I am arriving in Peru to do the Inca Trail next month and was originally going to go with GAP Adventures, but a friend of mine suggested it would be MUCH cheaper to just do it on my own. It's the start of a 12 month, round the world trip so budget is important.
Can anyone suggest a great, cheap place to stay in Lima (airport transfer would be awesome too) and Cuzco?
Also, I know it is wet season on the Inca Trail - anyone ever done it in wet season before? Is it worth waiting a few weeks for March?
i haven't done the inca trail in wet season but i suggest you to go in cuzco and get some weather info and decide when the forecast should be good.
Doing it with rain should be quite hard and not so awsome.
The Inca trail is closed in february, so you will have to wait until March anyway. My advice is to travel south from Lima first, Paracas, Ica, Nazca, then Arequipa and then Cusco. That way you will be better acclimatized to the altitude and you won't waste time waiting to the Inca trail re-opens in March.
I did the Inca Trail last April, around the end of the wet season. I'd say it rained half the time, and was absolutely clear the rest of the time. I suppose the biggest advantage of doing the trek in the wet season is that there are much less trekkers on the trails. Secondly, its hard to explain, but I felt that trekking in the fog and rain through those amazing trails and ruins actually added to the mystique of the whole area!! On the other hand though, if you are not equipped with proper rain gear, it is going to be a very uncomfortable hike for you. Furthermore, there is the disappointment of trekking 3-4 hours to the next jaw-dropping look out point, only to find that the only view you have is fog.
I feel like I was extrememly fortunate enough to experience both situations, but if I had to pick between on or the other, I would definitely recommend to go in the dry season. The views are amazing! It would be a shame if you came all that way and risked not being able to see anything.
I didn't even think about sticking around in Cuzco until the weather clears up for a few days, and it will help with the acclimatizing too.