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Walk to Intipunku
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Hiking Guide to Sun Gate (Inti Punku)

The Intipunku was the entrance gate to Machu Picchu used by the Incas. The walk there is intense. Follow a path that originally belonged to the network of Inca roads (qhapaq ñan). This route has no additional cost, since it can be done with the ticket ‘Machu Picchu Solo’. It takes about 2 or 3 hours (round trip).

To climb the Sun Gate you must follow the stone steps that lead to the top of Machu Picchu. On the way there are many signs that prevent tourists from getting lost. From the top is a charming landscape of the Inca city.

What is the Intipunku or Sun Gate?

  • Intipunku is a Quechua word that means ‘Sun Gate’ . Its name is due to the fact that the sun’s rays pass there during the summer solstices. In addition, this construction was the entrance gate to Machu Picchu used by the Incas.
  • This construction is made up of several walls, windows, doors and rustic terraces of stone. To get there, the Incas built several staircases as well as terraces and other minor buildings.
  • From the Intipunku you can see a spectacular view of Machu Picchu . It is for this reason that many tourists ascend the hundreds of stone steps. Many do so in the early hours of the day, in order to see the sunrise in the Inca city.
Sun Gate Inti Punku
View from Sun Gate or Intipunku

What is the entrance ticket to Intipunku?

  • The Intipunku is located within the Inca city of Machu Picchu so any type of ticket includes the option to visit this tourist attraction.
  • The general entrance ticket ‘Machu Picchu Solo’ is preferred by visitors to make the walk to the Sun Gate .
  • It is also possible to make the hiking route to the Intipunku with the tickets ‘Machu Picchu + Huayna Picchu’ and ‘Machu Picchu + Mountain’. However, it is not recommended since these tickets include other walks that are equally exhausting.

What are the entry times?

The Machu Picchu ticket only offers the following tourist entry times:

  • Group 1. The entrance is from six in the morning.
  • Group 2. The entrance is from seven in the morning.
  • Group 3. Entry is after eight in the morning.
  • Group 4. Entry is after nine in the morning.
  • Group 5. The entrance is from ten in the morning.
  • Group 6. The entrance is from eleven in the morning.
  • Group 7. Admission is from noon.
  • Group 8. Entry is after one in the afternoon.
  • Group 9. Entry is after two in the afternoon.

Where is the Intipunku?

  • The Sun Gate is high and south of the Inca city of Machu Picchu.
  • This famous construction is 2,745 meters above sea level (9 thousand ft). At 300 meters (984 ft). higher than the archaeological site of Machu Picchu.

How is the walk to Intipunku?

  • After entering the Inca city, you will climb the steps leading to the famous ‘Guardian’s House’. There the path is divided into two: a) the tourist circuit through Machu Picchu or b) the route to the Intipunku and the Machu Picchu mountain.
  • The road to the Machu Picchu mountain and the Intipunku forks on a stretch. The path to the Sun Gate is more gradual, the steps ascend at an angle of 30º. However, when approaching the top, the slope is accentuated and the road becomes more difficult.

The Sun Gate is also the entry point for hikers who arrive after traveling the 4 days of the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. If you continue through this door you will reach the Inca citadels of Wiñaywayna. However, entry permits to the Inca Trail are needed.

Is the walk to the Sun Gate difficult?

  • Moderate – To make the walk to the Sun Gate requires an acceptable physical level. The route is wide and much less rugged than other excursions offered by the Inca city, such as the Huayna Picchu and the Machu Picchu mountain.

What to wear

  • 2 liters of water.
  • Hat, sunglasses and sun protection.
  • Insect repellent.
  • Snacks
  • Rain poncho
  • Photographic camera.
  • Small backpack.
  • Cane with rubber tip.
  • Passport or identity document.
  • Printed entrance to Machu Picchu .

In which month do the walk to the Sun Gate?

  • Machu Picchu remains open to the public every day of the year. Likewise, access to the Sun Gate is given every day of the year.
  • The best time to do the trek to the Intipunku is during the dry season in Machu Picchu: May, June, July and August.
  • In those months it rains less frequently so it is possible to walk to Machu Picchu without the inconvenience of rain.
  • February is the rainiest month in Machu Picchu so it is not recommended that tourists make the trek to the Intipunku.

Useful information of the Sun Gate in Machu Picchu

  • Time needed: 2 – 3 hours round trip.
  • Altitude of the summit: 2,745 meters from sea level (9 thousand ft).
  • Height in relation to Machu Picchu: 290 meters (951 ft).
  • Type of terrain: Stone steps and dirt trails.
  • Recommended footwear: Hiking boots.
  • Ticket type: Machu Picchu Solo ticket .
  • Entry schedule: From 6 am. until 2 in the afternoon.
  • Difficulty: Moderate

Is it dangerous to make the walk to the Intipunku?

  • The walk to the Sun Gate is a safe route. Almost all the way is on wide stone steps and far away from cliffs. The more one advances, the route is narrower but without any risk for the tourist.
  • During the rainy season of Machu Picchu (from November to March) , the stairs can get a little slippery because of the rain. However, if hiking shoes are used the road is safe.


By Ticket Machu Picchu – Last updated, January 31, 2020