This post continues a series on a 6 day trip to Easter Island in March of 2018. For this series I’ve divided the posts by area of the island and archaeological site rather than chronologically as we visited the top sites more than once. See the Easter Island page for an outline of all the posts in this series and our complete day by day itinerary.
To organize our independent tour of the island we used A Companion Guide to Easter Island which is a great resource for both archaeological information and photography tips including best time of day to visit the sites. We did find that they are tightening restrictions on visiting the sites, e.g., enforced visiting hours and strict limitations on where you are allowed to walk within the sites, making some routes suggested in the guidebook inaccessible.
North Coast Sites
After a sunrise visit to Ahu Tongariki we continued on to the north side of the island as the guidebook suggested that these sites were better visited in the morning light.
We started with the petroglyphs at Pavo Vaka and since the entrance is not guarded you can visit the site at any time. Petroglyphs are best seen in first or last light to be able to see the designs in the rocks.
When the sun is high the carvings disappear in the harsh light. Although it was difficult to make out many of the forms, the fish and the large canoes were clearly visible.
We then head down the road to Anakena Beach, the only real beach on the island. The sun was just starting to light the beach when we arrived. Although it was still before posted opening hours, the entrance here too was not guarded.
A nice beach for swimming it was quiet on Monday morning.
In front of the beach the well-restored Ahu Nau Nau was lit from the side but their topknots put their faces somewhat in shadow. I thought the site might be better lit on our return from a short walk to the beach, but this only left more of the moai faces in shadow. With the angle of the sun I’m not sure afternoon light would be better.
In any case it’s a photogenic site as these maoi were better preserved after they had fallen.
There is also a single moai, Ahu Ature Huki, a short ways away.
A couple of days later after a hike along the north side of the island we stopped by Ahu Nau Nau around noon for a second look.
The moai faces were in shadow but the back of the platform was lit and you can see the carvings on the backside of the moai as well as the platform.
Also the profile of the moai with palm trees in the background is still lit at this time of day.
The secret beach, Ovahe, is not so much of secret anymore and not much of beach. A family was already there when we arrived and the small beach was completely underwater. Maybe there would be some beach at low tide. On our way back to the car two other groups were on their way to this “secret” beach. We found it where the guidebook said it was. The turn off is across from the 40K sign along the main road about 1k before you reach Anakena Beach.
The largest moai, Te Pito Kura, looks more impressive from a distance as he is in pieces and it is difficult to get a sense of scale in order to appreciate just how large his ten meters is.
The assembly of round rocks on the beach to the left, sometimes called, “The Navel of the World”, has interesting stories associated with it but no one know what it was really used for.