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Machu Picchu remained unknown to the outside world until the 20th century. (Frans Lanting / Corbis)

Winter Palace

The first major exhibition devoted to the Incas' fabled cold-weather retreat highlights Machu Picchu's secrets

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American Airlines flies from Miami to Lima, where connecting flights to Cuzco leave daily. Start with the official Peruvian tourism office at www.peru.org.pe. A good read is Hugh Thomson’s The White Rock: An Exploration of the Inca Heartland.

 

INSIDE TIP: Stay at Cuzco’s 5-star Hotel Monasterio, a lovingly restored 17th-century colonial seminary located in the heart of the old city. Prices range from $290 to $335 per night.

 

CHOICE COLLECTIBLE: Extraordinarily beautiful textiles with centuries-old Inca designs are abundant in Cuzco. Prices are reasonable, and bargaining is expected.

 

FOR THE GOURMET: The Incas were connoisseurs of cuy, or roast guinea pig. It is available at restaurants in Cuzco and Aguas Calientes.

 

YOU SHOULD KNOW: You can’t ride a llama to Machu Picchu on the 26-mile Inca Trail; the animals can carry only about 100 pounds. (You can also reach the ruins by train or helicopter.) Still, if you choose to trek with one of these surefooted “Ships of the Andes,” the beast will happily carry your duffel.

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