Easter Island has mystified explorers, anthropologists, historians and adventurers for centuries. Located an incredible 2,200m away from the South American coast, this Pacific Island technically belongs to Chile, but it bears almost no resemblance in either culture, history or ethnicity to the Latin roots or indigenous heritage of its continental neighbor. Easter Island identifies much more readily with Polynesia, the oceanic region between the edge of the Americas and the next continental landmasses of Australia and Asia. Easter Island’s closest inhabited neighbor is the island of Pitcairn, which lies 1,300m away. So it is safe to say that Easter Island is a remote, isolated and indeed enigmatic, not least owing to the giant Easter Island Moai, the iconic and mysterious stone heads that have made the island famous the world over. The Moai were sculpted by the native Rapa Nui, the indigenous people after whom the island is also named in their native tongue, more than 400 decades ago, and visitors come from all corners of the globe to marvel at their scale and imposing stature. They stand guard over the island with an air of seriousness and silence that can be intimidating, but they are a testament to the ingenious nature of this native culture, who arrived on Easter Island around 1200AD and proceeded to cultivate the volcanic land, until the arrival of Europeans in the early 1700s, which significantly diminished the population. Now about 8,000 people are living on the island, and are a mix of Polynesian, Spanish and native South American descent. Both Rapa Nui and Spanish are the official languages of Easter Island, but many locals speak English too, given the island’s prominence as a tourist destination.
To reach Ahu Akivi, you will drive through enchanting hills to the ceremonial site of Tahai before reaching Ana Te Pahu, a cave created by lava flows. After a quick peek at the impressive cave, the tour will proceed to the famous Ahu Akivi, most likely the most photographed site on the island due to its colossal and imposing Moai statues. The tour ends with a visit of the Puna Pay quarry.
Ceremonial village Orongo is famous for its ‘Birdman’ challenge, whereby contestants strive to obtain the first egg of the season from the offshore islet of Motu Nui. The first to obtain an egg and swim back to shore earns the title of ‘Birdman’, a sign of high social status in the Orongo community. You will also discover a series of petroglyphs (rock carvings) of birdmen in surrounding caves, whose origins and meanings will be thoroughly explained by your guide.
Enjoy a pleasant horseback ride through spectacular landscapes for a more entertaining and engaging way to visit the beautiful Easter Island. The activity includes pick-up from your hotel, where we will drive to stables for you to meet your horse. During this excursion, you will be accompanied by a local guide and an assistant in charge of the welfare of the horses, providing you with the best safety measures with happy horses that are well taken care of. We ride from Ahu Tahai along the coast path to Ahu Te Peu, to explore a collection of caves at Ana Kakenga and Ana Te Pora. The excursion may also include a visit to the “Maunga Terevaka” Hill, pending time and weather conditions.
Watch a splendid island sunset at the Ahu Tahai complex. This ceremonial complex is believed to be one of the oldest sites, dating back to the sixth century and showcases an array of strange Maoi statues. This spot is guaranteed to offer you the best sunset view available at Easter Island, as Tahai is one of the few places where the sun sets behind the massive statues. So grab your camera and get ready to snap some fantastic photos of Maoi outlines with a magnificent backdrop of gorgeous sunset colors.
This magnificent boat tour features turquoise-colored shallow waters, splendid scenery and a closer look at modern Maoi indigenous communities. We offer a lovely excursion boarding at Hanga Roa and following the coastline past the area of Tahai and the caves of Mataveri (that are only visible from the ocean), as well as a collection of islets around Motu including Motu Nui, Motu Iti and Motu Kao Kao. From the boat, we will gaze upon the spectacular cliffs of Orongo, formerly the starting point of the great ‘Birdman’ contest, where contestants would climb down and swim to Motu Nui, awaiting the migratory seabirds so that they could steal their first egg. The first to obtain an egg and swim back to shore earns the title of ‘Birdman’, a sign of high social status in the Orongo community. If time permits, you will be given the opportunity to marvel at the colorful marine wildlife, that lives in abundance around Motu.
Easter Island’s location in the middle of the Pacific Ocean means that enjoys high temperatures all year round. Even in the winter months from June to September, temperatures rarely dip below 57ºF (14ºC) at night, and during the day they average around 72ºF (22ºC), so the island is still tropical and pleasant to visit in winter. This is also the quieter tourist season, so it is best to go during this time if you don’t want to share the island with hordes of other travelers. During the summer months between December and March, it can get sweltering and humid, making enjoying the island difficult for some, as much of the sightseeing is to be done outdoors. However, it is perfect for soaking up the sun, but make sure you wear sunscreen. The busiest times are in January and February because of two unmissable festivals; the celebration of the Tapati Rapa Nui during the first two weeks of February, and the sunrise in Ahu Tongariki between December 21st and March 21st. If you want to visit during these times, please let us know well in advance, as accommodation on the island books up fast.
Luckily for travelers visiting the island, getting to Rapa Nui is far easier today than it was when the Polynesian people first reached it centuries ago. Easter Island’s tiny Mataveri International Airport receives flights from Santiago and Tahiti. Once on the island, the best way to get around is by hiring a car, motorbike or mountain bike, given that the main highlights are scattered all over the island. No doubt you will also cover much of the island’s territory on foot, but be advised that it is easy to get lost, so keep some landmarks close to where you are staying in mind should you need to ask for directions.
Easter Island has plenty of accommodation for every taste, whether you are looking for a beachside cabin or a comfortable hotel. The island is limited in what it can provide for tourists because of its isolation, so increased numbers of tourists in recent years has stretched it to its limit, so it is advisable to book accommodation well in advance. Concerning food, the variety of seafood on offer on Easter Island is quite spectacular, and you will be spoilt for choice. Fish is typically accompanied with tubers like sweet potatoes or plantain, and one of the most fascinating traditional cooking methods is to cook food, that is layered between plantain leaves covered in hot coals, in a hole in the ground. This meal serves the whole community and is called curanto.