Easter Island (or Rapa Nui) is one of the world’s greatest and most remote archaeological sites. The nearest inhabited island is tiny Pitcairn, over 1200 miles to the west. Rapa Nui is almost 2500 miles from the coast of South America and, in the other direction, it is 2000 miles to Tahiti. Its isolation is one of the key factors affecting the culture that evolved here. From what we know of the material culture, language, and customs, it seems that the original settlers came from either the Marquesas Islands or from Mangareva around AD 400-600. The hardy Polynesians who found Rapa Nui came prepared to stay. They brought tools and food, and plants and animals to begin a new life. But the island they found is not a typical Polynesian paradise: it is out of the tropics, and has neither rivers nor protective reefs. But, although small (Rapa Nui is a mere 66 square miles), it had a forest of large palms and other trees, and craters held drinking water. Obsidian was available for tools and weapons as well as easily worked lapilli tuff—the perfect material for making statues. The island is of course best known for the giant stone monoliths, known as Moai, that dot the coastline. The early settlers called the island "Te Pito O Te Henua" (Navel of The World). Admiral Roggeveen, who came upon the island on Easter Day in 1722, named it Easter Island.
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Day 01: Arrive the Easter Island
Day 02: Easter Island
This morning we head to the south coast and visit representative examples of not restored platforms, Ahus Vaihu in the bay of Hanga Te’e and Akahanga, where supposedly the famous King Hotu Matua was buried. Proceed to Rano Raraku, quarry of almost 900 stone statues, 397 of them still lying or standing at the slopes of the extinct volcano. Next stop is Ahu Tongariki (restored with 15 moais), the most recent restoration on the island. Continue driving to the east coast and visit Ahu Te Pito Kura and the “Navel of the World”. Last but not least visit the beach of Anakena with its restored Ahus Nau Nau and Ature Huke. Here we will have the opportunity to swim in the Pacific Ocean. (B, BL)
Day 03: Easter Island
Today’s tour starts with a drive up to the extinct volcano Rano Kau, appreciate on the way a view over the whole island and see its distinct geological features, proceed to an outlook at the crater-lake. Afterwards drive to the ceremonial village of Orongo, where we see the spectacular petroglyphs related to this culture, enjoy the breathtaking view towards the 3 islets Motu Nui, Motu Iti and Motu Kao Kao opposite the coast. Drive down again to Ahu Vinapu (not restored) and for some still proof of the influence of pre-inca architects in Easter Island culture. Last stop is Ana Kai Tangata cave with its paintings.
In the afternoon we visit Ahu Akivi with 7 moais, built in the middle of the island. Legend has it that these statues are representing the 7 explorers who were sent to Rapa Nui by King Hotu Matua. Proceed to Ahu Hanga Poukura to visit the quarry of Puna Pau with its red scoria stone, where all the pukaos were made. We will also visit the ceremonial site of Tahai with 3 ahus and restored statues, remains of boathouses, a boat-ramp and other features. (B)
Day 04: Depart Easter Island
Transfer from the hotel to the airport Mataveri for your departure flight out. (B)
B=Breakfast, BL=BoxLunch, D=Dinner
Departure Dates & Prices
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This tour operates on a minimum of 02 and average tour size of 22 participants
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