The Mystical Moai Tour, with Lunch on the Beach
Easter Island, Chile
- Rano Raraku: Climb to the lake inside this volcanic crater for breathtaking views of the entire island. In the quarry below, 394 abandoned statues lie in various stages of carving or transport. It's a seriously surreal place.
- Ahu Tongariki: The scenic granddaddy of all ahu ceremonial platforms, this one sports a lineup of 15 moais of varying height and shape, all carefully restored after a 1960 tsunami clobbered them.
- Ahu Hanga Te'e: See the remains of eight toppled moai lying face down and broken where they were toppled centuries ago – ancient victims of clans at war with each other.
- Anakena Beach: Enjoy a box lunch with fruit and explore the sandy, coconut-adorned crescent where Easter Island's first king landed and established the Rapa Nui culture.
About this Easter Island tour
The Dutch named it for the day they landed in the spring of 1722, but the true discoverers of Easter Island first arrived on the beach at Anakena as early as 300 or 400 A.D. Maybe. No one's certain, since the Rapa Nui people who once thrived here are all but gone, and left no written history.
What they left instead is a prodigious sculptural record of their culture's flowering and collapse: some 900 massive moai heads, nearly all of them carved many centuries ago from the volcanic rock at Rano Raraku quarry and somehow moved to ceremonial podiums ("ahus") around the island. Averaging 13 feet in height and 14 tons in weight, the big mystery is how the Rapa Nui managed to transport these behemoths using nothing but human power, simple tools, rope, and leverage.
Carved face-up out of surface bedrock atop the quarry, these statues became a competitive obsession of the island's clans. Each bore the likeness (the differences are subtle) of a venerated ancestor who was expected to oversee and protect their clan's settlement.
And so it went for hundreds of years, generation after generation, until the production line just ... stopped. And the haunting landscape at Rano Raraku was born.
It's a scene unlike any you've encountered: green, grassy slopes littered with nearly 400 giant moai statues left in various stages of completion – some half carved, others broken or half-buried, some abandoned mid-transport, on the way to the village they were supposed to protect.
An environmental disaster, perhaps of their own making, had led to hunger and infighting among the population – and caused a crisis of faith in the protective powers of their giant ancestor stones. Feeling betrayed, the tribes descended into chaos – even cannibalism – before adopting a new belief system (the Birdman cult) that restored some order to their society.
As you climb the quarry path, you'll catch spectacular views of Rano Raraku’s freshwater crater lake and the coast far below. Squint hard enough and you might even spot the row of 15 moais you'll visit at Ahu Tongariki.
You'll also run into a pair of moai who've become Easter Island’s signature guidebook-cover mascots. They're lookers, indeed.
Tukuturi: the unexplained kneeling moai
Unearthed by Thor Heyerdahl's team in 1955, this lone statue sits separately from the others at Rano Raraku quarry. Its size, body position, facial features (including a hint of beard), and head proportions are also completely different from other moai. Some researchers believe it's from a later period; others insist it's a discarded design from the very earliest carving days. Adding to the confusion: Its reddish stone is not from this quarry. Was Tukuturi moved here? If so, why? He's not talking.
Easter Island Pier. Please proceed pier side and look for our GoBe Representative. Your guide will be holding a sign with your name on it.
Air-conditioned transportation cannot be guaranteed in this destination. Please bring some cash for any purchases you might wish to make.
This tour has a lot of walking over uneven & sometimes slippery ground.
Cultural, Food and Wine, Walking Tour, Scenic, Full Day
Tour Participation Requirements
This experience is rated strenuous. Travelers must consider their physical fitness level and medical history when determining whether this tour is appropriate. Travelers with pre-existing neck, back, knee and/or shoulder injuries, cardiac conditions, asthma, diabetes, epilepsy, other heart or respiratory conditions or any other medical condition must take particular caution when selecting a tour categorized as "strenuous". If you have concerns, you must consult with your personal physician before engaging in any activity that may be too strenuous for you.
Suitable for all ages.
Special Medical Restriction
If you have knee or hip problems or you are pregnant, this tour may not be suitable for you, due to the strenuous nature of the walking required.
Full refunds issued for cancellations made 7 full days prior to the date and time of requested services. Cancellations made within the 7-day and 72-hour window will receive a 50% refund of purchase total. Purchases are non-refundable inside of 72 hours.
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