View of Poike Mountain from Ahu Tangariki.

© Gustavo_Asciutti/Getty Images/iStockphoto

Península Poike

Rapa Nui (Easter Island)

At the eastern end of the island, this high plateau is crowned by the extinct volcano Maunga Pu A Katiki (400m) and bound in by steep cliffs. There are also three small volcanic domes, one of which sports a huge mask carved into the rock that looks like a giant gargoyle. Also worth looking for is a series of small moai that lie facedown, hidden amid the grass, as well as the Grotto of the Virgins (Ana O Keke).

Legend has it that this cave was used to confine virgins so that their skin would remain as pale as possible. It's worth crawling inside if you don't feel dizzy (there's a little path that leads to it, on a ledge, with the unbroken sweep of the Pacific below) to admire a series of petroglyphs.

The best way to soak up the primordial rawness of Península Poike is to take a day hike with a guide because the sights are hard to find.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Rapa Nui (Easter Island) attractions

1. Ahu Tongariki

0.91 MILES

The monumental Ahu Tongariki has plenty to set your camera's flash popping. With 15 imposing statues, it is the largest ahu ever built. The statues gaze…

2. Rano Raraku

1.44 MILES

Known as 'the nursery,' the volcano of Rano Raraku, about 18km from Hanga Roa, is the quarry for the hard tuff from which the moai were cut. You'll feel…

3. Papa Vaka Petroglyphs

1.91 MILES

About 100m off the coastal road (look for the sign), you'll find a couple of massive basaltic slabs decorated with carvings featuring a tuna, a shark, an…

4. Ahu Te Pito Kura


Beside Bahía La Pérouse, a nearly 10m-long moai lies facedown with its neck broken; it's the largest moai moved from Rano Raraku and erected on an ahu. A…

5. Ovahe

3.56 MILES

Near Anakena, this beach offers seclusion for wannabe Robinson Crusoes but is considered dangerous because of falling rocks.

6. Anakena

4.03 MILES

Beach bums in search of a place to wallow will love this postcard-perfect, white-sand beach. It also forms a lovely backdrop for Ahu Nau Nau, which…

7. Centro de Interpretación


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8. Maunga Terevaka

6.71 MILES

Maunga Terevaka is the island's highest point (507m) and the youngest of its three volcanoes. This barren hill is only accessible on foot or on horseback…