Tuatini Cave

Tuitini Cave

Useful Information

Location: At the southern end of Mangaia.
Between Lake Tiriara and Tamarua village.
(-21.951614, -157.928513)
Open: no restrictions.
Fee: free.
Classification: SpeleologyKarst Cave
Light: none, bring torch
Dimension: L=830 m, VR=13 m, A=23 m asl.
Guided tours: D=2 h.
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Bibliography: Joann C. Ellison (1994): Caves and Speleogenesis of Mangaia, Cook Island, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C., U.S.A., August 1994. pdf
Address: Tuatini Cave, Mautairi family.
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.



Tuatini Cave or Tuitini Cave is located near Lake Tiriana. It is the largest cave on the island. It has a large main passage, 20 to 25 m high, with few formations and upper passages which are smaller, around 10 m high, and many speleothems. While the cave is freely accessible it contains four burials and is thus considered holy ground by the locals. There are guided tours, which have an official permit, please do not visit the cave unguided. The local guides are members of the Mautairi family. They tell stories of their ancestors and show the remains of cooking instruments and fishhooks. They used candlenuts to light their way. And they show grinning skulls arranged in neatly stacked burial chambers. The cave is also home to purple crabs.