Intipunku: the Sun Gate at Machu Picchu

Stamp yourself! Machu Picchu entrance costs S/128 ($48 US) and is valid for the entire day. At the entrance is a Machu Picchu self-stamp station for one’s passport. This is the first passport stamp I’ve ever run into that serves no real purpose other than “Hey, stamp!”

Stamp your passport, people!

Stamp your passport, people!

Off to the Sun Gate Slightly higher than Wayna Picchu but without the vertigo or additional ticket cost, Intipunku offers Inca Trail hikers their first look at Machu Picchu.

After leisurely buffet breakfast while the fog figured out someplace else to go (“Get off the llamas’ lawn!”), I set out for the Sun Gate (Intipunku), where those who’ve completed the 5-hour hike ( from the 104 km marker) or the 4-day hike (from the 82 km marker) get their first look at Machu Picchu (as seen in this video at 1:06.) Look who I ran into, Mike and Elizabeth from yesterday! (From England-near-Stonehenge):

Mike and Elizabeth from England

Mike and Elizabeth from England

16/61 Trick I told Elizabeth about my c-c-cold room in Cusco at Blanco Cristo and how my travel alarm clock had displayed “58°F” the entire time. She said to herself, “Now 61°F is 16°C so…” OMG. 16 = 61; what a great starting point. No need to try and remember that crazy formula I forgot soon after that one quiz in 6th grade. Thanks, Elizabeth!

Machu Picchu In All Of Its Splendor The fog came and went / came and went during my hike up the trail as I approached the magnificent Sun Gate overlooking the Machu Picchu citadel with spectacular views of the valley below:

The view I hiked so far for: Machu Picchu fog from the Sun Gate

The view I hiked so far for: Machu Picchu fog from the Sun Gate

Here are my other pics of my hike up to the Sun Gate, including a lone llama and bright flower:

Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu

Fog has cleared for the moment as the sun shines on Machu Picchu.

Fog has cleared for the moment as the sun shines on Machu Picchu.

This llama doesn't know what he's saying.

This llama doesn’t know what he’s saying.

The raving llama is soothed by the sight of Wayna Picchu in the distance.

The bellowing llama is soothed by the sight of Wayna Picchu in the distance.

Along the trail to Sun Gate: Aguas Calientes in the distance

Along the trail to Sun Gate: Aguas Calientes in the distance

This is Iris. She lives at Machu Picchu.

This is Iris. She’s an orchid who lives at Machu Picchu.

View from Machu Picchu from the Sun Gate. The zig-zag road is what the buses take from Aguas Calientes.

View from Machu Picchu from the Sun Gate. The zig-zag road is what the buses take from Aguas Calientes.

Talking or doing something at the Sun Gate

Me, talking or doing something at the Sun Gate

Machu Picchu Sun Gate

Machu Picchu Sun Gate

Sun Gate: 80 meters (250 feet) higher than Wayna Picchu.

Intipunku / Sun Gate: 80 meters (250 feet) higher than Wayna Picchu.

View of the other side of the Sun Gate (My back is to Machu Picchu.)

View of the other side of the Sun Gate (My back is to Machu Picchu.)

Machu Picchu from along the trail up to the Sun Gate.

Machu Picchu from along the trail up to the Sun Gate.

Machu Picchu from along the trail up to the Sun Gate.

Machu Picchu from along the trail up to the Sun Gate.

Trail back from the Sun Gate back to Machu Picchu.

Trail back from the Sun Gate back to Machu Picchu.

Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu

2,500 MAX Machu Picchu allows a maximum of 2,500 visitors a day. Of those, 500 may come from via the Inca Trail, through the Sun Gate. Reading some of the “average” reviews of MP on TripAdvisor, some actually seem surprised at the number of tourists. Really, people?! Maybe pre-2007 before it was voted one of the New7Wonders of the World. I found Machu Picchu least crowded when one might expect: before 10:30am and after 4pm. Here are some pics I took of tourists for no reason:

5 thoughts on “Intipunku: the Sun Gate at Machu Picchu

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