Easter Island Attractions

Evidence suggests the first Polynesians arrived on Easter Island (also known as Rapa Nui or Isla Pascua) around 800 AD. It was first "discovered" by Europeans in 1722.

Moai

The moai (stone figures) are the most recognized symbols of Easter Island. Hundreds of them can be found on the island, some of which have been restored and re-erected. Most are lying on the ground near the sites where they were erected or at the quarry where they were create.
The figures were carved at the quarry site, then broken off and, through the use of trees, hauled to the appropriate area. They would then be erected on a stone base called an ahu. The process of building one of these carvings would take between 12 and 15 months.
It is thought that the moai were commemorative images of chiefs or lineage heads.

Hare Paenga

The ruins of hare paenga can be seen throughout the island and are generally found near ahu sites. They consist of stones which outline the floor and formed the foundation of boat-shaped houses. Curved depressions in the stones indicate where supporting walls once stood.
Archeological evidence indicates they were in use from the 14th to the 19th C.

Ahu

The ahu are large stone platforms on which the moai were erected. Approximately 350 ahu can be found along the coast of the island and some inland. They were also used as burial sites, with bodies either in or around the ahu.

Hanga Roa, Easter Island, Chile

The main settlement on Easter Island is Hanga Roa, which is home to almost the entire population of the island. It also has all of the islands amenities, including bank, hotels, hospital, and other major services.

Museo Antropológico Sebastián Englert

The museum explores the history of the Polynesian people on the island and their traditional way of life, with an emphasis on their farming methods. There are also photographs and information on the arrival of the Europeans and their influence on the island.

Parque Nacional Rapa Nui

Parque Nacional Rapa Nui was established in 1935 to protect the archeological monuments. It is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Southeastern Coast and Interior

From Hanga Roa a road runs east along the east coast to the Península Poike and loops back through the interior of the island.

Rano Raraku

On the slopes of the volcano Rano Raraku is the quarry used for the moai. Many moai can be seen here in all stages of development, both standing and fallen. Several very large moai remain here, including the largest one ever carved, measuring 21m/68ft. There are also moai inside the crater, many of which are standing, others have fallen and some are incomplete.

Ahu Te Pito Kura

Ahu Te Pito Kura is the largest moai ever erected on an ahu, although it now lies faces down on the slope to the platform. It is almost 10m/32ft long and is thought to be the last moai erected on an ahu and also possibly the last one to fall.

Ahu Tongariki

Fifteen moai have been re-erected at this site, which was the largest ahu ever built. A 1960 tsunami which followed a large earthquake had knocked down all of the statues. Near the are there are also a number of petroglyphs.

Península Poike

At the eastern end of the island is Península Poike with the extinct volcano Maunga Pu A Katiki.

Ovahe

This small beach is less busy and has some interesting caves in the area.

Playa Anakena

Playa Anakena is one of the island's most popular white-sand beaches.

West Coast

There are several attractions along the western side of the island, including Puna Pau, Ahu Akivi, Ana Te Pahu, Ahu Vinapu, and Orongo Ceremonial Village.

Orongo Ceremonial Village

The Orongo Ceremonial Village is perched above the Rano Kau crater lake, on the crater wall. The site, which was the ceremonial village of a bird cult, was active in the 18th and 19th centuries. The village looks out over the ocean and offshore islands. It has been partially restored and is open to visitors.
Boulders in the area display petroglyphs, with bird-like carvings. A nearby trail leads down into the crater.

Ahu Vinapu

At Ahu Vinapu are two major ahu where moai once stood. The fallen remains of the broken moai can now be seen lying on the ground. The figures here are slightly different from most others. While most do not have legs this site contains moai with short legs.

Ahu Akivi

This site, which includes seven moai, was restored in the 1960s. At the equinoxes the figures are facing directly towards the setting sun.

Ana Te Pahu

Ana Te Pahu is a former cave dwelling. In front is an a garden with traditional island fruits and vegetables.

Orito

On the slopes of Orito is an obsidian quarry, which was used to create spearheads and various types of tools.

Puna Pau

Puna Pau, with a small crater, is known for its red scoria which was used to make pukao, the topknot on the head of a moai.

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