Easter Island Sights

An adventurous spirit is a prerequisite for visiting Easter Island. Certainly, package tours are available and common, but you only visit a handful of the sights. Tour buses often fly past fascinating, off-the-beaten-path destinations or simply don’t go to places that are harder to access with groups, like the west coast caves of Ana Kai Tangata (bring a flashlight or headlamp). To fully experience

the island, hire a private guide. Better yet, rent a four-wheel-drive vehicle, ATV, scooter, or mountain bike and head out on your own. Even in the height of the peak season you can find secluded spots if you time it well. A comprehensive guide to archaeological sites, including when to best find them empty is James Grant-Peterkin’s "A Companion to Easter Island," available on the island and in Santiago bookstores catering to tourists.

Almost all businesses close for a few hours in the afternoon. Most are open 9 to 1 and 4 to 8, but a few stay open late into the evening. Many are closed Sunday. Smaller restaurants and shops don’t usually accept credit cards. Be aware that outside of Hanga Roa, the only place to buy anything to eat or drink is at Anakena, or at one of the more remote luxury hotels, which are quite off the beaten path.

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Easter Island Sights

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Ahu Akahanga

  • Archaeological Site/Ruins

Tradition holds that this is the burial site of Hotu Matu'a, the first of the island's rulers. The 13 moai lying facedown on the ground...

Ahu Akivi

  • Archaeological Site/Ruins

These seven stoic moai—believed by some to represent explorers sent on a reconnaissance mission by King Hotu Matu'a—are among the...

Ahu Hanga Tee (Vaihu)

  • Archaeological Site/Ruins

Eight fallen moai lie face down in front of this ahu, the first you encounter on the southern coastal road. Three reddish topknots are...

Ahu Hanga Tetenga

  • Archaeological Site/Ruins

Lying here in pieces is the largest moai ever transported to a platform, measuring nearly 10 meters (33 feet). The finishing touches...

Ahu Huri a Urenga

  • Archaeological Site/Ruins

One of the few ahus to be erected inland, Ahu Huri a Urenga appears to be oriented toward the winter solstice. Its lonely moai is exceptional...

Ahu Nau Nau

  • Public Art (Mural/Sculpture/Statue)

Beside the swaying palm trees on Playa Anakena stand the island's best-preserved moai on Ahu Nau Nau. Buried for centuries in the sand,...

Ahu Te Peu

  • Archaeological Site/Ruins

As at Ahu Vinapu, the tightly fitting stones at the unrestored Ahu Te Peu recall the best work of the Incas. The foundations for several...

Ahu Te Pito Kura

  • Archaeological Site/Ruins

The largest moai ever successfully erected stands at Ahu Te Pito Kura. Also here is the perfectly round magnetic stone (believed to represent...

Ahu Tongariki

  • Archaeological Site/Ruins

One of the island's most breathtaking sights is Ahu Tongariki, where 15 moai stand side by side on a 200-foot-long ahu, the longest ever...

Ahu Vinapu

  • Archaeological Site/Ruins

The appeal of this crumbled ahu isn't apparent until you notice the fine masonry on the rear wall. Anyone who has seen the ancient Inca...


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