Easter Island, a Chilean territory, is a remote volcanic island in Polynesia. Its native name is Rapa Nui. It’s famed for archaeological sites, including nearly 900 monumental statues called moai, created by inhabitants during the 13th–16th centuries. The moai, known as "The Easter Island heads", are carved human figures with oversize heads, often resting on massive stone pedestals called ahus. Ahu Tongariki has the largest group of upright moai. In order to reach Easter Island, you will likely need to fly to Santiago, Chile, then fly to Easter Island (Rapa Nui). This flight lasts around 5 hours, and remember, there is only one flight in and out per day. Suggested time to stay on the island is 4-5 days. We stayed 5 days, and it was the perfect amount of time. Make sure to visit the must-see moai and visit some caves if you have time and energy to hike. TIPS: - Make sure to purchase your National Park Ticket at the airport. It is cheaper than if you purchase at the park. - Food on the island is expensive. Bring food/buy groceries to cook to save some money. Recommended place to stay: Morerava Cottages- amazing and generous hosts, complimentary basic breakfast is provided, clean and modern cottage with a kitchen. Only a 5 minute drive to Hanga Roa.
Best Moais to visit:
- Ahu Tongariki: Get up early and drive over to wait for the sunrise. It will be one of the most amazing sites on the island. This site has 15 upright moai.
- Quarry Rano Raraku: Extinct volcano Rano Raraku was where 95% of the moai were carved and you can see the most moai here. You will see some moai on their backs or on their stomachs. It is still a mystery as to how moai were transported to their final destinations.
- Rano Kau and Orongo Ceremonial Village: Here you will see an enormous volcanic crater, now a crater lake, and learn about Orongo, a small village of shallow houses and known as the focus for the bird cult.
Orongo Village home
- Ahu Tahai: If you want a photo of the moai with a sunset background, this is the place to be. Enjoy the scenery while you watch the sun set.
Ahu Nau Nau
- Anakena and Ahu Nau Nau: Located on the beach of Anakena, these moai have red hats and are one of the most significant of the island. If you are looking for a place to swim, this is the beach you should head to.
Secret caves to visit:
- Ana Kakenga "Cave of the two windows": Our favorite cave that we visited! If you hike there before sunset, you could get the picture-perfect sunset from inside the cave. It is about a 45 minute easy hike to this lava tube cave. The entrance to the cave is hidden, but you will see a pile of rocks next to what seems like a deep black hole. Make sure to stand close enough to see the small steps leading into the cave. It is a tight space going down, but widens up at the bottom. Don't forget a flashlight (or your phone light)! Be VERY CAREFUL when you are by the edge of the window- it is a steep edge.
- Ana Kai Tangata: Located in Hanga Roa, a zig-zag of stairs leads you down to this cave with noticeable paintings of Manutaras (birds). This cave is open with waves crashing in the near distance.
- Ana Te Pora: You will notice a stone bed inside this spacious cave.