Easter Island Tours
Easter Island is one of the most mysterious places on earth. This strange, triangular-shaped land, plonked in the Pacific Ocean 3,790 Km west of Chile, which is the nearest neighbour, has a dormant volcano at each corner and more questions than answers.
The origin of Easter Island’s 600 giant moais (Moais = stone statues) has puzzled the world for centuries and the whole island is best thought of as a single, huge, open-air museum, albeit one that doesn’t come with those helpful notes that tell you how and why. The climate is mild all year round, with occasional cold winds during winter (May-Sep).
Exploring Easter Island.
Begin any day
Easter Island National Park
For your convenience, and to avoid queues at the airport, we include the entrance fee to Easter Island N.P. You will be given a bracelet at the airport that you need to wear; park rangers check it at all sites on the island.
Exploring Easter Island – Day 1.
Full day visit to Anakena
The first stop is Vaihu, where many of the massive carved maoi heads lie, before moving on to what many believe is the most spectacular site on the island, Akahanga. A phalanx of a dozen standing moais, backs turned to the ocean, stand on a massive plinth; silent witnesses to all that has passed. At the Rano Raraku volcanic crater and Poike quarry hundreds of cyclopean heads litter the hillside, some finished others half-carved. It’s an easy uphill walk to get to the crater and you can either walk along the rim, or walk down along one of the paths inside. If you have a head for heights, you can climb up to the southeast rim with its views of the ocean and Akahanga far below. Be careful though, there’s a sheer drop. Drive to the pink-sand beach of Anakena which is one of only two on the entire island where swimming is possible.
A packed lunch is provided and return to the hotel late in the afternoon. It’s a good idea to take a bottle of water with you on this tour.
N.B. There’s a shortage of English-speaking guides on Easter Island (the law obliges all guides to be island natives) and the same guide may conduct the commentary in three languages (French, Spanish, English).
Overnight: Hotel Taha’ Tai
Exploring Easter Island – Day 2.
Half-day tour to Ahu Akivi
Ahu Akivi, ‘the big platform’ is a 30 min drive away. Here seven Moais face out to sea; interestingly, all the other standing moais face inland. From here, it’s a short drive to the Ana Te Pahu caverns, described in Thor Heyerdahl’s Aku Aku. A short uphill walk takes you to the quarry of Puna Pau, the source of the deep red stone used for the curtailed cylindrical top-knot ‘headdress’ which a few of the moais still sport. From the top of the wind-swept hill you can see the settlement Hanga Roa and the broad lawn by the beach where one of the largest moai of all is to be found. Return to the hotel. It’s a good idea to take a bottle of water with you on this tour.
Overnight: Hotel Taha’ Tai
Exploring Easter Island – Day 3
Half-day tour to Orongo
Easter Island is about the size of greater London, but that’s where the comparison ends – completey ends! This morning a bus will drive you to the rim of the Rano Kao crater, from where you can walk to the ceremonial village of Orongo. On one side of the slope there are views of the inside of the volcanoes, on the other side a 300m near-vertical slope drops down into the Pacific Ocean. It’s here that the annual ceremony of the Bird Man or Tangata Manu would take place amid the remains of Orongo village and its stone-built houses. The object of the ceremony was a quest to find and bring back the first egg laid by the Motu Nui. This involved a perilous scramble down the almost sheer cliff face followed by a 2km swim across shark infested waters to the largest of the islands where the egg would be found and brought back to the chief.
From Orongo the final part of the journey takes you the caverns of Ana Kai Tangata, where the islanders took refuge during times of war. As well as an important refuge the caves also have some interesting pre-historic paintings.
Exploring Easter Island – Day 4
Free morning to do your own thing and the airport transfer is timed to meet the early afternoon flight from Easter Island to Santiago, or the other way, on to New Zealand.
Please note: occasionally, it’s necessary for the local operator to change the order and duration of shared excursions on Easter Island, for example a full day activity may be provided as 2 half-day excursions or vice versa. Your exact arrangements will be confirmed upon your arrival on Easter Island – it’s all very informal!
Hotel Taha’ Tai (tourist class hotel)
This hotel consists of two distinct areas: a whitewashed, red-roofed, single-storey building housing bright and airy rooms with private facilities and sliding patio doors overlooking a pleasant central garden and pool; and, down a sloping path, the bar, dining room and small cottage chalets. The atmosphere is relaxed, with tranquil ocean views from the restaurant and most rooms.
Price – depends on flights used, please contact us for a quotation
Many Maoris are submerged so for divers this is a unique dive site.