Hanga Roa, Chile, South America
I had another really good day on the island today. I picked up my rental car from Insular Rentals, and they were awesome. The woman let me come at 8:30am instead of their normal 9am opening time. We went through the paperwork and I got the car at 8:45am and hit the road. I really wanted to get to the quarry (Rano Raraku) when it opened at 9am, but I didn’t get there until 9:15am. I was worried about there being some big tour groups there and having loads of people in my pictures. It turned out I was the first one there, and was the only one there the whole time. Some people arrived as I was leaving, and that was it. It was perfect!
The quarry was my favorite place on the island so far. This is where the Rapa Nui people used to make the moai and they placed a bunch of them in the hills around the quarry. It is really cool looking. This is the place you normal see in pictures of Easter Island. The weather wasn’t perfect, but the rain held off for most of the morning, so it was really pleasant to walk around the area on my own, and it was dead quiet.
I walked around the quarry on the mountainside to see all of the moai and then headed up to check out the caldera. This is another extinct volcano, so at the top there is a huge crater, and it is really impressive. The caldera is filled with water and reeds, and there are some moai looking over the crater. It was beautiful. I spent just over an hour at the quarry and headed out very satisfied that I’d gotten to see everything without loads of people being around.
From there, I hopped into my little Suzuki Jimny and headed further north until I got back to Anakena. Since I’d already been to this beach yesterday, I didn’t go again, I just turned back and started heading toward the town of Hanga Roa. There were a bunch of sites on the way back that I stopped at to check out. There are moai placed all over this island. Most of them are looking at the island to watch over small villages, that are no longer there. The most impressive was definitely Ahu Tongariki where there are 15 moai all lined up. They had all collapsed in some domestic wars that occurred a long time ago on the island, but they were resurrected with the help of the Japanese government. There were also a couple of stops to see some petroglyphs, but because of the sea and wind, they are pretty faded and it’s tough to see them now.
I got back into town at 1pm and met Andrea for lunch at Club Sandwich again for some more fajitas. We had our awesome lunch and then headed up to a place called Ahu Akivi with the car where there is a line of seven moai’s. From here we started a walk up to the highest point on the island, Terevaka. There was a sign pointing to a road on the left to climb the mountain, but almost immediately the road finished and there was no path. We had to climb over some barbed wire and trespass on some farm land to get there, but eventually we did. It was exhausting. There was really tall and thick grass, so it felt like walking through snow for most of it.
We got to the top and expected a beautiful caldera or something impressive at the top, and there really wasn’t. It was windy as anything though, and pretty cold at the top. Luckily it didn’t rain, because that would have made it really miserable. We didn’t hang around at the top for long before heading back down.
There was a cave at the bottom near the car that we checked out called Ana Te Pahu, which was really cool. It was massive! We walked through it, with the aid of the flashlight on my iPhone, and it was awesome. It was like the Bat Cave. Complete with bats and dripping water everywhere. We thought about checking out another cave, but we were both absolutely exhausted from the hike, so we headed back into town.
We stopped to get a fresh fruit juice, which was very much deserved, and then headed to the tattoo parlor so Andrea could get a tattoo she’d picked out. She got a fancy kayak paddle that used to be given as a trophy to the winner of a competition on the island a long long time ago. She got it on her ankle, and it turned out pretty well. And it was quick. I think it was less than ten minutes to get it drawn and then tattooed. It obviously wasn’t his first time.
We grabbed some dinner and then headed back to our hostels to get cleaned up. We met again at 8:30pm and headed to a traditional Rapa Nui dance and music show called Kari Kari. It was excellent! It lasted just over an hour, and told a story in Rapa Nui with a lot of chanting, grass skirts, and coconut bras. It was recommended by Rey, and it didn’t disappoint. It was well worth the 15,000 pesos ($25). We were both completely spent after that so we said good night and we’ll meet up tomorrow morning to check out that last cave that we missed today.