Hiking to the Sun Gate in Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu, Wonder of the World, a marvel of Inca architecture, hidden from the Spanish invaders and one of the most beautiful ancient sites you have ever seen. It is located on the side of a mountain high up in the Vilcabamba Andes mountain range. The Inca citadel is located at an elevation of 2430 meters above sea level. Machu Picchu should be on your must-see list when traveling to Peru or South America. For these important reasons and much more, Cusco Peru Travel considers this important archaeological site to be on your must-see list when planning a trip to Peru or South America. For this reason, we have prepared a small article delving into the Sun Gate in Machu Picchu.

All you need to know about the Sun Gate in Machu Picchu


about the sun gate in machu picchu

There are many places to visit in Machu Picchu, and to reach many of them some hikes are necessary. Among all the available ones there is one that you should not miss. We refer to the hike to the Sun Gate in Machu Picchu, also known as Intipunku. It is located on the side of the Machu Picchu mountain, at the top of the Andes Mountains. In addition, it has an elevation of 2745 meters above sea level. This place is one of the best viewpoints of the Inca citadel. The hike to IntiPunku runs in parallel with the hike to Machu Picchu mountain. It is a much less steep route but it can take about 2 hours to climb. It is believed that during the time of the Incas, the Inti Punku had a control gate function.


sun gate machu picchu guardian house

To get to the Sun Gate in Machu Picchu, there are two main ways. One of them is to go to Inti Punku from the entrance of the citadel and another through the Inca Trail.

  • From the entrance gate of Machu Picchu and the guardian’s house, you have to turn left and continue along the path that leads away from Machu Picchu and walk through some agricultural terraces. Don’t worry, the trail is clearly marked so you don’t get lost. The hike to the Sun Gate in Machu Picchu is gradual, and the angle does not exceed 30 degrees. The hike takes around 4 hours round trip and the last 20 minutes as you go up are a bit more challenging.
  • Then the other way to get there is through the Inca Trail. If you wonder how to get to Machu Picchu and Inti Punku, you have to try the Inca Trail. The Inti Punku was the original gate of the Inca citadel. After 4 days of hiking, Sun Gate is the arrival point to Machu Picchu for those who do the Inca Trail. From there you can have the first impressive view of the Inca Citadel. The Inca Trail is the best Machu Picchu hike to experience. And on your last day, you will be at Inti Punku appreciating the beautiful Inca citadel.

However, it is not necessary to do the Inca Trail to appreciate the beauty of Machu Picchu, it is recommended to do the Inti Punku hike in the morning and you may even meet people who have just finished the Inca Trail trail going down to Machu Picchu.


sun gate machu picchu citadel

During the time of the Incas, the gate was used by the Imperial Guard to control who entered the site. Due to the remoteness of the Sun Gate to the citadel itself, it is believed that the place functioned as a kind of control or customs gate. The Inti Punku was the main entrance to Machu Picchu, and it is believed that everyone used the gate, from royalty to local people. One of the first theories stated that Machu Picchu was a place for the nobility only. But this theory was discarded and it is believed that Machu Picchu was a kind of pilgrimage site.


sun gate machu picchu ruins

You do not need an additional ticket to explore the Sun Gate in Machu Picchu. You only need your entrance ticket to Machu Picchu and you can do the trek on your own. When you arrive at Inti Punku, you will be overwhelmed by the amazing views from the top. Within a guided visit to Machu Picchu, you will discover the entire history of the site and some interesting Machu Picchu information. They will explain to you how a Yale professor named Hiram Bingham discovered the site in 1911 when he was looking for a different site. With the help of a local boy, the American arrived at Machu Picchu and discovered ruins covered with dense vegetation. Never discovered by the Spanish, the site was intact.


when to visit the sun gate in machu picchu

Many of the people seek to climb the Sun Gate in Machu Picchu when they first arrive at the archaeological site. It’s one of the best ways to get a great view of the ruins and see the sunrise at the correct time. However, some people feel too tired afterward to enjoy the true tour of the citadel. This is why we always recommend enjoying the tour first and then walking at your own pace. The best time to go to Machu Picchu is during the dry season. You will have clear blue skies at your disposal, perfect for taking pictures of the citadel.


weather to expect on the sun gate in machu picchu

The climate within the region is generally hot and humid since it is located at the beginning of the jungle. Although it is cold at night, you will need a few layers of clothing for your walk in the early hours of the morning. Between May and October, the dry season passes, so you can expect clear skies and sunny weather without rainfall. From November to April the rainy season passes. At this time there is the possibility of rain but the temperature remains warm. Have in mind that the different trails can be wet and slippery during this time.


recommendations about the sun gate in machu picchu

If you are looking to do any of the additional hiking trails to Machu Picchu, including the Sun Gate in Machu Picchu, you have to keep certain things in mind. For any of the routes, a medium level of physical condition is necessary, since many of these routes are of moderate difficulty. We suggest bringing good trekking gear, such as good hiking boots. Especially during the rainy season as some roads can be wet and slippery. Another fact to consider is to try not to undertake the Huayna Picchu mountain with children. The path is very steep and can be exhausting for the little ones. Similarly, there are many other walks that you can enjoy with the children. Within the different luxury Peru tours, you will find numerous options to enjoy with children.


In conclusion, the walk to the Sun Gate in Machu Picchu provides one of the best views of the citadel. You can get there through the Inca Trail or in a short walk from the door of the ruins. We highly recommend together with the experts of Cusco Peru Travel to try this trek. Within our luxury tours, we offer the possibility of getting to know this place. If you want to know more about our different travel programs, you can consult with our team of advisers.

Peru has many wonders waiting for you to be discovered. Here in Cusco Peru Travel, our speciality is to make your trip an outstanding experience, fill-in this form and let your tailor-made luxury Peru vacation begin.

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