I'm planning a trip to Peru next month (leaving May 4) for 17 days... the first half I'll be solo making my way from Arequipa to Cusco via Colca Canyon and Puno/Lake Titicaca. In Cusco I'll join some friends for a 7-day group tour, including Inca Trail/Machu Picchu. I have found some good suggestions on the forums here, so I wanted to see what advice folks had for my dilemma:
The group tour ends at Machu Picchu and returns to Cusco on the 6th day of the tour. However, there is nothing planned for the group on the 7th day besides checking out of the hotel, so I'm considering leaving the group at the end of day 6 to stay the night in Aguas Calientes, return to MP the next day to hike HP (early time slot), then return to Cusco via train and taxi to make the 8:30 pm departure of the Cruz del Sur overnight bus back to Arequipa.
This would mean some extra expenses (hotel in AC, second day ticket to MP/HP, train/taxi, etc) but I don't want to feel like I missed out on something really worthwhile. Thoughts?