Best Things To Do In EASTER ISLAND
Are you planning to visit Easter Island, and are wondering what are the best things to do in Easter Island?
Easter Island is a small volcanic island located in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. The island belongs to Chile, and it is world-famous for its huge, monolithic moai statues (about 900 in total). These statues were created between the 13th and 16th centuries to honour the island’s important people. The moai statues were toppled during tribal wars in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. The statues have been re-erected in the 20th century with the help of archaeologists.
What makes Easter Island even more special is that it is one of the remotest inhabited islands in the world. Just to reach this island, you’ll have to set aside two days. One day — to reach Santiago, the capital of Chile, and the other — to get to the island from Chile.
This mysterious and remote island is one of the most incredible destinations in the world. Being an isolated and less-visited destination, Easter Island offers once-in-a-lifetime experiences.
Read on to find out what are the best places to visit in Easter Island.
7 Best Things To Do In Easter Island
Explore the Rano Raraku Quarry
Rano Raraku is the main moai (stone human figure) quarry on Easter Island.
It is the main moai factory, and here you can see hundreds of statues in all stages of completion. The statues were made by the Rapa Nui people between 1250 and 1500. The statues were carved from the volcanic rock found in the quarry. Completed statues were moved and erected on the coast. They were placed on rectangular stone platforms (ahu). Each platform may contain one or more statues. Moai represent deceased ancestors of the Rapa Nui people.
What happened to Rano Raraku Quarry? It looks like it has been abandoned abruptly, and the work suddenly stopped.
Rano Raraku Quarry is located on the slopes of a volcano, making this place even more incredible. On the slopes of Rano Raraku, you’ll also find El Gigante, a huge moai. Standing 22 m tall, it is the largest Moai statue even built on the island.
Rano Raraku Quarry is one of the best places to visit in Easter Island.
See the Sunrise in Ahu Tongariki
Ahu Tongariki is the largest and most famous ahu on the island.
As we have mentioned previously, ahu is platform statues were placed. And Ahu Tongariki is the largest of these platforms. Ahu Tongariki was the main centre and the capital of one of the clans that inhabited the island (Hotu-iti clan).
The platform houses 15 gigantic statues and is especially impressive during the sunrise. Watching the sunrise in Ahu Tongariki is one of the best things to do in Easter Island.
Ahu Tongariki is where the heaviest moai is located. It is shorter but squatter, weighing 86 tonnes.
Ahu Tongariki is located one kilometre away from Rano Raraku Quarry.
Visit the Ceremonial Village of Orongo & Rano Kau
Orongo is a stone village located on the southwestern tip of Easter Island.
Between the 18th and mid-19th centuries, it was a ceremonial centre of the Birdman cult which was famous for its dangerous rituals. Now the site is known for its low, round, windowless buildings and ancient petroglyphs.
The crater of Rano Kau, a 324 m tall dormant volcano, can be seen from the village.
The village also offers great sea views. From Orongo you can see two small islets — Motu Nui and the smaller Motu Iti.
Relax on a Beach
There are a few nice beaches on the island.
Easter Island’s beaches boast warm turquoise waters, ideal for swimming all year round.
- Anakena is the main beach of Easter Island, known for its ceremonial platforms (Ahu Ature Huki and Ahu Nau Nau) that are located on the coast.
- Ovahe beach is the second most popular beach on the island. It is smaller and less crowded than Anakena.
- Pea Beach is a small beach in Hanga Roa, the island’s main town. Pea Beach is the best surfing spot on the island.
- Poko Poko natural pool is another good place for swimming. Located in Hanga Roa, it is very easy to get to.
Visit Ahu Akivi
Ahu Akivi is a very sacred place.
Boasting a view of the Pacific Ocean, it houses seven moai. All seven statues are of equal shape and size. Ahu Akivi was a celestial observatory that was built in the 16th century.
Now it’s one of the best places to visit in Easter Island.
Go Hiking or Biking
As Easter Island is small, it is possible to explore it on a bike!
Biking is actually one of the best things to do in Easter Island. Exploring the roads of the island at your own pace and marvelling at the volcanic landscapes and grand statues… Isn’t it wonderful?
Hiking is also a great way to explore the island. Easter Island is popular with volcanic hills, and it’s very fun to hike them. There are various great hiking trails you can take. One of the best hikes on the island is the Terevaka Volcano hike. With an elevation of 506 m above sea level, Terevaka is the highest volcano on the island. From the top of the volcano, you can get a great 360-degree view of Easter Island.
Watch the Sunset at the Tahai Complex
The Tahai Complex is an archaeological site that consists of three ahu.
Ahu Ko Te Riku is popular with its restored eyes. Ahu Tahai is known for its single imposing statue, and Ahu Vai Ure consists of five moai, with the sea located right behind them.
With the sun setting directly behind Ahu Vai Ure, the Tahai Complex is the best place to watch the sunset on the island.
Easter Island Travel Tips
- Easter Island belongs to Chile. To visit Chile, the citizens of the EU, USA, Canada, Mexico and many more countries do not need a visa.
- The only practical way to get to Easter Island is by plane. However, flying to the island is very expensive. Book tickets well in advance to save some money.
- To enter Easter Island, you must provide a return ticket and a certified accommodation booking. Also, you must fill in the mandatory form online.
- As all archaeological sites of Easter Island are located within Rapa Nui National Park, you’ll need to pay a park entrance fee to visit them. You can pay it on arrival at the airport ($80, payable in cash).
- At many of the island’s archaeological sites, you will need to show your national park ticket. That’s why you should carry it with you at all times.
- Do not touch the statues (they are sacred). It is punishable by law. So, you can end up paying a huge fine.
- The most popular time for visiting Easter Island is during the Tapati Festival in February when different activities, musical performances and traditional competitions take place. While being the most popular time to visit, it’s not the best. Plane tickets are super expensive, and so is accommodation. You’ll need to organise your trip months in advance.
- The best time to visit the island, however, is during the shoulder season (September-November and March-April). The peak tourist season runs from January to March.
- Most tourists prefer travelling in a rental car, or they join a guided tour of the island. Renting a bike is also possible, but the island is small, and the distances, too.
- Actually, the real name of the island is not Easter Island. The Polynesian name for Easter Island is Rapa Nui, but its Spanish name is Isla de Pascua.