Day 48 – 52 Visiting Rapa Nui ( Easter Island )

Day 48 – On to Rapa Nui

Time to go to the last destination for this adventure.
I got up at six and we had a taxi booked for six thirty, which never came.
After having the reception call for a few times we ended up just getting one on the street. So by seven we were of. Getting through check-in and security at the airport went smoothly and we even had time for breakfast before boarding the plane for the four and a half hours ride.

Latam flies the Dreamliner on this route so it was a pleasant few hours over the sea.

When we landed in Hanga Roa we were greeted by Marcus from Easter Island Travel
Marcus is a Swedish guy who is married to a Rapa Nui woman and runs a small tourist operation on the island. They are arranging our tours for the next few days and our stay.

When we came we got to know there had been an problem with the hostel we were supposed to stay at, so we are now staying at a guest house located in Marcus backyard. A lovely little house with two bedrooms, two shoves and a nice outside area, with a guava three with ripe fruits. A very pleasant surprise.

After getting settled me and Judith decided to go into town to get some food and I wanted to update my blog. It’s been a few days since I had the chance to upload anything.
Finding food was not an issue, but internet is. And just after we finished eating the rain came. It hasn’t been raining for a long time here, but as we were walking through town to find a place with WiFi access it came pouring down.

It seem that you either have to be in a nice hotel or use one of the two internet cafés in town i you want to be on-line.
There are some out door areas which seem to offer thirty minute of free access, but that was not an option in the rain.

The internet connection here is horrible. I used an whole hour to upload three images and get some blog posts going. Guess the rest has to wait until I get back on the mainland.

When I got back we had a beer in the hammocks on the porch before going to bed. Tomorrow we’ll go on a day trip to explore the island.

Day 49 – Around the island

Our first full day at the island and we got up at eight. Got brought some nice breakfast from Alicia who is Marcus wife and at nine we went out in the minivan. We picked up three more people that were joining the tour. An American couple and a guy from the UIK.

Todays trip took us to Ahu Akivi where we got to see our first moai statues, then on to Puna Pau where the “hats” for the statues were quarried. From there on to Tahai where there are some more statues and an old settlement. We visited the church in town that got wood carvings that mixes local carving traditions with catholic figures. In Vinapu we got to see the remains of one for the few female figures and how skill full carvers had built stone supporting walls. Very tightly built walls, just like the once you see in Macchu Piccu.

The last stop of the day was the Rano Kau crater and the Orongo village.
The Orongo village was a ceremonial village perched on the cliffs between the crater and the sea. It was here the bird man celebrations were held to choose a new leader.

Back in town we got dropped of by the harbour to get some ice cream. For me it was pisco sour and chocolate flavour today. Excellent stuff. Then I wandered around for a bit looking at the surfers. We got some beer and headed back to our house.

Alicia asked earlier if we wanted some home made food one of our evenings and we decided this morning that we would try that today. Fish was to be on the menu. And we got served some outstanding tuna with vegetables and sauce. For the first time in South America.

Tomorrow we’ll do another tour, this time with more focus on the moai statues.

Day 50 – The megaliths

Again we got up at eight and were on our way by nine. We picked up the American couple from yesterday and then two other American girl before heading east.

Our first stop was Hanga Poukura where we got glimpse of the first big moais, but this place is not restored some you see them in their fallen state. From here we’ll trace the route back to the origin. This part of the coast is very beautiful and rough. Waves comes crashing in and up through several blow holes along the coast line.

From there we moved on to Akahanga, once a bigger settlement with both small and larger moai statues. We also explored a small volcanic cave that was used by the settlers before more permanent dwellings were created. From there we could really start seeing the trail toward the Rano Baraku moai factory. By the road we saw several moais only a few hundred meters apart pointing toward the factory site.

Rano Baraku is a crater where the whole thing started. You walk up the trail, and into the crater and you see moai heads sticking out of the ground in the far side. And the marks of where these were taken out of the hill. Rough outlines where made first and then the whole statue was lowered into a hole in the ground and stood up to the finishing touches before being dragged out of the crater.

Later when the place got crowded work also started on the outside face of the volcano. And it’s here you can get closest to these magnificent statues. Sticking half way out of the ground, almost complete. An truly amazing sight.

After the factory we headed back toward the sea and the Ahu Tongariki site. This is one of the few sites that has been restored and it contains fifteen large moais. And a few other scattered around. It’s cool to see the statues fully upright and when you look at the base they are located at you realize that one there were at least twice that many lined up at this place.

The last stop for us this time was Anakena beach. A beautiful white sandy beach on the north eastern side of the island. Even here there are a few smaller moais, but for me it was time for a much longed for bath in the pacific. The water was great. I mighty have to go back there tomorrow.

Back in town I walked around for a bit and checked prices on renting an ATV, I think that would be a great way to get around tomorrow.

After going back to the house for a shower, me and Judith went out for dinner. Marcus gave us a tip to try the restaurant Te Moana down by the sea. And that was amazing. Some of the best food I’ve gotten in South America along with a pleasant atmosphere.

On our way back I wanted to go for another drink, and Judith wanted to go home. Just then Marcus came by on his motor bike and Judith got a lift home. I walked on for a while looking for a place to sit down, but didn’t find much. I guess I was way to early, at eleven thirty.

To my surprise Marcus came back and we did a trip around to some places that might have been open. Two of the night clubs we visited were not opened yet and in the end we ended up having a beer on the porch outside our house.

All in all it’s been a great day.
Tomorrow I’ll go exploring a bit more on my own. Last day in paradise.

Day 51 – Last day in paradise

It’s the last full day of my eight weeks in South America. Tomorrow we’ll have a little time here before flying back to Santiago, and after a night there it’s time to leave for this time.

So better make the most of it.
I decided to go exploring the island some more on my own, and I rented a quad bike to take me around. I could have hired a car for about the same money, or a bike for less. But some of the roads are not very scooter friendly, and I didn’t want to sit in a car. Quads are great. And with the maximum speed limit of 60 km\h it’s not like you need a speed monster.

To hire anything you need your passport, and name of your hotel. The last part was a bit challenging since we are stying on the house, not even sure it has an address 🙂

First stop of the day was Ovahe beach. It’s on the eastern part of the island not far from the more famous Anakena beach that we visited yesterday.

Ovahe is a smaller beach, but when I came there it was almost deserted. Just a few kids and then a few more came just behind me. I spent a while there relaxing on the beach and in the water until more people started coming. Time to move on.

From Ovahe I went back over to Anakena beach. Had lunch there like yesterday and slept on the beach for a little to long. Managed to get my back and the back of my legs burned. Good thing it’s the last day in the sun or I would be forced indoors tomorrow.

On the way back I stopped at Te Pito Kura where we didn’t stop yesterday. This site got only one moai. It’s called Paro and is the largest moai that has been moved and erected on an ahu. It’s ten meters tall and weighing 80 tons. It would be cool to see it standing, but unfortunately it’s one that has been toppled.

At the same site there is also some magnetic rocks that’s placed on the ground and lightly carved. Yet another Rapa Nui mistery.
The rest of the afternoon I spent going back toward Hanga Roa, stopping here and there to take some photos.
Back at the house I picked up Judith and we went into town to eat. This time we ended up at a place called Au Bout du Monde.
Great food tonight as well.

Since I had the quad for twenty four hours I had planned to go and see if I could get some cool photos of the night sky. Unfortunately a thin layer of clouds stopped that.

Day 52 – Leaving Rapa Nui

last breakfast at the house, but we still have a few hours to kill before our flight. First thing to do is to get the quad back, and then we took the stroll down to the post office to get our passports stamped. One need the Rapa Nui stamp.

From there we went down to the pier to get an ice cream and just relaxing watching people going by. I love people watching and in a place like this it’s very nice.

We walked back to the house and Marcus drove us to the airport to catch our flight back to Santiago. Four almost five hours goes fast in a Dreamliner and we were lucky with our luggage at Santiago Airport, got a nice taxi back into Santiago and the same hostel we stayed at the last time. There I met Gunnar who’s driving the next trip from Santiago in a few days.

Even if it was getting a late we went to the Irish pub for a few beers. And while there Marie and Hanna came as well. Great to see them before we leave for home tomorrow.

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