I am thinking of heading off to Peru over Easter, I will have 3 weeks all in all and about £2,000 max to spend - but would obviously rather spend alot less!
My question is...should I go alone or join a trip? I have travelled alone throughout SE Asia so quite confident about getting around and about, however, I have really minimal Spanish and think this could be a problem. Also, I know I am going to have to join a tour to go up the Inca Trail so wondering if it would be better to just do a tour for the full three weeks as this is really just an extended holiday rather than "travelling" and as such it may be nice to be have a group to plod around with? Does anyone have any companies they would recommend?
I just got back from a tour and then a week on my own. I found it really easy to travel round on your own, you'll meet loads of people on the way, especially if you're staying in hostels or on the buses. The buses are dirt cheap and cover long distances. Check out the cruz del sur website. You can also go on short tours, I paid about $30 for a 2 day trip to chivay and colca canyon.
Don't worry about the spanish, it helps but there's always someone who speaks english around.
I spent about £250 in my last week and I was in cusco for a few days then flew to arequipa, spent a couple of days in colca canyon, saw the nasca lines with an overflight and had a day in Lima. I was travelling first class on buses and in decent hotels and was surprised how cheap it was.
You can easily travel alone in Peru without any major problems. Spanish is really helpfull in villages and remote areas but if you want to travel from a big city to another i wont be a problem.
When it comes to Inca trail, well personally I think it has lost all of its adventure aspects. You go in a big group with cookers and guides - boring. Try something less popular like Salkantay trek (if you want to do an organised tour) or if you like adventure try the Choquequirau trek (you can organise it yourself from Cachora - it's the one I did).
Final question - money. I'm a budget taveller and 1000 pounds were enough for me to spend 1 month in Peru (airplane ticket to Europe included and one local flight).
Enjoy beautiful Peru
I think Peru can be enjoyable both by the adventurer and the conventional "play it soft and safe" traveller. Younger people (30 and below) whose main concern is to enjoy the wonderful landscapes and unique natural sights taht Peru has to offer care less about comfort and sometimes they are not even aware of some risks that us (those a couple of decades older) have learn of by study or experience. By no means I want to understimate the sincere excitment the Peru experience has caused to most of the young folks here in this thread, but in my opinion if you want to tour Peru on your own you have to do some research about destinations, tourist attractions, hotels, food, customs and traditions, as well as bus, train and airline services, also just in case things become a little to difficult to handle, learn who can help you (tourist information service, police of tourism), find travel agency options that may not be to expensive but that are certified by Prom Peru (Peru's Tourism Promotion Board). This is just an advice you guys, I do love to walk the trail on the edge of the cliff and eat from the tuna fish can under an icy rain but if it is just possible to improve things for a few bucks more...I might be getting too old.
I think you should go with a specified tour ,´cause your traveling by yourself , not ?, A guided tour will all the information about destinations, hotels, restaurants, times, etcs . If you have three weeks , enough time to visit almost all Peru. ( by the way february is not a good time to travel, ´cause the weather .The inka trail by this time is close for the rainings)
If you want recommendations of companies, well Inka explorer , Pachamama explorer ( they are a good ones, specially for Cusco), andex adventure ( a good one, they have nice tours around all the country), etc, etc. They have web pages, so you can take a look and check