I've done a lot of international travel both independently and with tours. Having a trip tailor-made to your interests, having your own guide, and having local experts usher you through all of the tricky transportation transitions made this one of the most enjoyable trips I've ever taken. I wouldn't hesitate to travel this way again. I can't count the number of times when we looked at large tours going by and were grateful to have our own personal guide and driver. We were able to travel at our own pace and to get all of our questions answered. We also developed a personal connection with our guides enabling us to gain greater insight into their culture and perspectives.
Our guide spontaneously adapted the order of our itinerary for the day so that we could observe a local festival in a small town that we were passing through (traffic was snarled because of the celebration), which turned out to be an amazing experience. Local villagers were costumed and dancing in a massive parade for themselves rather than something staged for tourists. It was truly authentic, and there were far more participants than observers making it easy to get great pictures.
I would spend our free day in a smaller place like Ollataytambo or Urubamba rather than Cusco. The historic center of Cusco was filled with aggressive merchants targeting tourists making it unpleasant to explore. Cusco is also the only place were I felt concerned about purse-snatchers, etc.
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