CHILE

Easter Island Enigma

from £590 3 nights | Year round Exc. flights See price details
  • Departs:
  • Year round

Overview

This excursion based independent tour takes in the key highlights of one of the world’s most remote and mysterious islands. Named after the day on which it was discovered by Dutch explorer Jacob Roggeveen, Easter Island has found fame, in part, thanks to the 887 stone statues (known as moai), which stand in a number of locations across the landscape. The fascination from foreigners has been heightened further by the unexplained drastic decline in the island’s native population and the missing chapters in the story of their origins.

Located over 2,000 miles from the nearest continental land mass, the island has evolved completely independently from Chile, its legal guardian and governing nation since 1888. The volcanic roots of the land still shape the surface, while its history of intensive deforestation (which is thought to have been a factor in the deterioration of population numbers), mean extraordinary sweeping panoramic vistas are available from nearly every vantage point.

Highlights

  • Explore the moai statues that have become so synonymous with the island
  • Discover how and where the moai were created and transported
  • Learn about the strange history of the world’s most remote human population.
  • Immerse yourself in a unique culture very different from that of other Chilean regions
  • Hike around ancient volcanic craters and lava fields

The warm climate (enjoyed year round), rich culture, intriguing history, accessibility of key sites and daily flight service to and from Santiago, make the island an ideal addition for anyone visiting the Chilean mainland. This sample 3 night itinerary can also be tailor-made to suit the time and specific interests that you have, so can easily be combined with visits to the Atacama, Patagonia, the Lake district, the wine valleys or even Antarctica.

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Itinerary & Accommodation

Day 1: Flight to Easter Island and sunset excursion
Take the 6 hour flight from Santiago to Easter Island. Upon arrival, transfer to your hotel and take some time to relax and soak in your surroundings. In the evening head out on a short (1-2 hours) excursion to Ahu Tahai. This spot, located less than a mile from the main town of Hanga Roa, is one of the best restored archaeological sites on the island and is also one of the most magical places in the world to watch the sun dip below the horizon. With five moai standing in line on the edge of the cliffs and the uninterrupted ocean stretched out as far as the eye can see behind them, this introduction to the island is a photographer’s paradise. (Snacks and drinks are included)
Day 2: Key coastal moai sites and Anakena
Today take a day tour (approximately 6 hours duration) to some of the key highlights of the island. Begin with a stop at Rano Raraku, an ancient volcanic crater harbouring a lagoon, which was once the quarry from which around 95% of the island’s moai were created. Almost 400 statues, in various stages of construction, remain in the vicinity of the quarry, which suggests that whatever the original inhabitants’ eventual plan was, something prevented them from completing it.

The next stop will be at Ahu Tongariki. This elongated platform sets the stage for another 15 moai of various shapes and sizes. The beleaguered figures here were toppled during one of the island’s bitter civil wars and then thrust inland by a tsunami which emanated from the Great Chilean Earthquake of 1960. The site has since been substantially restored.

Before returning to Hanga Roa for lunch (included), you will visit Ahu Akahanga. This ceremonial platform used to contain a dozen moai, but just as at Ahu Tongariki, these are thought to have been toppled in an act of war. Unlike the last location however, the moai have not been repaired and so it is here that visitors can get a real sense for what the island looked like before restorations began.

After lunch, resume the tour at Ahu Te Pito Kura, which contains the largest moai on the island. It measures an enormous 10 metres in height and is estimated to weigh around 80 tons, though it has lain face down and broken since around 1838.

End the tour on the northern shores of Anakena. It is here that legend states the first king of the island initially landed and began establishing one of Earth’s most mysterious and remote cultures. Spend time enjoying the white sand beach and crystal clear waters before transferring back to your hotel.
Day 3: Inland Exploration and Petroglyphs
Begin the morning with a journey to Ahu Huri, another one of the island’s 25 ceremonial platforms, though this one contains just one moai – restored in 1976 by Dr William Mulloy. The moai is unique in being the only one to have four hands, the reason for which is unknown. It is also notable because both the platform and the moai look directly at the exact location where the sun rises on the day of the austral winter solstice and at the entrance, a series of stone perforations seem to reflect the pattern of stars in the skies above.

Continue to Ahu Akivi, another centrally located ceremonial site which exhibits evidence of what appears to have been at least a basic understanding of how the sun’s position coincided with the seasons. The seven moai situated here, sit atop a platform that is directly aligned with the points where the sun rises on the spring and autumn equinoxes. It is theorised that Ahu Akivi therefore worked as a type of early calendar.

After returning to town for lunch (not included), set off again in the afternoon in search of relics of a slightly different kind. The Vinapu ceremonial centre offers the perfect insight into the building and carving techniques that were used for the construction of the island’s many platforms (ahu). This region also displays a method of stonework not seen anywhere else in Polynesia and contributes to the theory that the people of the islands (Rapa Nui) may have originated from South America.

Later, spend time at Rano Kau, a kilometre wide volcanic crater which shelters a large lake from which the Rapa Nui once sourced most of their fresh water.

Finish the day with a visit to the historic ceremonial city of Orongo. Though its awkward location meant it was never used as a permanent residential site, Orongo had huge symbolic significance to the natives of the past. It was once home to the famed ‘Birdman’ competition and its many ruins are the canvass for the largest collection of petroglyphs (rock carvings) on the island.
Day 4: Morning at leisure and flight to Santiago
Depending on the departure time of your flight, you might want to spend this morning walking the streets of Hanga Roa, shopping for souvenirs or visiting the Museo Antropologico Sebastian Englert – a fascinating museum that may help bring context to the spectacular sights experienced in the preceding days.

Then transfer to the airport for your return flight to Santiago.
Notes

Please note: This itinerary is a guideline only and is formed of a number of different group excursions. The schedule of activities may differ depending on availability and all options can be substituted, eliminated or added to (at time of booking), according to your preference. Extra flexibility is available when booking private excursions (at additional cost).

Museums throughout Chile are generally closed on Mondays and many tourist establishments may be shut or fully booked during National Holidays. Therefore please inform us of any key elements of your trip that hold particular importance to you, even if they are not being pre-booked, so that we can tailor your itinerary accordingly.

Accommodation Options

Iorana Hotel – Easter Island

  • Grade: Standard
  • Type: Hotel

Situated on the outskirts of Hanga Roa, approximately a …

Altiplanico Rapa Nui

  • Grade: Superior
  • Type: Hotel

The Altiplanico Rapa Nui is a 4 star property located 4k…

Hotel Manavai

  • Grade: Standard
  • Type: Hotel

Hotel Manavai is exactly the kind of property you might …

Accommodation

In addition to those listed, a large variety of alternative accommodation options are available for this holiday. Please contact us for further details.

Excursions

Excursions

It is possible to pre-book a variety of excursions to supplement this holiday. While we highlight a range of these within the itinerary and/or on the excursions tab, there are often many more that can be selected. Contact our team of specialists for full details.

Electric Bike Excursions on Easter Island

Hire an electric bike to explore the highlights of Easter I…

Half Day Glass Bottom Boat Tour - Easter Island

A glass bottom boat trip with optional snorkelling.

Half Day Horseriding on Easter Island

Join a horse riding tour of the main archaeological sites o…

Half Day Tour to Tahai

A guided visit to the Archaeological Museum, and some of th…

Local Cooking Class - Easter Island

An unforgetable lesson in the art of cooking the Rapa Nui w…

Prices & Dates

2018 prices and dates

Price from approximately £590 per person, based on twin-share accommodation.

Departs daily, year round

Prices Include: 3 nights bed and breakfast accommodation at Hotel Iorana • Seat in coach (SIC) return transfers between airport and hotel • SIC excursions as listed in itinerary • Box lunch on day 2 • English speaking guide during excursions

Prices Exclude: All airfares - we would be happy to assist with booking these • Additional airport or airline security charges • Passport and visa expenses (we will be pleased to advise you on any necessary documentation, however this is passengers' own responsibility) • Government arrival and departure taxes • Any accommodation/meals/drinks/land arrangements not mentioned in inclusions (if required) • Excess baggage charges • Telecommunication charges, laundry costs and other charges of a personal nature • National Park Entrance fees (approx US$80pp payable locally at airport or in Hanga Roa. Can not be paid at entrance to parks. Fee may vary) • The discretionary gratuity at the end of excursions for guides and staff • Travel insurance

How to book

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So that we may send you a personalised quote and confirmation of availability, please click on the link below and complete our Enquiry form. One of our Travel Specialists will then be in touch to complete your booking or answer any further questions you might have.

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Speak to a specialist: 1-844-584-0668

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