When we talk about Peru, we know that it is a country with diverse landscapes to explore. You have hundreds of beautiful places to visit. One of those fascinating places is the Sun Gate in Machu Picchu. This place within the Inca citadel offers an unparalleled view of the archaeological complex. Being able to see the Inca citadel from the Sun Gate is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. It is also known as Inti Punku in the native Quechua language. It is the protagonist of numerous photos that we have seen appear on the Internet. So if you are looking to add this wonderful sight to your photo album, Machu Travel Peru can help you with everything you need to know. Therefore, we have prepared an article detailing in-depth about the Sun Gate in Machu Picchu.
Everything you need to know about the Sun Gate in Machu Picchu
- Regarding the Inti Punku
- How to get to Inti Punku
- Is it difficult to reach Inti Punku?
- When to visit the Sun Gate
- Recommendations before your trip
- Is it worth visiting the Sun Gate?
REGARDING THE INTI PUNKU
The Inti Punku is an important viewpoint in the Inca citadel. Formerly the Sun Gate in Machu Picchu was one of the main entrances to the citadel. It was also considered at that time as a strategic point to protect the magical Inca citadel. It is one of the most incredible archaeological constructions of the archaeological complex. This usually connects directly with the Inca citadel of Machu Picchu. Its location makes historians think that the entrance to Machu Picchu was restricted and guarded by the military at that time, making it accessible only to visitors from the Imperial Inca Elite. The Sun Gate in Machu Picchu is an ancient archaeological complex located on the outskirts of the Machu Picchu map.
The actual name is Inti Punku and Its name means Sun Gate in the native Quechua language. It was dedicated to the worship of the Sun God or “Inti”. The sun illuminates the door during the winter solstice, giving all who visit the place a wonderful view. The construction is made up of a few walls, doors, windows, and terraces, all made of rustic stone. To get there, the Incas built a series of terraces, stairs, and many other minor buildings. The Sun Gate in Machu Picchu is located at a height of about 2745 meters above sea level. It is about 300 meters higher than where Machu Picchu is located. Being able to see the Inca citadel from Inti Punku is one of the best things to do in Machu Picchu.
HOW TO GET TO INTI PUNKU
Assuming you plan to visit Machu Picchu, this is a unique opportunity to marvel at the picturesque landscape of one of the wonders of the world. It is usually one of the most complete views of the Inca citadel. It was also the view with which the first Incas were received. Being in the Sun Gate is a fascinating sight. Whether you come from the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu or Aguas Calientes, the Sun Gate in Machu Picchu is a must.
If you go by train with a single ticket, in about 2 hours you can get there on foot. Right after entering Machu Picchu, you can climb the steps that lead to the renowned “Caretaker’s Hut”. There you will notice how the path divides into two. One of the routes takes you through the citadel while the other to Machu Picchu Mountain and Inti Punku. The route to Inti Punku also forks at one point in the section. Keep in mind that the path to the Sun Gate in Machu Picchu is gradual. Although the closer you get to the top, you will notice how the slope becomes more pronounced. It is not as steep as the Machu Picchu mountain hike, but you will hike at a high altitude.
You can also see the Sun Gate in Machu Picchu totally free with the classic visitor ticket offered by your tour operator. So the Machu Picchu trip cost will depend on how you want to approach this beautiful archaeological complex. You can do the hiking route to Inti Punku with every available ticket. Even with the classic Machu Picchu ticket. Please note that it is not an easy hike, especially if you plan to do other trekking routes during the day. Either way, it is one of the most fascinating views of Machu Picchu. It is almost parallel to the Machu Picchu mountain road. You will be able to see the whole picture and take a lot of good photos from there.
IS IT DIFFICULT TO REACH INTI PUNKU?
Within the Machu Picchu tours, be it the Inca Trail or any hike that takes us to the citadel, all of them give us the possibility of seeing the Sun Gate. It is the first point of view towards Machu Picchu if you do the classic 4-day Inca Trail. Keep in mind that the hike to the Sun Gate in Machu Picchu can be considered moderate. Even if you choose to admire it from the well-known Inca Trail, it is not a trek that requires a lot of experience. But an acceptable physical level is required. Many times the most difficult part of this route is the altitude, so it is advisable to be acclimatized. Despite this, the route is much less rugged and wider than other alternatives to Machu Picchu. Such as can be the hiking trails of Huayna Picchu and Machu Picchu Mountain.
Please note that the Sun Gate in Machu Picchu is at a higher altitude in contrast to the Inca citadel. It will be more than 2700 meters (300 meters higher than Machu Picchu). So it is better to exercise caution and acclimatize before going to the archaeological site. To carry out the route it is advisable to be in good physical shape and already acclimatized. If in doubt, consult your doctor. Keep in mind that to see the Inti Punku, it is vital to have a guide by your side. In this way, we can have a historical context when observing any building in the archaeological complex. In this way, you will know about the history as well as the Machu Picchu meaning. Make sure you get the most out of your Machu Picchu tour and visit the Inti Punku.
WHEN TO VISIT THE SUN GATE
The Sun Gate in Machu Picchu is available throughout the year. The best time to visit Machu Picchu is obviously the dry season. The best months to visit the Inca citadel are May, June, July, and August. During these months it rains less frequently and there will be clear skies. Although they are also usually the months with the most crowds and least availability. You can also make your reservations during the rainy season (November to April). But it is convenient to be prepared with the appropriate clothing for the sun and rain. February is the month with the most rain in Machu Picchu and the Inca Trail is not available either.
You should also bring a small backpack with the essentials (such as sunscreen, repellent, sunglasses, hiking boots, etc.). Anyway, you can appreciate a subtropical climate throughout the year. Making the morning the most ideal time for the hike. The route to the Sun Gate is worth it in case you plan to visit the Inca citadel early and you do not have other tours in Peru ahead (such as Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu mountain). If you have time at your disposal, it is advisable to visit this imposing viewpoint.
RECOMMENDATIONS BEFORE YOUR TRIP
We know that the trip to Machu Picchu is usually the most desired experience for travelers. It can be an excellent opportunity to enjoy a honeymoon in Machu Picchu. For this reason, it is essential to be well prepared so you can have a fluid tour. And the recommendations that we suggest are always worth considering. With our years of experience, we know what things are often overlooked. In this way, you can fully enjoy your visit to the Sun Gate in Machu Picchu.
Adapting to the altitude should be one of the absolute priorities before visiting the Sun Gate in Machu Picchu. It is advisable to be prepared and in good physical shape. Wherever you come from, it is most likely lower than Cusco and Machu Picchu. Besides being in good shape, it is always a good idea to get acclimatized to the altitude. Many people suffer from altitude sickness when they arrive at the citadel because they have not acclimatized properly. Although the hike to Inti Punku is not a very steep hike in contrast to other hiking trails. Before you wonder how to get to Machu Picchu, you better be in good shape for the trip.
PROTECT YOURSELF FROM THE SUN
A visit to Machu Picchu involves spending many hours outdoors exposing yourself to the sun. And the chances of getting burned are higher when you are in the mountains. It is highly recommended to be prepared with sunscreen. For this occasion, a factor of 50 or more will be very useful. Sunglasses and a hat are also a good idea. And depending on the season, it is also common to see mosquitoes. So long sleeves and long pants will help a lot.
GO TO YOUR PACE
Whether you are within a group or private tour, we recommend going at your own pace. There is no reason to walk fast since there is plenty of time to enjoy the Inca citadel. And the altitude can make you tire faster than usual. If necessary, you can take short pauses to catch your breath. Remember that it is not a race, enjoy the landscapes and take all the Machu Picchu pictures that are necessary.
PRACTICE AT HOME
To make sure you enjoy the hike, you can practice at home. This way it won’t be challenging at all when it comes to experiencing the Sun Gate. You can try hiking uphill and building a bit of resistance in your legs. Try different full-day routes near your home and build a resistance. From your home, you can also check the wonderful Machu Picchu virtual tour. Where you can get an idea of all the wonderful things that await you!
KEEP YOURSELF HYDRATED
It is possibly one of the most important tips if you are planning a trip to Machu Picchu. Make sure to drink plenty of water before and after the citadel tour. Some factors like the sun, altitude, and exercise can quickly dehydrate you. You can carry your water in a reusable bottle. It is also advisable to go to the services before entering the complex. You don’t want a full bladder during your tour.
IS IT WORTH VISITING THE SUN GATE?
Without a doubt, the hike to the Sun Gate in Machu Picchu is worth every minute. If you do not plan to complement your tour with the routes of Machu Picchu Mountain or Huayna Picchu, it is worth a try. Also, it costs nothing, unlike the other two hikes. This is not to mention that you will have an aerial view of the wonderful Inca citadel. The view is quite similar to what can be seen from Machu Picchu Mountain. And it is usually a fairly accessible and easy hike compared to other routes. You can enjoy this short hike with the whole family. If you decide to do it in the early hours, you may find the Inca Trail travelers arriving from there.
You can hike to the Intipunku with any of the Machu Picchu tickets. Keep in mind that to take advantage of this hike it is advisable to do the hike before the tour itself. Since if you decide to tour the complex earlier, you will have to buy an additional ticket. Because you will have to leave the complex once the tour is over to be able to enter again. In addition, early in the morning, you will be able to appreciate the sunrise and how the citadel gradually lights up.
“WE DON’T NEED OBJECTS; WE NEED ADVENTURES.”
As you can see, the Inti Punku is one of the places that you cannot miss on your visit to Machu Picchu. This viewpoint will give you an idea of the architectural wonder that the complex is since you will be able to discern all its areas and different constructions. We hope together with the experts of Machu Travel Peru to have been of help. If you want to know more about our tours to the incredible Inti Punku, do not hesitate to consult with our qualified advisors. They will be happy to help you fulfill your long-awaited trip to the citadel of Machu Picchu.