Hiking is one passion that Alex and I have shared since the inception of our relationship. Some of our early dates were hikes around Malibu and some of the best hikes in Southern California. We have seen some remarkable hikes along our journey together, but one that might take the cake is hiking to the Sun Gate Machu Picchu. Machu Picchu is simply one of those places that EVERYONE should visit in his or her life and the Sun Gate hike is a hike that everyone who visits Machu Picchu should do.
“It’s an irritating reality that many places and events defy description. Angkor Wat and Machu Picchu, for instance, seem to demand silence, like a love affair you can never talk about. For a while after, you fumble for words, trying vainly to assemble a private narrative, an explanation, a comfortable way to frame where you’ve been and whats happened. In the end, you’re just happy you were there – with your eyes open – and lived to see it.”Anthony Bourdain
Whether you’re hiking the entire Inca Trail and planning to reach the Sun Gate at Machu Picchu after a strenuous 4-day hike or like us, you want to hike Sun Gate Machu Picchu while you’re visiting Machu Picchu, you’ll want to follow a few simple tips to ensure you have the most amazing experience possible.
We traveled to Machu Picchu from Cuzco (Cusco) and spent the day hiking around the ancient Incan ruins absolutely humbled and speechless. When you arrive in Aguas Calientes by train, purchase entrance tickets to Machu Picchu and hire a local guide to give you a private tour. This ensures that your trip to Machu Picchu and your trip to Peru, in general, is historical and also gives back to the local community.
This part will definitely depend on how fit and acclimatized you are. Lots of reviews and even some of the Peruvian websites suggest that you’ll need 4 hours to hike up to the Sun Gate and back to Machu Picchu. We planned to allow this much time, but we arrived at the summit in about 45 minutes. It would certainly have taken longer for elderly hikers or children, but if you’re a fit, active, athlete or even just a regular hiker, you’ll realistically cut the time in half. Even with a 30-minute picnic and photoshoot at the Sun Gate summit, we made the round trip hike in 2 hours.
*Be conscious of oxygen deprivation and elevation sickness. Hydration is very helpful and coca leaves/tea or even the candies are helpful.*
Once you’ve paid to enter Machu Picchu, hiking to the Sun Gate is free and one of the best ways to experience the surrounding beauty of Machu Picchu. When you enter Machu Picchu follow the upper trail around Machu Picchu and look for the Caretakers Hut/Guardhouse. You will likely see llamas, alpacas, and Machu Picchu employees who can help point you in the right direction. Follow signs for Inti Punku and you’ll find the Sun Gate trail.
Before you book your trip to Peru, read these 10 things you need to know before you visit Peru.