Easter Island Travel Guide

Easter Island Sights

Ahu Nau Nau

  • Public Art (Mural/Sculpture/Statue)

Published 01/20/2011

Fodor's Review

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 five statues were protected from the elements. Minute details of the carving—delicate lips, flared nostrils, gracefully curved ears—are still visible. On their backs, fine lines represent belts. It was here during a 1978 restoration that a white coral eye was found, leading researchers to speculate that all moai once had them; a replica of that eye is now on display at the Museo Antropológico Padre Sebastián Englert; the original is in storage for safe-keeping following an attempted robbery. Staring at Ahu Nau Nau is a solitary moai on nearby Ahu Ature Huki, the first statue to be re-erected on its ahu. Thor Heyerdahl conducted this experiment in 1955 to test whether the techniques islanders claimed were used to erect the moai could work. It took 12 islanders nearly three weeks to lift the moai into position using rocks and wooden poles.

Sight Information


1 km (about 1 mile) west of Playa Ovahe, at Playa Anakena, Easter Island, Valparaíso, 2770000, Chile

Published 01/20/2011


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