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This remote volcanic island has intrigued generations of scholars. Famed for its monolithic statues, Easter Island is shrouded in mystery. Its population—once sizable—collapsed.
“The clearest example of a society that destroyed itself by overexploiting its own resources,” is how University of California Los Angeles geographer Jared Diamond once described it. But the island’s history may not be as clear-cut as Diamond suggests. While scientists agree that broad-scale deforestation occurred here at some point, the verdict is still out on what exactly caused the downfall of the Rapanui people.
About 5,000 people live on Easter Island today, and thousands of tourists come to see the anthropomorphic “moai” statues each year. Amid strain from a rising population, the island faces challenges ahead. It has no sewer system and continues to draw on a limited freshwater supply.
Private transfer from the airport in Easter Island to the hotel.
Entrance Fee Rapa Nui National Park
Hotel Taha Tai in Easter Island
Bungalow for 3 night(s) with breakfast
Hangaroa Eco Village & Spa in Easter Island
Kainga Standard Room for 3 night(s) with breakfast
This morning, enjoy a private half day excursion Rano Kau and Orongo. During this half day excursion, you will discover Orongo – the ceremonial site for the Birdman Cult – whose stone houses are set right by the circular crater of the Rano Kau volcano. The Birdman Cult only emerged after the collapse of Moai Culture, and was focused on fertility rites and the Birdman competition.
After a short drive you will reach the rim of the crater and will be able to savour a spectacular view overlooking the crater’s large lake, as well as the sea and the town of Hanga Roa. From another viewpoint you can see the three Motu Islands. These small islands were the focus of the young men chosen during the ceremony of the Birdman Cult, held at Orongo. One individual per clan swam out to the Motus, to climb and steal the first swallow’s egg of the year. The winning clan was allowed to nominate Rapa Nui’s king for the following year.
The tour ends with a transfer to your hotel.
In the afternoon, we will have a private half day excursion to Ahu Akivi, Puna Pau, Sebastian Englert Museum and Ahu Tahai. The excursion starts with a visit to Ahu Akivi, which is one of the few ahus not located by the sea. Its seven resurrected moais are sited according to the equinox, which indicates the advanced knowledge of astronomy once known on Rapa Nui. Afterwards you will continue to the Puna Pau quarry, where the headdresses made of red stone that were set on many moai were produced.
Your next stop is the Sebastian Englert museum in Hanga Roa, where you’ll learn about the archaeology and anthropology of the island. The final highlight will be Ahu Tahai (“where the sun hides”), located north of Hanga Roa on the Coast, where you will see three restored ahus. The moais here look over the island and have their back turned to the sea. One of them is Ko Te Riku, the only moai with eyes made of white coral and black obsidian..
Return to our hotel and overnight.
After breakfast, we will depart for a full day excursion to Ahu Akahanga, Rano Raraku and Anakena. This tour goes in search of the secrets of Rapa Nui’s culture, and begins with a visit to the cave dwellings and moai platforms of Akahanga, on the southern coast of the island. The platforms have been left untouched, with their moai still lying on the ground where they fell, during the destruction of the island’s ceremonial sites. Over time, the statues’ ahus – ceremonial platforms where the moai were originally placed – have become overgrown with grass.
The ceremonial centre Ahu Tongariki, your next stop, is the largest, and perhaps most beautiful, of the island’s ahus. 15 resurrected moai throne on their platform, overlooking the island with their backs to the Pacific Ocean.
Afterwards, the tour continues to Rano Raraku, an extinct volcano of trass stone. This is perhaps the most intriguing sight on the island, because it is the quarry where the moais were cut from the rocks. The giant sculptures lie scattered all over the volcano’s hillsides, ready for a transportation that never took place. Higher up, even more moais can be found in various stages of completion, some still connected to the rock, as if they were abandoned from one day to the next.
From here, you drive north, to Te Pito o te Henua (known as ‘The Red Navel’ or ‘Navel of the World’): a large smooth round stone, supposedly with magical powers. According to legend, King Hotu Matua himself brought this stone here, during the earliest occupation of Easter Island.
Last stop on the itinerary of this exciting day is the beach at Anakena, where King Hotu Matua made land, accompanied by the first Polynesian settlers. You can visit two restored ahus called Nau Nau und Ature Huke The fine white sand is a good place to relax and take a refreshing swim in the Pacific, before being taken back to your hotel. Overnight at our hotel in Easter Island.
Private transfer from the hotel to the airport in Easter Island for your flight back to Santiago. End of our services.
Based on Taha Tai Hotel (3 star+):
Based on Hotel Hangaroa Eco Village &Spa (5 star):
The extensive grounds of the Taha Tai Hotel are set in a landscaped garden right by the coast in Hanga Roa, just five minutes away from the town centre. The rooms have welcoming interiors and, apart from the garden, there is also a pleasant communal area with a restaurant and a bar overlooking the ocean.
Facilities: Telephone, hairdryer, room safe, restaurant, bar, safe at reception, TV in the communal area, garden, swimming pool, laundry service, parking lots
The Hangaroa Eco Village & Spa Resort is located on a privileged spot on the Easter Island, on the seaside and only a short walk away from the village. This allows the guests to explore the environment themselves and to be integrated in the community. The resort is designed in a way that all rooms offer an own terrace with sea view. Two restaurants plus a large spa and wellness area are complementing the resort. The Hangaroa Eco Village & Spa Resort is working in a sustainable way, where nature and environment are considered in all processes.
Facilities: air conditioning, telephone, music, minibar, room safe, desk, bar, swimmingpool, spa, two restaurants
In southern Chile, the weather is generally rainy all year round with falling snow in much of the high altitude areas. However, in the coastal areas of the south, the winters are rarely too cold and summers are comfortably cool. Summer is the best time to visit Patagonia with warmer temperatures perfect for outdoor adventure. High season in Chile is between the summer months of December to March so prices are at their highest at this time of year.
Spring (October and November) and autumn (April and May) can be just as good in Patagonia though it’s best to avoid the winter months of June to September when services shut down and passes become impenetrable. This is, however, the best time for snow-based activities in the Lake District. The central region of Chile experiences warm, dry summers, and moderately wet, cool winters.
In the northern regions, the climate is drier which results in a much higher snow line in the mountains and a very desert-like climate in the areas nearer the coast. Despite the fact that it rarely rains, the weather is often cloudy and cool resulting in higher temperatures in the months of March and only cooler in July.
The Atacama Desert basks in sunny weather and high temperatures all year round though night time temperatures can plummet at higher altitudes. The summer months can be extremely hot. Thanks to sea breezes Chile’s coast generally feels cooler than the inland with the rainy season between May and August bringing cooler temperatures and wetter conditions.