Easter Island Sightseeing Drive
Easter Island, Chile
- Hanga Roa: As the only place on the island with electricity, running water, and places to buy things, this is where some 90% of the island's roughly 6,500 residents live.
- Ahu Tahai: This beachside complex, dating back to 690 A.D., has three ahus (ceremonial platforms) holding seven moais. One is a 20-ton wonder complete with restored eyes and red pukao headdress.
- Ahu Akivi: At this unique 16th-century inland ahu, a matched set of seven moai gaze seaward toward sunset in precise alignment with the spring and autumn equinoxes.
About this Easter Island tour
Fantastically remote Easter Island is short on population and long on mystery. No one's even certain where its original natives came from, but they were obviously great seafarers – more ocean surrounds this island than any other on earth. The closest mainland (Chile) lies 2,200 miles to the east; the closest other inhabited island is a dot 1,300 miles the other way.
With a dwindling indigenous culture and no written history, our understanding of what went on here – and why – is guesswork based on colorful oral tradition and sketchy reports from early explorers and marauding slavers.
One thing we do know: For hundreds of years (peaking in the 16th century), the clans of the Rapa Nui carved almost 900 giantstoneheads, obsessively trying to outdo each other and spending vast amounts of time, energy, and precious natural resources.
Carved in the likeness of honored ancestors and placed on ceremonial "ahu" platforms facing the island's small settlements (except for the Akivi heads, which face the sea), the protective powers of the moai deities were no match for self-inflicted catastrophe: the Rapa Nui's gradual deforestation of their island.
That colossal loss meant no more fishing boats – and so, no more ready protein. The culture collapsed into chaos, disillusionment, infighting, even cannibalism. And the statues that had failed to prevent this mess became dishonored objects of rage, thrown over, destroyed, and abandoned half-carved in the quarry.
After lying forgotten for hundreds of years, a concerted effort began in the mid-20th century to restore and re-stand these priceless cultural treasures. The efforts of modern re-explorer Thor Heyerdahl and committed archaeologists like Dr. William Mulloy made it possible for you to see and experience the majestic and mysterious moaifor yourself.
The belief system of the Rapa Nui has vanished, but their immense stone ancestors once again gaze silently upon land and sea, icons of an enigmatic culture and, perhaps, an object lesson in resource management.
Rock on down the road
Theories abound on how the ancient Rapa Nui moved their massive moai, some weighing over 50 tons, from the mountainside quarry where they were carved to their installed positions around the island – without wheels, beasts of burden, or magical powers. One especially cool new theory is that the figures' pot-bellied proportions actually helped, allowing them to be controllably "rocked" along in upright position without falling over – piloted by a small team of people using just a few ropes. And tons of ingenuity.
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.
Although this tour has minimal walking, travelers must be able to get on and off the bus alone or with the aid of an accompanying companion.
Cultural, Family Friendly, Scenic
Tour Participation Requirements
This experience is rated mild. To participate fully, you may be required to walk over primarily even surfaces at a leisurely pace. You may encounter a limited number of steps, cobblestones, or uneven surfaces, and you may have to stand for extended periods of time.
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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