Ahus & Moais
4 day Easter Island discovery! Immerse yourself into the archaeological and natural beauties of this fascinating island famous for its giant stone sculptures, the Moai, and learn about the myths & legends of its ancient people!
Day 1: Arrive Easter Island
Upon arrival at Hanga Roa airport you will be met and greeted with a traditional flower necklace. Transfer to the selected hotel and remainder of the day at leisure. Overnight accommodation.
Day 2: Anakena Beach & Moai Route
Following breakfast at your hotel depart on a full day tour exploring some of the Easter Island's most important highlight. Travel through the centre of the island to beautiful Anakena Beach. A short distance away is the ancient settlement of Ahu (altar) Te Pita Kura. Here you will find a single Moai (statue), yet at 10m tall the largest Moai to be raised on a platform, and the sacred stone that the Ahu is named after. We then proceed to Rano Raraku where ancient people carved the giant statues from a quarry which is an extinct volcano. Here it is possible to observe hundreds of Moai in different stages of construction as well as the biggest Moai ever carved, still unfinished, measuring over 20 meters and an estimated weight of 220 tons. We will stop for lunch picnic style and continue to nearby Ahu Tongariki. Tongariki is the largest reconstructed temple in all of Polynesia. This site has 15 Moai that were restored in the 80's after a huge tsunami had tossed 80 ton Moai as far as 500 m inland 20 years earlier. Heading back south visit Ahu Akahanga, the Platform of the King" believed to house the grave of the first king. The site features four separate platforms with 12 Moai of various sizes and 8 Pukao (topknots). Return to hotel for overnight.(B.L)
Day 3: Ahu Akivi & Orongo
Breakfast at hotel. In the morning enjoy a guide tour to the archaeological sites that tell of the connection between the islanders and the universe. We start by visiting the Ahu Huri a Urenga, believed to be astronomically oriented such that the sun on the morning of both the winter and summer solstices should rise directly in the facade of the Moai. Continue to Ahu a Kivi, a big platform with seven Moai ,the only one's facing the sea, and then to Ahu Vai Teka, a site dating back to 1470 AD and that was apparently set up to be oriented towards the rising sun of the equinox. The nearby caves and waterholes were an important source of freshwater for the ancient population. Our final stop is Puna Pau, one of the 70 secondary volcanic cones of the island and where we can find the Pukao, the red scoria used for the topknot on some Moai. In the afternoon, step back in time while visiting the last centre of Rapa Nui's pre- history. The tour starts with a visit to Ana Kai Tagata cave and its rock paintings depicting the Manutara bird. The arrival of this frigate bird in spring would initiate the Tangata Manu (bird man) competition. We then continue on to Rano Kau volcano, one of the tallest volcanoes whose crate is today a huge fresh water lagoon offering fertile grounds for the growing of grapes, bananas and totora, a reed used extensively for houses, boats and other uses. Next we visit the nearby ceremonial centre of Orongo where every year the Bird Man or Tangata Manu ceremony is celebrated. A 1km interpretative trail through Orongo offers insight into the birdman's cult and competition, and how this competition could be seen as an ecological mechanism for survival during the most difficult times of the Rapa Nui history. Return to your hotel for overnight accommodation. (B)
Day 4: Hanga Roa
Breakfast at your hotel and, at the agreed time, transfer to Mataveri Airport for your departure flight. (B)
Please note: excursions may change according to weather conditions. Excursions require some trekking (easy to moderate) and good physical condition is recommended.