Easter Island, or Hanga Roa as it is called in the local indigenous language, is one of the most exotic places in Chile. It sits at the same latitude as Caldera but is thousands of miles from the coast. Its indigenous culture has been admired for centuries for erecting massive stone monuments called moais over 800 years ago. These stone statues are scattered over a volcanic landscape surrounded by beautiful beaches. Here at the “navel of the world,” indigenous culture informs the décor and offerings of first-rate hotels and fine dining. Anthropologists and researchers dream of this place. Stone statues, volcanoes, and crater lakes are the main attraction of this destination.
HANGA ROA: Upon our arrival at the Mataveri airport in Hanga Roa we will be welcomed with a traditional flower necklace. After a short transfer to the hotel, we will have the rest of the day to spend as we please. A visit to the nearby church and village is recommended. There we will have the opportunity to observe both Catholic and indigenous symbols and statues (Sunday mass available if time permits). Next to the church we will find the local market and museum rich in Rapa Nui artifacts and culture. Overnight in or near Hanga Roa.
CEREMONIAL VILLAGE ORONGO & AKIVI: In the morning, we will take a drive up the Rano Kau extinct volcano. Along the way, we will be able to appreciate panoramic views of the entire island as well as make a brief stop at an outlook point that showcases a crater lake. From there, we will head to the ceremonial village known as Orongo. There, we will learn about its past, culture and the history of the birdman cult. Afterwards, we will drive down the volcano to the Ahu Vinapu that includes an ahu with interesting stonemasonry. Our last stop of the morning before heading back to the hotel, will be the cave of Ana Kai Tangata where we will find interesting wall paintings. In the afternoon we will travel to Ahu Akivi which features seven re-erected moai situated inland. The legend claims that these statues represent the seven explorers who were sent to Rapa Nui by the late king Hotu Matua. From there we will continue on to Hanga Poukura; this is an extraordinary ahu site where a number of tumbled moai statues and scattered topknots are located. Next, we will visit the important quarry of Puna Pau that provided the sole source of the red scoria that the Rapa Nui villagers used to carve the Pukaos. For the last visit for the day will visit the ceremonial site of Tahai boasting 3 ahus, restored statues, remains of boathouses and a boat ramp. This is a day is filled with history, culture and breathtaking sights! Overnight in or near Hanga Roa.
MOAIS OF EASTER ISLAND: Today we will learn more about the fascinating history of Rapa Nui and begin the day heading south along the coast. As we travel along the road, we will be able to observe the shoreline with black volcanic rocks and the amazing views of the vast Pacific Ocean. Our first stop will be at Hanga Te’e where we will be able to view a variety of toppled Moai (statues) of Ahu Vaihu. From there we will continue on and arrive at Rano Raraku. This volcano is home to an ancient quarry that supplied the stone from which about 95% of the island’s sculptures were carved. Here we will enjoy a box lunch and explore our surroundings. Subsequently, we will make our way to the next highlight, Ahu Tongariki. This is the largest restored Ahu on Easter Island and features 15 moai. Afterward, we will drive towards the east coast and arrive at Te Pito o Te Henua. This location is considered the “bellybutton” of the world boasting the nearby Ahu Te Pito Kura. Last, but not least we will reach the beach of Anakena known for its beautiful white sand and coconut palm trees. After visiting a nearby restored Ahu Nau Nau we’ll have time for a little rest and a refreshing swim in the warm Pacific Ocean. Overnight in or near Hanga Roa.
Breakfast. At the scheduled time, transfer to airport to take the departure flight.