Caves of Easter Island

The Te Pahu network

Located below the Akivi ahu in an area called Roiho. It is a long tunnel of lava, the biggest one in the island, where people could take shelter from the raids conducted by slave drivers. It is easy to access the tunnel through the collapsed ceiling, and only a flashlight and a pair boots are needed to explore it, since very few parts are flooded. Thanks to several natural skylights, it is easy to find one’s way in the caverns. This lava tube formed by the hardening of a basalt layer during the flow of a lava river is one of the many caverns in the island. It probably solidified less than 10,000 years ago, during the eruption of the Munga Hiva Hiva volcano, the last volcanic manifestation in Rapa Nui. These natural landslides were used as gardens protected from the wind (manavai).

Ana Kai Tangata

A little further from the airport track, on the southern exit of Hanga Roa, we find the cavern of the cannibals (ana = cavern; kai = food, tangata = men.) However, we mustn’t reach any conclusions from a simple translation, since the cavern can be both a place where men ate and a place where men were eaten. This place is worth visiting due to some paintings of birdmen on the ceiling (unfortunately very deteriorated). From a small cornice on the left side of the cavern, the visitor can also admire the power of the waves crashing against the rocks.

Te Peu

Further up to the north of Tahai, between the long cliffs and the slopes of the Tereveka, there is an area not much visited by tourists. Here, the visitor enters the most secret area of the island. After observing the petroglyphs that represent hens and roosters near the old leper colony (the Pu Hakanini Mako’i stone), the first unavoidable attraction is the cavern of the two windows (Ana Kio) in front of the Motu Tautara. A lava tube emerges from the land near the cliff. Sliding through a narrow entrance, one penetrates this double strategic cavity that offers two exits in the middle of the cliff, one towards the sea, and the other towards the Motu Tautara. Shortly before Punta Islote there is another cavern filled with legends, a perfect lava tube with a smooth and decorated floor, as well as lava stalactites in the ceiling. In the center of this cavern named Ana te Pora it appears to be a tomb. Only steps away from this place we find the Ahu te Peu, a notable place located in front of the remains of an old town with a magnificent shiphouse more than 45 m long.