Easter Island

Take one of our Easter Island tours and discover the most isolated place on earth, 3,000km off the coast of Chile.

Also known as Rapa Nui, Easter Island is most famous for its enigmatic moai – the 887 basalt monoliths that dot the volcanic landscape or lie half-buried in the Rano Raraku quarry.

Easter Island is a mysterious destination, far from anywhere, and the demise of its native population – the people who built the iconic stone statues – is still being pieced together. It is still not known why these moai were built, nor is it clear how the island’s inhabitants were decimated. Today, the island is a beautiful and interesting place to visit, with its fascinating volcanic craters, lava formations, incredible white sand beaches, blue waters and array of archaeological sites.

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Easter Island

Moai Statues Easter Island

Mysterious archaeological sites

Easter Island is famous for the hundreds of moai – giant stone statues – which are scattered all over the island or abandoned in the Rano Raraku quarry.

The moai were carved by the Rapa Nui Polynesian people between 1250 and 1500 and transferred to various sites around the island – a remarkable achievement. Thought to be images of chiefs, gods or ancestors, the moai range in size from 1 m to over 21 metres, with many weighing up to 86 tonnes. These monolithic statues were placed on top of stone platforms or altars called ahu. Two of the most spectacular sites are Ahu Tongariki, which has 15 statues and Ahu Akivi where 7 large moai face out to sea.
Rano Kau Volcano

Rano Kau Volcano & the Bird Man Cult

The spectacular Rano Kau volcano lies on the southwest corner of the island overlooking the sea.

It has steep walls and a large freshwater crater lake. Explore the restored stone houses of the Orongo ceremonial village on the rim of the crater. Orongo was central to the Bird Man cult; each year, a competition was held where young men competed to bring back an egg from the nest of a sooty tern, climbing down the steep cliffs and swimming out to a nearby island. Bird Man petroglyphs can still be seen on some of the boulders, and the site has breathtaking views.
Moai of Akahanga

Large fallen Moai of Akahanga

Akahanga is an ahu with up to 13 moai which were probably toppled during the clan wars, as were many other moai on the island.

This is a good site for understanding the construction process of the moai, as the statues vary in size from small to very large, becoming progressively bigger as time went by. There are also many pukao (topknots) scattered around and some red scoria stone blocks etched with petroglyphs. Another site of interest here is an abandoned village with a number of boat-shaped stone houses.
Moai Quarry

Rano Raraku volcano & Moai Quarry

The remarkable quarry at Rano Raraku volcano is where most moai were cut from volcanic rock and 397 remain.

The moai here are either complete and partially buried or unfinished, whilst some are face down and others face up. One is the largest ever found, at 21.2 metres high and weighing 270 tons. Some of the half-buried moai are unusual in that they do not have topknots and their eyes are not hollowed out. There is also a unique bearded, kneeling moai carved from red scoria known as Tukuturi .

Accommodation at Easter Island

Below are some of our preferred accommodation options in Easter Island, carefully selected for their superior locations, standards of service and level of comfort.

Altiplanico Rapa Nui

Exclusive Altiplanico Rapa Nui boasts amazing views of exotic Easter Island and arresting architectural design inspired by traditional Polynesian motifs.

explora Rapa Nui

explora Rapa Nui is set inside a striking building close to Hanga Roa, designed to take advantage of Easter Island’s silence and mystery.

Hangaroa Eco Village & Spa

Inspired by local traditions and the natural environment, Hangaroa Eco Village & Spa is an ideal base for exploring Easter Island in comfort.

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Easter Island Overview

Why Easter Island: This is one of the most unique places on earth, due to its isolation and the spectacular archaeological remains of a mysterious lost civilisation.

Culture: Easter Island is best known for its gigantic stone monoliths, known as moai, that dot the coastline. In addition to the statues, the islanders possessed the Rongorongo script, the only written language in Oceania. Easter Island is also home to many petroglyphs (rock carvings), as well as traditional wood carvings, tapa (barkcloth) crafts, tattooing, string figures, dance and music.

When to Go: A mild year-round climate provides ideal conditions for exploring the island on foot or by bicycle. Expect more rainfall from Apr – May. The island is best visited as a stopover between Chile and Australia.

Combine With: The Chilean mainland, which offers diverse cultures and a wealth of varied landscapes, from the surreal salt flats and lakes of the altiplano (high plains) and the Atacama Desert to the glacial lakes and snow-capped mountains of Patagonia.

Getting There: Fly from Santiago, Chile to Hanga Roa on Easter Island.

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