Rapa Nui, or Easter Island, is one of the most incredible places I have ever visited. While you won’t need to spend more than a week here, you are going to want to!
This little volcanic island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean is real paradise, with untouched landscapes, lots of mystery and history, culture, amazing food and more.
Keep reading to find a list of unmissable experiences here on Easter Island, or watch the video diary of our unforgettable stay on this island.
Unmissable experiences on Easter Island:
- Rent a bike to explore the island on your own
- Learn about the Moais
- Go to a dinner dance show
- Watch the sunrise at Ahu Tongariki
- Swim at Anakena Beach
- Explore the Ana Kakenga Cave
- Have dinner and watch the sunset at Te Moai Sunset
- Enjoy a magical sunset at Ahu Tahai
- Take a walk at the Rano Kau crater & Orongo
- Swim with sea turtles at Pea Beach
- Get a special passport stamp
- Explore the Hanga Roa Village
- Visit the Polynesian catholic church
Rent a bike to explore the island on your own
While I think that joining a guided tour is a great idea to learn about the history of the island, Moais, culture, etc…The best memories I have about my trip to Rapa Nui are linked to the days we spent exploring the island on our own.
By renting your own transport you can explore the most remote corners of Easter Island, see more of the places you liked on your tour if you take one, start off early to go see the sunrise and make the most of your time here.
We rented a quad bike to visit the island for 3 days, which costed us 40,000 CLP (€45). Alternatively you can also rent bikes or cars. There are several spots in Hanga Roa where you can rent them, and prices are approximately the same.
Learn about the Moais
The Moais are the first thing people thing of when they think of Easter Island. These amazing and mysterious statues have an interesting history behind them.
The average moai is 4m tall and weighs around 13 tonnes. Most of them have also bodies, which sometimes are visible, whereas sometimes they are hidden in the ground.
Some of the Ahus and Moais survived tsunamis and storms, some travelled to different part of the island or of the world, etc… The best way to discover their history is to join a full day guided tour, which will bring you to the main ahus and sites around Easter Island. It costs approximately 40,000 CLP (€45) and it includes transport, food and a local guide.
Go to a dinner dance show
One of the highlights of Easter Island was the night we went for a dinner dance show at Ballet Kari Kari.
Ballet Cultural Kari Kari was funded over 20 years ago, with aim to promote Rapa Nui and Polinesian culture through dance and music.
You can choose to have dinner first, followed by the 90 minute amazing show, with lots of fun music and dances, or simply watch the show. The show includes ancient dances like the Hoko (war dance), Kai-Kai, the Sau-Sau or Ute, and at the end, people are invited to get on the stage and interact with the artists.
At dinner you will get a chance to try local food, which is mainly based on fish and seafood, but you also get some vegetarian options and meat based dishes, while trying Chilean wine.
The coast would be 15,000 CLP (€16) for just the show or 40,000 CLP (€45) for both.
Watch the sunrise at Ahu Tongariki
How does watching the sunrise in one of the most iconic spots in the world sound to you? If you get up early, you can catch a magical sunrise over the 15 moai in at Ahu Tongariki.
Make sure you go there early enough, so that you don’t miss it. This is one of the most popular activities on the island, so you will find a lot of people here in the morning. However, if you wait a few minutes after everybody start leaving, you will get a break between the sunrise and when organise tours start arriving, when you can enjoy one of most beautiful places in Rapa Nui all for yourself.
Swim at Anakena Beach
Anakena Beach is the most famous beach on Easter Island, with white sand, palm trees and blue water, which make it the perfect postcard place to relax, swim and play with the waves. Even though it is the main beach on the island, it is still pretty untouched and if you go in the morning, you can pretty much enjoy this place all for yourself.
Explore the Ana Kakenga Cave
Rapa Nui is covered in underground chambers and lava tunnels that are so much fun to explore.
There are a lot of caves here, and even though it’s worth taking a look even at the less famous one, but there is a reason why Ana Kakenga is the most popular one. Ana Kakenga has two openings that acts like windows on the Pacific Ocean – such an unmissable view!
The problem with this cave is that it isn’t the best place for claustrophobic people. To get it, you need to go down a small chamber and it took me a while to persuade myself to go in there! However, that is the only narrow part and you’ll be in there for only a couple of minutes, as the tunnel gets bigger again. And it’s so worth it.
Have dinner and watch the sunset at Te Moai Sunset
Delicious food, amazing cocktail and a terrace view a view on one of the best sunsets you can witness in your life. Can you imagine anything better?
At Te Moai Sunset, you can have all of these. This cute restaurant that over looks Ahu Tahai has a beautiful terrace where you can enjoy some food an drinks, while watching the sunset.
Enjoy a magical sunset at Ahu Tahai
Ahu Tahai is probably the most popular spot for sunset watching on Easter Island. You can find this Ahu just a few steps away from the Hanga Roa villages and here you’ll find lots of people who are watching the sunset.
My favourite part about this is that this is the place where local people go to as well almost every night!
Take a walk at the Rano Kau crater & Orongo
Rano Kau is the largest of three volcanoes of the island and today it had become a natural lagoon.
Getting here from Hanga Roa is very easy if you rent a quad or a bike, or you could even walk to it. Don’t miss out the view from the “official” viewpoint, but it’s also worth taking a walk along the crater to admire the immensity and intense blue colour of the Pacific Ocean.
Visiting Rano Kau is free and, while the volcano itself is very spectacular, if you are here you can’t miss the former ceremonial village of Orongo.
Orongo is a ceremonial village made up of 53 basalt stone slab houses, and although people never really lived there, as it’s located in a very inaccessible position, it was used for rites undertaken when children where become adults.
Swim with sea turtles at Pea Beach
Like I said here, Pea beach is the small beach in the Hanga Roa village. Here you can not only swim, but also surf, as this is one of the main spots for this on the island.
At Pea Beach, during certain times of the year, you can also see sea turtles that usually approach the shore. To protect them, if you see them, make sure you keep the necessary distance and avoid touching them.
Get a special passport stamp
Do you like collecting special passport stamps to make your passport look extra full? Well, on Rapa Nui you can get not one, but two special passport stamps, one at the entrance of the National Park (on the left) and one at the Hanga Roa village post office.
Explore the Hanga Roa Village
While there wouldn’t be too much going on compared to the rest of the island, it’s still worth taking at least one hour to explore Hanga Roa, Rapa Nui only town.
Here you can get a glimpse into local people’s life, but also take a look at its fishing arbour and a few small archaeological sites, on top of Pea Beach and Poko Poko swimming spots and, of course, some surfing spots and schools if you are looking for an all-level surfing experience.
Visit the Polynesian catholic church
The Hanga Roa Catholic Church is a beautiful mix of catholic and Polynesian elements, really worth a visit. If you want to, you could even attend the mass in Spanish, where you’ll be able to listen to songs in the Rapa Nui language.
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