Ana Kakenga, the two windows
Ana Kakenga is, after Ana Kai Tangata, the most visited and attractive cave of Easter Island. It is about 4 kilometers north of Ahu Tahai following along the coastal path, and is usually the last cavern to be visited in the tourist circuit Te Ana or “the caves” that begins in Ahu Akivi.
A refuge cave in front of the sea
Ana Kakenga is a volcanic tube, about 50 meters long, formed thousands of years ago when the still liquid lava continued to flow underground. This cavern, like that of Ana Te Pora, was used as Ana Kionga or refuge cave during the struggles that took place centuries ago between the different clans of the island.
In the only access available, camouflaged in the ground, you can see the slabs (paenga) that were used to reduce the width of the natural mouth of the cave. In this way a rather narrow passageway was constructed, which allowed a better defensive control to possible invaders.
A sad love story
The name of Ana Kakenga could be related to a sad love story. According to legend, this cave was the last hiding place of a young couple who fled from the punishment for their forbidden love. So that they were not found, they covered the entrance from inside and there they remained until his death. It is not known whether they died of hunger or threw themselves into the sea from above, since their bodies were never found.
The entrance to the cave is a small hole located at ground level, slightly more than half a meter wide. If you are not accompanied by a guide, it can be difficult to locate, since the access itself is not signposted and it looks like more a burrow than a visitable place. It is located on the left hand side of the path that descends towards the cliff and begins behind the stone fence where there are some old signals that indicate the place.
You have to descend carefully by the stones and bend down to avoid hitting your head. The first few meters are quite overwhelming and claustrophobic since there is not much room to move forward. In this first section it is necessary to make use of the lantern and to walk in a squat, but soon it is not necessary since the space grows and the natural light that comes from the background illuminates the way.
The amazing views of Ana Kakenga
At this point, a large room is seen where the route is divided into two divergent corridors that end in two openings cut out in the rock of the cliff. These two large natural windows located 30 meters high and created by the exit of the lava flow towards the sea, are those that give the nickname to the cave.
The large window on the right has dimensions of two by two meters and its capricious silhouette frames a fantastic view of the nearby islets, called motu Tautara and motu Ko Hepoko.
To the left window, of elliptical form, is arrived after a meandering road that forces to bend down again. The view from here is just magnificent, with the intense blue of the Pacific Ocean trimmed by the volcanic rock.
The incredible feeling of the waves crashing just below, must not make us forget the danger of falling into the void. From both windows, backlit beautiful photographs are achieved, capturing with permission of the clouds, magical moments during the sunset.
How to get to Ana Kakenga
Ana Kakenga is located on the road that borders the north coast, about 400 meters before Ana Te Pora, and just over 1 km before reaching the Ahu Te Peu.
It is only possible get there by walking or cycling along the road that begins at Ahu Akivi and which is part of so-called Te Ana circuit or “the caves”, offered by most agencies and which includes a visit to Ana Te Pahu, Ana Te Pora and Ana Kakenga.
Read more about Easter Island Tours
Another option is to take the trail that starts at Ahu Tahai and passes through Hanga Kio’e. The route, which has an approximate length of 4 km and a duration of about 50 minutes, allows to enjoy the sea breeze and the beautiful views of the cliffs of the coast.
In any case, it is necessary to show the ticket to the National Park at the checkpoints located at the starting points of both routes.