Welcome to Easter Island (Rapa Nui)
Few areas in the world possess a more mystical pull than this tiny speck of land, one of the most isolated places on Earth. It's hard to feel connected to Chile, over 3700km to the east, let alone the wider world. Endowed with the most logic-defying statues in the world – the strikingly familiar moai – Easter Island (Rapa Nui to its native Polynesian inhabitants) emanates a magnetic, mysterious vibe.But Easter... Read More
Top experiences in Easter Island (Rapa Nui)
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Easter Island (Rapa Nui) activities
Rano Raraku and Anakena Beach Full-Day Tour
On your sightseeing adventure, you'll come across moai, stone giants that on average stand 13 feet (4 meters) tall and weigh 14 tons (13 metric tons). Said to represent ancestral spirits or preeminent tribal figures, some moai are placed upon ahu, or ceremonial sites. After hotel pickup, your guide takes you to Ahu Akahanga, located on the southeastern coast of the island. Unlike most ahu, Akahanga has not been restored, allowing you to stumble upon the area as European explorers first did. The platform, about 59 feet (18 meters) long, originally contained about a dozen moai and is believed to be the burial site of Polynesian king Hoto Matu’a. Walk about the grounds sprawled with overturned moai that have pukao, decorative head topknots, with tribal fighting providing one explanation for this curious scene. Next, head north up the coastline to Ahu Tongariki, the largest ceremonial site with an impressive row of 15 upright moai. Learn how a tsunami in 1960 sent these statues, some weighing 30 tons (27 metric tons), flying several hundred feet inland. Restoration of this site took five years and was completed in 1992.Then travel inland to Rano Raraku, where on its volcanic slopes Rapa Nui sculptors had carved moai from volcanic stone before moving about one third of them to various ahu. Many of the island’s 800-plus moai remain in the quarry and close by; as you trek with your guide toward the stone pit, you’ll see poking up from the grassy earth hundreds of moai heads or partially buried torsos.Enjoy a barbecue lunch (provided) at a nearby camping area, which includes chicken and other meats, fish, salad, rice, fruit and water. A vegetarian option can be arranged upon request. You’ll spend about 2.5 hours in total at Rano Raraku with lunch time. Refueled, continue north to Ahu Te Pito Kura and marvel at Paro, the tallest moai ever erected at 33 feet (9.8 meters) tall and weighing 82 tons (74 metric tons). Here, your guide points out a round magnetic stone, referred to as the ‘navel of the world,' said to have been brought over by King Hotu Matu’a.Along the northern coast, reach your final stop at Anakena and explore the extremely well-preserved seven moai of Ahu Nau Nau, four of them wearing pukao. At this site, archaeologists located one nearly complete coral eye, inlaid with red volcanic scoria stone.Your sightseeing complete, swim or stroll along Anakena, one of the few white sand beaches on the island, for about 30 minutes before being transported back to your hotel. Or feel free to stay longer, and your guide will arrange a cab ride for you (own expense) when you’re ready to return to your accommodation. Changing rooms with showers are available on site for a small fee.
4-Day Tour of Easter Island: Moai Statues, Ahu Akivi and Akahanga
This four-day tour of Easter Island takes you to the island’s most famous archaeological sites, moai statues, temple ruins and volcanoes. With airport pickup and drop-off included, you have a choice of three-star, 3.5-star or four-star accommodation; breakfast is included, as are a few other meals.Itinerary:Day 1: Easter IslandAfter arriving at Mataveri Airport, you’ll be met by your guide and transferred to your hotel for your evening’s accommodation. Once here, the rest of the day and night is yours to explore on your own.Accommodation: O’tai Hotel (three-star), Taha Tai Hotel (3.5-star) or Hotel Altiplanico (four-star)Day 2: Easter Island (B)After breakfast at your hotel, your tour of Easter Island begins with a visit to see the Manutara bird paintings of Ana Kai Tangata cave, sacred to the warriors of Easter Island. Next, see the huge lagoon crater of Ranu Kau volcano and visit the ceremonial city of Orongo at its base. Here, admire the island’s greatest concentration of petroglyphs, depictions of the Tangata manu birdman creator god. In the afternoon, visit the Ahu Akivi archaeological site in the island’s heart, and hear the legends of Ahu’s seven moai (head statues). On the way back to your hotel, visit the small town of Hanga Roa, where the statues’ signature red stone hats, or topknots, were quarried and sculpted.Accommodation: your same hotelDay 3: Easter Island (B, L)Breakfast at your hotel is followed by a full-day excursion to the ruins of the temple of Akahanga, where you’ll see the moais’ topknots lying tumbled on the ground. Next, visit the Rano Raraku volcano, whose rock was used to carve the island’s moai statues. If you climb to the edge of the crater and peer within, you’ll see the volcano’s lake and see moai in various stages of construction scattered around. Continuing to Ahu Tongariki, you’ll see where many moai were toppled by a large sea quake in 1960. In the afternoon, go for a swim at Anakena beach before revisiting the town of Hanga Roa and returning to your hotel.Accommodation: your same hotelDay 4: Easter Island (B)After breakfast at your hotel, you’ll be transferred to Mataveri Airport for your departing flight. Depending on the time of your flight, you might have free time for you to explore Easter Island further on your own.
Tahai, Orongo and Rano Kau Half-Day Tour
After hotel pickup in Hanga Roa, you're driven north toward the Tahai ceremonial complex, where you’ll walk a short distance to enter the archaeological site. Your knowledgeable guide explains the origins of moai, massive stone statues of human figures carved by the indigenous Rapa Nui, which represent the spirits of ancestors and chief members of tribes. At Tahai, they have been restored and placed on top of ahu, or ceremonial platforms. Meander through the site on your own for a little less than an hour. Situated from north to south, the first ahu to note is Ko Te Riku with its single moai. This moai sports a pukao, or topknot, on its head and has restored eyes, which archaeologists believe were decorated with seashells or obsidian.Observe another solitary moai at Ahu Tahai (not to be confused with the name of the complex), resting by a canoe ramp made out of beach stones and considered to date back to 690 AD. On the southern edge of the site, five moai of varying shapes and sizes stand upon Ahu Vai Uri.Then re-board the minivan and travel south to Ana Kai Tangata, a cave along the coast. Inside, your guide points out red and white drawings of birds in flight and notes the petroglyphs of manutaras, or birdmen, around the cave. The only cave on the island to contain such pictures, many believe this location served as the starting point of the annual Tangata Manu ritual practiced until around 1800. As you listen to the rhythmic crashing of the surf against the cliffs and hear ancient legends, imagine the men selected from each tribe leaping from the cave and swimming toward the islet of Motu Nui to collect the first egg laid by a sooty tern. Many drowned or were killed by sharks. The first man to return with the egg was rewarded with riches for his tribe for the rest of the year. Leave the cave and set sights on the Rano Kau volcano and its crater lake. Capture this dramatic landscape from three different vantage points before your guide takes you to the village of Orongo at the southern tip of the island.Orongo contains 54 restored oval-shaped houses constructed out of slabs of shale, each with a small square entryway overlooking the ocean. Note the abundance of birdmen petroglyphs here, and learn about the site's use as a ceremonial center for birdmen rites between 1600 and 1866. After your guide's introduction to village lore and legend, spend a little over an hour exploring the site on your own before transport back to your hotel.
Ahu Akivi, Ahu Vinapu and Puna Pau Tour
Rapa Nui National Park, a wildlife sanctuary spread across most of Easter Island and a UNESCO World Heritage site, contains about 900 moai sculptures as well as 300 ahu, or ceremonial platforms, on which the carved figures stand. Sculpted from solidified volcanic ash, these statues are believed to represent the spirits of ancestors and high-ranking members of each tribe.After hotel pickup from Hanga Roa, travel south with your guide into the park to Ahu Vinapu, one of the larger ceremonial sites. See how the precise cuts of basalt (a volcanic stone) that make up the platform are meticulously fitted together. It's arguably the most advanced masonry found on the island. Continue north to Puna Pau to see how some moai sport a different look. You'll notice they have pukao, or topknots made out of red scoria on their heads. It's believed the volcanic rock was used to impress rival tribes. Roughly 30 pukao are located in or near the Puna Pau quarry, the source of the red scoria. Break up the trip with a brief stop at the harbor of Hanga Piko to examine the restored Ahu Riata moai who watches over fishermen.Then head to Ahu Akivi, where you’ll see a line of seven moai looking out toward the ocean. The moai here each stand 16 feet (5 meters) tall and weigh about 18 tons (16 metric tons). What's mysterious about these sea-facing figures? It's an unusual sight considering the other ahu moai stand with their backs against the water. One theory behind their unusual position: These moai symbolize the seven explorers from the Polynesian homeland of Hiva sent by the chief to find the island of Rapa Nui (now Easter Island). According to this hypothesis, these statues face the ocean in the direction they came from. After your engaging exploration of ahu moai, you’ll be taken back to your hotel.
Easter Island Super Saver
Mix up your sightseeing on Easter Island with three popular tours that focus on the archaeological wonders of Rapa Nui. Each tour covers a different geographic region of Easter Island, and this Super Saver ensures you see all the important sights at a discount. Sign up for each tour on a day of your choosing (see the Important Note section below regarding days of operation).
Shared Arrival Transfer: Mataveri Airport to Hotel
After you arrive at Mataveri International Airport on Easter Island, meet your professional bilingual driver, who will take you on a comfortable and convenient ride to your hotel. Sit back and relax on the journey, or perhaps practice your Spanish with your driver before being dropped off at your hotel.When making a booking, you will need to provide your flight and hotel details. Your transfer will be confirmed instantly, and you will be given a travel voucher to present to the driver.