HomeArticlesVisiting Easter Island Travel Guide (Isla de Pascua – Rapa Nui)
Visiting Easter Island Travel Guide (Isla de Pascua – Rapa Nui)
August 21, 2019
After close to a month travelling around Chile,
Sam and I hopped on a plane to visit Easter Island, known locally as Rapa Nui. This was
the closest we were ever going to get to this remote speck in the ocean, which also happens
to be the southeastern most point of the Polynesian Triangle. We gave ourselves one full week
to explore Isla de Pascua, and what follows is a travel guide of our time there. We hiked
ancient volcanoes, stood face to face with the moai, watched spectacular sunrises and
sunsets, and road tripped around the island while wild horses ran alongside. It was an
incredible week and we hope this video will inspire you to plan your own visit to Easter
Island. DAY 1 So it is our first morning on Easter Island.
How excited are you? Beyond excited. This is incredible. This is a place I never actually
thought I was going to visit in my lifetime. And we’re going to start off the day by climbing
a volcano because why not. That’s how we roll. Let’s go. This is the beast we’re planning on tackling.
Right in front of us. That is an extinct volcano crater. Right ahead. We have dogs leading the way for us. Which
way pups? Lead the way pups. We just witnessed an animals in the wild moment.
We have two dogs who have been following us since we left the town and they’ve been walking
along keeping us company. And then one of them saw a chicken and it decided that’s going
to be my breakfast and it just went for it. Caught a live chicken, the chicken died and
the dog had breakfast. So, that is country living. Country living. That is what happens. (Dog panting) (Dogs lapping up water) Rano Kau is 324 meters tall and it is located
on the southwestern tip of Rapa Nui. We hiked all the way from town, and because of it’s
gradual incline, we found it to be a relatively easy activity. That being said, we would recommend
doing it early in the morning, since there were very few shaded areas along the way. We made it to the top. Woo! Yes! I feel like
we’ve earned it. There is ways you can cheat by taking the car. We could drive up to the
top like a whole bunch of people have done but we were up early and we walked to get
here. Feeling accomplished. The Rano Kau crater is a protected area so
you are not allowed to climb into it, however, you can get some really cool views of the
interior by standing along the rim. Here’s a little fun fact: because the crater is sheltered
from the winds, it has developed its own micro-climate and it also has vegetation you can’t find
elsewhere on the island. So we’ve reached the top of Orongo but the
hike is not over yet. The trail continues and apparently we’re going to get some really
cool views of tiny little islands just off of Easter Island. Like little islets I guess
you could say. So let’s go. Let’s go. Orongo is a village and ceremonial site located
just past the Rano Kau Crater. Unfortunately, it started pouring rain shortly after we reached
the site, so we didn’t get to visit, but we made plans to return later that week. That evening we made our way into Hanga Roa
to watch the sun set from the harbor. There were lots of surfers out on the water, and
the waves kept rolling in and crashing against the rocks. Meanwhile we enjoyed the show with
ice cream cones in hand. DAY 2 So it is Sunday morning, 9AM right now, and
we are going to Catholic Mass. This was a suggestion by our host who is renting us the
cutest little cottage. She said this is mostly for tourists so I’m not really sure what to
expect but we were a bit curious so we’re going to go check it out. (Music, chanting and praying) So that was a pretty cool church service.
It was unlike any I’ve ever been to before. It was pretty cool because a lot of the songs
they sang were actually in Rapa Nui. It wasn’t in Spanish. Um, and also just the clothes
they were wearing. Like I don’t really know the terminology for this but the Priest had
like feathers on his head and some dogs made it in as well. Yeah, dogs came in to the service.
Lots of music. We also had kind of like a lay, I don’t know if they use that word here
or if that just is in Hawaii. He had like a flower necklace he was wearing. So it was
pretty cool. It was nice seeing the culture and how that is incorporated into the local
church service. So, if you happen to be on the island, on a Sunday you can check that
out. After attending mass, we hopped over to the
artisan’s market located just across the street. Here we found all sorts of souvenirs,
including: miniature moai statues carved out of stone and wood, as well as postcards, magnets,
and jewelry. After the market we took a walk to Ahu Tahai,
which is a ceremonial complex that holds 3 different ‘ahus’ or platforms with moai.
Perhaps the most famed of the three is Ahu Ko Te Riku, which stands out from the rest
because it has restored eyes. Having already visited Ahu Tahai by day, we
still made it a point to come in the late afternoon. The complex is just a short walk
to the north end of town, and it also happens to be the best place to catch the sunset on
the island. From this spot you can watch the sun paint the sky all shades of persimmon,
pink and gold, before finally setting behind the moai and then dipping beneath the ocean. Day 3 So day three on the island and look at what
we just got. Our official Rapa Nui stamps. How cool are those? Very very cool. Best souvenir
ever. So we just finished renting a car and that
calls for a road-trip around Easter Island. So our first stop is Rano Raraku. I’m probably
butchering the name but I think that is the sight you’ve been most excited to visit. Yeah,
this is a place we’ve been really wanting to go to and I can’t believe it took us until
what day three. Day 3 to actually do it. But yeah, there are hundreds of Moai here. Many
of them unfinished. A lot of them toppled over. So it is pretty cool to just walk around
and see so many of them up close. Yes, and we’ve got the car for 48 hours so there is
going to be a lot of road tripping left to do. Yes. Rano Raraku is yet another volcano crater
found on the island, and it is also the site of the quarry that supplied the stone for
the hundreds of moai that can be found on the island. The quarry is believed to have
been in use for a span of 500 years up until the early 18th century when activity ceased.
It would also appear that this site was abandoned in a rush since many of the moai here are
unfinished. So right now we’re heading inside the crater
of the Ranu Raraku volcano. And there is a lake in there. It basically looks like a wetland.
It is pretty cool. Quite green. So yeah, have a look. If you can see. There it is. And there
is Sam filming in the background. Awesome. After seeing the moai scattered on the slopes
of the volcano, we took a little detour and hiked into the crater. This area is home to
a lake with reeds. We also spotted wild horses and a few moai inside the crater, which was
quite unexpected. From there we continued on to Ahu Tongariki
for a quick visit. This site is home to 15 moai, making it the biggest ‘ahu’ on the
island. Okay so it is almost sunset and we’re driving
back to a spot that we’ve already been to before and that is Orongo. And we’re going
to get some nice views of the crater from there and I think sunset should be pretty
spectacular. We’ll be looking out at the ocean. Woo hoo. Day 4 Well good morning. It is day four on Easter
Island. Sam how are you feeling? Grumpy? Did you sleep well? Grumpy, a little bit tired
still. But we’re up for a very special reason. Yes, we’re here to watch the sunrise. So we
drove back to the 15 Moai where we were yesterday. And it should be pretty spectacular. The sun
is starting to break-through so we’re going to show you that. The best place to catch the sunrise in Rapa
Nui is at Ahu Tongariki. We made the drive in the dark and we arrived just as the sky
was beginning to show its soft morning colours. It’s also worth noting that when we visited
in March, sunrise was happening at 8:20 a.m., so we weren’t up that early. So we are back on the road. We freshened up,
had our breakfast and right now we’re visiting Ahu Akivi. And these are the only Moai on
the whole island that lookout to sea. So that is pretty unusual. So it is not the best time of day for light
but hopefully you can see them just over there. There is seven of them here. We keep coming across wild horses. Right behind
me. So cool. (Airplane noises) It is time for ceviche. It is actually like
three or four in the afternoon but we’re hungry and we love this place. It is our favorite
spot on the island. So let’s go in. Making new friends. I think the pup wants
ceviche. It is waiting for our order to arrive. Don’t you. Yes, you like your fish. You like
your fish. Can you see all of this? Our ceviche has arrived.
This one is Sam’s and looks like his has shrimp. Mine is strictly local fish. Catch of the
day. I couldn’t tell you what the name of the fish is but it looks amazing. We’ve got
rice, sweet potatoes, salad. Let’s dig in. That’s good. I just love the lime and the cilantro that
they’ve put on this. It is amazing. My favorite. So that was a pretty fabulous meal, wouldn’t
you say? Yes, we’re full. But never too full for ice cream. Waiting for your cone. Three scoops. Three
scoops. I would like to point out that Sam ran off
with his ice cream and he left me to pay for everything. And this is probably our favorite
spot to eat. They have awesome artisan ice cream. Uh-huh. And it is really good value.
Like it is not expensive and the taste is amazing. Absolutely amazing. Do you know what
flavors your are having here? You’ve got three flavors. I’ve got mint, I’ve got Malpaga.
Malaga which is like rum and raisin. And the other one was Torrone something. I can’t remember
what that is. It had hazelnuts in it. You’re having a hard time keeping the camera up.
You’re so excited to eat yours. I’m having a raspberry ginger. And I better start eating
because it is melting. One of the best decisions we made on our trip
was to rent a car so that we would have the ability to explore all of Easter Island. On
one particular afternoon, we hopped in the car and decided to drive the full island loop.
We got to enjoy landscapes, the waves crashing along the rocky shores, and we also encountered
many wild horses! If was one of the highlights of our visit. So we are finishing off the day with a trip
to Anakena beach. And Sam just loves the beach. So we had to come here. Yeah, I love it so
much we’re coming tomorrow. Just for her. Day 5 Meow. Good morning. It is day 5 on Easter Island
and it is actually our last day with a car so we’re trying to make the most of everything.
So, back at the beach. First up, back at the beach. Yes, back at Anakena Beach. We were
here yesterday but we thought we’d come and get some pictures. And next up we’re going
to head back to the Orongo Crater. Or no, to Orongo village because last time we were
there it started pouring rain and we had to run back. So we didn’t get to see much over
there. So we’ll be driving there next up. Fingers crossed for better weather. Mmmhmmm. So next up we’re visiting Puna Pao and this
is where the Pukao were carved. And those are the red stones that you see on top of
a lot of the Moai. And they are not sure if these were meant to resemble top knots, turbans
or hats. But you can see them off in the distance. Puna Pao is a quarry with red volcanic rock,
and although it is much smaller than Rano Raraku, all of the headpieces that you see
on the ‘moai’ across the island came from this very spot. Later in the day we finally made it back to
Orongo, where the rain held up! The village consists of round-walled buildings made out
of flat stone, and there’s a trail that winds through the entire village. So it is nighttime here in Hanga Roa, Easter
Island. And this evening we’re going to a cultural dance performance. It should be fun.
Let’s go check it out. (Singing and dancing) Day 6 And now it is time for a tour of our little
cottage here on Easter Island. Yeah, this is our last day here and we thought we’d just
show you the house. We’ve had a really low-key day. I mean it has been awesome. We’ve been
able to have such good weather on this island. And we’ve like covered basically everything
we wanted to do so this last day we’ve really done basically nothing. Well, it was pouring rain this morning. It
was. We couldn’t go anywhere. I mean, that is part of the luck we’ve had though. We haven’t
had rain except for on the day we didn’t need to do anything. Alright, so time for the house
tour. Lead the way, sir. Up the steps. So this is a kind of basic accommodation
you can find on the island. This feels like house hunters international.
Living room. Here is the living room. Yes, followed by the kitchen. The dining area.
Here we have the kitchen which is a little messy at the moment. And our messy humble abode. This is the bedroom
we’ve been staying in. So yeah, the beds. We’ve been staying here with my parents and
they have a room over there. The fancy room. And we also have a little bathroom. Tada! Hello! Um, yeah. So accommodations on Easter Island
are very basic and a little pricey. For this cottage we paid 830 US dollars for the week.
Yeah. And that is pretty standard. Yeah, exactly. So if you come here, if you don’t have a huge
budget this is the type of place you’re likely going to be staying at. Yeah. Day 7 Ciao Rapa Nui! Ciao. So sad! First class. But we never get to sit in first
class. And just like that our week on Easter Island
was up! Rapa Nui is one of the most fascinating places we have ever visited, and we loved
getting to explore every inch of the island. Now it’s over to you. Have you been to Easter
Island? Is it a place you’d like to visit? Let us know in the comments below.