What to do and how to appreciate Machu Picchu Sunrise
An experience not to be missed! Machu Picchu is one of the most magical and mysterious places on earth. Its ruins have a long history and its scenery is incredible. Appreciating the sunrise at Machu Picchu is worth it because the sunrise makes it even more spectacular. If you are thinking of visiting Peru, you need to add this to your travel bucket list! In this blog we will discuss whether it is worth seeing the sunrise at Machu Picchu, at what times you will be able to see the sunrise at Machu Picchu and we will talk about the sunrise at Machu Picchu's Sun Gate. To make things easier for you, we have organized the best routes, tour guides and transportation for you with this tour that you can visit on our website. All you have to do is book the Machu Picchu sunrise and enjoy the moment! As the explorer Hiram Bingham described it:
«in the variety of its charms and the power of its spell, I know of no other place in the world that can compare with it.».
Is it worth seeing the sunrise at Machu Picchu?
Machu Picchu means old peak (mountain) in Quechua, which lives up to its name. Built by the Incas in the 15th century, the ruins of the mountain are an interesting glimpse into their past. Its ruins are located between the peaks of Huayna Picchu and Machu Picchu. The city used to have 216 buildings, most of which have ruins that can be explored on site. It is estimated that it had a population of about a thousand inhabitants. Now, the ruins attract up to 2,500 tourists daily. Receiving an estimated half a million tourists each year, it is a must-see destination and clearly lives up to its reputation. We recommend taking a guided tour of the upper area of Machu Picchu to learn about the area and its history. Stroll around the lower area independently and enjoy the views. If you are lucky, you may even come across a llama or two.
At 2,430 km above sea level, the ruins of Machu Picchu offer an incredible view over the mountainous and green-rich landscape of the sacred valley. Although these views are breathtaking at all times, we recommend that you go and be impressed by them at sunrise at Machu Picchu. Although you can't see the sunrise, you will see it rise among the mountains with its first ray striking Huayna Picchu before it begins to illuminate the surrounding peaks. It can be quite cloudy, but if you are lucky and the sky clears in time, you will be able to see all the beautiful colors that the sun paints over Machu Picchu. It is breathtaking! Sunrise at Machu Picchu starts between 5:15 and 6:15 in the morning, depending on the season you are in. Yes, it is a very early time of the day, but the sunrise at Machu Picchu is worth it. It is an incredible moment that you will never forget.
For photography lovers, the magic of the first rays of sunlight hitting the valley creating vivid colors in the sky is perfect. The rays illuminating the lush green mountains make for amazing photography. It is a photographer's dream. Since there are not many people in the place so early in the morning, you can take pictures like the one you see above. You can see that the view makes the sunrise at Machu Picchu worth it. We are not photography experts, but we recommend that you bring a wide-angle lens to capture the views in a single photo. If you are traveling alone, don't worry, just ask one of our friendly tour guides to take your picture. They will be happy to help you.
From where to see the sunrise of Machu Picchu (Sun Gate)
We explain in steps how to get there: first, you will take the train from Cuzco to Aguas Calientes. This is in itself a spectacle, as this train ride takes you through the semi-tropical zone, passing through the snow-capped mountains, the Vilcanota River and the jungle. Find out all the information about which train to choose in our post about the train to Machu Picchu. We recommend arriving the day before and spending the afternoon getting to know the region. Depending on what you feel like doing you have different options. You can take a dip in the relaxing hot springs after a long day of hiking and exploring the hot springs of Aguas Calientes. Try to be there before 3pm, which translates to: before most tourists arrive.
Our advice is to also explore the Allcomayo waterfalls. They are a must for travelers who spend some time in the area. Early the next morning, you can take the bus to Machu Picchu from Aguas Calientes, it is the easiest way. You can do the tour with us, which includes tickets for the bus, entrance to Machu Picchu and a tour guide for you with this tour. See more information about the Machu Picchu Sunrise tour.
The best place to see the sunrise of Machu Picchu is at the Sun Gate. Also called Intipunku, this place gives you a great view over the urban area of Machu Picchu. Once you arrive, the sky will clear and let the sun's rays slowly illuminate the area. it's magical!
It's free to walk up to Machu Picchu's sun gate and you don't need to buy a ticket to enjoy the view from there. Live for moments like these, which are so beautiful you can't put them into words. After seeing the sunrise of Machu Picchu you have plenty of time to explore the upper level with a tour guide and the lower level individually.
Remember «The top of every mountain is within reach if you keep climbing».
The best time to see the sunrise at Machu Picchu
The best time to see the sunrise at Machu Picchu starts between 5:15 and 6:15 in the morning, depending on the season you are in. Although it is 2400 meters above sea level, it never drops below freezing throughout the year. In fact, temperatures remain quite mild and the seasons are no different except for the amount of rainfall.
The rainy season lasts from December to March, with a few rainy days in April. But you can visit even during the rainy season and enjoy the region. Machu Picchu is pleasant to visit at any time of the year. But we recommend that you visit during May and November, when it is the dry season. At this time the hours of sunlight are high and temperatures range between 20 and 21 degrees Celsius daily. Avoid visiting in February, when the rains are so heavy that the Inca Trail is closed. As temperatures range from low to high from night to day, it is best to pack your suitcase with a wide variation of clothing for different temperatures. Bring good sunscreen and sunglasses, but also a raincoat and warm sweater. To see the sunrise at Machu Picchu it gets a little chilly at such early hours. And don't forget to bring a bathing suit if you plan to try the hot springs.
If it rains, you can head to the Aguas Calientes Market, as it is protected. The souvenirs and handicrafts sold in the area are quite expensive compared to other places in Peru. But, you will have the opportunity to buy something to remember Machu Picchu, or to bring your friends and family back home. Also the market is open all season and you can buy some handicrafts if you are interested.
Our best tip: visit the food court on the top floor, which has delicious regional food at a reasonable price.
If you have already made this long trip to Peru, why not marvel at the sight of the sky covered in vibrant pink and orange light? **Machu Picchu is a great tourist attraction because of the incredible nature in which it is located and the historic Inca ruins. If you are planning your trip to see it as soon as you can, check our website and book your Machu Picchu sunrise tour. As Jack Keuroac once said:
«Because in the end, you won't remember the time you spent working in the office or mowing the lawn. Climb that damn mountain.»
But if you can't wait until you can travel again, check out this video we found that captures the beautiful moment when the peaks of Machu Picchu are slowly illuminated by the sunrise. Seeing Machu Picchu is an experience as a must-see traveler, seeing Machu Picchu at sunrise is simply magical.