Is it worth seeing Machu Picchu at sunrise?

machu picchu sunrise worth it

This post is also available in: Español

Visiting Machu Picchu is already a once-in-a-lifetime experience, but are you wondering if Machu Picchu sunrise worth it? This is different.

The place is the same, and so is the history it hides, but the views are very different and therefore, so is the experience. So, today we give you our opinion about visiting this wonder of the world so early in the morning and if for us it is worth it or not. Read on! 😉

What changes when you see the sunrise at Machu Picchu?

We may not be objective here, but sunset and a sunrise always leave us amazing memories of our travels. Perhaps that is why we believe that the Machu Picchu sunrise worth it 🌄.

The first thing that changes from the most common Machu Picchu trip, as is obvious, is the play of light in the sky. You probably won’t see the sunrise directly because the tours don’t operate that early, but if you choose the Machu Picchu sunrise tour, you will see the first rays of sunlight hitting Huayna Picchu.

Machu Picchu sunrise

At 2430 meters above sea level, the ruins of Machu Picchu offer an incredible view over the landscape of the mountains and the sacred valley. Of course, and we will be totally honest: at this altitude, it is very likely that the clouds are present most of the time and do not allow you to see the sky as beautiful as we would always like to see it in this place ⛅.

So, in case you are unlucky and get caught in the clouds, here is the second part of why it is worth seeing the sunrise at Machu Picchu. It is one of the most visited destinations in the world and therefore, making the effort to get up early and go before the rest of the travelers, will allow you to see the most famous ruins in the world at a time without crowds of people.

When does the sunrise in Machu Picchu?

In Machu Picchu dawn breaks between 5:15 and 6:15 in the morning. It all depends on the season of the year in which you are, of course. The first shift to visit the site is at 7:00 am, so we said that most likely you will not see the sunrise, but you will see the play of light of the first rays of sunlight.

Where to see the sunrise at Machu Picchu from

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!

You can walk up to this point freely and you don’t need to buy another ticket to enjoy the view from there.

sun gate machu picchu

What time of year is best

Traveling to Machu Picchu is pleasant at any time of the year because temperatures remain fairly mild at all times. The rainy season lasts from December to March, with some rainy days in April.

You can go to see the sunrise at any time, but we recommend you do it between May and November. In this period the dry season takes place, there are more daylight hours and the temperature is better.

Avoid doing it in February, because the rains are heavy and for example, the Inca Trail closes. On the other hand, whenever you go, bring something warm to see the sunrise in Machu Picchu because in such early hours it may be a little cold.

These are our recommendations to see the sunrise in Machu Picchu. From our point of view, it is worth it because, in addition to the aforementioned, you will make the most of the day. Of course, be prepared for an early start 😂!


Lily is happy with a backpack on her back. Every year she travels through one country in Latin America and has repeated several times, especially Peru where she says she feels at home (although she says the same about Argentina, Chile and Bolivia).

She loves ceviche, hiking and Sunday picnics with her friends, although whenever you ask her, she's always planning her next destination.

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  1. Hi Lily, My name is Dan and I have a small travel agency in Colorado. I’m putting togehter a hosted tour of Machu Picchu and Lima for April 2023 and see that you are a great resource for South American information. My wife, Collette, and I will be touring around South America ahead of the group arriving in Lima. I have been working with a group named Go Latin America Club and Peru Tourism on an itinerary for our trip. Where I’m having a problem is with how to see Machu Picchu; at sunrise and use up 2hrs of our 3hr limit, or spend the full 3hrs in the citadel. I could really use your experience and recommendation here.
    Thanks for your help.

    1. Hi Dan! To be honest, Machu Picchu at dawn is usually very cloudy and it is likely that you will not enjoy the play of light at dawn. As we say in the post, the good thing about entering first thing in the morning is that it is usually less crowded.

      However, these last months of 2022 Machu Picchu has been booming and has been filled with people at any time. Therefore, if you have more time, my recommendation is to enjoy the Citadel because it will be the same as entering first thing in the morning but quieter. If you have the opportunity, I recommend you to do the 2 day tour of Machu Picchu and Sacred Valley, it is the most complete. I leave you here the link:

      I hope I helped you! Thanks for reading

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