Never heard of Ñaupa Iglesia (pronounced n-yow-pa ee-glay-see-a)? It’s only one of the coolest day trips from Cusco that you can do! If you want a taste of the “real Peru,” beyond the typical tourist circuits, our day trip to Ñaupa Iglesia is for you. This off-the-beaten-path day tour spans centuries of Peruvian culture, from pre-Incan civilizations to contemporary Andean life in the highlands, to the ultra-modern brew pub!
This Cusco day trip takes you out to the Sacred Valley, going high above the market town of Pisac and into the Andean highlands. After a glimpse of traditional Andean life, we head deeper into the Sacred Valley, and back in time. At the Inkariy Museum, we’ll immerse ourselves in Pre-Incan culture, learning all about these ancient civilizations that populated Peru hundreds and thousands of years ago.
Our day trip continues through the Sacred Valley, stopping in Urubamba for lunch before heading on to Pachar for a taste of a very modern delicacy – locally brewed craft beer! (only available Wednesday through Sunday)
Finally, our short Cusco tour culminates in a visit to the spiritual site of Ñaupa Iglesia, a ritual altar carved out of rock and radiating sacred energy.
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Cusco can experience every season in a single day, so you should be prepared for sun and rain, cold and hot weather! We recommend a hat, sunscreen, sunglasses, sweater, rain gear or plastic poncho, winter hat or toque and gloves. In addition, you should bring:
We offer a 5% discount on day tours when you also book a trek that is 3 days or longer.
Remember that scans of the student card (for students) or passports (for children) need to accompany the bookingin order to be eligible for the discount.
Want to join a trek? Ready to confirm a departure date of your own, but interested in having others join you? Then Trekkers Wanted is for you! Our innovative Trekkers Wanted system matches people up who are interested in hiking the same trek, bringing costs down and multiplying the fun for everyone! Read More about Trekkers Wanted, post your trek or search for confirmed departures!
We begin our Cusco day trip to Ñaupa Iglesia around 8am as we head towards the Sacred Valley in our private transport. From Pisac we head up, high into the highlands until we reach the community of Chahuaytire (3800m / 12,467 ft). Chahuaytire is one of the six communities that make up the Parque de la Papa, a collective dedicated, among other things, to the preservation of traditional knowledge and the promotion of rural community tourism.
Like many Andean communities, Chahuaytire is renowned for its expertly hand-woven textiles, producing some of the finest weavings in the area. The area is also known for its rock paintings, which we can walk to see, about 20 minutes above the community.
For a more in-depth taste of Chahuaytire textiles, check out our Pisac Ruins & Peruvian Weaving Tour, another of our great day trips from Cusco.
After visiting Chahuaytire and area, we head back down to Pisac (2970m / 9744 ft) and continue our journey through the Sacred Valley of the Incas, passing traditional villages like Coya, Lamay and Calca, until we reach the Inkariy museum.
We will spend 30-45 minutes visiting this fascinating museum where we will learn all about various Pre-Incan cultures, including Caral, Moche, Wari, Paracas and Nazca. The Inkariy Museum stands out for its realistic dioramas which make you feel as if you were personally participating in these ancient ceremonies.
Leaving the museum, we travel on to Urubamba, about 20 minutes away, where we will have lunch. Urubamba is considered the contemporary capital of the Sacred Valley. After lunch, we continue our Cusco day trip by car to Pachar (2830m / 9285 ft), where the famous Cervecería del Valle is located. The Cervecería is a local brew pub, famous for its award-winning craft beers. We’ll have the opportunity to sample some of their brews in the shade of eucalyptus trees, surrounded by gorgeous mountains and the sound the Urubamba river flowing by.
Please note: the Cervecería del Valle is only open from Wednesday to Sunday. This part of the tour can also be omitted if you are not into craft beer!
A short distance away by car, we head towards our final destination for the day and the highlight of this Cusco day trip, Ñaupa Iglesia. After parking the car, we follow a lightly inclined path followed by a flight of Incan stone steps in order to reach one of the most energetically charged places on the planet. Ñaupa Iglesia, also known as Choquequilla, has deep spiritual significance and is considered a top spot for mystical tours in Peru. Contrary to what the name might imply (iglesia means “church” in Spanish), Ñaupa Iglesia is not a church at all, at least not in the traditional sense. It consists of a natural cave with a huge stone altar. This sacred rock is intricately carved with Andean religious symbols. We can also appreciate a double-jambed niche carved right into the rock.
After spending some time in this sacred space, our private car will be waiting to take us back to Cusco, where we will arrive at around 6pm.