Ana Kai Tangata Cave

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Easter Island, Chile

Ana Kai Tangata Cave Easter Island Reviews

Toonsarah Toonsarah
171 reviews
The pictograph cave Nov 11, 2016
Our first stop on an afternoon tour of the southern part of Rapa Nui was Ana Kai Tangata, a sea cave known for its bird pictographs or rock paintings. Access to most of the cave is forbidden due to falling rocks but you can climb down a steep set of steps carved into the cliffs to see one of the paintings near to the entrance. The bird paintings are significant because they depict manutara or sooty terns, the birds that feature in the Birdman ceremonies.

The cave’s name has been interpreted in different ways. One theory looks at modern Rapanui and points out that Ana means “cave”, Tangata means “man” and Kai means “to eat” – suggest that the cave could once have been the “Cave of the Cannibals”. But there is no evidence or oral tradition of cannibalism here. It is more likely that the name derives from ancient Rapanui, when Kai may have meant “to gather”, “to count” or “to teach”, suggesting that the cave was a gathering place and perhaps somewhere where skills in, for instance, boat building were passed on. Perhaps more likely is that this was a place where those who would compete in the race to find the first sooty tern egg would have met.

Today the paintings, at least those visible near the front of the cave, are quite faded, owning to the high humidity in the cave. But it is worth the climb down to see them as you are also rewarded with lovely views out to sea from this rocky cove.
Pictographs at Ana Kai Tangata
Pictographs at Ana Kai Tangata
The cove at Pictograph at Ana Kai …
View from the cave, Pictograph at …
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andrejav andrejav
691 reviews
Nice Petroglyphs Jan 18, 2012
Ana Kai Tangata Cave is very close to the city, and on the way to Rano Kau volcano. That area of the coast is a basalt cliff, maybe 15-20m high with few caves carved in by waves. Little path leads from the road to the cave, and you’ll have to go down carefully till you come to little beach with large pebbles. At first I did not see the petroglyphs because whole ceiling is amazingly colorful and rock is divided in many red layers with weird green and yellow deposits. And then I saw bunch of bird petroglyphs on one of the walls and they were totally surreal. That piece of rock is falling apart, and it does not look like that image is going to be there for too long. I was very surprised that there is no better protection of the site, especially when there is a museum of local art on the island.
Beautiful colors of the ceiling
1 / 1 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
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Toonsarah says:
You'll be pleased to know that they are protecting this properly now - we were there in 2016 and only the very front part of the cave is open
Posted on: Feb 06, 2017

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