I want to visit some places that are not as trampled and full of people as Machu Picchu. For the record, Machu Picchu really is spectacular and all, but since it became one of the New 7 Wonders of The World in 2007, not only has the already heavily toured area become ever more dense with sightseers, the entire area surrounding Cusco-Machu Picchu has become significantly more expensive – particularly the heavily advertised sites, museums and towns near them. Machu Picchu is truly great, but many people fail to realize the amazing amount of beauty and wonderful things to see that are (literally) just around the bend.
Many people come to Peru with only a couple of weeks to attempt to cram pack in as much adventure as possible. That´s fine, but if you can stay in Peru longer, you definitely should. Take it easy and leisurely and you will find some incredible gems and meet wonderful people, probably see some crazy stuff along the way and never be sorry for one cotton-pickin´ minute that you aren´t back in your home country working the same boring grind.
Oh yeah, and that travel guide that someone gave you as a gift for your Peru trip . . . just one bit of advice . . . Travel guides are great, but don´t expect the information in them to be current . . . even if the book was published recently. We have a travel guide published in late 2008 that covers the entire Inca heartland. All the prices are waaaaay underestimated and a lot of the information is already outdated. Peru gets more and more travelers every year. Consequently, prices keep rising accordingly and infrastructure gets changed often. So while the info on the sites themselves is mostly correct, just be aware that pricing and modes of transport to get there may not be up-to-date.