Sites of the Central Southern 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.

Central Southern Coast

Central Southern Coast

There are two main sites, Ahu Akahanga and Ahu Hanga Te’e (Vaihu), on the southern coastal road that heads from town to the sunrise site of Ahu Tongariki. Both of these sites are examples of platforms with toppled moai and are interesting from an archaeological perspective. For me the most tantalizing aspect of this section of the island was the rocking wave action.

Access to both of these sites is more tightly controlled than suggested in the guidebook with manned gates that close at 6PM and last entry at 5:30.

Ahu Akahanga

March 16 – Afternoon Visit

Ahu Akahanga

Remains of boathouse

Besides the platform of toppled moai the site also has good examples of the remains of boathouses, the dwellings the Rapu Nui lived in. Unfortunately they now have the route suggested in the guidebook to see these remains “roped off”.

Ahu Akahanga

Marked path

Actually, their route markings were not very clear and following the books advice I ended up at the boathouse and was promptly scolded for not staying on the marked path.

Ahu AkahangaAhu AkahangaAhu Akahanga

Ahu Akahanga

Local Fisherman

Ahu Hanga Te’e (Vaihu)

March 17 – Afternoon Visit

Ahu Hanga Te’e (Vaihu)

At Vaihu they have two models of the boathouses the early Rapa Nui lived in. You can easily tell why they called them boat houses. They are basically an upside down boat with a stone front patio in front. We saw a couple of these patios when we were “illegally” touring the Ahu Akahanga site yesterday (see above).

Ahu Hanga Te’e (Vaihu)Ahu Hanga Te’e (Vaihu)Ahu Hanga Te’e (Vaihu)

The platform with fallen moai has a stunning setting, a rocky shore with waves crashing behind it. A couple of top knots complete the image. This site would also have good light in the morning.

Central Southern Coast

Drive Along the Southwestern Coast

March 17

Southwest Coast

This drive, heading up the coast from Vaihu instead of directly into town, is recommended in the guide for the views from the cliffs. I’m not sure we were on the right road the whole time as we ended up in the modern quarry at one point, but you can take the coastal road all the way to the tank farm and airport.

Southwest CoastSouthwest Coast

We returned to the cliffs one morning for sunrise.

Watching the Wave Action

March 20

Central Southern Coast

The southern coastline is awesome for watching waves crash, one of my favorite pastimes. If I thought the waves were rocking a day or two ago they were doubly rocking today. Huge waves crashing; the coastline a brilliant blue and frothy white.

Central Southern CoastCentral Southern Coast

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