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Land payment
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Payment to the land in the Andes

The basis of the Inca worldview was the earth. She was the source of life. Without it, there would be hunger and death. That is why the Pachamama or goddess of fertility was worshiped. The payments to the land consisted of thanking the gods of nature for fertility and asking for their blessing for the coming crops. This rite was performed before the Incas and is still practiced until today.

The payment to the land is made in all the villages of the Andes mountain range, since before the Incas. They even made offerings of children (ritual of ‘capacocha’). Today, the inhabitants of Cusco and other Andean regions continue to make payments to the land.

What is the payment to the land?

  • The payment to the land is based on reciprocity. The Andean man thanks the gods for the products received by her. Instead, it gives you different offerings to quench your hunger and thirst.
  • This ceremony of a religious nature was practiced by the Andean inhabitants before the Incas who also endorsed it.
  • This practice is usually done on the first day of August and throughout that month. Among the products offered are: coca leaves, cereals, silver, chicha, llama fetuses, animal fat, among others .
  • In the Andean world there is a belief that in August the Earth is thirsty and must be nurtured.
Couple of tourists making a payment to the land
Rite of land payment

What is the payment to the land for the Incas?

  • The Incas continued with the tradition of payment to the land of their predecessors.
  • For them, Pachamama was a protective god who was present in everyday life.
  • The Incas offered coca leaf, camelids, ceramic pieces, fine textiles and even children. This last Inca ceremony was known as the capacocha .
  • With the arrival of the Spaniards this belief did not die but coexisted in parallel with Christianity.

How is the payment to the land today?

  • At the moment the cult of the earth continues being paid to him mainly in the Andes.
  • Ceremonies are still practiced in the month of August and are divided into two types: worship in private homes or offerings and community ceremonies at the summits .
  • The latter are directed by people (called ‘shamans’ or ‘healers’) who have a range of importance known to their community.
  • They are said to have communication with the gods of nature. The ceremony is characterized by extending a blanket where offerings are wrapped.

Rites of payment to the land in Cusco and Machu Picchu

  • The inhabitants of Cusco continue to practice land payments in a particular and collective way.
  • Although, this can be done in different places, it is usually done somewhere in contact with nature.
  • In general, leaves of coca, chicha and tallow of vicuña are offered.
  • Tourists also participate in land payments as part of a mystical tourism experience.
Shaman making a payment to the land at the foot of a mountain
Shaman making a payment to the land at the foot of a mountain

This is a payment to the land in Cusco

  • a. The ‘shaman’ offers the ‘sacrifice’ that contains different products such as: coca leaves, cereals, silver, chicha, llama fetuses, animal fat, among others.
  • b. Then extend the ‘table’ (Andean blanket adorned with candles and candles).
  • c. The ‘shaman’ invokes the gods of nature while the other assistants offer their requests to Mother Earth.
  • d. Then the 3 components of the Andean world (Inca trilogy) are invoked : the Hanan Pacha (world above), the Kay Pacha (present world) and the Ukhu Pacha (world below).
  • e. The ‘Shaman’ makes a toast of chicha de jora or cañazo in honor of Mother Earth.
  • f. Finally, the offering is burned. If the ashes are black it means that the Payment to the Earth was not liked by the Pachamama. Otherwise, the ashes will be white. That means there will be prosperity.

How to make the payment to the land on my trip to Cusco?

  • In Cusco there are several tourism agencies that offer the mystical tourism service.
  • The most requested rituals by visitors are: a) the land payment ritual and b) the Ayahuasca ritual.
  • The land payment ritual lasts approximately 1 hour. It is performed in a sacred place of Cusco. The shaman (teacher who communicates with the earth) leads the group with offerings to the mountains, the earth and all nature.
  • Finally, the tourist will have the opportunity to make offerings to the land and express their wishes to the Pachamama .
  • Land payment tours include transportation, the service of a local shaman as well as all the implements to make the offering: coca leaf, flowers, brandy, etc.
Shaman in full session of the Ayahuasca ritual
Shaman or healer preparing an Ayahuasca session

What is ayahuasca?

  • As well as the Payment to the Earth, the Ayahuasca sessions are one of the most popular practices carried out by tourists in Cusco.
  • This is a plant that grows in the Amazon region with which a concoction is produced that causes hallucinogenic sensations to the person.
  • To do this it is necessary to prepare time before mentally with herbs and other substances. The shaman is in charge of preparing the person to ingest the Ayahuasca .
  • For this, the person must be fasting. According to popular belief, this concoction helps to cure physical and spiritual problems.

Ayahuasca is a natural drink with hallucinogenic and medicinal properties used in the Amazonian peoples. To try this drink, it is advisable to hire a ceremony with an Amazonian family. This service includes a special diet for several days prior to the consumption of this drink. In Cusco there are also tours of special ceremonies where ayahuasca is consumed. However, it is best to do it in an Amazonian town.

Interesting facts about land payment

  • Mystic tourism is one of the services offered to visitors to Cusco. Among the main ceremonies available are: land payments, coca leaf reading, healing ceremonies, purification ceremonies and Ayahuasca sessions.
  • The shamans are divided into three levels according to their knowledge about Pachamama: the Pamapamisayoq, the Altomisayoq and the Kuraq Akulleq . It is said that they can communicate with the gods of nature.

Questions and answers about the ceremony of payment to the earth

  • 1. How is the ceremony of payment to the earth carried out?

    The ceremony of payment to the earth is performed in the company of a shaman. The ceremony begins with the invocation of the gods of nature: the mountains, the earth. Then the offering of coca leaf, cañazo, chicha, cigar and more is made.

  • 2. What is the pachamama?

    Pachamama is a goddess who symbolizes the earth or fertility. She was worshiped by the Incas and by the aboriginal cultures of ancient Peru. She today she is still adored by many people of the Andean region of South America.

  • 3. When is the payment made to the land?

    August 1 is the day of the earth, so the rituals of payment to the earth are performed. Also throughout that month you can see various offerings to the ‘pachamama’.

  • 4. How was the Inca ritual of payment to the land?

    The ritual of payment to the land in ancient Peru was performed in the presence of a priest who offered: coca leaves, cereals, silver, chicha, llama fetuses, animal fat and more.

  • 5. Does the payment to the land include the consumption of ayahuasca?

    No. The payment to the land is a mainly Andean tradition. Ayahuasca is a hallucinogenic drink used in traditional medicine mainly in the Amazonian peoples.

  • 6. What is the history of payment to the land in Peru?

    The payment to the land is practiced by the cultures of ancient Peru such as the Wari, Tiahuanaco and Incas. Its history is still valid until today because Andean settlers continue to practice it.

  • 7. What should I bring to the payment ceremony on earth?

    If you participate in a ceremony of payment to the land, it is necessary to take with you a ‘dispatch’ made of chicha, coca leaves, cigarettes and offerings that you think you offer to the pachamama.

  • 8. How to make the payment to the land in Cusco?

    You can do the payment ceremony to the land in Cusco through a tourism agency. Another option is to do it on your own (the company of a shaman is optional) in the month of August.

  • 9. Can I do a ceremony of payment to the land in Machu Picchu?

    No. Currently it is not allowed to perform payment ceremonies to the land in the Inca citadel of Machu Picchu.

  • 10. Who are the shamans? What knowledge do you have?

    The shaman is the Andean priest who has knowledge about rituals of payment to the land learned by his ancestors.

Advice from people who have been there


Eduardo R.By: Eduardo R.

“Shocking and mysterious“

“Cusco, without a doubt, impacts you because of its history. Just knowing that it was built alongside the Egyptian Empire only at 3 800 meters high and with its mystery about the construction and how they got there, it is worth going and soaking up the Inca wisdom.“


By Ticket Machu Picchu – Last updated, September 6, 2022