Meet the Sun Gate in Machu Picchu is a structure formed by several walls, windows, doors and terraces made of stone. The path to the location of this structure is not complicated, long or difficult; moreover, it is considered a longer walk unrelated to hiking the Machu Picchu or Huayna Picchu mountains.
Details of the Sun Gate in Machu Picchu Age restrictions: No age limit.
- Height: 2,720 m / 8,924 ft.
- Slope: 290 m (951 ft).
- Location: Located southeast of the wonder in one of the highest areas of the complex itself.
- Trail Description: The trail heading towards the sun gate is no more than 35 degrees at an angle. The closer you get, the steeper and more complicated the trail becomes.
- Archaeological attractions: Rustic stone terraces and the attraction itself known as Intipunku or Sun Gate.
- Advantages: This structure forms part of the Original Inca Trail.
- Disadvantages: None.
- Hiking time: 2 hours approximately between the outward and the return.
- Difficulty: Moderate
- Walking distance: 4 km/ 2.48 miles.
What is the best time to walk the Puerta del Sol?
Due to the fog during the rainy season (from December to March) it is advisable to visit the complex from 10:00 a.m. onwards, this way you can better enjoy the views and the structure itself; on the contrary, during the dry season (from April to November) it is advisable to go early in the morning, because after 10:00 a.m. the sun is very strong.
What ticket do I need to go up to the Puerta del Sol?
You do not need any specific ticket other than the regular entrance to the Wonder. You can go up to the Sun Gate as long as you go before your guided tour of the Machu Picchu ruins.
If you decide to do the guided tour first and then hike to the Sun Gate, you will need to purchase a MAPI ticket or an additional ticket to Machu Picchu Mountain. Once you finish the guided tour in Machu Picchu, you have to leave the citadel and only with the aforementioned tickets, enter the citadel again and then walk to the Sun Gate.
How to find the way to the Sun Gate in Machu Picchu
Starting at the entrance area to the citadel walk 2 minutes in a straight line, then turn left towards the Guardian’s house. From the Guardian’s house, turn left and follow the cobblestone path that leads away from the Llaqta of Machu Picchu through the agricultural terraces. You should continue your journey guided by the wooden signs that mark the way to the Sun Gate.
History of the Gate of the Sun (Intipunku) in Machu Picchu
The Inti Punku was a kind of control area for people entering and leaving the city. Due to its remote and tactical location, it is believed that in the Llaqta of Machu Picchu. Only people belonging to the Inca elite were accepted.
The construction is dedicated to the sun and during the summer solstice, it is said that the rising sun passed through the Sun Gate every year. The people who returned after seeing the sacred city had a special and differentiated treatment by the people who were on their way to Machu Picchu.
The hike to the Sun Gate is not as complicated as the one to Huayna Picchu mountain. So it is more accessible for people of different physical conditions. The appropriate footwear for hiking and trekking is the most recommended to visit the Inca citadel and its surroundings. This way, you will avoid accidents and sprains on the cobblestone path.
Throughout the rainy season, which runs from December to March. The Puerta del Sol trail can become slippery, so it is recommended to walk very calmly. It is also recommended to take firm and safe steps and to bring a rain poncho. If visiting in the dry season (April to October), bring sunscreen and a hat.
If one continues walking after the Puerta del Sol viewpoint, the trail will take you to the Inca ruin of Wiñay Wayna, the last checkpoint of the Inca Trail. However, you are not allowed to continue on the trail as you need the Inca Trail permit.
Is it worth visiting the Sun Gate in Machu Picchu?
The hike up to Intipunku is completely worth it because you get an incredible and unique view from the top over the Inca citadel. You also get to share some of the significance of the 4-day Inca Trail trek. The route that was used in ancient times to reach the citadel and is part of a network of roads that connected the entire Tahuantinsuyo, called Qhapaq Ñan .
There are several ways to access the Sun Gate in Machu Picchu.
These are some ways to get to the famous Sun Gate:
- Through the 4-Day Inca Trail. The Sun Gate is where trekkers get their first well-deserved view of Machu Picchu. At the end of your long trek, another way is directly from the 2-day Short Inca Trail. It includes the visit and sighting of the Sun Gate.
- Direct hikes to the Sun Gate from Machu Picchu on a regular tour.
What to bring for the Sun Gate or Intipunku in Machu Picchu
- 2 liters of water.
- Insect repellent.
- Sun block, hat and sunglasses
- Trekking poles with rubber tip (if necessary).