfall, you’re accompanied by brilliant blue skies that combine with the queñual forest that’s the only habitat of three species of birds in danger of extinction: the pechicenizo bull, the white-browed earwig, and the royal churrete.
With luck, you’ll be able to see species of fauna such as the Andean cat, the taruca, the puma, the vizcacha, and the Andean fox. This is certainly an impressive place that you should visit on your trip to Cusco.
2.- Visit Lares: Thermal Baths of Lares
When you’re preparing your suitcase, don’t forget to pack a swimsuit, because during your visit to Cusco, you’ll have the opportunity to swim in the hot springs of Lares.
They’re very frequented by visitors due to the mineral properties, and it’s an ideal spot for those looking for pleasure, to unwind, and healthy vacations.
The baths are perfect for resting your muscles, revitalizing, and energizing your bodies after experiencing adventure tours or trekking. The thermal baths of Lares have six pools; their waters are hot and have therapeutic properties. The best thing about this site is that you can camp inside. It’s an excellent option to spend a night outdoors with friends.
3.- Visit Lares: Choqecancha Citadel
When visiting Lares, don’t forget to visit the citadel of Choqecancha, an Inca archaeological site that’s in good condition and where you can observe the existence of squares, residential areas, spaces for worship, as well as terraces systems.
The community that houses this attraction was part of the road network of the Inca trail, which served in the Inca empire as a link between the Antisuyo and the Andean sections.
In addition, if you visit the town on a Monday, you’ll be able to appreciate the “truque” (exchange of products), an activity that was part of the Inca economy, which until this day is practiced in the community.
This place is accessible to all visitors and is 20 m
inutes by car from Lares, which you can easily visit before or after visiting the Qanchis Paqcha waterfalls or the Lares hot springs.
4.- Visit Lares: Mantto Fall
Among the natural sources of the Lares district, you’ll be able to visit the Mantto Waterfall “catarata de la Mama”, named for its curious shape that resembles the silhouette of a woman with a child in her arms. This natural beauty is made up of the waterfalls whose tallest height is registered at 100 meters. This is a space of pure air, mountains, and nature, where you’ll feel freedom and a special connection with the world.
5.- Visit Lares: Rupestres Mantto Paintings
When visiting the Mantto waterfall, you’ll also be able to see the cave paintings that are the cultural heritage that our ancestors left us.
The landscape is made up of steep mountains and dense vegetation, and it’s an overwhelming place with a remarkable magical charge.
On the walls of the caverns there, you’ll see red, orange, white, and black rock paintings of Mantto where the figures of animals and other anthropomorphic figures can be distinguished; an extraordinary testimony that allows us to reconstruct the history of the place. This one’s a place full of reasons to come if you love historical spaces and natural landscapes that exceed any expectations.
6.- Visit Lares: Typical Fabrics
Another reason to visit Lares is for the textiles; an art of excellence in Peru since ancient times, and all thanks to the richness of the Andean fabric, whose designs hold complex meanings. Many of its lines are the interpretation of the reality in which they live, and this practice is passed down from generation to generation.
In this place the locals produce the finest fabrics and you can see the great skills and brilliant techniques they use in the manufacture of ponchos and clothing. Many residents of Lares, from babies to older adults, wear typical multicolored costumes. The women are in charge of weaving the garments for their use and that of their family, and they also produce to sell them.
This place is full of surprises with the ancient traditions of the district.
7.- Visit Lares: Native Animals of Peru
The district of Lares has different climates, and it’s common to find the locals in the highlands grazing their herds of llamas, alpacas, and sheep. These native animals from the mountains embellish the landscape even more.
For those who love trekking, it’s a wonderful surprise that on their journey, between the rocky areas and the tall glaciers, they observe the sudden appearance of restless vicuñas, elusive vizcachas, and the imposing condor at the top. It’s important to be careful so you don’t miss any of the spectacular details of the environment.
8.- Stone Courts
Along the road between the communities of Huacahuasi, Patacancha, and Quiswarani, stone constructions (courts) made by the Incas can be observed. These were used in the past for cultivation, raising animals, and as homes.
Currently, the inhabitants of these areas use them to shelter their herds of alpacas, sheep, and llamas. These extensive stone courts have historical and patrimonial value that you should learn about without a doubt.
9.- Lagoon and Glacier Peaks
Nature was kind to conjure up such beautiful and complete spaces in the town of Lares, where you can see the glacial peaks of Chicón, Pitusiray, Cancha Cancha, and Colque Cruz, among others.
In addition, you can admire lagoons such as Ipsaycocha, Hatuncocha, and existing lagoons in the Yanahuara community and in the Canchacancha community. These natural spaces make the landscape an Andean paradise that you should know during your visit to Cusco.
10.- Experience Tourism
The best thing about visiting Lares, is that you’ll be able to live experiences that break borders, by sharing the local way of life with the people of the Andes, eating at their homes, seeing how their fabrics are made, feeling how their relationship with the natural environment that surrounds them is, and even working the field with them.
In other words, put yourself in their shoes to understand what life is like in the Peruvian Andes, where time seems to have stopped because they maintain their traditions and customs.
To enjoy this experience, it’s advisable to do it through a tourism agency such as Salkantay Trekking.
These visits benefit both Andean families and visitors; the visitor and host learn something from each other.
As you can imagine Lares is a district rich in culture, tradition, customs, and biodiversity. Add to all that the experience with the families of the Andes, you’ll see it’s ideal for those looking for fabulous memories of Cusco.
These are just some of the reasons why you should visit Lares on your vacation.