The Tayos Caves in Ecuador have opened to the public for the first time. These remote caverns also known as la cueva de los tayos or cave of the oilbirds are located in the Morona Santiago district surrounded by tropical rainforest and the Sangay National Park.
To access the caves you must first drop down through a 63 metre deep tunnel called the chimney. Once inside many Palaeolithic artefacts dating back from 48,000 to 12,000 BC can be found. Alongside these are ceramics created by the pre-Shuar civilisation in around 3,000 BC.
The opening of these caves will be a real boost for tourism and the economy in the region. Many of the local people are being trained as guides to allow communities in the area to create a sustainable tourism industry. The oilbirds are a kind of nightjar that have sonar similar to bats and feed on palm fruits at night. The name comes from the fat in the chicks which were rendered down into oil by the natives.