Hey, I always thought it was better to plan things at the last minute - quit my job, booked my flights recently and fly to Quito next Thursday.
My plan was to take a tour from Quito to Buenos Aires or somewhere in Argentina and arrive in Buenos Aires by xmas or new year. I wanted to include the Amazon and Inca Trail in my trip- however ALL tours are booked up and have been advised that I cant do the Inca Trail until 20th November!!!!!!!
I'm travelling alone so wanted to book a tour. It seems that I am going to have to change my Itinery completely- any suggestions welcome..
If you don't mind missing the hike up to the Inca Trail, you can get a train instead which takes you to a town 2km from Macchu Pichu - look at http://www.orient-express.com/web/tper/journeys/4_53409.jsp
I haven't done it myself but am planning for next year and found this website yesterday.
Hope it helps! Ruth
don´t worry at all about the inca trail being booked up - there are several alternatives. the salkantay trek which costs about $350 with a reputable agency like SAS once you arrive in cusco and can usually leave a day or two later (helps with acclimitisation). also as Ruth suggests above take the train - then you can buy a return back - the backbacker train is cheapest but if you can find someone to do this with you you can also do a 'cheap´ one way there on vistadome and if you can find someone hike out the back of aguas calientes along the railway line tot he hydroelectric plant you can get a truck to santa theresa for a couple of soles and then get a bus from there back to cusco which takes about 6 hours. it is an amazing ride down the valley for about 20 soles ($7).
don´t worry about not doing a tour - they are very overpriced and you won´t need it. the buses throughout ecuador and peru are amazing - with choice of bed or semi bed for longer journeys, including meals, blankets etc. keep an eye on your big pack if you can once it is put in the luggage storage and never leave your day pack in the shelf above the seats - always keep it between your feet and wear a money belt when travelling with your passport, travellers cheques and cash. I have been travelling through central and south america for 9 months and so far no problems. stay aware and take taxis between terminals if you need to and if you can avoid lima altogether. however, quito and cities going south in ecuador are lovely and you will have no problem meeting the odd person on the bus with you as you head south. cuenca is really lovely. once you reach peru there are great cities to stop en route - the beach manara (?) by piura, chiclayo, trujillo, ica, nazca, arequipa and cusco. you can also hike at huarez en route south.