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The Sun Gate – Inti Punku

The Sun Gate, also known as Intipunku. This an intriguing structure consisting of steps that suggest it served as a control gate for those entering and exiting the Machu Picchu Sanctuary.

The Sun Gate holds significant archaeological importance as it serves as a connecting point to Machu Picchu. It is dedicated to INTI, the Sun god. This dedication is rooted in the fact that during specific times of the year. The Sun emerges from this very structure.

However, it’s important to note that due to recent government regulations, hiking up to the Sun Gate directly from the Machu Picchu Citadel is no longer permitted. Presently, the only way to reach the Sun Gate is by embarking on an Inca Trail trek, such as the 1-day Inca Trail, Short Inca Trail, or the Classic Inca Trail spanning 4 days.

Inti Punku marks the end of the trekking road (1, 2, 4, or 5-day Inca Trail), where you’ll find a remarkable viewpoint. From this elevated spot at 2745 meters above sea level. Marvel at the breathtaking panoramic view of the entire Machu Picchu Sanctuary. The sight is truly mesmerizing, encompassing the majestic Machu Picchu Mountain. Also see the meandering Vilcambamba or Urubamba River, the striking Putukusi Mountain, and the iconic Huayna Picchu Mountain.

The Sun Gate - Inti Punku - Sam Corporations

Inti Punku, with its wide expanse, windows and terraced gates, offers the first opportunity to behold the entire Sanctuary. Its name derives from its role as the vantage point where you can witness the Sun rising over the mountains that shape Machu Picchu. This location served as a watchtower and checkpoint, limiting the number of people who could access and experience Machu Picchu.

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:

NOTE: As 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?

Visit the offering rock

As you make your way through the hike, a significant discovery awaits you— the Offering Rock. In ancient Inca times, this rock served as a site where travelers from Cusco would leave offerings. Today, it is adorned with abundant Coca leaves brought by the trekkers.

Observe amazing landscapes

From the Sun Gate, a unique perspective of Machu Picchu unfolds before your eyes. This vantage point unveils a captivating angle not visible from any other location. Behold the majestic Vilcanota River, the towering Huayna Picchu mountain, the quaint town of Aguas Calientes, and the picturesque surroundings.

Take unique pictures

The Sun Gate presents unparalleled opportunities for capturing extraordinary photos of Machu Picchu. Not only from the top but also along the ascent to Intipunku, discover the perfect spots to immortalize the beauty of this ancient site.

Bird watching

Embarking on the hike to the Sun Gate offers more than just stunning vistas—it provides an opportunity for bird watching. Keep your eyes peeled for various bird species that call the Machu Picchu Sanctuary home. From the vibrant cock of the rocks to the elegant Andean turkey, the colorful tile tanager, the exquisite chestnut-breasted hummingbird, the elusive mountain watchmaker, a world of avian wonders awaits you.

Enjoy these remarkable experiences during your visit to the Sun Gate, creating lasting memories of your journey to Machu Picchu.

Sun Gate at Machu Picchu Details

Best Time of the Year for hiking up to the Inti Punku

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

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

While the hike to the Sun Gate is feasible throughout the year, it’s important to note that the peak trekking season to Machu Picchu aligns with the dry season. This period, spanning from April to September, attracts the highest influx of visitors. Therefore, if you’re seeking the optimal time to embark on the hike to the Sun Gate, the months between April and September offer the best conditions and a more vibrant trekking atmosphere. Please note that the Inca Trail is closed in the month of February so there is no access to the Sun Gates.

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Contact our travel advisors to plan the most complete trip of your life.

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Our groups never exceed 10 people, giving you an unforgettable experience

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