Easter Island

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 o
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 a
An adventurous spirit is a prerequisite for visiting Easter Island. Certainly, package tours are available and common, b

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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  • 1. 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 built...Read More

  • 2. Museo Antropológico Padre Sebastián Englert

    Hanga Roa | Museum/Gallery

    This small museum, named for a German priest who dedicated his life to improving conditions on Rapa Nui and is buried beside the church, provides...Read More

  • 3. Orongo

    Archaeological Site/Ruins

    A small museum kickstarts the story of the ceremonial village of Orongo, likely constructed in the late 1600s and used by locals until 1866...Read More

  • 4. Playa Anakena

    Beach–Sight

    Easter Island's earliest settlers are believed to have landed on idyllic Playa Anakena. Legend has it that the caves in the cliffs overlooking...Read More

  • 5. Rano Kau

    Volcano

    This huge volcano on the southern tip of the island affords wonderful views of Hanga Roa. The crater, which measures a mile across, holds a...Read More

  • 6. Rano Raraku

    Archaeological Site/Ruins

    When it comes to moai, this is the motherlode. Some 400 have been counted at the quarry of this long-extinct volcano, both on the outer rim...Read More

  • 7. 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 once...Read More

  • 8. 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 few that gaze...Read More

  • 9. 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 strewn...Read More

  • 10. 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 were never...Read More

  • 11. 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...Read More

  • 12. 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, these...Read More

  • 13. 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 boat...Read More

  • 14. 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...Read More

  • 15. 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 city...Read More

  • 16. Ana Kai Tangata

    Cave

    A small sign just past the entrance of Hotel Iorana points toward Ana Kai Tangata, a seldom-visited cavern on the coast that holds the island...Read More

  • 17. Ana O Keke and Ana O Neru

    Poike | Archaeological Site/Ruins

    Legend has it that young women awaiting marriage were kept here in the Caves of the Virgins so that their skin would remain as pale as possible...Read More

  • 18. Ana Te Pahu

    Cave

    A grove of banana trees marks the entrance to these underground caverns that once served as dwellings. Partly shielded from the blazing sun...Read More

  • 19. Caleta Hanga Roa

    Hanga Roa | Marina/Pier/Dock

    Colorful fishing boats bob up and down in the water at Hanga Roa's tiny jetty. Here you may see fisherfolk hauling in the day's tuna catch,...Read More

  • 20. Cementerio

    Hanga Roa | Cemetery

    Hanga Roa's colorful walled cemetery occupies a prime position overlooking the Pacific and is visually unlike most. With artificial flower...Read More

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