I spent six months living in a small town near Cusco, I'll try my best to answer that and any other questions people have about Cusco/Machu Picchu etc.
Cusco in the winter... Isn't particularly cold. It's not really far enough away from the equator for the seasons to have a huge effect - it's colder at night (sometimes frost) but during the day the sun warms everything up quickly.
Hikingwise, definitely don't do the Inca trail. I did it when my sister came out to visit and insisted; was horrendously expensive and overcrowded.
If you are of the 'adventurous' persuasion don't feel you have to pay for a guide at all - at the SAE clubhouse in Cusco you can buy detailed maps of the surrounding areas, and there are tonnes of member reports of hikes with directions (I left a few as well). You can hire tents etc. for peanuts in Cusco. Maybe not such a good idea if you are travelling alone or aren't acclimatised yet, but still they are the best people to talk to if you need a guide recommendation.
In general the guided walks tend to be a bit on the slow side, I guess they are prepared for unfit and unacclimatised tourists. For example from Yanahuara to Lares took 11 hours but I saw it advertised as a three-day walk in an agency in Cusco. You don't have to be superman but as long as you are reasonably fit a guided walk probably won't be very taxing.
There are hundreds of internet cafes in Cusco, they all work and are all cheap but are not exactly lightning-fast.
Many people are inevitably going to try and charge a gringo more than what they should, especially if you can't speak Spanish. There is no point getting angry about it, you can probably afford it and probably won't know what the right price is anyway. That said if someone is trying it on with a ridiculous price, walking away is probably the best thing to do.
|# ¿ Jun 10, 2009 12:59|
|# ¿ May 19, 2013 03:34|