Archaeology of Indiana Jones




satipo at the falls

Indiana Jones pauses meaningfully at a set of waterfalls deep in the Chachapoyan jungles. The falls are obviously another landmark on his map, and indeed it is the final waypoint on the piece of tattered paper that has guided him this far. The archaeologist now stands at the foot of a slope leading up to the Temple of the Chachapoyan Warriors.

The rest of the map's crucial information is contained on a separate fragment possessed by his unreliable guides, Barranca and Satipo. As Jones accepts their fragment and joins it to his map to see what the two pieces reveal together, Barranca draws his pistol. The time for betrayal has arrived, and in this moment we will see just what Jones is made of.

The Waterfalls will also be the site of Indy's later confrontation with an old acquaintance and his local friends. Events here will determine the destiny of the fabled Golden Idol of Fertility... as well as that of Indiana Jones himself. So the Waterfalls are a significant location in the adventure of Raiders of the Lost Ark.

indy at the falls       falls sketch


Deep within the tropical jungles of the Hawaiian island of Kaua'i, the waterfalls seen in Raiders of the Lost Ark continue to pour into a natural pool today. A systematic search that took me across the entire island during my stay on beautiful Kaua'i revealed that the Raiders Waterfalls site is a small hidden location known as Kipu Falls.

Be forewarned: this site is not included on the tour offered by Hawaii Movie Tours. You will have to get there on your own, but of course the real adventurer would have it no other way. The location is on private land, but it may be reached by discreet travelers--who as a mark of honor must leave no trace of their passing. You can reach the Raiders Waterfalls via Kipu Road off Kaumuali'i Highway 50 from Lihue. Just before you come to a bridge over the Hulei'a Stream, take a dirt road off to the left, which leads to the little falls. Swimming is not recommended here owing to local accounts of a parasite in the water.

falls location

For those who know Raiders well, standing at this site will produce a strange feeling. You may not quite be sure anymore where the line is between reality and fantasy. This is the reward of searching out the locations of a powerful film that has left its mark on you.

From this very spot, Indiana Jones walks up an embankment to the Temple of the Chachapoyan Warriors. This ancient ruin holds many secrets, including the extraordinary true story behind the real thing....