Hanga Kio’e, the mouse bay



A former royal residence

Hare moa o gallinero en primer plano con el Ahu Kio'e al fondo
Hare moa or chicken coop in the foreground with Ahu Kio’e in the background

This archaeological complex is composed of two restored ahu which turn their backs on a small bay, where they break the waves with force on the cliffs of lava.

The ahu that can be seen here belong to the late stage of construction of the moai statues, and date back to about the seventeenth century. Together with the nearby ceremonial center of Tahai, they offer a panorama that suggests what must have been the landscape of the island in ancient times, with numerous ahu bordering much of the coast.


It is said that the ariki, or kings, resided temporarily in Hanga Kio’e. In addition, in the surroundings of this place existed a school where the art of carving the talking tablets or kohau rongo rongo was taught.

The site consists of a coastal esplanade of two ahu with a moai each, the Ahu Akapu and the Ahu Hanga Kio’e; as well as a square and a hare moa (chicken coop), which was restored in 1972. There are also several remains of hare paenga (boat houses), which were part of the ceremonial center.

A place of legend

Hanga Kio’e means “Bay of the Mouse” and it seems that the name comes from an old legend about a widow who entered this small cove with a mouse in the mouth, in mourning for the death of her husband, whose remains were buried here after the ahu (ceremonial platform) was built.

The moai that rises on the Ahu Akapu has a height of 4 meters and is complete, only lacks the pukao (stone hat). On the other hand the Ahu Hanga Kio’e, only has a part of the back erected on the platform, that was rescued from the bay.

Primer plano del moai de Ahu Akapu
Ahu Akapu’s moai

Behind the ahu, the terrain forms a small hill that offers beautiful views of the whole, with Hanga Roa in the background and the waves roaring among lava cliffs. Hanga Kio’e is a place seldom frequented by tourists, so it invites you to relax and imagine how life could have been in a village so small and remote.

Near Hanga Kio’e, just a hundred meters inland, there are several cottages that besides the tranquility of the place count with the attractiveness of a magnificent view of the sea.

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Continuing north along the coast road you will find a crossway about 400 meters. If you take the turnoff to the right you come to the Rapa Nui School of Music and Arts of the NGO Toki, and following the main road to just over 2.5 km you will find the famous Ana Kakenga cave or the two windows

How to get to Hanga Kio’e

To arrive by car from Hanga Roa, take Av. Atamu Tekena to continue on Miru Street in the direction of Ahu Tepeu. It is a short distance of 1.5 km and only 5 minutes. You can also reach it by walking from the northern access of Ahu Tahai, in a short walk of about ten minutes that runs along the coastal road.

Location map


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