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The Sun Gate at Machu Picchu in Perú

Written by Orange Cares | Noviembre 13, 2023
How to hike the Sun Gate from Machu Picchu Perú

Note: It’s not possible to hike up to the Sun Gate from Machu Picchu. It is now an exclusive viewpoint enjoyed only when doing the  Inca Trails.


The Peruvian government established new regulations to promote the preservation of the historic trail that leads to Machu Picchu. The regulations outlined a one-way walking path to Machu Picchu. This means only people doing the Inca Trail are now privy to the panoramic view of Machu Picchu from the Sun Gate. Hiking from Machu Picchu to the Sun Gate is no longer possible.

Hiking through Inti Pinku gives you the most mesmerizing view of the sun rising over the citadel like molten gold.

The Historical Background of The Sun Gate Peru

The Sun Gate of Machu Picchu dates back to the 15th century. It is a stunning archaeological landmark situated just above the Machu Picchu sanctuary.

The great Inca civilization constructed this one-of-a-kind site. It is considered to be one of the most remarkable pieces of engineering from that era. The Incas built the Sun Gate as an entry point to the ancient sacred citadel of Machu Picchu. It offers the first panoramic view of the great Machu Picchu Citadel. Additionally, the view of the valley below is simply breathtaking.

The Sun Gate is also known as “Inti Punku” in the Quechua language. It is located at an elevation of 7,720 feet /2,350 meters above sea level. Researchers believe that the Incas used this gateway to observe solar events, such as solstices and equinoxes. It could also have been used as a guarded entry point to the isolated site of Machu Picchu.

What is the Sun Gate?

The sun gate (2,720 m / 8,924 ft) is a jaw-dropping viewpoint of Machu Picchu on one side of Machu Picchu Mountain.

It goes almost parallel to the path leading up to Machu Picchu Mountain. On the other hand, it’s convenient because the news is that it’s not as steep.

You can choose from any of the Inca Trails below if you wish to experience this once-in-a-lifetime viewpoint from the Sun Gate.

Sun Gate, Machu Picchu: An Overview

  • Height: 2,745m / 9,005ft
  • Altitude gain: 290m / 951ft
  • Age restrictions: None
  • Location: Upper level, southeast of Machu Picchu
  • Attractions: Panoramic views, terraces, Sun Gate, walk on the original Inca Trail
  • Walking time: Depends on the Inca trail you take, the short Inca Trail takes a day to reach the Sun Gate. Whereas the Classic Inca Trail takes 4 days.
  • Access: ONLY through the Inca Trail.
  • Type of terrain: Stone steps and dirt trail.
  • Recommended footwear: Hiking boots.
  • Ticket type: Inca Trail permit (there are a few options to choose from)
  • Entry schedule: From 6 am. until 2 in the afternoon.
  • Difficulty: Moderate/ difficult- depends on fitness and Inca Trail chosen

Best Time for Hiking up to the Sun Gate

It is possible to visit the Sun Gate all year round, just like Machu Picchu. However, certain times of the year offer a more enjoyable visit. The wet season is not highly recommended because of the heavy rainfall. It lasts from November to April. Additionally, Machu Picchu sits just above the jungle and has a humid subtropical climate throughout the year. The absolute best time to visit is the dry season, which is usually between April and September. The only downside to the dry season is the crowds. You are guaranteed to be surrounded by thousands of tourists during this time of the year.

Sun Gate at Machu Picchu – Is It Worth It?

YES, 100% YES! The view you get of Machu Picchu is breathtaking, and the hike is a rewarding experience to one of the most magical places on planet Earth. Remember to get in good physical condition and acclimate well.

Frequently Asked Questions About Inti Punku (Sun Gate)

Can I visit Sun Gate from Machu Picchu?

No , Visitors can no longer hike from Machu Picchu Citadel to the Sun Gate anymore.

What does Inti Punku mean in Spanish?

Located one hour from Machupicchu, the Intipunku or Puerta del Sol (Sun Gate) is one of the most visited attractions that complement the tour of this important tourist destination. It is an imposing stone portal that, during the time of the Incas, had the function of being the main access to the citadel.

What to do at Intipunku?

Take the hike  The ascent from Machu Picchu to the Intipunku is one of the most famous hikes taken by tourists who travel approximately 2 kilometers along the ancient trails built by the Incas hundreds of years ago.

Observe landscapes  From the top of the Sun Gate you can observe landscapes of Machu Picchu that cannot be seen from elsewhere. You can see the Urubamba river, the Huayna Picchu Mountain, the town of Aguas Calientes and its surroundings.

Take pictures  Some of the best photos that visitors can find in the Inca city is from the Sun Gate. Not only at the top, but in some of the sections of the road, you can get unique photos of the Inca city.

Bird watching  During the journey to the top you can observe some of the bird species that inhabit Machu Picchu. Visitors will be able to appreciate species such as the cock of the rocks, the Andean guan, the blue jawed tanager, the chestnut breasted hummingbird, the mountain watchmaker, among others.

Get to know the Sun Gate 

 This construction is one of the most important in Machu Picchu but it is not regularly visited by tourists due to its location in the highest part. If you want to know more about this place, You should hire a private tour guide  we recommend referring to the Orange Nation Peru for best and most competitive price and safest hike.

The Sun Gate at Machu Picchu in Peru. Machu Picchu is an iconic piece of Incan architecture and a true testament to the engineering skills of this ancient civilization. This site provides visitors with a stunning view of the valley below. It is the entry point to the sacred and outstanding architectural and engineering marvel that is Machu Picchu.

Here, visitors can enjoy a breathtaking view from the sun gate of Machu Picchu. Photographing the incredible ruins while learning more about the Inca culture and history. Take some time to explore this ancient wonder and appreciate flora and fauna from the top of Machu Picchu’s Sun Gate.

*** Officially, you can not hike up to the Sun Gate from Machu Picchu.. The ONLY way to get there s by doing any of the Inca Trail Hikes to Machu Picchu, like the 2 or 4 days Inca Trail ***

What is the best way to get to the Sun Gate?

Where does the hike begin?

The Sun Gate route of Machu Picchu is located near the main entrance to the city, making it easy and accessible for visitors. You can either start your hike from KM82, which is the entry point of the Classic Inca Trail. When doing the 4-day Inca Trail you arrive at the Sun Gate early in the morning on day 4. You are welcomed by breathtaking views of the sun rising over the majestic Machu Picchu. It is also possible to start from KM104, the trailhead for the short Inca Trail. Here, arrive at the Sun Gate in the early afternoon, just as the sun begins to set over the hilltops that surround Machu Picchu.

To complete the hike, it is important to have a good level of fitness as it can be quite challenging. Although a 2-3 hour (round trip) hike may not seem too difficult, it’s important to keep in mind that you will be hiking at an altitude of over 2500 meters.

Sun Gate hike from Machu Picchu Pueblo Google Map

What’s the weather like at Machu Picchu and the Sun Gate?

We advise preparing for all weather conditions as mountain weather can be unpredictable. The region has a sub-tropical climate, meaning the sun can be strong and rainfall can be heavy.

When is the best time to visit Machu Pichu?

The best time to hike up to the Sun Gate will be from the end of April to early October which is the dry season.

Dry season (April-October)

  • Average temperature: 16°C / 61°F
  • High temperature: 25°C / 77°F
  • Low temperature: 2°C / 36°F
  • Humidity: 40-45%
  • Warmest average month: October, 21°C / 70°F

Wet season (November-March)

  • Average temperature: 16°C / 61°F
  • High temperature: 21°C / 70°F
  • Low temperature: 7°C / 45°F
  • Humidity: 60-65%
  • Coolest average month: January, 18.5°C / 65°F

Peru is known for its varied microclimates. So, remember that the weather can change quickly. Bring different layers of clothing for fluctuating temperatures, sunscreen, sunglasses, waterproof gear, and water.

Some tips for enjoying your visit to the Sun Gate of Machu Picchu?

Visiting the Sun Gate of Machu Picchu is an unforgettable experience.

To make sure you get the most out of your visit, here are a few tips:

  1. Get an Early Start: The best way to take advantage of your time at Machu Picchu is to start early in the morning when it is still relatively quiet. This will give you a chance to explore the area before the crowds start to arrive.
  2. Arrive in the afternoon: This is when the citadel starts to thin off people, and you will find fewer people in your shot.
  3. Find the Perfect Spot: Several spots along the Sun Gate offer breathtaking views of Machu Picchu and the valley below. Make sure to take your time and find one spot that offers an ideal view of the entire area.
  4. Learn About Its History: A visit to Machu Picchu is incomplete without learning about its rich cultural and historical significance. Be sure to take some time and read up on the history of the Inca civilization as well as the construction of the Sun Gate itself.


Hiking to the Sun Gate of Machu Picchu, Peru, is an experience unlike any other. The incredible views, the history and the culture that come alive as you walk, and the physical challenge all combine to create a journey that will stay with you for a lifetime.

What to do and see on the way up to the Sun Gate at Machu Picchu?

  • Visit ritual places: Almost halfway through the hike, you will find a rock. During the Inca times, people came from the capital city of Cusco to leave offerings. Nowadays, local day visitors still bring coca leaves as an offering to Pachamama.
  • Observe amazing landscapes: From the Sun Gate, Machu Picchu is at an 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 are taken from the Sun Gate. Not only from the top, but all along the short route between Machu Picchu and Intipunku.
  • Bird watching: Hiking to the sun gate gives you a chance to spot some of the unique bird species that inhabit the Machu Picchu 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.

Things to know

  • 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 your step and bring a rain poncho. Bring sunscreen and a hat if you visit during the dry season (from April to October).
  • You will hike above 2,400m / 7,874ft. Make sure you get used to the altitude. Wear hiking shoes and long-sleeved pants and shirts. The mosquitos are vicious.
  • There are no shops on the way to the Sun Gate so bring enough water, snacks, sun cream, and rain gear in case of a shower.
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