La Cueva de los Tayos

Tayos Cave - Cave of the Oilbirds

Useful Information

Location: orona Santiago province
Classification: SpeleologyKarst Cave
Light: electric.
Dimension: A=800m asl., L=4,600m, VR=201m.
Guided tours:  
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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La Cueva de los Tayos is a lava tube created by the 5,000 meters high Sangay Volcano. It is located in the Morona Santiago province, an area with dense Amazon rainforest, popular for bird watching, hiking, canoeing, fishing and local cuisine. The cave is also named Cueva de los Tayos de Coangos because of nearby Rio Coangos, and actually there are many Oilbird Caves, so it is necessary to distinguish them somehow.

The main entrance of the lava tube is a 63m deep shaft, but there are two other entrances which are much less difficult. Inside there are huge passages.

The cave contained human remains from the Palaeolithic, between 48,000 and 12,000 BC, and also ceramics from a pre-Shuar civilisation about 3,000 BC.

The remains were collected by a priest named Father Crespi, and there are b/w and colour photographs of the collection and an exhibition in the 1960s or 70s. Some of the exhibits appeared in the Erich von Däniken book The Gold of the Gods (1973). Thats not hard to understand, the figures and the symbols on them are strange, wierd and disturbing. However, we do not believe in all those alien theories and for us this is just a result of different design standards of those indigenous people.

As a result of the Däniken-hype, there was an Ecuadoran-British expedition in 1976 which explored the cave and other things the book of Däniken describes. The result is much less spectacular, and despite a general similarity between the cave and the description in his book, most of his "evidences" could not be verified. This seems to be a typical result of such attempts concerning Däniken, but his believers claim the expedition destroyed or confiscated all the archaeological remains. There is obviously a big conspiration going on. However, the expedition included almost 100 scientists from all over the world, accompanied by Neil Armstrong, probably because of his space connection. There were also eight cavers which explored the cave and made a survey. All in all no alien artifacts could be found.