There’s a bustle to Lares that quickens our pace. It’s election day in Peru, and locals from surrounding mountain outposts are shuffling to town in order to cast their vote for Peru’s next president. We drive through the crowded streets, full of shops overflowing with life. Joyous music protrudes from every open door. It’s a time of celebration in Lares, where the Lares Adventure’s name derives.
Leaving Lares means traversing the high stretches of road that lead to Huacahuasi Pass. We drive high into the mountains, eventually descending to the stretch of valley that connects Lares to Huacahuasi. Here we find an idyllic scene: A young woman is corralling a herd of sheep, delicately tip-toeing around the animals, making sure to keep them in her decided range of direction. We park for lunch near a small creek, and we’re truly surrounded by the mountains. Our cares immediately drain from our bodies. In a setting so beautiful, it’s hard to think of anything else except what’s before us.
We pack our bags to make the trek along Huacahuasi Pass. We traverse up a curved mountain path, gaining access to a panoramic view showing the entire valley below. It’s a sprawling scene, almost fully green, except the occasional white dots, representing sheep herds in the valley. Other than a few homes, this part of Peru is vastly undeveloped: Only a handful of families cultivate the land, offering a serene glimpse into mountain life in one of Peru’s most precious enclaves.
Once we reach the top of the pass, we descend to what can only be described as one of the most beautiful scenes I’ve encountered. Shades of green emerge that I didn’t know existed: Mint and forest-flecked rock make up a giant moraine of boulders. We pass a young girl as she shouts at a herd of horses. Two of her sisters run through the open land to meet her. It’s a beautiful moment, one that can only be achieved on the Lares Adventure, which weaves travelers through local villages that exude a palpable sense of life.
We arrive to Huacahuasi Lodge as a mist shrouds the entire valley. It’s a mesmerizing scene of blanketed beauty, masking a serene landscape that encompasses a number of cascading waterfalls. We take refuge from our trek in our private outdoor sauna, resting in the tub as the mist curls around the lodge. We can hear the rush of water surrounding as Peru’s mysticism unveils before our eyes.