By day you hike in some of the most wonderfully scenic mountains, close to glaciers, waterfalls and authentic Andean highland villages.
Lares is ideal for all – there are optional cultural visits and alternatives trails for guests that prefer not to do the longer, more challenging hikes.
With a great walk under your belt, evenings see you unwinding in cosy lodges dotted along this Lares trek.
The enchanting mountain lodges if Lares welcome you with innovative local cuisine and the friendliness of the local people.
All the lodges and hotels offer private rooms with en-suite bathrooms, hot showers, wi-fi, bar/lounge and cosy reading rooms.
The trek starts in the Urubamba Valley, also known as the Sacred Valley of the Incas due to its concentration of Inca sites, and ends at the spectacular archaeological site of Machu Picchu.
It showcases an authentic slice of Peruvian rural life.
Majestic archaeological sites, remote and uncrowded trails through mountains and valleys, dotted with Andean communities.
Visit locals who are master weavers and learn about their tradition, still firmly rooted in ancient Incan culture.
Expert guides tailor the experience with an offer of à la carte activities and daily cultural encounters.
At each day’s sunset, settle into deluxe mountain lodges run in partnership with local communities.
Relax in jacuzzis surrounded by flowers and gardens, with views over the Sacred Valley and Lares.
Inventive menus with twists on region’s most iconic dishes - locally sourced, from organic coffee blends to healthy snacks.
During this trip, I realised why I really love this modern trekking style! I remembered, that not so long ago, I was on another trek having to put my feet in the icy river just to clean them. I had cold feet all night.
Now, I was drinking a glass of red wine with my feet submerged in the hot tub and spectacular views all around.
M. Lucas, Lares Luxury Lodges Trek
Guests will be picked up from 7am at their hotel in Cusco and driven to the village of Chinchero.
We stop for a brief visit of the Inca archaeological site and the 16th century colonial church, then continue with a short drive to the small community of Taucca (3,877m/12,717ft) where we start today’s hike. We have views of beautiful Lake Piuray and the full Urubamba and Vilcabamba mountain ranges are laid out before us, a truly spectacular sight.
We hike for 2-3 hours to Urquillos, a good acclimatisation hike to get warmed up for the days ahead.
We are picked up at the end of the hike to transfer to the small town of Lamay.
*Alternative: Explore the site of Moray and the salt mines of Maras (3,360m/11,023ft)
We say goodbye to the group doing the hike. We will have 30-minute drive to the start of our day’s tour visiting Moray (3,550m/11,646ft), an unusual site set on a high plateau with several huge terraced circular depressions that were probably used as agricultural laboratories in the Inca period.
We hike for two hours along a trail with views of snow-capped peaks and terraced hillsides toward the charming town of Maras (3,360m/11,023 ft).
After visiting the town, we hike for another 40 minutes to the salt mines of Las Salineras. Since pre-Inca times, salt has been gathered here by evaporating salty water from a subterranean stream – it’s an amazing place.
A vehicle will be waiting to take us to Lamay. Dinner and overnight at Lamay Lodge.
After breakfast we head off for the nearby town of Pisac and Qoya (9,514 ft / 2,900 m), with its attractive colonial church. After about a 1 hour drive (the last section on a mud road), we reach the Ayar Cancha community where our trek starts.
The trail winds gradually upwards to Challwaccasa Pass (4,250m/13,943ft), which we reach after around 2 hours. Views are of the peaks of the Vilcanota and Vilcabamba mountain ranges and, in the distance if it’s clear we can even see the massive snow-capped peaks of Ausangate and Salkantay.
We turn downhill to the community of Viacha (3,950m/12,950ft), where we enjoy a good lunch.
After a post-lunch rest, we join a restored Inca trail that leads to the extensive Inca site of Pisac (3,200m/10,826 ft). We can see below us impressive agricultural terraces and irrigation systems dating from Inca times.
After exploring the ruins we continue downhill to the picturesque village of Pisac (2,972m/9,750ft), which holds a colourful food and craft market on Tuesdays and Sundays. From there our vehicle will take us back to Lamay. Dinner and overnight at Lamay Lodge.
*Alternative: Lamay Lodge and Viacha community
You can start the morning with a leisurely breakfast and then choose a morning activity to suit. At lunch time, a private vehicle will take us to join the group of trekkers at Viacha for lunch. After lunch you can join the walkers or continue to towards Pisac by vehicle.
Today we have a one hour drive to Ancasmarca (4,044m/13,267ft), where we explore an Inca site that features a variety of ancient food warehouses, dwellings, and farming areas. The site is strategically located connecting the higher part of the Sacred Valley with the cloud forest communities below Lares.
Heading over the Lares Pass (4,420m/14,501ft), we arrive at Cuncani (3,884m/12,742 ft), the starting point of today’s hike.
Walking uphill for about two hours, we pass farmhouses and fields. We can see local inhabitants, descendants of the Incas, that have maintained their traditional way of life, growing potatoes and herding llamas and alpacas.
Reaching Cruzccasa Pass (4,188m/13,740ft), we enjoy a nice view of Veronica peak.
We walk downhill for an hour to our picnic lunch spot.
After resting, we walk again for an hour to Huacawasi Lodge (3,835m/12,579 ft). In the late afternoon, we have the opportunity to meet the local community. Dinner and overnight at the Huacawasi Lodge.
*Alternative: Huacawasi Lodge and visit local communities
Guests that would prefer not to do this hike, can relax at the lodge and do short hikes to the surrounding local communities, where we can see the traditional pottery and weaving skills.
Huacawasi is well known for its weavings. Today we set off from the lodge on foot. Right away we are immersed in scenes of community life, where men wear the traditional colourful ponchos and women wear layers of handmade skirts and decorated hats. Women work on looms and children head off to school.
One option today is to go for an early walk around the village of Huacahuasi where you will learn about its heritage and observe the daily activities. You may be able to visit a local farmer’s home. On return to the lodge there is the option to join a Peruvian food cooking class and test your skills with the rest of the group.
The trekking option: From the lodge, we drive to the village of Quiswarani (3,829m/12,562 ft), where we begin our hike, heading west up a small valley dotted with lakes and flocks of alpacas.
As we gain height the trail narrows to a series of switchbacks to Abra Huchuyccasa pass (4,414m/14,481 ft).
Views from the pass are superb: distant mountain ranges and stunning turquoise lakes.
Descending slightly, we continue hiking for an hour or so to our second pass at Phoñoccasa (4,387m/14,393 ft). From here we descend to Qeywaqocha Lake for a picnic lunch, then end our hike at the village of Qelqena (3,647m/11,965 ft).
Today we should see high Andean birds such as Andean geese, ducks, and plovers.
Our vehicle meets us at the trailhead for the drive back to Huacawasi. Dinner and overnight at Huacawasi Lodge.
*Alternative Qelqana and Lares hot springs:
Today’s alternative is an easy 3 hour hike from Qelqana back to Huacawasi Lodge. After lunch, there is the option to visit the famous Lares hot springs, 40 minutes away by car.
After a scenic morning drive from Huacahuasi, spend time visiting the local community of Huilloc. Later, continue on to the shepherding community of Marcacocha and participate in a traditional Andean ceremony to honor the apus for the good health of their flock.
For a more active morning experience, choose a hike from Huilloc to Pumamarka (3 hours), where everyone will reunite for lunch and a tour of the archaeological site.
After lunch, hike downhill from Pumamarka to Ollantaytambo (3 hours) visiting the amazing agricultural terraces along the valley.
Alternatively explore Ollantaytambo’s maze-like streets, and all the magic of this ancient living town.
The afternoon ends with an optional visit to an artisan beer brewery followed by dinner and overnight stay in the Sacred Valley.
After breakfast we stroll through the Inca town of Ollantaytambo.
With some houses dating from the late 15th century these are some of the oldest continuously occupied dwellings in South America. Ollantaytambo has an impressive archaeological site and the town itself retains much of its Inca structure. The emperor Pachacutec who conquered the region, built the town and the ceremonial centre.
After the walk and visits, late morning, we board the train for the 1.5-hour ride to Aguas Calientes, just below Machu Picchu.
We have free time to explore the colourful town and the magnificent orchid gardens of the hotel.
Dinner and overnight at Aguas Calientes hotel.
This morning we have a very early breakfast at the hotel, then take the bus for the 30-minute ride up to Machu Picchu. Our guide gives a comprehensive tour of site. You then have the option of climbing the sheer Inca staircase of Huayna Picchu, a steep and vertically challenging hike of about two-hours.
We meet up with our guide again and return by bus to Aguas Calientes for a late lunch, then take the train to Ollantaytambo (about 1.5 hours), from where a private vehicle drives us back to Cusco (an additional 1.5 hours).
On arrival in Cusco (approximately 8 p.m.) we are dropped off at the hotel we have chosen.
*Note: To climb Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain. Permits have to be purchased in advance (please contact us for information).
Prices From $2,600 / £2,205 per person
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6 nights accommodation, all meals as indicated (B = breakfast, L = lunch, D = dinner), transportation to/from Cusco, bilingual guide, mules/porters on trek, guided visit of Machu Picchu (inc entrance fee), transport to/from Aguas Calientes, entrance fees to sites, a la carte daily activities (except those that specify an additional cost), tips for staff at the Lodges and staff in the field (not guides).
International flights (we can look into these for you), insurance, tips, items of a personal nature, Cusco hotels, tips for guides.
The mountain lodges have brought together traditional Inca building techniques and sensitivity to the surrounding environment with all the comforts of home.
There are two: Lamay Lodge (2,958m/9,705ft) and Huacahuasi Lodge at 3,835m/12,585ft
Here you will find plenty of places to relax and soak in the moment, from the welcoming patio to a Jacuzzi surrounded by flowers to the balcony of your room, with views of the Sacred Valley of the Incas and Lares Region.
Local staff provides exceptional service and care to our guests, starting with a welcoming drink and warm towel upon arrival, to hot water bottle and herbal pillow in bed at night. Their warmth and attentive care are what makes our lodges truly feel like your home away from home.
We use high quality hotels in Ollantaytambo and Aguas Calientes.
At the lodges, local villagers simultaneously share their customs and learn how to be industry professionals, from guides to chefs to mule drivers to lodge staff.
The local teams, comprised of this rich blend of traditions and cultures, are trained to provide outstanding service and will go above and beyond to give each guest an unforgettable experience.
Local expert trekking guides are bilingual, English-speaking and of the highest quality.
Almost all dietary requirements can be catered to – please contact us for more.
Inventive menus which provide a refreshing take on the region’s most iconic dishes.
All food and drink is locally sourced where possible – from organic coffee blends to healthy snacks.
You can either hike a lot, with several consecutive days of 5-7 hour hikes, or take advantage of the fully flexible itinerary, with a menu of à-la-carte day hikes and cultural adventure activities.
The hikers need to be of a good fitness level. Pre-trip fitness planning, well-worn hiking shoes, and extra acclimatization nights in Cusco before the trip still come highly recommended.
Those interested in taking advantage of the harder day hike options available (a series of breathtaking trail days, on a par with those found on the Salkantay) should build a more intensive fitness regimen into their pre-trip preparations.
While general good health and an active lifestyle (including regular walking and/or hiking excursions) are necessary prerequisites to fully enjoy all variations of the program, participants can have confidence that there will always be an option to suit their individual interests and needs.
Shorter hikes of 1-2 hours may be possible, as well as cultural visits.
All guests are encouraged to hike at their own pace, taking breaks whenever needed, to ensure a successful and enjoyable trek for all.
Peru is the perfect holiday destination for adventure travellers that want an amazing variety of activity, geography and cultural travel experiences.
The breadth of travel experiences in Peru is breathtaking – from trekking in the Andes to Machu Picchu to the tropical jungle of the Amazon, and plenty in between.
The people of Peru make it a special destination too, with its colourful and traditional street life and friendly locals.
Peru is made up of 3 distinct geographical areas: the coast, the mountains and the jungle.
The costa or coastal region is a narrow ribbon of desert 2,250 km long, crossed by fertile river valleys flowing from the Andes. It takes up 11% of the country and holds more than 40% of the population.
The cold Humboldt current gives rise to a blanket of mist – the garua – which hangs above coastal cities like the capital Lima from May to November.
Heading east, you’re soon climbing above the garua and into the Andes. The sierra, or mountainous region, covers some 25% of Peru’s territory and contains 50% of the population. The sierra inhabitants are mainly Indigenous or Mestizo, and many still speak Quechua or Aymara.
The sierra contains dozens of 6,000-metre snow peaks and volcanoes, including Huascaran (6,768m) the highest mountain in the tropics. The deep valley basins contain most of the towns and arable land; the terracing and canal systems of the Incas and pre-Incas are often still used today.
The eastern Andes are heavily forested up to 3,350m and sweep down into the Amazon Basin.
Peru’s selva or jungle makes up almost two thirds of the country’s area, but holds only about 6% of the population: the only towns with significant populations are Iquitos and Pucallpa.
You can also read about the weather of Peru in our blog.
Peru is located in the southern tropics (latitudes 0º to 18º), but climate varies significantly according to season, altitude and region.
Lima & the coast
From May to October, Lima is often overcast, but with minimal precipitation. There are sunny spells, and it’s a fresh to pleasant 13-20ºC.
At the same time, inland areas and the north coast mid to high 20’s ºC.
November to April is generally warm and sunny and Lima enjoys warm temperature of 19-25ºC, with the coast averaging 22-30ºC.
Climate depends largely on altitude. As a rule of thumb, below 2,000m climate is mild and above 2,000m warm clothing is required for evenings, nights and early mornings.
The Andean sun is very strong.
May to Oct (dry season in The Andes)
Cusco (3,300m): Average max/min temps: 22ºC /2ºC. Average 3 or 4 wet days per month.
Arequipa (2,380m): Average max/min temps: 26ºC /9ºC. Sunny more than 340 days/year with minimal precipitation.
On highland treks: Conditions are generally dry. However, at this time of year, expect a range of conditions within a single day: cold/freezing nights at camps above 4,000m, where pre-dawn temperatures can be -5ºC; warm, spring-like mornings and afternoons; and cold evenings.
Note that mountain weather can be fickle and localised, and that precipitation is not unknown in the dry season. Expect temperatures to swing between sun and shade, sheltered and exposed ground and with altitude gain and loss. A quick-setting sun means temperatures drop fast.
In the cloud forest, e.g. around Machu Picchu, daytime conditions are generally warm or hot, and evenings cool.
Nov to March/April (wet season in The Andes)
Cusco: Average max/min temps: 23ºC /6ºC. Average 13 wet days per month.
Arequipa: Average max/min temps: 25ºC /14ºC.
On highland treks: Wetter conditions, with cooler days and milder nights than dry season. Jan-Mar usually the wettest months.
The Amazon rainforest
Year-round, weather conditions are hot and humid and there is always the risk of rain
There is a ‘dry season’ in Tambopata and Manu between May and October. The average daytime high temperature is between 25°C and 34°C and the average nighttime low is between 16°C and 22°C. Heavy downpours typically occur every few days.
Around 80% of annual average rainfall – approx 2,000 mm in Manu and Tambopata and 1,400 mm in Iquitos – occurs in the wet season Nov-April.
On rare occasions, between May and September, cold fronts from Argentina – ‘friajes’ – can sweep into southwest Amazonia and push temperatures down to 9° C. (Friajes usually last between 1 and 3 days).
Good kit is vital for every trip.
Book with Andean Trails and get 15% off Páramo’s fantastic ethical and high performance outdoor gear.
When planning for the varied climatic conditions you will encounter across Peru, layering is the most practical and versatile clothing system.
The sun is very strong throughout the country, so good sun cream, a hat and sunglasses are vital.
It can also get very cold at night time especially in the mountains. Jumpers, fleeces and warms hats – which you can buy there – are also essential.
Give plenty of thought to kit selection, and try to keep weight down.
Below is a more detailed guide.
Detailed kit list
Andean Trails has two decades of experience of dealing with South America holidays.
We pay a fee to the CAA for every licensable passenger we book since we hold an Air Travel Organiser’s Licence granted by the Civil Aviation Authority. In the unlikely event of our insolvency, the CAA will ensure that you are not stranded abroad and will arrange to refund any money you have paid to us for an advance booking.
We also offer ATOL (Civil Aviation Authority) protected holidays to give our customers peace of mind when booking and travelling.
When you buy an ATOL protected air holiday package from Andean Trails Ltd you will receive a Confirmation Invoice from us confirming your arrangements and your protection under our Air Travel Organiser’s Licence number 6275.
You can read more about ATOL, who is covered and what protections you have if not ATOL-covered, on our ATOL page.
What is ATOL?
The CAA’s ATOL scheme offers protection to your money and your holiday if you book with us. Not everybody is covered (see ‘Who is covered?’ for more), as you must purchase an ‘air package holiday’ with Andean Trails to be protected.
And ‘air package holiday’ is defined as including a flight and some ground services (hotel, transfer, trek etc). This is also known as an ‘ATOL-protected holiday’.
Who is covered?
To be covered by ATOL, you must book a flight and some ground services with us and be from the UK. If you are from the UK and only book ground services and no flights, you are not covered by ATOL (see below for more on how non-ATOL clients are covered).
If you are outside the UK and buy flights with us, you will be ATOL protected IF any of the flights booked with Andean Trails touches/stops in the UK at any point during your holiday package booked with us.
If you buy your flights elsewhere, please check with that agent if you are ATOL protected. Be careful with online flight purchases and make sure you know what protection you have, if any, before paying for flights.
Not all holiday or travel services offered and sold by us will be protected by the ATOL scheme. Please ask us to confirm what protection may apply to your booking.
For land only holidays not involving any air travel, in accordance with “The Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tours Regulations 1992”, all UK passengers booking with Andean Trails Ltd. are fully protected for the initial deposit and subsequently the balance of all money paid to us, arising from cancellation or curtailment of travel arrangements due to the insolvency of Andean Trails.
I’m not ATOL covered, what protection do I have?
If you are not ATOL covered, any payments you make to us go to a Trust account.
We can only access this money once your tour has been completed, meaning that if anything happens to Andean Trails Limited while you are on holiday, then your money is secure and you can either complete the trip or be able to make it home.
If you pay for your holiday with a credit card, some offer payment protection – please check with your cardholder.
You also should have cancellation protection written into your insurance (which we recommend you have at the time of booking) in case you need to cancel.
Peru boasts in its Amazonian region a vast swathe of world-class tropical wilderness with several rain forest and cloud forest reserves which are home to an immense diversity of wildlife.
Accessible from Lima, Iquitos or Cusco, the Amazon jungle is just a short flight away.
In Peru’s southeast lies the extraordinary region comprising the Tambopata National Reserve and the Bahuaja Sonene and Manu National Parks, with the greatest animal and plant diversity anywhere in the world.
Whether you choose to base yourself at a comfortable lodge or enjoy a more demanding camping trip, you can be sure of a unique, exhilarating and unforgettable experience.
The beautiful colonial city of Arequipa is replete with history and culture, and is the gateway to the condors of Colca Canyon.
Nestled at 2,325m/7,627ft, the ‘white city’ sits at the foot of three tremendous volcanoes: El Misti (5,821m/19,098ft), Chachani (6,075m/19,930ft) and Pichu Pichu (5,542m/18,182ft).
Arequipa’s attractions include the Cathedral, Compañía de Jesús Church, Santa Catalina Convent and the Dama de Ampato (Juanita Mummy) Museum.
With a year-round spring climate and sunshine guaranteed for 300 days of the year, it is the perfect place to begin acclimatising before continuing upwards.
Nearby is the famous Colca Canyon. At hundred kilometres long, this incredible gorge is said to reach a maximum depth of 3,400m/11,155ft – twice that of the Grand Canyon.
An overnight tour to Colca gives you the chance to see the iconic, soaring condors of the canyon.
Cusco is the archaeological and cultural capital of South America.
The one-time centre of the vast Inca Empire is a bustling highland city with bags of character.
Its whitewashed streets and plazas feature a fascinating blend of Inca and Spanish colonial stonework and offer endless possibilities for exploration.
You don’t have to venture far to find outstanding examples of high quality Inca architecture, including the monumental temple fortress of Sacsayhuaman.
There is also the fertile farming land of the Sacred Valley on the doorstep, with many Inca terraces, temples and fortresses, plus colourful local markets and small villages.
At night, Cusco offers an excellent array or restaurants and bars plus the continent’s best Andean folk music scene.
In the northeast of Peru lies Kuelap – the jewel in the massive archaeological crown of the Chachapoyas Cloud People.
The mystical structure of Kuelap – dubbed the Peru’s second Machu Picchu by locals – is 1,200 years old.
It features massive limestone walls towering 60 feet, pottery, bones and hundreds of mysterious round stone structures, and away from the crowds of other sites.
This is a remote area of sub-tropical valleys, half way down the eastern slopes of the Andes. The jungle is impenetrable, dense with low trees, bromeliads, bamboos, orchids and mosses.
Lake Titicaca, at around 4,000m/13,123ft above sea level, is a vast shimmering body of water on the Peru/Bolivia border.
It is the world’s highest navigable lake, set against a breathtaking background of towering ice-covered Andean mountain peaks.
The islands and shoreline of Lake Titicaca support many Indian communities, including the well known floating islands of Uros and the more remote islands of Taquile and Amantani. Here, traditions are strong and it appears time really does stand.
Agriculture, fishing, knitting and weaving are important to the islanders and by staying a day or two you gain just a small insights into this traditional way of life.
Islanders welcome tourists into their homes and this is a wonderful opportunity to experience island life.
Lima, the capital city of Peru, is a vibrant bustling place with a wide variety of things to do.
Stroll or bike around the historic centre, visiting the many museums or just chilling out in a café or restaurant in Miraflores.
In Parque Kennedy you can sit outside in Parisian fashion and watch the world go by in cafes and restaurants, or walk to the shore and the cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
There are a number of artisan shops & market stalls, plus a big silver jewellery trade, and a burgeoning number of top end restaurants with delicious food.
The centre of Lima is home to impressive Colonial architecture – Plaza de Armas has the Palace, official residence of the president, on one side, and on another is the Cathedral.
San Francisco Church, home of the Catacombs, is well worth a visit, as is the Inquisition museum.
Nothing says Peru quite the way Machu Picchu does.
The Lost City of the Incas, perches dramatically on a ridge-top 400 metres above the Urubamba river. The extensive site, with its many terraces, temples and palaces, is set amid a beautiful landscape of deep gorges and thickly forested mountains.
When Machu Picchu was rediscovered early in the 20th century and cleared of forest, it was found to be very well preserved. It has since presented archaeologists with many unanswered questions regarding the role it played in Inca times.
The sense of grandeur, whether you arrive on the Inca Trail or not, is impressive.
Try to arrive early at the site to enjoy it at its best – and late afternoon can often see you almost alone in the ruins.
North east of Lima, the Cordillera Blanca offers fantastic mountain scenery and some of the best trekking and climbing in the Andes.
The Cordillera Blanca boasts dozens of peaks over 6,000 metres, including Peru’s highest Huascaran at 6,768m/22,205ft above sea level.
The Blanca range also contains the world’s largest concentration of tropical glaciers.
This is an ideal destination for treks, from just a few to 12 days or so and also an ideal starting place for learning or improving mountaineering skills.
The nearby Huayhuash mountain range contains a dazzling array of snow peaks including seven summits above 6,000 metres.
This is a trekking paradise with breathtaking majestic panoramas and stunningly remote and picturesque camping spots. There is no better place to visit to get away from it all.
Select an available date to view pricing and information for that particular trip.
2023 price, daily departures (min 2)
Low season (Mar 1-31 & Nov 1-Dec 14): USD 2,600pp
High season (Apr 1-Oct 31 & Dec 15-31): USD 3,600pp
Discounts for kids
5-day option available USD 2,100 (low) - 2,800pp (high)
Single supplements apply
$2,600 / £2,205
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Prices From $1,340 / £1,136 per person
Dates: From March 2023 to January 2024
Capacity: 16 people
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Prices From $3,300 / £2,798 per person
Dates: From March 2023 to December 2023
Students Study Food Insecurity & Climate Change in Peru University of Edinburgh students and teachers report back from Peru, where they learned how traditional farming techniques could help prevent climate change and reduce food insecurity. The team visited coastal Lima, the Cusco Highlands, and the cloud forest. For Andean Trails and our local team, it was a chance to showcase a side of Peru that many visitors may not see when passing through. It went so well that the University has already signed up its team to another Food Security tour in the spring of 2024. Learning About …
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