Hugging the coast on the northwest side of the island is the village of Hanga Roa. About 5,000 people, many of Polynesian descent, make this tangle of streets their home. Few live outside the village because the bulk of the island forms the Rapa Nui National Park or is state owned. The population is beginning to spread out, however, as the Chilean government cedes more land to the locals.
The two main roads in Hanga Roa intersect a block from the ocean at a small plaza. Avenida Atamu Tekena, which runs the length of the village, is where you'll find most of the tourist-oriented businesses. Avenida Te Pito o Te Henua begins near the fishing pier and extends two blocks uphill to the church. These two roads are paved, but most others in town are gravel.
Buildings are not numbered and signs are nonexistent (street names are sometimes painted on curbstones), so finding a particular building can be frustrating at first. Locals will give directions from landmarks, so it's not a bad idea to take a walk around town as soon as you arrive so you can get your bearings.
Hanga Roa at a Glance
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