Experience the history of Easter Island as a local guide takes you among the great Moai statues, to the home of the Birdmen cult, and explains the celestial connection between the island and the stars! This 4 day, 3 night tour includes lodging in some of the island’s nicest hotels.
On this 4 day, 3 night Easter Island travel package, your local guide will take you through the history of this fascinating and mysterious island, from the arrival of the first Polynesian navigators, to the rise of the first kings of the island (who began building the great statues), to the eventual colonization by the Europeans and then Chileans. You will walk among the Moai statues, learn about the Birdmen cult, experience the celestial connection between the island and the stars, and overall enjoy being in one of the most remote places in the world!
Note that the itinerary is mostly the same for private and regular tours, the big differences are that private tours have a half day excursion on Day 1 that is not included in the regular tour, and that all excursions on the private tour are private.
There are three possible hotels for the tour:
Day 1 – Arrival
Day 2 -Full Day Tour
Day 3 – “Legend of the Birdmen” and “Gazing at the Stars” Half Day Tours
Day 4 – Departure
A driver will meet you at the airport and bring you to your hotel. From here, your day depends on whether you booked a regular or a private tour.
On regular tours, you will have a free afternoon to explore the area and a free evening to enjoy dinner and your first night on Easter Island!
On private tours, you will have a private half day tour – The Twilight of the Moai.
The Twilight of the Moai (Private half day tour)
Rapa Nui has a long and turbulent history, and this half day explores one its worst periods, when the civilization destroyed itself, before rising again. This tour will take you first to the Father Sebastian Englert Museum, then to Tahai, a ceremonial complex dating back to the 6th century, which was restored in 1967/1968 by archaeologist William Mulloy. Here, you will find several Ahus (platforms) and five of the famous Moai (statues). Next, you will visit Hanga Kio’e, a ceremonial site where one of the island’s most famous leaders made his claim of the island in 1650 AD.
Today is a day of legends and a walk through the mysterious history of Rapa Nui. Your local guide will walk you through the island’s history, beginning with when the first Polynesian navigators stepped ashore. You will learn about the importance of ariki (king) Hotu Matu’a and about the proceeding 700 years after settlement, including creation of the famous moai (the statues). The day goes from Hanga Roa to Anakena, through the center of the island, to Vaitea, and then back to Hanga Roa through the south coast.
This is where the island’s first king, Hotu Matu’a landed, and where one of the world’s most megalithic cultures in history began. Anakena has four Ahu sites, two which have been reconstructed and two which have withstood the test of time. The first Ahu, Ature Huki, was restored by Heyerdahl in 1955, the second, Ahu Nau Nau, was restored by Sergio Rapu.
Duration: About 1 hour
Distance from Hanga Roa: 18 km (about 11 miles)
Ahu Te Pito Kura
Ahu Te Pito Kura has the largest Moai ever raised on to a platform – it stands at 10 meters (30 feet) tall and weighs up to 90 tons. The topknot of the figure alone weighs 11.5 tons! (Ahu = platform)
Duration: About 30 minutes
Distance from Anakena: 2 km (~1.2 miles)
Rano Raraku is without a doubt one of the most interesting archaeological sites in the world. There are 396 Moai (statues) in a quarry, which sits inside of an extinct volcano with an amazing fresh water crater. Some of the statues were still in the building stage and are permanently semi-buried in the ground; some are in the process of receiving finishing touches on their backs; and others are in the “staging area,” waiting for the moving crew to bring them to their Ahu. Here you will see the largest Moai ever carved – Te Tokanga (The Giant), who stands at 22 meters (66 feet) tall and weighs an estimated 220 tons!
Duration: About 1 hour and 15 minutes
Distance from Hango Roa: About 20 km (~12.4 miles)
Here you will pause for a one hour picnic lunch (weather permitting).
Tongariki is one of the most visually stunning sites on the island (and likely the one you’ve seen in brochures and screen savers). It is the largest reconstructed site on the island, and the largest reconstructed temple in all of Polynesia. The site has 15 Moai that were restored in the 1980s after a huge tsunami in 1960 threw the 80 ton Moai as far as 500 meters (1,500 feet) inland.
Duration: About 30 minutes
Distance from Rano Raraku Volcano: About 2 km (~1.2 miles)
Ahu Akahanga is the “Platform of the King” and is the believed grave site of the island’s first king, Hotu Matu’a. Here, you’ll find four separate platforms, with 12 Moai of various sizes, and eight Pukao (topknots). The area also has interesting lining stones made from red scoria – a type of iron-rich volcanic stone used to make the topknots, funeral cists, and boarding stones. Petroglyphs also line the front of the Ahu.
Duration: About 45 minutes
Distance from Hanga Roa: About 15 km (~9.3 miles)
Half Day: Orongo, The Power of the Birdmen
When the Moai and the Ahu were destroyed and total chaos was imminent, a new order rose: the reign of the birdmen. Visit the sites of the annual ceremonies and see where a competition of physical dexterity and strength gave power to the competitors, who sought to obtain the first egg of the manutara.
This is one of the oldest inhabited areas on the island (AD 600), yet its stone masonry is so well constructed that it is often compared to that found in Cusco and Machu Picchu.
Rapa Nui was mostly carved into its current shape by three primary volcanic centers and 70 secondary volcanic cones. Rano Kao was the second of the three main volcanoes to erupt, about 2.5 million years ago. It is 310 meters (1,017 feet) tall, with a crater 1.6 km (~5,200 feet) in diameter, and an 11 meter (36 feet) deep lagoon. The crater grows grapes, bananas, and totora – a reed used to build houses and boats.
Orongo is a village and ceremonial site, which was reconstructed in 1974 after most of the structures there collapsed or were torn down by treasure hunters. William Mulloy reconstructed 47 houses and established the first set of trails through the site, which have since been extended to a full kilometer (about half a mile) in length. The trail highlights the Birdman cult, and your guide will tell you more about the competition, the competitors, and how they used the event as a survival mechanism during the most difficult period of Rapa Nui’s long history. At the end of the trail is Mata Ngarau – a focal point for the birdman cult, where almost every boulder is carved with petroglyphs.
Half Day: Akivi, Gazing at the Stars
At the end of the Moai era, the Polynesian navigators turned their eyes towards the sky. Your local guide will take you to three archaeological sites in the central part of the island that show you the connection between the ancient islanders and the universe.
Ana Te Pahu
Ana Te Pahu is a cave that runs 7 km (4.4 miles) in length on west coast of the Maunga Terevaka foothills. Its size made it ideal housing for the ancient tribes, but it was also used as a refuge during times of tribal clashes, and as a place to hide when the slavers raided the island in the mid-nineteenth century.
A restored altar with seven Moai, originally constructed in roughly 1460 AD.
Puna Pau is one of the 70 secondary volcanic cones, but it distinguishes itself with its mineral composition. It has quite a bit of iron-rich
3. Puna Pau: One of the 70 secondary volcanic cones found on the island its mineral matrix is much different than other types found on the island. Because of the iron rich deposit, therefore the rich red color, red scoria is another type of basalt only more porous and lighter. The Rapa Nui people used this easily carved material to made topknots, lining or lintel stones, and funeral cists amongst others features including statues.
Today you will enjoy breakfast in your hotel and take a transfer to the airport! End of the Easter Island travel package.
After you book your experience, you will receive a confirmation email from us confirming that your payment went through. You will then be connected directly to the tour operator, in case you have any further questions. We are also happy to answer any questions about the tour, or travel in general in your country of destination.