Orongo Village & Easter Island Highlights Tour
Easter Island, Chile
- Rano Kau: Ride to this extinct volcano with its deep crater and freshwater marsh at the bottom. Take in unforgettable view of the island and the azure Pacific Ocean beyond its cliffs.
- Orongo Village: Learn about the history of the dangerous birdman competitions that took place at the height of the Rapa Nui civilization and wander around its unusual stone structures. (Entrance fee not included in the price of this tour).
- Ahu Vinapu: Visit this unrestored ceremonial altar site constructed by native islanders at least six centuries ago. It's one of the largest on the island and one of the few made of basalt.
- Ana Kai Tangata: Explore this sea-cliff cave area that was used as a refuge during times of conflict and marvel at the prehistoric paintings of birds found inside the cave.
About This Easter Island Tour
The ancient village of Orongo stands on a windswept point on the southwest edge of Easter Island. Two edges surround this ceremonial site. One is an almost 1,000-foot precipitous cliff high above the ocean, and the other is a gently sloping but steep grade ending up in marshy lake at the bottom of the Rano Kau caldera.
However, neither protected the participants in the annual birdman race held by the indigenous Rapa Nui people. In the 18th and 19th centuries, Orongo served as the center of a tangata manu (birdman) cult among the natives.
Each year, able-bodied males would race to the offshore Motu Nui isle and secure an intact egg from the nest of the manutara, or sooty tern. The participants would often have to negotiate a treacherous route to get there, and some fell to their deaths from the more dangerous cliff. Villagers likely immortalized the winning birdmen with a petroglyphic representation, which remains today as you explore the intriguing history on this tour.
Take a look at its 53 round and windowless volcanic structures with their very low doorways. Ponder why the inhabitants built such unusual houses, which were probably only used for ceremonial purposes, not permanent residences.
Absorb the incredible view of the entire island and the Pacific atop the Rano Kau volcano with its unique geological makeup. Walk around the ancient Ahu Vinapu site, with its distinctive architecture and debated connection to pre-Inca Peruvian culture.
Finally, observe the cave paintings on the walls of Ana Kai Tangata, which is just one of many caves on this fascinating island.
An Easter Island relic in the UK
The Rapa Nui birdman cult fell out of favor in the late 19th century for three reasons, including pandemics, enslavement, and the natives' conversion to Christianity. A British ship, the HMS Topaze, extricated one of the basalt moai Hoa Hakanananai'a from the Orongo village when it was all but abandoned in 1868. It's now on display at the British Museum in London.
Staying at a hotel? Be sure to advise the GoBe Crew so our GoBe Representative, with the displayed logo sign, can meet you in your hotel lobby.
Air-conditioned transportation cannot be guaranteed in this destination. Please bring cash for any purchases you might like to make.
This tour requires a moderate amount of walking over even and uneven ground and steps. It is not wheelchair accessible.
Cultural, Family Friendly, Walking Tour, Scenic, Bus Tour
Beverage - Water
Tour Participation Requirements
This experience is rated moderate. Full participation may require extended periods of walking over even and uneven surfaces, steep terrain and/or water activity in a slight current. There may be steps, inclines, cobblestone surfaces, and extended periods of standing. Participants with physical limitations should take this into account.
Suitable for all ages.
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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