Poko Poko, the natural pool at Hanga Vare vare
The Poko Poko natural pool, located in Hanga Vare Vare, is a small paradise located a few steps from the center of Hanga Roa. Get to know the attractions of this exotic and relaxing space.
Poko Poko, the “small cup” of Hanga Roa
Although some call this small and beautiful place a beach , in fact Poko Poko is a “natural pool” located in Hanga Vare Vare, the large green space where most of the events on Easter Island take place.
More inforamtion about Hanga Vare Vare
The funny name of Poko Poko, which in the Rapa Nui language means bowl or deep plate, is very appropriate given the circular shape and low depth of this little cove converted into a pool.
The entrance of this small inlet, formed by petrified volcanic lava, was closed with a wall of large rocks that contain the force of the waves, thus creating an area suitable for bathing and a pleasant recreational zone.
A safe and accessible little paradise
The small forest of coconut palms, the fine beach sand and the warm temperature of the dammed water make the small Poko Poko beach an ideal place to relax.
Families with children especially enjoy this exotic place, since the water does not cover beyond the waist and the absence of waves allows bathers to cool off, swim or snorkel without worry. In addition, metal railings have recently been added to facilitate access for the elderly or those with reduced mobility.
To the left of the pool a volcanic rock formation rises whose lower part houses a small cave or karava, which offers coveted shade on hotter days. It can also serve as a shelter in the event of a storm or downpour.
Although the most crowded space is the green area under the coconut trees. There we can lay down the towel, enjoy a picnic and end the afternoon with a well-deserved nap lulled by the sound of the sea.
Poko Poko is a perfect alternative to the famous Anakena beach and the neighboring Pea beach. And it is that, although it does not present the beauty of the first or turtles are observed as in the second, it offers other attractions.
The main advantage is its proximity to the center of Hanga Roa and its easy access on foot. This makes it possible to visit it more often if we want to take a dip without having to spend on the necessary transport to get to Anakena. Also Poko Poko is not usually frequented by organized groups of tourists and except for some days of the high season, we will hardly have company.
The strange stone watchmen
Due to its shallow depth and lack of danger, there is no lifeguard post on Poko Poko. However, we can find some more static and strange watchers than the previous ones. We are talking about the volcanic red stone figures that were carved in old editions of the Tapati and that now adorn the bathing area. This easy-to-work red slag comes from the Puna Pau volcano and is the same with which the pukao were made, the headdresses that covered the heads of the moai statues.
Read more about the pukao, the headdresses of the moai statues
Centuries later, the fantasy of contemporary master sculptors has mixed symbolic figures from the Rapa Nui culture with others from his imagination to create these unusual images.
Thus, for example, on the left hand side of the main entrance, a large stone head with huge eyes seems to emerge on the grass, welcoming us. A few steps further, near the shore, another figure stands up, showing an elongated head with a large nose and a prominent chin.
On the left, on the volcanic rock wall that forms the cave, an even stranger image stands out. When viewed from the front, two heads of beings are seen, one on top of the other, teaching the tongue in a grotesque and threatening way. If we turn a little, an undefined animal appears at the base and above it a figure that could be a mixture between a moai kava kava and a moko or lizard.
Finally, a few meters away, near the Ahu O´rongo, there is another reddish sphere made up of various figures, among which are a Tangata Manu or bird-man, a mask of the god Make Make and a Vai a Heva type face, among others.
Unlike the famous Anakena beach, there are no food kiosks or toilets in Poko Poko. Actually, there are toilets located to the right of the Hanga Vare Vare entrance but they are not usually open except during the celebration of the Tapati festival. So the best option to fill both gaps is to go to one of the restaurants located across the street.
Where to eat near Poko Poko
Across the street, there are several places that, in addition to serving menus and typical dishes of local cuisine, offer beautiful views of the ocean and the coconut trees that sway to the beat of the breeze.
In front of the Hanga Vare Vare entrance is Donde la Tía Sonia, which serves cheap menus and hearty and tasty local dishes. The friendliness of the owners and the small open terrace, their most requested space, complement this simple and cozy restaurant.
To its left is the classic restaurant Au bout du monde, whose menu includes Belgian-Polynesian-inspired haute cuisine. From the second floor terrace you can see a beautiful panoramic view. If you want to dine there during the first fortnight of February, we recommend reserving a table, since you enjoy a privileged view of the stage on which the artistic representations of the Tapati Rapa Nui are developed.
Among the previous two is Neptune Island, one of the last restaurants to have opened in the area, run by a friendly Cuban-Chilean couple. Its spacious dining room decorated with marine motifs, a large window with beautiful views and a fusion cuisine with excellent reviews have made it one of the best-rated restaurants on the island.
How to get to Poko Poko
Getting to the Poko Poko is very easy. If we take the Hanga Roa O Tai cove and the intersection between Te Pito o Te Henua and Policarpo Toro streets as a reference, we only have to continue along the latter about 250 meters in the direction of Tahai. After a 3 minute walk we will find the access to Hanga Vare Vare on the left, in front of the location of Donde la Tía Sonia restaurant.