What to see in Easter Island

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It is located more than 3700 km from Chile and captures the imagination of many travelers with its mysterious and enigmatic past. With incredible volcanic terrain and impressive archaeological sites, Easter Island offers travelers a unique adventure full of history and adventure. Here we show you how to make the most of this fascinating destination, telling you what to see on Easter Island.

What to see in Easter Island

Visit the Moai statues

Moai Statues
Moai Statues

The most famous icon of Easter Island is the Moai statues. Ancient volcanic rock engravings of faces and people.

It is understood that more than 1200 years ago, sailors landed on Easter Island and, over time, began to carve these statutes into the rock. It is not known exactly why the early occupants were so obsessed with creating these statues, but today they remain one of the most incredible and recognizable works of art in the world.

Many of the Moai were toppled and damaged during tribal wars on the island, when the land began to run out of trees and important resources for survival. You can see many Moai still standing, while other remains of statues can be found on the ground.

View ancient petroglyphs

Easter Island Petroglyphs
Easter Island Petroglyphs

Besides having a penchant for carving statues of heads in volcanic rock, the people of Rapa Nui also created many other works of art, which can still be seen on the island today. These ancient petroglyphs are not as visible as the Moai, but they are still part of the mysterious and interesting life of the first islanders.

There are various designs and drawings, from faces to representations and locations of special rituals and religious traditions. One site, known as Papa Vaka, has drawings related to the sea.

Hiking a volcano – What to see in Easter Island

When you want to know about what to see in Easter Island, you cannot miss the volcanic landscape.

The Terevaka volcano is the highest point on Rapa Nui, at only 166 feet (507 m) above sea level, but the summit offers spectacular 360-degree views of the territory. Rano Raraku is the crater that lies on the lower slopes of Terevaka and offers stunning and dramatic scenery against the backdrop of the vast ocean, highlighting the isolation of this ancient land.

Watch a traditional dance

Tapati Rapa Nui Portada What to see in Easter Island
Traditional dance, Easter Island

Similar to Polynesian styles, Easter Island music and dance is a captivating aspect of local life. There are a number of different traditional dances, most of which see the dancer wearing elaborate headdress. Some dances are similar to traditional tribal war dances, while others, such as the Ula Ula, are more provocative and sensual partner dances. Ula Ula Ula Ula, is a more provocative and sensual partner dance.

Visit the catholic church of Rapa Nui

Until recently, the Catholic Church was the only church on Easter Island. The church is an example of what can happen when ancient tribal traditions and mythology mix with modern religion.

The church is a colorful building that features art and icons of the Rapa Nui people, while incorporating more traditional Catholic iconography and devotional art. Even the priest wears a traditional Rapa Nui headdress.

Strict Catholics may not necessarily agree with the mixing of native tribal culture with Catholicism, but it is possible that Christianity could not have spread here if it had outlawed all native beliefs.

Visit Anakena Beach – What to see in Easter Island

31069135783 0af00b1484 c What to see in Easter Island
Anakena Beach, Easter Island

Anakena beach is an idyllic coral white sand beach ideal for swimming. The beach is decorated with coconut trees that were brought from Tahiti a few decades ago. Apart from the beach, the site has several archaeological sites and platforms where the Moai are located.

See the stone village of Orongo

Orongo stone village
Orongo stone village

You can’t go very far on Easter Island before stumbling upon another fascinating and intriguing part of history. Orongo is known as Stone Village and was a ceremonial village during the Birdman era. The cult of the birdman required a leader, so the people came up with a direct competition to determine the next elder: dive off the cliffs at Orongo and swim to an inlet to look for the first sooty tern egg of the season. The man who successfully brought the egg to Orongo was crowned leader for the next year.

The houses in this village are all made of stone, built to withstand the strong winds and gales of this exposed part of the island. Many of the houses deteriorated over the years, but all have since been restored in the 1970s.

Scuba diving and snorkeling

Due to its remote location, Easter Island offers divers a dream underwater experience. The water is clear with visibility up to 196 feet (60 m) on a calm day. There is little pollution due to the isolated population and the lack of algae. One of the highlights of diving on Easter Island is visiting a submerged Moai statue, although it appears to have been placed there in more modern times, rather than falling into the sea because of an ancient tribal clash.

Watch a sunrise in Tongariki – What to see in Easter Island

Sunrise in Ahu Tongariki
Sunrise in Ahu Tongariki

Sunrise at Ahu Tongariki is one of the most recognized places on Easter Island, as it houses the site of the 15 Moai. These statues are aligned, facing inward, like all Moai. This place is a delight for photographers, as the sun rises directly from the horizon and illuminates these magnificent ancient statues with a golden light.

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About the author

I am Matias, born in Patagonia, and a lover of my land.

For more than 20 years I help foreign travellers to organise their trip to Patagonia.

I also manage this exotic accommodation on the Atlantic coast.