Sun gate at Machu Picchu is one of the most important archeological constructions that connects with Machu Picchu. This construction is made up of several walls, windows, doors, and rustic terraces of stone.
Hiking to the sun gate is not the same as climbing Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain at all. There is not much exposure to what is down below and the walk without a doubt is really safe and not at all difficult. It is not much of a hike really, it is more like a longer walk than take somewhat uphill.
Note: Sun Gate Machu Picchu is closed due to covid 19 until further notice. This is because there is only one trail to the sun gate that is used to go and back. Therefore there is a risk of contagion among tourists.
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.
- Disadvantages: there is not.
- Walking Time: 2 hours roughly(round trip)
- Difficulty: Moderate
- Walking distance: 4 km/ 2.48 miles (round trip).
Best time to hike the Sun Gate?
If you plan to hike the sun gate in rainy season(from December to March), try to get there after 10:00 am because early in the morning this place stays misty so you wont enjoy the beautiful landscape it offers.
On dry season(from April to November). It is recommended to hike there early in the morning because after the 10:00 am the sun is so strong.
What ticket do I need to hike to the Sun Gate?
You don’t need any tickets. You can hike to the Sun Gate(Inti Pinku) with your regular Machu Picchu permit as long as you go there before your guided tour at Machu Picchu ruins.
If you decide to do your guided tour first and then hike to Sun Gate, you have to buy an additional MAPI ticket or Machu Picchu Mountain ticket. Once you finish the guided tour at Machu Picchu, you have to leave the citadel and with only those tickets mention above, you enter again to the citadel then hike to the sun gate.
Finding the trail to Sun Gate at Machu Picchu
Once you enter the main Machu Picchu gated entrance, you walk 2 minutes straight, then turn left in the direction of the guardhouse. At the guardhouse, you should turn left and stick to the stone-stepped trail that leads away from Machu Picchu Llaqta through the agricultural terraces. The wooden signs stating the Sun Gate obviously mark the way.
Sun gate (Intipunku) history
The Inti Punku was a kind of control gate for people who entered and exited the holy Inca city. Because of its remote and tactical location, it is believed that Machu Picchu Llaqta only accepted people of the Incan Elite.
The Sun gate construction is dedicated to the sun. During the summer solstice, the rising sun would pass through the Sun Gate each year. The people who came back after seeing the holy city were treated with special respect by the people who were on their way to Machu Picchu.
- The hike to Sun Gate is not as hard as Huayna Picchu mountain, so it is more accessible for people of different fitness levels.
- If you plan to visit the Sun Gate, wear proper trekking shoes. This way, you are going to avoid accidents and kinks on the cobbled trail.
- During the rainy season which is from December to March, the trail to the sun gate can get slippery and you should watch every step twice and bring a rain poncho. If you visit in the dry season (from April to October) bring sunscreen and a hat.
- After the Gate of the Sun viewpoint, the trail keeps going to Wiñay Wayna Inca ruin, the last control point of the Inca trail. However, you are not allowed to continue the trail as you need the Inca Trail permit.
Is it worth to visit the Intipunku?
Without a doubt, the hike up to Inti Punku is worth it because you get an amazing view from the top over the Inca citadel like hikers on the Inca trail 4 day trek.
There are several ways to access 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.
- Also directly from the Short Inca Trail 2 days with camping which includes the visit and sightings of the Sun Gate the day before the tour of the Machu Picchu citadel.
- Direct hikes to the Sun Gate from Machu Picchu on a regular tour.
What to bring for the Intipunku
- 2 liters of water.
- Insect repellent.
- Sunblock, sun hat, and sunglasses
- Trekking poles with rubber tips (If required)
Is the Hike to the Sun Gate at Machu Picchu Worthwhile?
Without a doubt, the hike up to Inti Punku is well worth your while. For one, it costs nothing unlike the other two hikes inside the archaeological site.
You also get an incredible view from the top over the rest of the Inca citadel. You get a very similar sight to the one you get from Machu Picchu Mountain. It’s the entrance from the original Inca Trail, so you also get to see a bit of that.
Another reason we recommend this hike is that it isn’t as hard as Huayna Picchu, so is more accessible for people of different fitness levels.
Overall, we believe this to be a great hike and an excellent addition to your day at Machu Picchu.
The trek to the Sun Gate Machu Picchu
Necessary time: 3 – 4 hours round trip.
Altitude of the Summit: 2,720 m.s.n.m.
Height in relation to Machu Picchu: 290 meters.
Terrain: Inca stone path and paths of grass and earth.
Recommended Footwear: light hiking boots (never new)
Schedule of entrance: like Machu Picchu from 6:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., being able to stay inside until 5:00 p.m. It is not recommended to start the walk after 14:00 hrs.
Tickets: according to the entrance to Machu Picchu limited to 2500 daily income.
The best time to go
The trek to the Sun Gate Machu Picchu is available throughout the year, but keep in mind that during the rainy season (November – April), heavy rains are more likely. The region has a subtropical environment throughout the year, with average temperatures around 18º C. In the dry season the humidity is around 40 and 45%, while in the rainy season it reaches 60 and 65%. Hiking in the early morning will offer cooler temperatures and better shade from the sun.
Do I need a special ticket to make the trek to Sun Gate?
No, it’s enough with the Solo Machu Picchu tickets 2023; we recommend you to do the walk before 10 in the morning, this will allow you to climb with little sun and few people; besides allowing you enough time in Machu Picchu; in case your return train departs at 2:00 p.m.
To make the trek to Sun Gate Machu Picchu, a medium physical level is required; however, the road is wide and much less uneven, than other excursions offered by the Inca city of Machu Picchu.
Difficulty: Moderate/ Difficulty