New hiking, biking and diving adventures explore remote corners of the UNESCO World Heritage Site in the southeastern Pacific
There are 63.2 square miles of landmass to go around on Rapa Nui, the Chilean island in the southeastern Pacific better known as Easter Island and best known for the hundreds of stone-faced archeological statues called moai that have dotted its surface for more than 500 years. As snug as the island remains, there are now more ways than ever for travelers to experience it thanks to recently expanded exploration offerings available from Explora Rapa Nui.
Whatever the destination, explorations lie at the heart of the Explora experience, offering travelers guided opportunities to interact with and engage the beauty and culture of remote corners of South America with their senses, their emotions and through physical activity.
Since first welcoming travelers in 2007, Explora Rapa Nui has offered many options for exploring the UNESCO World Heritage Site. The newly expanded offerings have increased the number of explorations from 20 to 34, including hiking adventures, cycling adventures, and a “combination” of the two, as well as an overland exploration via van, and an introduction to scuba diving in a remarkably visible area of the Pacific.
Here’s just some of what’s new to look forward to on exploration with Explora Rapa Nui:
Discover Scuba Diving – The easiest way to become familiar with the underwater wonders of Rapa Nui. After a lecture on diving theory and controlled immersion with diving equipment in the pool at Explora Rapa Nui, travelers proceed to dive in the waters of Hanga Roa Bay, world-renowned for their visibility. Upon completion, travelers receive a discovery – or baptism – PADI Certificate.
Mahatua – This half-day hike leads travelers along the island’s coast, past fishing coves, archaeological sites and Ovahe beach en route to Anakena where they can visit the archeological remains of Rapa Nui kings who dwelled there. There will be plenty of the time to enjoy the beach – so bring your swimsuit.
Anakena – This half-day bike ride heads from Explora Rapa Nui to Ahu Tongariki, the island’s best-rebuilt platform with 15 intact moai. The bike ride continues along the coastline to Mahatua, visiting several archaeological sites up to the ruins of Anakena surrounded by crystal-clear waters and white sand.
Caves & Cliffs – Ride bicycles to Ahu Akivi, where seven moai stand facing the Pacific, and then continue via a moderate hike through lava fields, discovering caves and tunnels along the way. The exploration continues to Tepeu, an ancient settlement featuring the largest boat-shaped ruins on the island, and then along cliffs with views to the ocean and a visit to Tahai.
Bird Cult – Head overland by van to Vinapu and Ahu Tahira, a construction platform with perfectly overlapping rock structures that are often compared with Inca buildings. Then continue by van to the island’s largest crater, Rano Kau, with time to hike around and observe the biodiversity of the wetland within. The exploration continues to the ceremonial town of Orongo, known for its Birdman competition, and then a visit to the unique volcanic landscape of Mataveri.
The Miru – Follow a meandering trail along scenic cliffs, travelers cross plains and ancient villages that belonged to the most influential tribe of Rapa Nui, the Miru. The full-day exploration ends in Anakena, the tribe’s capital, with plenty of time to enjoy the beach.