Hike Up to the Sun Gate at Machu Picchu

The Sun Gate or Intipunku is made of steps that makes believe that these were some kind of control gate for the people who enter and go out of the Machu Picchu Sanctuary.

Is one of the most important archeological constructions that connects with Machu Picchu, is dedicated also to the cult of the INTI, the Sun god, and that’s because the Sun on determined times of the years, comes out from this building.

Getting to Inti Punku means the end of the of the trekking road (1, 2, 4 or 5 days Inca Trail), due that from that place is all downhill, and from that you can see the entire Machu Picchu Sanctuary, the view is amazing, takes your breath away observed The Machu Picchu Mountain, the Vilcambamba or Urubamba River, the Putukusi mountain and the Huayna Picchu mountain.

Located at 2745 meters above the sea level, is a wide place, with windows and gates that are hold by terraces, is the first place that you can actually see the whole Sanctuary, and that’s why his name, because you can see how the Sun rises over the whole mountains that conformed Machu Picchu, and realized that not many people lived or visit Machu, given that the location of the gate was to watch and control the pass of the people.

Can I hike up to the Sun Gate from Machu Picchu?

NOT, unfortunately is not possible becuase the NEW regulation.. The ONLY way to get there will be by doing the Inca Trail treks.

What is the best way to get to the Sun Gate at Machu Picchu?

Here are some ways to get to the famous Sun Gate:

  • Directly from the Inca Trail 4 Days, The Sun Gate is where trekkers get their first well earned view of Machu Picchu at the end of their long hike.
  • Through the 1 or 2 day Inca Trail to Machu Picchu which includes the visit and sightings of the Sun Gate the day before the tour of the Machu Picchu citadel.

NOTE: As of recently, per government regulations, you cannot hike up to the Sun Gate from Machu Picchu Citadel, so the only way to get to the Sun Gate now is through an Inca Trail trek: 1 day Inca Trail, Short Inca Trail or Classic Inca Trail 4 days.

What to do and see in the Intipunku (Sun Gate)?

Visit the offering rock

Almost halfway through the hike, you will find a rock, where in Incas times, people who came from Cusco used to leave some offerings. Nowadays, day visitors bring Coca leaves so you will see the rock with a lot of Coca Leaves.

Observe amazing landscapes

From the Sun Gate, you can see Machu Picchu from a different angle that cannot be seen from elsewhere. You will see the Vilcanota river, the Wayna Picchu mountain, Aguas Calientes town, and its surroundings.

Take unique pictures

Some of the best photos of Machu Picchu that you can take are from the top of Sun Gate. Not only from the top, you will also find the best places to take the best pictures on the way up to Intipunku.

Bird watching

Hiking to the sun gate, you will have to chance to spot some of the bird species that inhabit Machupicchu Sanctuary. You can see species such as the cock of the rocks, the Andean turkey, the tile tanager, the chestnut-breasted hummingbird, and the mountain watchmaker among others.

Sun Gate at Machu Picchu Details

  • Age Restrictions: There is no age limit.
  • Height : 2,720 m / 8,924 ft.
  • Altitude Gain: 290 m (951 ft).
  • Location: The Sun Gate is located in the upper part, southeast of Machu Picchu in Cusco, Peru.
  • Trail Description: The Sun gate follows a trail that is more gradual at no more than 35 degrees in angle. As you get close to Sun Gate, the path turns steeper and a little more difficult(the last 15 minutes)
  • Archaeological Attractions: Terraces and the unparalleled sun gate,
  • Advantages: You experience part of the original Inca trail.
  • Walking Time: 2 hours roughly(round trip)
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Walking distance: 4 km/ 2.48 miles (round trip).

Best Time of the Year for hiking up to the Sun Gate

There are two main seasons in the sub-tropical Peruvian Andes:

  • The dry season runs from late April through to early October.
  • The wet season starts mid to late October and ends in April.

But, When is the best time of the year for hiking up to the Sun Gate?

The hike can technically be completed all year round, the peak trekking season to Machu Picchu occurs during the dry season and is busiest between May and September. So, the best time of year to do the hike up to the Sun gate is from April to September.