The Intipunku in Ollantaytambo: free route

Intipunku is a Quechua word that means ‘Gate of the sun’. Perhaps the most famous is the one located at the top of Machupicchu. However, in Ollantaytambo – the Sacred Valley of the Incas – there is also an Intipunku made by the Incas, which offers beautiful landscapes and a lot of history. The visit is free for all tourists. But to do this you must complete a challenging short hiking route. Learn more!

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What is the Intipunku of Ollantaytambo?

The Intipunku of Ollantaytambo is an Inca construction made of stone in the upper part of this Inca town located in the Sacred Valley of the Incas.

Intipunku is a Quechua word that means: Gate of the Sun. The function of this construction is as a strategic viewpoint. From there you have a panoramic view of the Inca trail route that leads to Machu Picchu.

In addition, the Intipunku served as a religious site where ceremonies were held at the imposing snow-capped Veronica, also called Wakay Willka (sacred tears, translated from Quechua).

The Intipunku of Ollantaytambo is a simple structure compared to the Intipunku of Machu Picchu. Its construction at the top of the mountain is no coincidence. With the first rays of the sun and, especially, on the summer solstices, the sun’s rays enter through the Intipunku door. This door measures 2.20 meters high and 1 meter wide.

To reach the top of Intipunku you must walk uphill for approximately 7 kilometers. The route is free for all tourists.

El Intipimku de Ollantaytambo


El Intipunku se encuentra en una alta montaña del distrito de Ollantaytambo –comunidad de Cachiccata-, en el Valle Sagrado de los Incas.

Se sitúa a una altitud de 3,900 metros sobre el nivel del mar (con vistas impresionantes del nevado Verónica).

How to get there from the city of Cusco?

To get to Intipunku, from the city of Cusco, you must follow the following route:

  • From the city of Cusco, take a public minivan on Pavitos Street (trip cost approximately 12 soles).
  • After 1 hour 40 minutes of travel, you arrive at the town of Ollantaytambo. There you must take a mototaxi or taxi to the community of Cachiccata (cost of approximately 10 soles).
  • After a 15-minute journey you arrive at the community of Cachiccata. There begins the arduous uphill walk to Intipunku.
  • The walk is approximately 7 kilometers. The difficulty is moderate – challenging. The estimated time to get there is 2 to 3 hours.
El Intipimku de Ollantaytambo

The difficult hiking route to Intipunku 

The hike to Intipunku is a challenge for all tourists. It is estimated that it is 7 kilometers uphill along stone stairs and trails.

It is recommended to leave very early. This way you can get to Intipunku and return in a tour of only 1 day. The walk is recommended for adults in good physical condition.

How much does it cost?  Can I go for free?

Entry and visits to Intipunku are free for all tourists.

There are also a few tours to the Intipunku of Ollantaytambo. These last 1 day and have a cost that varies from 25 to 45 dollars per tourist (includes transportation, guide and food).

Visiting hours

The Intipunku of Ollantaytambo can be visited every day of the year at any time. However, it is recommended to visit during the day: from 5 am to 5 pm.

What should I bring on the route to Intipunku

If you visit the Intipunku of Ollantaytambo, do not forget to bring the following with you:

  • Cap or hat.
  • Trekking shoes.
  • Poncho for rainy days.
  • Photo camera.
  • Rehydrating drinks.
  • Passport or identity document.
  • A backpack to carry the necessary utensils.

Questions and answers about the route to the Intipunku in Ollantaytambo

What is Intipunku?

The Intipunku is an Inca construction in the form of a doorway. Its name, translated from Quechua, means ‘Gate of the Sun’. It was built by the Incas on top of a mountain in the Ollantaytambo district in Cusco.


Where it is located?

The Intipunku is located in the district of Ollantaytambo (Sacred Valley of the Incas – Cusco), community of Cachiccata in Peru. It is located at an altitude of 3,900 meters above sea level.


What to see in the Intipunku of Ollantaytambo?

The Intipunku of Ollantaytambo is famous for its challenging hiking route and for the impressive photos you can get from there (such as the landscapes of the snowy Verónica). It was also an Inca construction with a lot of history.


What was the function of Intipunku?

The Intipunku of Ollantaytambo was a very important viewpoint that allowed people to monitor the people traveling along the Inca roads towards Machupicchu. It also fulfilled the function of worshiping the mountains, such as the snow-capped Veronica.


Is it free to visit the Intipunku of Ollantaytambo?

Yes, the visit to Intipunku is free for all tourists. You just need to get there and take the challenging hiking route.


Is the walk to Intipunku difficult?

The walk to Intipunku begins in the community of Cacchicata in Ollantaytambo. The distance is 7 kilometers uphill (one way) and another 7 kilometers downhill (return). It is a difficult and challenging hike.


What to bring to the visit to the Intipunku of Ollantaytambo?

During the visit to Intipunku it is recommended to bring sports clothing, a hat, sunscreen, trekking shoes, snacks, rehydrating drinks, a rain poncho, documents, cash and everything in a comfortable backpack.


What other tourist attractions should you visit besides the Intipunku of Ollantaytambo?

If you visit Ollantaytambo you should definitely also visit its colcas, its streets and its famous fortress with important constructions such as the Temple of the Sun or the Baños de la Ñusta. You will not regret!

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