Sites on the North Coast of Easter Island, Chile

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

March 19

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.

Pavo Vaka Petroglyphs

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.

Pavo Vaka Petroglyphs

Pavo Vaka Petroglyphs

Large Canoe

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.

North Coast (1 of 1)-2

Beach at noon

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.

Anakena Beach

Anakena Beach

Monday morning

A nice beach for swimming it was quiet on Monday morning.

Ahu Nau NauAhu Nau Nau

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.

Ahu Nau Nau

In any case it’s a photogenic site as these maoi were better preserved after they had fallen.

Ahu Ature Huki,

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.

North Coast (15 of 15)

North Coast (14 of 15)

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.

North Coast (1 of 1)-4.jpg

Also the profile of the moai with palm trees in the background is still lit at this time of day.

Ovahe Beach

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.

Te Pito KuraTe Pito Kura

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.

Te Pito Kura

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.

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