Two days itinerary
The first stop on this schedule is a half-day tour. It’s better to do it in the morning, as this is when there’s the best light for photographs.
Passing the landing strip and fuel tanks, take the first entrance on the left and then the second dirt road on the right, which leads to the Vinapu (1) area. Once there, you can tour both Ahu Tahira, with its striking stone platform, and Ahu Vinapu, with its red stone monolithic column.
Leaving the Vinapu area, follow the road that runs parallel to the landing strip up to the fork in the road and take the left path that leads to the television satellite dishes and the path up the Rano Kau volcano (2).
Rano Kau crater
Contemplating the giant Rano Kau crater is an unforgettable experience. From the view point, take the right path to get to the ceremonial village of Orongo (3), where the legendary Birdman Competition took place. This is a very unique village and viewing it with ease helps to understand what the Birdman Competition used to mean for Rapa Nui people.
On the way down, 200 meters past the CONAF headquarters and its small botanical garden, you will find a small parking lot and a the marked entrance to the Ana Kai Tangata cave (4), where there are several cave drawings.
Caves paintings in Ana Kai Tangata
After this tour, it’s ideal to return to Hanga Roa for lunch and prepare for the second part of the day.
Leaving Hanga Roa on the road to Anakena, take the detour on the left with the sign that says “Hanga Roa 3”, just 100 meters further is Ahu Huri A Urenga (5).
Ahu Huri a Urenga
Pukaos in Puna Pau
From the entrance to Puna Pau, return to the road again and once there go to the left about 3.2 miles to Ahu Akivi (7), the large platform with its 7 moai that tradition links to the first 7 explorers who came to Easter Island.
The seven moai at Ahu Akivi
After the visit, continue along the same road towards the coast. One kilometer from Ahu Akivi is Ana Te Pahu (8), also known as “the plantain cave”. Once on the coast, there is the Ahu Te Peu (9), around which there are numerous archaeological remains.
On the way back to Hanga Roa along the coast are the Ana Te Pora (10) and Ana Kakenga (11) caves, or “the cave of the two windows.” It would be helpful to bring a flashlight with you to explore these caves.
One of the windows of Ana Kakenga
The tour ends in the Tahai area (12), which is one of the best places in all of Easter Island to watch the sunset.
Sunset at Tahai
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It’s best to start the day early in the Anthropological Museum (13), since this visit will allow you to understand much better the island.
Sebastian Englert Museum
After the visit, which shouldn’t take more than an hour to an hour and a half, take the road that crosses the island towards Anakena (14) until you get to this wonderful Easter Island beach. With its white coral sand and turquoise sea, it’s ideal for sunbathing and relaxing. The Ahu Nau Nau (15) is also found there. Be sure to try the delicious tuna, cheese, and tomato patties from the Anakena food stalls.
Ahu Nau Nau at Anakena
One kilometer from Anakena taking the dirt detour, you’ll arrive at Ovahe (16), the other beach on the island, and its pink sands. This beach is only bathed in sunlight until two in the afternoon, so it’s advisable to visit before that time.
Felled moai in Ahu Te Pito Kura
Continue down the coastal road towards the east until you reach Te Pito Kura (17). Pause there to appreciate the moai that was knocked down by the Rapa Nui over two centuries ago. A bit further ahead is the Papa Vaka (18) area, with its numerous petroglyphs, and Pu O Hiro (19).
The 15 moai at Ahu Tongariki
Following the coastal path, this time heading south, three kilometers from Ahu Tonariki is the detour towards Rano Raraku (22). It’s advised that you take your time viewing the moai quarry and the crater of the volcano, since this site is full of surprises and transports the visitor to the precise moment in which the giants were bring carved. This is one of the main and highlighted sites of every Easter Island trip.
Moai heads at Rano Raraku
For the cherry on top, it’s best to finish off this trip by attending one of the tradicional music and dance shows in the evening, in order to learn a bit more about the Rapa Nui culture.