Accommodation Easter Island

Chile Hotel Accommodation Easter Island


Experience Chile Easter Island Office
The first thing we wish to point out is that we have a partner representative who lives and is based on Easter Island. Moreover, this means that we can offer local help and assistance to our clients as well as truthful local knowledge about services and facilities.

Although Easter Island is a major tourist destination, its hotel accommodation offering can be described as poor, with some exceptions.

The vast majority of options are simple, rustic level homes that either offer accommodation or that have been converted into small hotels. These options have rooms that are simply furnished, usually with not much space and bathrooms that have “seen better days”.

However, over the past decade there has been a birth of newer, more modern hotels that cater for today’s more “sophisticated” and demanding guest.

These properties are spread around the one and only village called Hanga Roa.

Here at ExperienceChile.Org, we make regular inspection visits to all the key destinations in Chile, and this includes Easter Island. Therefore, from our last visit we include only those few hotels that we feel meet our inspection requirements. Please click on the links to get to the full hotel presentation page.

Currently, we work with these partners on Easter Island:

Hotel Altiplanico
Charming rooms, but basic and artistically “quirky” with mattresses atop of a raised cement base. Good breakfast and nice views to the ocean. Not in the village.

Hotel Explora
Only all-inclusive programs. Not central, nice views to the ocean. Good food, spacious rooms.

Hotel Nayara Hanga Roa
Located right in the centre of Hanga Roa village, ocean-view rooms, spacious rooms.

Having said that, should you want us to arrange your stay at Easter Island with a hotel that is not yet one of our partners, no problem, please just let us know which hotel and we will endeavour to include it in your Easter Island itinerary.

Please Email Us

Other Hotels on Easter Island

The following are other hotel options that we can offer with a degree of confidence and would be delighted to include in your itinerary if you prefer.

Takarua Lodge
This is an 8-guest room property offering an ocean view, breakfast on each guest room terrace, nice rooms with good quality sheets and towels. Recommended by many clients.

In Addition, the following properties may be of interest.

This is a centrally located property, simple, offering “bungalow” units for accommodation.

Hotel Otai
Centrally located in Hanga Roa but can be noisy at night. Nice garden and pool area, air conditioning in rooms.

Hotel Iorana
All guest rooms have a view to the ocean, as well as air conditioning and T.V. in the room. Reports that service is not “the best”.

Hotel Gomero
This is a small property with good superior rooms, air conditioning, centrally located, but quiet and with a good service.

Vai Moana Hotel
Culturally themed hotel in a charming style, considered to be a good option.

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Activities Easter Island

Easter Island Activities


For the vast majority of people who come to Easter Island they will be very interested to see the mystic Moai Statues and other archaeological sites. However, there are also some great activities to participate in as well. For example, hiking, scuba diving, horse riding, biking, kayak and snorkelling, as well as swimming in the sea.

Here we will briefly detail where some of the activities can be done.

Scuba Diving

The sea water around Easter Island is known for its clarity with visibility reaching as far as 60m under water. This, together with an agreeable water temperature make underwater diving a pleasurable experience.

It is true that the reefs around the Island are not, perhaps, as extensive or colourful with those around other Polynesian Islands, but nevertheless, there some reefs with coral such as the “Porites Lobata”, which can grow up to 5m in width and can be found in the Hanga Roa bay at 18m deep. In addition to the coral there are 160 species of sea creature living under water, of which 26% are endemic to Easter Island, as well as tropical fish and sea turtles around Hanga Roa bay.
And, apart from the life to observe, there are underwater volcanic caves, cliffs and lava platforms.

The scuba diving schools are located on the quay around Hanga Piko, the small harbour where fishing boats are located on the Hanga Roa coast.


Although there are no forests to walk through, or incredible, high mountains to wander between, Easter Island does offer some interesting trekking trails.
Due to its “easy geography”, walking on the Easter Island trails is not arduous and it does allow you, the visitor, to access parts of the island you would not otherwise get to see.

NOTE: Always take water and snacks with you, ideally in a small backpack, as well as hat, long-sleeved shirts and something in case of a rain shower.

Out of the many trails available, the following are suggested.

From Hanga Roa to Rano Kau Volcano (2hrs, 5km, rated easy).
The trail head is by the Hanga Roa Sernatur tourism office located by the coast by Pea Beach, and leads south in the direction to Rano Kau Volcano, passing by the Navy (Armada) Coast Guard office, where there is a compass on the exterior wall showing the distance from Easter Island to known cities around the world.
Follow the path along the coast and past the harbour of Hanga Piko (on your right). You will be able to get to the Ana Kai Tangata cave if you wish, and further along is the CONAF National Park Office. At this point the trail turns inward and a sign indicates the start of an incline up the side of the Rano Kau volcano. From here it is uphill all the way.

On this trail you will get elevated views down to Hanga Roa village and the airport. After about one hour you should reach the rim of the volcano crater and viewpoint. The trail also follows the rim of the crater to the ancient village of Orongo, therefore, this is a great way to get some exercise, take in some great views and arrive to one of the key archaeological sites on the island as well. To get back to the village you will need to return the same way or have someone collect you.

From Ahu Akivi to Terevaka (4hrs, 8km, rated medium difficult).
The good thing about this trail is that is starts and ends at the same place and will take you to the highest point on the Island at 511m above sea level where there is almost a 360° over the entire Island, and then you return to the start point.

The trail is marked only by the well-trodden wear of horses and other hikers. There are no other markers, but it goes up hill all the way until you reach the summit, whereupon there is a heap of stones marking the spot. Along the trail there are sectors that are littered with small rocks and boulders.

From Tahai to Anakena Beach (6 to 7hrs, 18km, rated medium difficult).
Note: No natural shade on this trek. Take a hat, and protection for arms and legs as well as bottled water and some snacks.

This is a trek along the northern coast of Easter Island whereupon the terrain and landscape are more or less as they have always been, in other words it has not changed for hundreds, even thousands of years.

The route, in reality, follows the natural, northern curve of the Island taking in more than half of the coastline.

If it is possible, try to have a guide who can not only accompany you, but explain about archaeological sites on the route, because these are not so easy to find.
Starting from Tahai (where there is an Ahu Tahai), which is in the northern coastal area of Hanga Roa, further along the coast (north) from Poko Poko Beach; the trail will follow the shore all the way to Anakena Beach (so take your bathing costume!).

Also, near to the start point is the Rapa Nui Museum, if you wished to check it out.

After the first 1km you will see the Ahu Te Peu, also on the coast, and here the path joins the almost sea level base of the Terevaka Volcano (the summit of which is the highest point on the Island). A further 1.2km will bring you to the ruins of the Ahu Maikati Te Moa, followed by the Ahu Vai Mata 3km later. This trail also passes a simple dwelling where a sheep farmer lives.

At around the 13km mark you will see the Hanga Oteo bay and 5km after this point is the sandy, Anakena Beach.

If you take your bathing costume you will likely feel like a dip in sea at Anakena beach, especially having generated a lot of body heat from the walk.

From Anakena you will need transport back to Hanga Roa, unless you fancy walking back the way you came.

Horse Riding

There are various local options to ride atop a horse to get to some of the sights. The best option is to consult locally, unless we have booked you into a top end hotel whereupon this activity will be arranged for you.


Cycling around enables quicker access to sites, compared to walking, as well as providing useful exercise. It also allows access to places that could be considered too far to walk to (and back).

There is bike rental available at a number of the tour agencies along the Hanga Roa main drag, or if we have booked you on an all-inclusive program the bikes will be provided.

The Main Bike Trails

From Hanga Roa to Orongo
Similar to the trek up to Rano Kau crater, but this time on a bike, you can follow the road that the cars use to get up to the same spot. It is about 6km from the village to the viewpoint at the edge of the crater.

From Puna Pau to Ahu Akivi to Ana Kakenga to Tahai
This is a circular route starting from Hanga Roa village towards the airport, however, instead of getting to the airport you turn left on the parallel road to the runway and head towards Puna Pau, whereupon the road surface changes to unpaved. This will lead to the Pukao Quarry where the red-coloured hats that sit on the Moais were created.

After viewing this area, you need to cycle back to the fork in the road and at this point turn left and ride for about 3.2km to Ahu Akivi, where there are 7 Moai’s.

After this there is a sequence of caves (Ana’s). At 1km beyond Ahu Akivi is the Ana Te Pahu, then a further 1km is the Ana Te Pora on the coast.

Here is the point to start the return, but following the coastal route all the way to Ana Kakenga (the cave of two windows) and then Tahai – an excellent place to view the sunset from.

From Hanga Roa to Anakena Beach
There is one, principal, paved road, that goes down the spine of the Island. To get to Anakena you need to get onto this road that leaves Hanga Roa at a point halfway along the road which is parallel to the runway where there will be signs indicating the way to Anakena.

The distance from here is about 16km involving some slight inclines, but also declines, especially the final part. It will take around 1.5hrs to cycle. As an option, 1km before arrival to Anakena there is a turn off to the other, smaller beach, called Ovahe (but less crowded).

In order to get back to Hanga Roa you will have two options. One is to go back the same way you came, but the first part will require a tough uphill sector. The other is to take the southern coastal route, but this involves rocky stretches and takes double the time to cycle.

From Hanga Roa to Rano Raraku to Ahu Tongariki
Following the road parallel to the airport runway, at a point halfway along will be the turn that leads on to the main Island Road. Then, after about 2km there will be a sign and turn right to the “coastal road”. On this road, after about 12km you will get to the Rano Raraku Volcano and Moai Quarry.

On the way you will be able to stop off at various archaeological sites such as Ahu Hana Te’e, Ahu Akahanga and Pap Vaka. Then, about 1.5km beyond the quarry, on the coast is the large Ahu Tongariki with its 15 upright Moai’s.

Boat Tours

Considering that Easter Island is smack, bang, in the middle of the vast Pacific Ocean, it would be surprising if there were no boat tours. Fortunately, there are! Departing from the Hanga Piko harbour, which is the key at Hanga Roa village, trips include getting out to a place on the ocean with a view to the Rano Kau volcano as well as near to the Islets (Motu’s) Nui, Iti and Kao, where participants in the Bird Man competition had to swim to. If the sea is calm, there are opportunities to snorkel in this area.

Seeing the Island from a point on the ocean offers a unique and interesting perspective of the geography.


Also available from the key at Hanga Piko harbour there are kayaks for hire whereupon you can kayak around to Ovahe and Anakena beaches, but the distance is many kilometres, and you need to get back – basically you need to be careful.

Places of Interest Easter Island

Places of Interest, Easter Island, Pacific Ocean


Should you make it to Easter Island (Rapa Nui), also known as “Isa de Pascua”, what is there to do? Effectively, the entire island could be seen as a giant open-air museum. It is a fascinating place or those who revel in archaeology, petroglyphs, ancient history, and artefacts, but Easter Island is much more than that.

It is, perhaps, one of the most “mystical” places on Earth. It is a “pinprick” of land amid the massive, Pacific Ocean and totally remote from all other inhabited corners of the World. That reality is what makes Easter Island so special, and one of the places to visit when you can.

However, it is not a “stereo typical” tropical paradise, so do not come here if that is what you want.

The Key Places

Among the numerous sites to visit the key places that any newcomer should see are:

Rano Raraku Volcano and Quarry

This is where the Moai’s were carved out from the volcanic rock, and where many finished Moai’s are scattered around as well as some left unfinished in the quarry wall.

Ahu Tongariki

The Ahu Tongariki, close to Rano Raraku, has 15 upright Moai’s on an Ahu, all in a line with the dramatic high cliff backdrop of Poike Volcano and the Pacific Ocean.

Rano Kau Volcano

Many aerial pictures of Easter Island show a large, circular, water-filled volcanic crater covered with clumps of vegetation and this is the Rano Kau Volcano. Fascinating to see, close to Orongo village and incredible views from the crater rim.


The ancient village of Orongo, near to Hanga Roa and just off the rim of the Rano Kau Volcano. Here there are ancient, stone huts with immense significance to the history of the culture of the Island.

Anakena Beach

Only if you seek a trip to the beach, this is the one to come to. Sandy with turquoise-coloured sea, warm water, tropical fish in the water and coconut, palm trees in the background.


The “stars” of the Island are, of course, the vast Moai Statues and the questions that accompany them such as who built them? How were they put into position? And why?
More information below on two key locations for Moai.

Easter Island is Not the Caribbean

Coming to Easter Island is not like going to a Caribbean Island, or Tahiti insomuch that is it not a typical, tropical paradise island with lots of golden, sandy beaches and palm trees, no. Nor does it have any high-rise hotels or apartment blocks either. It is, as we say, rustic and undeveloped – thank goodness!

It is a volcanically-created island and its coast is almost entirely made up of sharp and rugged ancient lava flows, and vertical cliffs that meet the Pacific Ocean, apart from a few “gaps” where beaches have been established.

How Long Should I Plan for Easter Island?

In our view you should plan for a minimum of four nights on Easter Island, but if you have the luxury of time and money, make it five, only to be able to enjoy the sensation of being “totally cut off” from the World.

Normally, your time would be occupied by having a rest day on day one, followed by two days touring the historical and geographical sights and a final fourth day doing an activity or relaxing.

In addition, depending on the weather, there are boat tours from the small harbour, Hanga Piko at Hanga Roa, as well as kayak, canoeing, diving and snorkelling, hiking and biking options.

Other activities are to get up early to see the sun rise at the Ahu Tongariki location, horse ride, visit caves that were used by the indigenous people as shelters and lookouts, and trek from Hanga Roa village all the way around to Anakena beach, among other trails.

The Right Hotel Matters

However, if you are at the right hotel, which is where we can help, you will be able to enjoy time by the pool on relaxing days and just absorb the remoteness, which, in itself is a unique experience on this Island. If we arrange for you an all-inclusive program and one of the top hotels you will have guided tours, shows and comfort to enjoy.

Below we will talk about only the principal places of interest, however, when on the Island you will find that there are many more.

Moai’s and Ahu’s

What is an Ahu?
An Ahu, is the name given to the mound that supports standing Moai Statues.

Easter Island is, literally, covered with sites where there are Ahu’s with Moais standing upright, as well as one particular place where Moais are not yet finished, and half embedded in the ground – at Rano Raraku, the quarry.

Ahu Tongariki

The Ahu Tongariki is the largest ceremonial Ahu to have been constructed on the Island and also considered to be the most significant megalithic monument in all of Polynesia.

Upon the Ahu Tongari (the name means easterly wind) are 15 upright Moai, facing inward to the Island, as opposed to facing out to sea.

This Ahu is located near the Rano Raraku Quarry. If standing in front of the line of Moai’s, looking at the Ahu with the sea behind, on the left, on the southern side of the Poike volcano, there is a high cliff face that drops vertically down to the Ocean below creating quite a dramatic view. However, if you turn around so that the Ahu is behind you, to the left (if looking from the sea) is where the Rano Raraku Volcano and Moai quarry is located.

Therefore, a trip to see this Ahu can also include seeing the Moai quarry.

The main base of the Ahu measures about 100m in length and has extensions that make the full length closer to 200m and this has been constructed to be aligned with the rising of sun during the summer solstice.


After a major 9.5 Richter scale earthquake on mainland Chile (epicentre Valdivia) on the 22 May 1960, a tsunami wave was generated, which travelled across the Pacific and hit Easter Island with all its force. The wave is estimated to have been 10m in height and travelled inland to the Rano Raraku Quarry, which is some 1km inland from the coast and about 1.5km from Ahu Tongariki. Hango Roa village, being on the other side of the Island escaped any damage. The consequence of the tsunami was that the Ahu at Tongariki was destroyed with the Moai’s being toppled and pushed inland by about 100 meters. However, a few months later a massive restoration project managed to put the Moais back on the Ahu and once again upright.

Also, close to this sacred site are petroglyphs both at the base of the Ahu and on a wall about 200m in front of the Ahu.

Ahu Tahai

Close to Hanga Roa village is the Ahu Tahai, comprising three ceremonial Ahu’s, making it the largest and best restored archaeological site near to the village.

Known to be one of the oldest archaeological sites on Easter Island, and one which was a village in its own right, dating back to 700AD. From here there is a slope that leads down to a natural inlet enabling easy access to the sea for fishing as well as a supply of potable water from underground springs.

The area covered measures around 200m west to east and 250m north to south. In order to create more of a level area, the settlers had to fill it with thousands of cubic metres of stone and earth and then level it out.

The Moai

The main reason to come to Easter Island is to get to one of the remotest places of Earth – that, in itself, is something unique and exciting to spend a few nights on a tiny dot of land in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

However, in addition to this “thrill”, Easter Island is all about “mystery” and ancient history connected to its Moai Statue heritage.

Although there are over 800 Moias on the Island, at various locations, here we will highlight the place where there is the greatest concentration of statues, which is at the Quarry on the side of the Rano Raraku Volcano. Here, there are several hundred Moai heads sticking up out of the ground, with the body buried under the earth, then there are others lying down, some at angles, large statues and smaller statues. In addition, there are Moai’s still embedded into the rock, half carved, left as though the people here doing the work had to “suddenly go”.


Even though Easter Island is a rustic place it does have two quite nice sandy beaches, one with a palm tree backdrop, but these are small beaches. And, in addition, it has an even smaller beach at Hanga Roa village, plus an adjacent natural sea-water inlet, which is used like a bathing pool.

The more traditional, sandy beaches are called Anakena (about 18km out from Hanga Roa and the main beach) and Ovahe, like a small, sandy cove, also close by to Anakena (1km away).

Anakena Beach

The water here is a warm 20ºC and turquoise in colour, often with exotic fish swimming close to those bathing. And, at Anakena Beach the scene does look to be in line with the “stereo typical” Caribbean-type place, but on a very small scale. The sand is a white colour and there is a backdrop of swaying, coconut palm trees that were introduced from Tahiti about thirty years ago. Therefore, if a beach holiday is your desire, yes, you can have the beach experience here, but this should not be your main reason to come to Easter Island. Tours usually arrive in the afternoon, therefore, the time when least people visit is the morning. The transfer time here from Hanga Roa takes around 30min.

Ovahe Beach

This is known as the second “sandy” beach on Easter Island and only 1.5km from Anakena. It is much smaller than the Anakena Beach and “less exotic”, but it is also a lot less busy.

Noted for its “natural, wild beauty”, and being in a cove with high, red-coloured cliff sides that give the sand a pinkish tint, combined with the turquoise-coloured water make for a nice scene.

At one period in history the some of the indigenous settlers lived here and there is still evidence of caves in the cliffs to support this as well as an ancient burial ground (or crematorium). In 2012 a large ocean swell impacted the cliffs and dislodged a section to reveal archaeological remains, including bones dating back 200 years.

This beach cove is also one of the sites for original Rapa Nui flora such as the Boerhavia Acutifolia.

Hanga Roa Beaches

Pea Beach & Poko Poko Pool
Easily accessible from Hanga Roa village is Pea Beach, together with an adjacent natural inlet called Poko Poko (which means bowl or deep plate in the Rapa Nui language). Both are located at a place called Hanga Vare Vare. This area (hanga Vare Vare) is like an English village green, an open, grass-covered space where events are often held.

In fact, there is wall that separates Pea Beach from the Poko Poko “lagoon” and on this promontory is a restaurant offering not only food, but a fine view of the Ocean, especially when the sun sets. It should be noted that Pea beach is very short, but there is sand and if you get the space you can lie on the beach.

At Pea Beach it is possible to watch local teenagers surf the waves, often using natural reed-made boards, as well as spot sea turtles in the water near the shore.

For those in hotels in Hanga Roa, as well as residents, these areas offer bathing in the sea without having to drive 18km out to the Anakena and Ovahe beaches.

In addition, close to this area is the sacred “Ahu Tautira” (an Ahu is the mound upon which a Moai, or Moais stand), and here are two Moais.

Also in this sector is a small boardwalk leading to the Hanga Roa Otai Cove and opposite is the Municipal Stadium, inaugurated by Brazilian Football legend Pelé.


The Island is a result of various underwater volcanic eruptions that breached the ocean surface over hundreds of thousands of years, whereupon the hot lava cooled to form volcanic rock (all are currently dormant). However, there are three volcanoes that are largely responsible for the final, triangular shape, and creation of the Easter Island we know of today: Rano Kau, Poike and Maunga Terevaka volcanoes; and two volcanos, Rano Raraku and Puna Pau generated the stone used to create the giant Moai’s.

Rano Raraku is the volcano where the quarry from where the Moai’s were carved from and one of the main places to visit.

Orongo Ceremonial Village

There is a walking trail from a lookout point at the rim of the Rano Kau Volcano, where it is possible to walk along part of the rim offering exceptional views over the volcano crater and Pacific Ocean beyond. However, there is also an important ceremonial village here as well called Orongo considered to be the most interesting archaeological locations on the Island.

It is said that the village of Orongo was inhabited, on occasion, by the chiefs of the ancient tribes who competed against one another in the spring, to bring back from the rocky islets in the Pacific opposite Orongo, the first egg of the “Manutara Bird” (sea gull). This competition was called the “Tangata Manu” (“Bird Man”) contest.

Bird Man Contest

One aspect of this competition was to dive from considerable height, down into the Pacific and swim to one of the islets about 1km away, capture a seagull’s egg and swim back. It is obvious that to dive down into the Ocean from a great height and swim a significant distance in the ocean required great strength and stamina. Very much like an “iron man” contest of today.

Orongo Houses

The stone houses at Orongo have been dated back to around 1400AD. It has been determined that there were 54 houses lined up on the edge of the Volcano crater, in three groups, all facing the Ocean.

Unfortunately, early European explorers looted and destroyed many of these houses.


The small, mainly circular dwellings were constructed from basalt, stone slabs found at the edges of the volcanic crater to provide 2m-wide, thick walls. The roofs were created from placing thinner, longer slabs horizontally across the walls. These were then covered over with smaller slabs and finished off with small stones, earth, and grass, which grew. This was not only totally environmentally friendly, it also offered protection from the elements and maintained an agreeable internal temperature. The floors are oval in shape with a length of between 6 to 12m and a maximum height of 2m. It is assumed that due to the difficulty to stand up inside these buildings and also with very narrow, low entry access that these shelters were likely only for sleeping.

In many of these huts, figures of the “Tangata Manu” (Bird Man) have been found along with the figure of the “Ao” (a ceremonial Staff in the shape of an oar), human faces and the mask of the “God” “Make Make”. In addition, there are images of European sailing ships (also found in a cave called Ana Kai Tangata).

One of the most surprising artefacts discovered at Orongo is a Moai carved from basalt. Called “Hoa Hakananai’a”, the statue measures 2.5m in height and is unique because basalt is the hardest rock to cut. It was found, half buried, in a dwelling in the central part of the village and extracted by the crew of an English ship called Topaze in 1868 and installed at the British Museum in London.

Incredibly, around the village the rocks are adorned with over 1,700 carved petroglyphs.

Above is only a sample of the history surrounding the village of Oroga, There is a lot more, some of it myth, some of it speculation. If you can get to this place, please make sure the guide explains it all.

Evening Shows

For the evenings there is usually a great show performed by Rapa Nui inhabitants demonstrating, through dance moves accompanied with live music, dramatized preparation before a tribe battle and heavy flirting moves by each sex to woo the opposite sex. These shows are very much in line with the Polynesian culture, of which Easter Island is considered to be.

These shoes require prearranged tickets.

Places of Interest Around Hanga Roa Village

Fishermen’s Warfs

The entire coastline of Easter Island comprises hard, jagged volcanic rock, apart for the couple of breaks where sand has created a beach. There are no natural harbours, which why large boats and ships cannot get close to shore, but there are some small coves where local fisherman can operate from. Here we will disclose the two located on the coast of Hanga Roa village because they can be interesting places to visit, especially when the fishing boats return with their catch.

Hanga Roa Otai

Located in an area behind a residential sector is the small inlet called Hanga Roa Oyai. Here, a handful of artisanal fishermen keep their boats. This is also where moderate sized cargo boats, with a low draft, can get into and unload their cargo, but their entrance depends totally on the weather conditions such is the difficulty to navigate into the small port.

Hanga Piko

If you walk along the waterfront of Hanga Roa you will come across a small, square-like harbour where there are a number of small fishing boats. This harbour is called Hanga Piko. This is like the “main hub” for Hanga Roa shore activity.

This is the main place for the small fishing vessels as well as a key where passengers disembark from their tender from larger cruise ships that are anchored offshore.
Also, along the quay are a few scuba diving operators, as well as boat trip and kayak services.

Just to the right of this small harbour is the Pea Beach, an outdoor restaurant and then the natural inlet lagoon of Poko Poko.

Clothes to Take & Wear Easter Island

Clothes to Pack and Wear for Easter Island


Considering that Easter Island receives a sub-tropical climate and the time when most people visit is during the hot, summer months (November to March) we suggest you take the following clothes in your suitcase.

Light, summer clothing in general such as:
Light shirts.
Light pants (trousers).
Outdoor shoes or boots, or just hiking boots.
Definitely, a sun hat, sunglasses and sun-protection cream.

Also, a warm top for cool nights and days, a waterproof wind breaker.

For relaxing, a swimsuit, beach shoes, maybe a sarong (for the ladies).

There are some treks to do on the Island, so trekking boots or shoes would be useful and there is horse riding too.

Climate & Weather Easter Island


Considering that Easter Island is just that – an island, and a very small one, and it is surrounded by the vast Pacific Ocean, its climate is totally dominated by the ocean, and where it is located in terms of its place on the line of longitude – it is just south of the line of Capricorn. Considering the amount of water around the Island the air is humid.

Effectively it enjoys a sub-tropical climate. In the summer period between November through to March the days can be very hot and humid, and in the winter months it enjoys mild temperatures. Average daily temperature between December to March is 24C and between April through to November around 19C. However, those are average temperatures and during the summer months many days have a much higher temperature and this, combined with the humidity, makes it feel hotter than it actually is.

Dominated entirely by the surrounding Pacific Ocean, it is often windy and rainy, sometimes with quick summertime, rain showers.

Arrivals & Transfers Easter Island

How to get to Easter Island, Pacific Ocean


Easter Island is located 3,500km west from the Chilean coast, therefore, the most sensible way to get here is to fly in from Santiago, indeed it is really the only way!

The flight will take around 5.5hrs and land at Hanga Roa airport. Just after arrival there will be these options for onward transfers:

Pick up a Rent a Car (prearranged).
Take the regular minibus transfer.
Have a prearranged, private transfer meet you.
Board a prearranged transfer as part of an all-inclusive program.

ExperienceChile.Org will be very pleased to include a rent a car, private transfer or prearranged transfer in an all-inclusive program, in your travel itinerary.

Volcanoes & Vegetation Easter Island

The Geographical Creation of Easter Island


Easter Island, like the Hawaian Islands in the northern Pacific Ocean, was created by underwater volcanoes. Further below we will explain the natural geography and estimated, historic timeline behind its creation.

Geographic Creation Easter Island

The Island was created by the eruption of undersea Pacific volcanoes around a period close to 750,000 years ago, with the last major eruption detected as being around 100,000 years ago (very young in geological terms) and, according to geologists, the most recent volcanic activity of any kind was 10,000 years ago, despite steam seen to be emitting from the walls of the Rano Kau crater in the early 20th century by the then Island “manager”.
These volcanic undersea eruptions rose from the ocean floor spilling molten lava all the way to the surface until breaching sea level, where a land mass in the shape of an almost perfect triangle, or some would say like a “boomerang”, was formed. The longest line of this triangle, point to point, is only 24km with the shortest line 12km wide, and the area covered is 166km2, reaching a height of 511 metres above sea level. There are no natural rivers or streams, but there are three fresh-water-filled volcano craters at Rano Kau, Rano Raraku and Rano Aroi.

There are three principal extinct volcanic craters that dominate the Island and largely responsible for its formation.

1 - Rano Kau Volcano (south-west sector of the Island)
This is the volcano at the south-western end of the Island, with the large, circular, water-filled crater next to Hanga Roa village.

2 - Treveaka Volcano (central sector of the Island)
The highest of the three is Treveaka, reaching a height of 511mt above sea level, positioned in the central, northern sector of the Island, forming the main bulk of the landmass.

3 - Poike Volcano (north-east sector of the Island)
The volcano called Poike occupies the north-eastern end of the Island whereupon its sides have been eroded by the ocean and high, volcanically-layered cliff faces can be clearly seen on the southern side.

Their combined volcanic slopes and lava flows combine to provide an undulating landscape covered in varying degrees of vegetation. At the lower levels the land is mostly covered in grass peppered with a continuous number of loose volcanic rocks. On the higher elevations, and sides of the volcano slopes, the terrain is a mixture of heath and moorland. Apart from a few isolated areas of foreign-introduced Eucalyptus trees, the Island is predominantly treeless.

Below, we will briefly explain a little about these volcanos mentioned above as well as some other volcanoes.

1 - Rano Kau Volcano

The Rano Kau volcano is the one with an almost perfectly conical volcanic crater that occupies the full south-east corner of Easter Island and is beside the airport, as well as Hanga Roa village. It is also the largest volcano on the Island.

The volcano rim, which is at 324m above sea level at its highest point, is accessible for walking around, whereupon the silence is only broken by the chirping of birds, wind, and sea breezes. The width of the water-filled crater, 200m below, measures 1.6km. The volcano is estimated to have last erupted around 180,000 years ago.
In the Rapanui language the word “Rano” means a volcano where water is contained. And the word “Kau” means a lot of water and very wide, therefore Rano Kau refers to a “wide volcano filled with water”, which it is.

The natural lagoon has an estimated depth of around 10m and is covered by naturally-formed reed islands that float on the surface, each island with a base of approximately 1m in depth. The potable water in the lagoon was a source of drinking water for the islanders until only a few decades ago.

Due to the height of the interior of the crater and the fact that there is an earthen slope down to the lagoon, rather than a vertical wall, it has been possible to plant various fruit trees and other plants in some areas that get protection from the wind as well as receive moisture from a microclimate created within the crater.

Located adjacent to the crater rim, on the ocean side, is the ancient ceremonial village of Orongo, and this is one of the key archaeological places to visit on Easter Island. See our Places of interest page

2 - Terevaka Volcano (also known as Ma’unga Terevaka Volcano)

Reaching a height of 511 above sea level is the summit of Terevaka Volcano and this is the highest point on Easter Island from which there is an almost 360° panoramic view over the entire island. If it is a clear day and you are able to appreciate this view it usually generates an additional, perhaps overwhelming sensation of physically being surrounded by the immense Pacific Ocean and totally cut off from the rest of the World.

Experts say that Terevaka “surfaced” around 360,000 years ago, but unlike the two other “founding volcanoes” on the island there is no crater on Terevaka. This is due to its formation coming from numerous, smaller volcanic centres oriented in a north-south direction. The lava from this system created the main body of the Island and gradually joined the other two volcanoes together, resulting in the final triangular (boomerang shape) form the Island takes today.

The most recent evidence eruptions, around 10,000 years in the past, are to be found in the Roiho area and here is a small crater called Rano Aroi that contains a small lagoon covered over with totota reeds. This is the third freshwater reserve on Easter Island.

3 - Poike Volcano

Occupying a full corner of the eastern corner of Easter Island is Poike Volcano. This volcano is known to be the oldest on the Island and the area around it is therefore the first part of Easter Island to have been created. In the language of Rap Nui “Po” means “night” and “ike” means “break”, as in “a place where night breaks”, in other words “the dawn” and this hill is the first place on the Island to receive the sun’s rays at sunrise.

It has been estimated that the Poike Volcano, emerged from under the sea around 750,000 years in the past. Then, around 300,000 years ago the two other key volcanoes Rano Kau and Terevaka emerged, and lava flows connected all three volcanoes together, basically forming Easter Island as we know it.

The Poike crater is circular and measures about 150 across and 10m deep and totally dry, where a small wood of eucalyptus trees grow. At its summit the volcano reaches 450m above sea level, with a gentle, conical slope occupying an area of 3.5km at its widest point and covered mainly in wild grass. However, the southern side of the cone ends abruptly where it meets a 100m-high cliff face, caused by the constant erosion by the Pacific waves.

On the northern face of the Poike Peninsula there are three lumps or mounds caused by the accumulation of a white stone called Trachyite, which is harder than the surrounding lava stone, and this was used to create the eyes in many of the Moai’s.

In an order going from the coast and then inwards the names given to these “lumps” are:
Ma’unga Parehe (broken hill)
Ma’unga Tea Tea (white hill)
Ma’unga Vai a Heva (magic water hill)
The three “lumps”, or mounds, can be seen very clearly on the northern slope of the volcano.

Other Significant Volcanoes

Rano Raraku Volcano (the Moai Quarry “factory”)

The Rano Raraku Volcano is the place where the Moai Statues were crafted out of the rock.

The quarry wall measures around 800m in length, and within it are a number of vacated, horizontal spaces from where other Moai’s were carved from prior to being moved to an “Ahu” (a mound upon which the Moai’s stand). Having said that, still evident today are a few Moai’s half-finished and lying horizontally in the rock face.
Then, scattered around in front of the cliff are the finished Moai’s in various upright, angled and lying down positions, but in the general area 367 have been counted.

For many this is one of the most fascinating archaeological locations on Earth.

The quarry is located 20km northeast from Hanga Roa, close to the Poike Volcano peninsula and only 1km inland from Hanga Nui Bay. It is also about 1.5km from the Ahu Tongariki with 15 Moais.

Some interesting points about this volcano are that it used to be called “Maunga Eo”, which means “perfumed hill”, due to an aromatic plant that grew in the area. Also, at the crater of there is a break in the rim whereupon it is clear to see the different volcanic soil types.

Rano Raraku Volcano was created around 300,000 years ago, say the geologists, and its crater rim reaches a height, above sea level, of 160m on its southeast side. The shape of the inner crater is elliptical, with a diameter of 700m, and within this area is a lagoon filled with fresh water with depth of around 4m.

Over 800 Moai’s have been counted on Easter Island and practically all of them originated from the rock here at Rano Raraku Volcano. Rock that, due to its creation through a mixture of lava, high temperatures, salt water, and huge pressures proved to be the raw material required for the fabrication of the statues.

The Moai’s here and all over Easter Island have created a mystery. No one really knows why they were sculptured, and how. Yes, there are a number of theories, but they are just that – theories, just like the theories surrounding the construction of the pyramids in Egypt.

But the main mystery is how the vast, incredibly heavy Moai Statues were transported to their final locations on the Ahu’s around the Island and when there, how they were placed in the upright position. And, in addition to that mystery is the question as to how they manged to place the also, incredibly heavy, red “hats” on top.

We prefer not to publish here all the theories, because they are just that, people’s ideas only and mostly they are highly unrealistic.

However, one thing is for sure. For those who come to the quarry, there is a kind of instant calmness, a silence and stillness and this atmosphere, together with the actual statues creates a unique, mystical experience.

Vegetation on Easter Island

Sub-Tropical Forests
It is said that there has never been much vegetation on Easter Island. This, however, was not always the case. Ecologists have discovered that Easter Island, together with its closest neighbour, the tiny island of Isla Sala y Gomez 415 kilometres further east, is a distinct eco region of Rapa Nui subtropical broadleaf forests. Botanical studies of fossil pollen and tree moulds left by lava flows indicate that the island was formerly forested, with a range of trees, shrubs, ferns, and grasses, but unfortunately the original subtropical moist broadleaf forests are now gone.

Palm Trees
Fossil evidence shows that there used to be a tall Rapa Nui palm tree (Paschalococos disperta) related to the Chilean wine palm (Jubaea chilensis), which was one of the dominant trees of the Island. It is assumed that like its Chilean counterpart it probably took around 100 years to reach its full height. Research has shown, too, that the Polynesian rat, which the original Polynesian settlers brought with them, influenced the disappearance of the Rapa Nui palm. Rat teeth marks can be observed on 99% of the nuts found preserved in caves or excavated at different sites, indicating that the Polynesian rat impeded the palm's reproduction. That, together with the fact that palms were cleared to make the settlements, led to their extinction almost 350 years ago.

Toromiro Tree
Another tree, the Toromiro tree (Sophora Toromiro) was prehistorically present on Easter Island and is now extinct in the wild. However, the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew in the UK, and the Gothenburg Botanical Gardens in Sweden are jointly leading a scientific program to reintroduce the Toromiro to Easter Island.
With the palm and the Toromiro trees gone, rainfall was significantly reduced as a result of there being less condensation over the Island. Sheep farming also changed the biodiversity of the Island when grasslands were cultivated for sheep grazing.
It has also been argued, whether or not, the native Rapa Nui’s deforested the island in the process of transporting and then erecting their Moai statues as well as using trees to provide fuel, building materials and creating agricultural land for an overpopulated island. Experimental archaeology has demonstrated that some statues certainly could have been placed on "Y" shaped wooden frames called “miro manga erua” and then pulled to their final “Ahu” destinations. Other theories involve the use of "ladders" (parallel wooden rails) over which the statues could have been dragged. Rapa Nui traditions metaphorically refer to powerful spiritual power (mana) as the means by which the Moai were "elevated" from the quarry.

Totora Reeds
In the water-filled volcanic craters of Rano Kau and Rano Raraku there are Totora reeds (as found in the high lakes of the Andes) which suggested a South-American origin of early settlers, but pollen analysis of lake sediments shows these reeds have grown on the island for over 30,000 years, well before the recorded arrival of humans. 
Easter Island has suffered from heavy soil erosion in recent centuries, perhaps aggravated by agriculture and massive deforestation. This process seems to have been gradual and may have been aggravated by the extensive sheep farming of the Williamson-Balfour Company throughout most of the 20th century.

Human History Easter Island

The History of Easter Island


There is no complete, written history about Easter Island, its inhabitants, and why and how the vast Moai statues were constructed. Therefore, nearly everything that has been published is based upon legend, hearsay, and theory prior to the arrival of the Europeans. It is only since the first European adventurers began making notes about what they had seen on the Island back in the 1700’s, do we have a clearer picture of who inhabited the island at that time, and, to a degree, what subsequently happened, although even that is not all that clear. However the 1700’s is like “yesterday” in terms of the ancient history of Easter Island, so we are still missing any real depth of knowing about its cultural beginnings.

Anyway, from all the information that we have manged to acquire through research we will do our best to give an outline to what we do know. However, apologies in advance if some of what follows has since to have been discovered to be not totally accurate.

Origins of the People (Rapa Nui)

According to anecdotal history, original settlers arrived to the Island around 300 - 400 AD (around the same time Hawaii received its first settlers), however, carbon dating of soil containing evidence of human activity suggests a date of between 700 – 100 AD.

The Theory

Theory has it that the island was likely populated by Polynesians who navigated in canoes or catamarans from other Pacific (Polynesian) Islands. Supporting this suggestion is a story from when Captain Cook visited the Island and a Polynesian crew member from the Polynesian Island of Bora Bora was able to communicate with the Rapa Nui people. The language most similar to the Rapa Nui language is Mangarevan (one of the Islands where the settlers likely came from), with an 80% similarity in vocabulary to the language of the Rapa Nui people. In 1999, a sea voyage using replica Polynesian boats sailed from the island of Mangareva reaching Easter Island in just nineteen days proving that such a journey could have been possible.


According to visiting missionaries who came to Easter Island in the 1860’s the Island operated a social hierarchy system (or Ancestral Cult), with an appointed “Ariki”, or high chief, wielding great power over other clans and their own respective chiefs (a little like a king having power over local dukes and princes). The high chief was the eldest descendent through first-born lines of the island's legendary first chief, “Hotu Matua”.


The huge Moai statues are the most visible remnant of the “Rapa Nui” culture. According to legend, it is said that each Moai represented a deified ancestor. It was believed that the living, through respect and homage paid to the dead via the Moai (similar to Christians praying to a religious icon like the Virgin Mary for the wellbeing of the living), would enable a symbiotic relationship with the deceased whereby the dead would provide protection, health, food, and good karma in general to the living. Most settlements were located on the coast and Moai were erected all along the coastline, watching over their descendants in the settlements before them, with their backs facing toward the spirit world beyond the sea.

Bird Man Cult Easter Island

As the island became increasingly overpopulated and resources diminished, warriors known as “Mataoa” gained more power and the Ancestor Cult ended, making way for the Bird Man Cult (“Tangata Manu”), so the theory goes. This Bird Man cult maintained that, although the ancestors still provided for their descendants, the medium through which the living could contact the dead was no longer through statues, but human beings chosen through a rigorous physical competition (similar to the “iron man” sporting challenges in the modern world). It was believed that the God responsible for creating humans (“Make Make”) played an important role in this process. In 1919 an expedition led by Katherine Routhledge, investigated the origins of Bird Man and discovered that the competition started around 1760, after the arrival of the first recorded Europeans and ended in 1878 at the time of the construction of the first Roman Catholic church on the Island. The Bird Man petroglyphs found on rocks on Easter Island are exactly the same as some petroglyphs in Hawaii, suggesting that the same competition was held on other Pacific Islands.

Destruction of the Moai

There is much debate as to why the Moai’s and “Ahu’s” were destroyed, and what caused the drastic demise of the native population. Since the arrival of European visitors to the Island there has been a sporadic record of the state of the Moai’s and the health of the local people. For example, in 1722, when Dutchman Jacob Roggeven arrived, and later in 1770, when two Spanish ships arrived, each of the visits noted that the Island was largely uncultivated and with a shore lined with statues. However, when Captain Cook arrived in 1774, he reported that many statues were lying face down. Later, in 1825 the HMS Blossom arrived and recorded that there were no standing statues in the places where the crew visited.

One theory has it that due to overpopulation and famine that “war” broke out between the different local cults and that this resulted in the Moai’s being toppled and “Ahu’s” destroyed, and that this, according to historians, continued through until the 1830’s. In 1838, the only seen Moai’s that were in a standing position were at these locations: Rano Raraku, Hoa Hakananai’s, Orongo and Ariki Paro.

Summary of Statue Observation
1722 – Jacob Roggeven arrives and records that many statues line the shore.
1770 – Spanish ships arrive and noted statues lining the coast.
1774 – Captain Cook reported that many statues were facing head down.
1825 – No standing statues at locations where the crew of HMS Blossom visited.
1838 – The only statues observed as remaining upright were at Rano Raraku, Hoa Hakananai’s, Orongo and Ariki Paro.


However, in contradiction to the above record and theory it was reported in 1722, by Dutchman Jakob Roggeveen that Easter Island was exceptionally fertile writing that "fowls are the only animals they keep. They cultivate bananas, sugar cane, and above all, sweet potatoes". Then in 1786 Jean-Francois de la Pérouse visited Easter Island and his gardener declared that "three days' work a year" would be enough to support the population. Rollin, a major in the Pérouse expedition also wrote that "Instead of meeting with men exhausted by famine... I found, on the contrary, a considerable population, with more beauty and grace than I afterwards met in any other island; and a soil, which, with very little labour, furnished excellent provisions, and in an abundance more than sufficient for the consumption of the inhabitants."
Indeed, the above view is supported by pathologic and archaeological studies that have been carried out at various locations on the Island where there is no found evidence of a pre-European societal collapse.

Summary of all Key Observation Dates

(Bold indicates contradictory observations)
1722 – Jacob Roggeven arrives and records that many statues line the shore.
Also, very fertile land.
1770 – Spanish ships arrive and note statues lining the coast.
1774 – Captain Cook reported that many statues were facing head down.
1786 – Jean-Francois indicated that little work was required to feed the population due to plentiful food and friendly people.
1825 – No standing statues at locations where the crew of HMS Blossom visited.

1838 – The only statues observed as remaining upright were at Rano Raraku, Hoa Hakananai’s, Orongo and Ariki Paro.

European Contamination & Slaves

It looks far more likely that it was the arrival of the Europeans that led to the rapid decline in local population as a result of introducing previously unknown (to the locals) disease and illness that they (the visitors) inadvertently introduced to the local population. In addition, during the 1860’s a combination of events resulted in the death and eradication of most of the native population. It is reported that in December 1862, slave hunters came from Peru and captured 1,500 men and women – (half of the island's population at the time), including the island's chief, his heir and those who were literate in “Rongorongo” (Polynesian script).

When the slave raiders eventually repatriated the people, they had kidnapped previously, they knowingly disembarked carriers of smallpox among the survivors onto various other Polynesian islands as well as Easter Island, resulting in devastating epidemics from Easter Island all the way to the Marquesas Islands. In the case of Easter Island, the population was reduced to such a low level that some of the dead were not even buried. If this wasn’t enough, later, around the mid 1800’s, it was visiting whalers who unwittingly introduced tuberculosis to the Island resulting in the death of over a quarter of the remaining population.

Land Acquisition

Europeans who had since settled on the Island set up sheep farms or missionaries and began to buy up land vacated by the deceased, Rapa Nui people. This land acquisition led to a confrontation between the sheep farmers and the missionaries. With financial support from backers in Tahiti, sheep farmer Jean-Baptiste Dutrou-Bornier secured most of the land outside of Hanga Roa, but in return he was forced to send to his financers (based in Tahiti) a couple of hundred Rapa Nui people. In the meantime, the missionaries settled for the land in and around Hanga Roa and in 1871, having fallen out with Dutrou-Bornier, sent all but 171 Rapa Nui to the Gamber Islands.
Needless to say, after the “ethnic cleansing” of the Rapa Nui people by the Dutrou-Bornier and the missionaries not many Rapa Nui were left on the Island. Those who remained were mostly older men. Six years later, there were just 111 Rapa Nui people living on Easter Island, and only 36 of them had any offspring. From that point on, and into the present day, the island's population has slowly recovered. But, back in the late 1800’s, with over 97% of the population dead or having left in less than a decade, much of the island's cultural knowledge had been lost.

Political Control Easter Island

In 1888, Chile assumed responsibility for Easter Island, granting the Williamson-Balfour company administrative control over the Island in 1903, through a lease agreement that permitted the company to use most of the land for sheep grazing for 25 years. It is reported that over 70,000 sheep were able to graze freely throughout the island. Then, in 1935, most of the island was declared a National Park by the Chilean authorities.

The initial contract with Williamson-Balfour was also extended due to a wool shortage in the world. However, Williamson Balfour further manged to continue with their wool trade until 1953 when the business came under the control of the Chilean Navy, who also introduced a decree prohibiting the use of the Rapa Nui native language, and restricting movement of the population to Hanga Roa village only, as a measure to prevent sheep being stolen. The village was “enclosed” by a wall with controlled by access gates.

This injustice continued through to 1964 until an uprising, led by Alfonso Rapu demanded an improvement in conditions for the Rapa Nui people, which resulted in a new law, in 1966, giving the Rapnui people Chilean citizenship and normal, human rights. Also, they gained the ability to appoint a mayor chosen by them, receive tax breaks as well as a new law stating that only Rapa Nui people could legally buy and own land on Easter Island – a measure that is still in effect today.

Today Rapa Nui residents also receive subsidized air travel to the Chilean mainland. Then, on July 30, 2007, a Chilean constitutional reform gave Easter Island, along with the Juan Fernandez Archipelago (located closer to the Chilean coast), the status of “special territories of Chile”. Pending the enactment of a special charter, the Island will continue to be governed as a province of Valparaiso in the Chilean V Region. And in December 1995, Easter Island was certified a UNESCO World Heritage Site.