Intipuncu, Machu Picchu

Ancient Ruins • Points of Interest & Landmarks • Lookouts
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12:00 AM - 11:59 PM
12:00 AM - 11:59 PM
12:00 AM - 11:59 PM
12:00 AM - 11:59 PM
12:00 AM - 11:59 PM
12:00 AM - 11:59 PM
12:00 AM - 11:59 PM
12:00 AM - 11:59 PM
Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
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1,138 reviews
Very good

Dorado, Puerto Rico3 contributions
Melinda and the hotel staff took great care of us during our stay.

The hotel is just steps from reataurants, the train station and the bus to Machu Pichu. I was concerned about train noise, but it was never an issue. The noise proof windows worked great. The free breakfast was plentiful and delicious.

They allowed us to keep one of our rooms after check out time so we had a place to rest until it was time for our train. We had a great experience at Inti Punku Hotel and will definitely stay again on our next visit to Machu Pichu!
Written September 22, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Cheltenham, UK615 contributions
This is a definite must-see and will require descending down towards the actual ruins of Machu Picchu. Your tour guide should give plenty of information as to the Incan history of this place and you are guaranteed to be wowed!
Written March 25, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Wairarapa2 contributions
While visiting Machu Picchu in June 2007 my cousin and I (who are both over 50) decided to do the hike up to Intipunku, (The Gate of the Sun). We had been deterred from climbing Huayana Picchu and the hike to Intipunku was our next choice. The start of the track was a little difficult to find from where we were in the Machu Picchu ruins, but once we found it we were pleased that it was not too steep nor too narrow. You do need to take it easy, but with the panorama below you, the stillness to enjoy and the sense of achievement once you reach Intipunku it is definitely worth it. Once we had reached Intipunku we walked a little way down the Inca Trail on the other side just so we could honestly say we had been on the Inca Trail! If you had someone to assist you with climbing over some of the large stones etc I think anyone of any physical condition or age could do the walk up to Intipunku.
Written July 8, 2007
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Falls Church, VA1,932 contributions
This is not as easy a hike as all the tour books picture. It goes from 7500 to 9000 feet. The altitude alone is difficult unless you are already accustomed to it. Plus, there are loads of steps, lots of rocks in the trail- some small & some large which makes it difficult walking. The steps have a lot of dirt on top of them which can make them slippery.

IF you are a senior citizen (that’s us) I would highly recommend using a walking stick. MP didn’t seem to question any senior using it. Trust me, you will need it. There was also some very steep parts- some near the end where you are the most tired. The steepest part has a railing.

There is no place to buy water so bring at least 3 liters a person.

There is very little places to sit until you get to the end unless you sit on the rocks- some of which have bugs & moss on them so beware. There is also lots of biting bugs in the grass so I would not advise sitting in it.

Make sure you have a hat, use insect repellent & sunscreen. I got an insect bite bit right through my pants.

All the books said it was an easy 45 minute walk- it took us almost 2 hours one way walking slowly. The heat & high humidity, no place to sit & the altitude really got to us. There was some shade on the trail but lots of sections that had none.

The view was outstanding & we were glad we did it. We rested at the top for around an hour & it took us an hour to walk down. We were exhausted when we finished & were too tired to walk any more around anymore. We were glad to have toured MP the day before.

If you like my review, I hope you'll click the 'helpful' button; those of us who write reviews live for those and it motivates us to do more.
Written June 5, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

austin, TX136 contributions
The area around the "sacred valley" is pretty large.

Most travelers will fly into Cusco, which was the Capitol of the Inca region. The plaza area merits exploring, as there are a great number of museums, historical sites, and buildings.

Most people are after the "big thing", which is Macchu Picchu.

A couple of logistical things to consider.

Many people want to do the "trek", or "Inca Trail". IF you want to do this, you need to book with a tour company at LEAST 6 months in advance. Don't think you can come in and "pay extra" to get on a trip, as it won't happen; the number of people on that trail is limited, and there are only a limited number of passes sold, to the tour operators.

The path, itself, is a portion of the tens of thousands of miles of roads/paths built by the Inca. The path follows along the river, which has the railroad running above it on the bank.

Most likely, you will get to the trailhead via Aguas Calientes, the tourist town at the base of the mountain, via train. BUY your train tickets ahead of time, too (Google Inca or Peru rail). The rail is very modern, and very nice. If you go the "Vista Dome" option, you are in a train car that has limited food service, as well as cars with glass on the upper edge (not a glass roof).

Like with an over-loved attraction, be prepared for people. Lots and lots of people. Many annoying people with selfie-sticks. But also lots of nice people.

You have three options to get up the mountain. First, is you can walk.

If you walk, there is a large gate across the river, that does not open until 5:00 a.m., or so. From that point, it is about 2 hours straight up. The steps are very irregular.

Second option is if you are on the Inca Trek 3-4 day camping/trek trip. You will have walked up the trail most of the way (a different route) the previous evening, and be up very early to catch the sunrise high above the site. You can also walk to this same viewpoint, after a bus ride, but you won't be there for the sunrise.

The last option is the bus. The buses queue up very early, and shuttle 30 people at a time up the mountain, all day. If you ride the bus, you need to go stand in line early. Lines start forming at 5:00 a.m., for buses starting around 7 - 7:30 (check the site for actual hours). Once the buses start loading, the line moves fairly quickly.

The site (other reviews) is simply spectacular. Take your time. Have a guide.

Enjoy, and take lots of pictures. Stay in marked areas (you would not believe the number of people that ignore the rules, and get thrown out). Take some water. You cannot eat inside the ruins (not even a snack), so plan accordingly. There are restrooms and areas to eat outside the main gate (yes, you have to go back in through the line at the top).
Written September 14, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Quito515 contributions
One of a kind and while passing through is simply amazing the feeling. almost the feeling of being part of that time.
Written January 18, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Eagle, WI46 contributions
Spent 2 days in Machu Picchu. 1st sunny, warm day of guide and wandering on own, saw main things and weren't sure about a 2nd day MP. However, 2nd morning had a misty fog and absolutely beautiful as MP drifted in and out of view. Also, 2nd day gave us time to do an am Sun Gate hike and it was a fantastic trip. Sun Gate trail takes you to the Inka Trail where hikers come onto MP for the sunrise (not one on our day). So you can set foot on the Inka Trail. Could take time, fantastic pictures/views of MP. (Understand actually 50' higher than HP and where classic views of MP w/HP in background are taken from.). No standing in line. no 3 am wake up and definitely not an issue to be the fastest. (See reviews of HP, most have to state how quickly they did it - didn't know it was a contest.) Enjoy the view, history, and surroundings as odds are you won't pass that way again. MP, with the uneven paths/stairs/heights, does not make for a stroll. Most tourists appeared to be either mid-20's - mid-30's or 60+ and Sun Gate had both groups doing it (we're early 60's). So read comments carefully and decide who is writing them when deciding what you can do. We saw many older people having some difficulty (who appeared to be in good shape). Also, if vertigo is an issue (and I mean real vertigo), consider wisely. I had trouble at the end of the Sun Gate - it was nothing according to my husband. Know your real limitations and don't kid yourself about your abilitities.
Written September 21, 2010
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Northern Virginia, VA201 contributions
I researched to DEATH (almost literally) which extra hike I should do at Machu Picchu with the family. I probably read a half dozen web sites and blogs - probably watched over two dozen videos of various hikes around Machu Picchu.

The one that all daredevils want you to do is Huayna Picchu. And if you were standing in MP and looking at that small iconic mountain, you would say "we're going up THAT?" I watched some of the videos thought the hike would be exhausting and unnerving given the drop-offs, crowds, and narrow staircases. My kids would have loved it but probably not quite for me and my wife (in our 50's and a little squeamish of heights).

Next I looked at Machu Picchu Mountain. Less crowded. Everyone wants to do HP. I watched many videos. Then I saw the vertical climb. It's 389m HIGHER than Huayna Picchu. The climb seemed less steep, overall, but it was probably going to take us a minimum of 4 hours round trip in our shape, and we simply did not have the time on our 2nd day at MP in the morning.

Finally, I reread everything about Inti Punku, or the Sun Gate. The videos did not look too scary, though the end point did not look as exciting as the top of HP or MPM. But it was FREE to hike and there were no limits to how or when it could be hiked.

Unless you are a total adrenaline junkie (and should to HP), I think Inti Punku is usually underestimated as a hike. We did a round trip in a leisurely 2 hours, including a rests along the way and at the top. The views back to Machu Picchu and into the Urubamba valley were TERRIFIC. And there were some interesting sites, flora and fauna along the way.

So don't underestimate how nice this hike is - but yes, if you have some teens or young folks, they probably would rather have done Huayna Picchu. But my wife and I were extremely pleasantly surprised by Inti Punku. It left us some time for a side trip to the Inca Bridge - which did get the heart pumping and adrenaline flowing a bit. Will do a separate review on that but also highly recommended!
Written August 6, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

8,374 contributions
The Sun Gate is actually another small ruins site called Intipuncu. It is located high above Machu Picchu, and affords hikers of the Inca Trail panoramic vistas of the fantastic setting of Machu Picchu as they get their first glimpse. It's mainly a point of interest because it's a nice viewpoint of Machu Picchu.

Yes. You can hike up there from Machu Picchu. It is about a 1.5 hour hike up, and although it's uphill the whole way, it's not particularly difficult, and it's suitable for older children, unlike the Waynapicchu trail. You don't need a special ticket, just your regular Machu Picchu entrance ticket.

I think it's worth doing the 1-day Inca Trail hike just for this. The longer hike is a real expedition and isn't worth doing just to enter through the sun gate (though there are lots of other reasons!). You will need a tour guide to do the 1-day hike, so it will be at a cost of course.

Usually MP is covered by mist at sunrise, but of course if you're lucky it won't be on the day you're there. We were at MP at sunrise, but frankly didn't see anything that special about it. The light exists long before you see the sun over the mountains, and there was no color to it. What is really nice about sunrise is there are few other people there, except at the Sun Gate, where all the Inca Trail hikers congregate. Myself, I would rather hit the sun gate later when the mist is mostly gone and you can see something, and the crowds at the sun gate are less. The only way to be there at sunrise is to hike the Inca Trail, because the gates open at 6:00 AM, and sunrise is about 6:20 AM. But you can get close.

The vistas from the Sun Gate are panoramic. More than anywhere else, except maybe Machu Picchu mountain, you get a real feel for the majesty of the overall setting of Machu Picchu, and the landscape that surrounds it is its real glory. The views from Waynapicchu are closer, but you don't get the same overall effect. If you want a good view without the big hike, just hike to the lookouts at the upper side of Machu Picchu, close up view, very nice, but without the overall grandeur of the Sun Gate.

Bring plenty of water with you, and extra batteries and memory cards for your camera just in case. Bring rain gear because it can rain at anytime (especially the afternoon) and it rains really hard. Binoculars are a good idea, as are trekking poles (but remember to buy the rubber tips). Total hiking time is about 2.5 hours, plus time at the top. Best to hike mid-morning (after the mist has parted) through early afternoon (before the afternoon rainstorms).

We hiked the Inca Trail and entered through the Sun Gate in the afternoon. The mist had just lifted, revealing for the first time that day views of Machu Picchu. All the hikers that got up at 2:30 AM to stampede to the gate saw only clouds. The rain came shortly afterward, and people without rain gear got soaked. We hiked Waynapicchu too, but were really glad we saw it from the Sun Gate.
Written September 25, 2011
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Theodore H
Wilton Manors, FL, United States29 contributions
Healthy hikers will find the trail from the Citadel to the Sun Gate to be a pleasant, 30-minute climb. Out-of-shape, fiftysomethings with medical problems (that would be me, with asthma) will experience a heart-pounding, 2-hour uphill challenge. Plus another hour to get back down. Definitely worth the effort (the views of the Citadel below are awesome), but only do it if you really want to. Honestly, all of the good stuff is at the Citadel (the ancient village that most people think of when they plan their trip to MP). The hike to the Sun Gate is a bonus, IF you have the time, the stomach, and the bladder! (Hint: No restaurants, no water fountains, no bathrooms anywhere inside the park. None!)
Written July 31, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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