North Coast Walk, 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 Walk

North Coast Walk

The long walk along the cliffs of the northwest corner of the island, highly recommended in the guidebook for its stunning views and unspoiled landscape, starts at Ahu Tepeu (just past Ahu Akivi in the center of the island) and continues around to Anakena Beach. In order to do this as a one way hike you would need a guide or arrange other transportation from Anakena Beach back to town,  so we did two separate out and back hikes – one starting at Anu Tepeu and heading north and the second, on the following morning, starting at Anakena Beach and heading west. There is no real trail to follow along this coast and sites are not marked so we don’t know exactly how far we walked.

March 20

We left the cabañas just before sunrise to take advantage of as much of the cool hours as possible. Although my heart was at the Ahu Tongariki, anxious to see what kind of sunrise we would have this morning, I really wanted to get some hiking in during the only cool hours of the day.

Ana Te Pahu Cave Site

Along the road to Ahu Tepeu you pass the Ana Te Pahu cave site. They now have the road blocked off a good 10-15 minute walk from the caves and then it’s another 20 minutes to Ahu Tepeu. Although we arrived before the posted opening hours we opened the roped gate to the road and walked in. It didn’t seem to be a problem.

Ana Te Pahu

Entrance to the cave

We got to the cave just before 9:00. There was enough light to tour most of this lava tube but a head lamp is a good idea for the darker corners.

Ana Te PahuAna Te Pahu

The site illustrates how the locals would have used this cave for living. It’s open to the sky in places where they grew bananas and did the cooking.

Ahu Tepeu

Ahu Tepeu

The guide book calls this place a hidden gem. Whether you will agree probably depends how burnt out you are on ahu ruins.

Ahu Tepeu

Set close to the cliffs overlooking the sea to the west it boasts a stunning setting, especially in the early morning when the sun is just coming over the hills to the east.

Ahu Tepeu

Front of the platform

Ahu Tepeu

Large boathouse foundation

The remains of the boathouses are impressive for their size, the largest ones found on the island.

Ahu Tepeu

The back wall of the platform is still intact and shows the interlocking stone technique used, something like at Vinapú, but the platform wall faces west and is in shadow until afternoon.

Ahu Tepeu

There is also an interesting moai head lying next to the platform which would be lit closer to mid-morning.

Walk Along the Northwest Coast

North Coast Walk

From Ahu Tepeu walk along the coast heading north. There is no real marked trail, just follow the coastline north. The way is very rocky in places, but you can’t get lost.

North Coast Walk

Coastline on the way back

At this time of morning it was very pleasant walking along the bluffs overlooking the sea and rocky coast. Though in the early morning the turbulent coastline below is cast in shadow. Views were better on the way back.

North Coast Walk (1 of 1)-2.jpg

Horses and cows graze in the pasture land. The light breeze at our back on the way out turned into a stiffer wind on our return but remained pleasant as the day heated up.

North Coast Walk

North Coast Walk

Chimango Caracara

We went as far and the first two ruin sites that we noticed. As sites are not marked we were not sure which ones they were.

North Coast Walk

The first one had an intact small moai face up.

North Coast Walk (1 of 1)-4.jpg

At the second there was a mostly intact platform back wall, but only smaller pieces of moai and not the large moai mentioned in the book that is supposed to be at Vai Matá. We walked for about 1.5 hours at leisurely pace from Ahu Tepeu, stopping to snap photos and so forth. The return took us an hour back to Ahu Tepeu and another 35 minutes back to the car.

Walk from Anakena Beach to Hanga O’teo Bay

March 21

The guidebook’s author, James Grant-Peterkin, mentions that Hango O’teo is his favorite spot on the island. He doesn’t say why but looking for a destination on the north coast of the island we decided to check it out.

North Coast Walk (25 of 33)

From the northwest side of the Anakena Beach we followed the road out continuing along the northwest coast. You can either follow the road to the bay, although parts of it are a bit sketchy, or you can keep closer to the coast following various short trails and bushwhacking in-between.

North Coast Walk (26 of 33)

We followed the coast out and the road back. This section of the coastline isn’t as pretty as being on the bluffs the previous morning. It’s not as grassy and there aren’t the cliffs looming over the rocky coast. Still, it’s a pleasant rocky coastline walk.

North Coast Walk (27 of 33)

Ahu

North Coast Walk (28 of 33)

Some kind of dwelling or storage structure

North Coast Walk (32 of 33)

Remnant of a boathouse

We passed a couple of ahu, with remnants of boathouses and moai.

North Coast Walk (30 of 33)

You can see the bay from a distance as the point along the shore sticks out and there is there is a caldera above it. There’s a building in the center of the caldera, but we didn’t go that far.

North Coast Walk (29 of 33)

Instead we found a great picnic spot overlooking the bay with the sun behind us.

North Coast Walk (33 of 33)

North Coast Walk (31 of 33)

Anakena Beach in the distance

We didn’t see a soul until we returned to Anakena Beach. It took us 1.5 hours there and 70 minutes on the return by the road at a leisurely pace.

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Orongo Village and other Southwest Sites, 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.

March 18

Orongo Village

Orongo Village

Orongo is a restored ceremonial village with awesome clifftop views. Like Rano Raraku quarry this site is limited to one visit. Unlike the quarry I had no reason to try a second. Open until 8PM during our stay (be sure to check hours as they change) we decided on a late visit hoping for better light and to avoid the morning crowds. This turned out to be a good choice in both regards.

Orongo Village

This was a seasonal and ceremonial site as it was an impractical to live here permanently as it was too far from the sea to catch fish, their main food source.

Orongo Village

The guide book suggests spending some time here which we were prepared to do but there isn’t that much to see here. It’s a stunning setting. Restored stacked-stone houses built in the grass lands overlooking the deep blue sea on one side at the Rano Kau Crater on the other.

Orongo Village

Rano Kau Crater

Orongo Village

Petroglyphs

Orongo Village

Nevertheless the path around the complex can’t take 15 minutes to walk. We went around twice and spent some time contemplating the environment and were still done in less than an hour. If you want the face of the boathouses lit afternoon light is best.

Orongo Village

Be sure to read about the bird man competition in the guidebook for a better understanding and perspective on the site.  The short version is every year they had a competition to decide which tribal chief would be head chief. Each chief would pick a representative from his tribe to compete.

Orongo Village

When the Sooty Terns started to nest on the small island off this end of the island, the competitors swam out to the island to retrieve an egg. The representative that got the first egg back to the main island un-broken earned his chief the position of head chief for the year.

Rano Kau Crater

On the road to Orongo is the viewpoint for the Rano Kau Crater with views into the crater and out to the sea. We stopped by here late morning after visiting Vinapú (see below).

Rano Kau Crater

Vinapú – Late Morning Visit

Vinapú

Vinapú is known for the stone work in the platform which has been compared to that of the Incas. While similar in appearance the guidebook notes that the stonework here is a thick façade rather than large stones set together as at Inca sites. The façade is lit in the morning and remains lit for a good part of the day.

VinapúVinapú

We arrived at Vinapú around 10:30 and encountered a couple of small tour groups. They left before us and we had the site mostly to ourselves.

VinapúVinapú

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Center Island Sites, 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.

Center Island Sites

Center Island Sites (21 of 24)

Ahu Akivi from a distance

The central highlands of Easter Island offer expansive views out to the sea as well several interesting archeological sites including Ahu Akivi, a stunning sight when the last rays of the sun hit these majestic moai.

Ahu Akivi

March 16

Center Island

The late afternoon light on the green and golden hills was beautiful on the drive up to Ahu Akiva. The dark clouds passing overhead threatened rain creating a dramatic mood.

Ahu Akivi

The restored Ahu Akiva with seven standing moai is best seen late in the day. On this afternoon the passing clouds sometimes left the maoi in shadow but soon the sun would come out again leaving them brilliantly lit against a backdrop of dark stormy clouds.

Ahu Akivi

You can’t get very close to the front of this platform. This is true of all the more intact sites. You can, however, walk all the way around the platform.

Ahu Akivi

Ahu Akivi

March 20

Center Island Sites (22 of 24)

Center Island Sites (23 of 24)

We thought that Akivi might be interesting at sunset as it faces west. We arrived close to closing time, 8PM. Luckily, the guard at the gate wasn’t too picky about folks walking around the platform after hours but we did have to leave our car at the gate.

Center Island Sites (24 of 24)

Although the moai glow in the last light the sun soon slips behind the trees so there is no silhouette view of the moai against the setting sun.

Puna Pau Quarry

March 19 – Afternoon Visit

Center Island Sites (11 of 24)

This small crater is the quarry where they carved the red top knots. On the way up the hill to the rim of the crater there are a few impressive top knots scattered about still waiting for their placement on top of the moai abandoned at the quarry.

Center Island Sites (12 of 24)

Inside the crater

Center Island Sites (13 of 24)

View from the top of the crater

Although there is not much inside the crater the views from here are worth the short climb.

Ahu Huri A Urenga

March 19 – Afternoon vist

Center Island Sites (15 of 24)

Despite the long name this is a single moai in a field along the road from Hanga Roa town to Anakena beach. He is known for his four hands.

Center Island Sites (9 of 24)

Continuing on to Anakena Beach the road across the center of the island passes through a eucalyptus forest and beautiful open pasture land.

Center Island Sites (8 of 24)

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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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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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Rano Raraku Quarry, 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.

Morning Visit to Rano Raraku Quarry

March 17

Rano Raraku Quarry

Rano Raraku, the quarry where the moai statues were carved from the mountain face, was my favorite site on the island, both for the history it represents and for the photographic opportunities it offers.

Rano Raraku Quarry

Morning

Rano Raraku Quarry

Afternoon

The site is a grassy hill of half-buried moai waiting to be finished and taken to their intended platforms. That day never came as the site was suddenly abandoned. Now the hillside remains as a time capsule demonstrating the fascinating story of how the moai were carved and transported.

Rano Raraku Quarry

The site is also a visual spectacle, as if the layout and angle of the stone statues were intentionally and artistically designed waiting to be photographed.

Rano Raraku Quarry

Notice the large moai in the upper center of the stone face

Rano Raraku Quarry

From the upper pathways you can see how the figures were carved as they lie prone in the stone. The front side was carved in this position, then the backside was carved out releasing it from the stone. It was then tipped upright into a hole where the backside of the figure could be finished.

Rano Raraku Quarry

On the back side of the quarry is a crater. On this morning it was a short 10 minute walk up a muddy path as it had rained the previous night. The lake inside of the crater, one of the few fresh water sources of the island, was pretty low in mid-March.

Rano Raraku Quarry

The grassy hills around the lake were a brilliant green with a few moai standing on one side in the distance. They don’t let you get very close.  Here most photos in the morning light are into the sun.

Rano Raraku Quarry

As the quarry is popular they now restrict visitors to one visit to the site, so you have to decide on a morning or afternoon visit. According to the guidebook, the site is best visited in the early morning or mid to late afternoon.  I decided on an early morning visit thinking we would have better light.

Rano Raraku Quarry

Located a short distance from Ahu Tongariki, the quarry is easy to reach after a sunrise visit to the former. Unfortunately, I had the park’s opening hours wrong. The hours listed in the guidebook are out of date. The correct hours are printed on the front of the National Park map they give you with your park entrance ticket.

Rano Raraku Quarry

Arriving at 9AM I asked if the site was open. The park ranger told me it didn’t open until 9:30 but I could ask at the ticket office if we could go in. The entrance attendant checked us in and let us through a good 20 minutes before 9:30.  Consequently we had the quarry to ourselves for about 30 minutes as the sun was just making its way around the hill.

Rano Raraku Quarry

Around 10:00 we headed back toward the entrance and on to the crater. More and more small groups were entering the quarry. Just before 11:00 when we were leaving three big van loads arrived.

Talking My Way in for a Second Visit

March 20

Rano Raraku Quarry

Eduardo, the owner of the guesthouse where we were staying, mentioned on our arrival that you could possibly talk your way in for a second visit. He said that if you try you should be very polite and not argue. Thinking that afternoon light might be better than morning’s, I decided to try to talk my way in for an afternoon visit.

Rano Raraku Quarry

Ship carved on the belly of the moai

Rano Raraku Quarry

Upper right large moai still attached to the stone face

They really frown upon second visits unless your first visit was hampered by rain or some other natural disaster. My excuse, wanting to photograph the site with different light, turned out not to be an acceptable reason, but I adhered to Eduardo’s advice, accepted what she told me and simply looked sad.  I should also mention that I made my case in Spanish hoping for a more sympathetic response.

Rano Raraku Quarry

The Twins

After lecturing me for a few minutes on why a second visit was not possible  she suddenly gave in and allowed me 20 minutes in the quarry. Thrilled, I stuck to my 20 minute gift and hit the highlights of what I wanted to photograph again – for sure the twins as they are only lit in the afternoon and the view of Ahu Tongariki in the distance as it too is only an afternoon shot.

Rano Raraku Quarry

Morning view towards Tongariki

Rano Raraku Quarry

Afternoon view towards Tongariki

Overall both times of the day have their photo opportunities, though I think there is more to work with as the sun works its way around the hillside in the afternoon. The other advantage of this second visit was a killer blue bird day. Although clouds can add interest in certain settings the blue sky really sets off the gray stone of the moai.

Rano Raraku Quarry

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Ahu Tongariki, 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.

Ahu Tongariki

Ahu Tongariki

Tongariki, where 15 moai stand facing the rising sun, is the largest platform and most notable site on the island. All sites where the moai are standing have been restored as all the moai were toppled centuries before. Still, it’s an impressive site and worth the early rise to see the sun’s rays between the statues. We visited the site three times for sunrise and once in the afternoon.

March 17

Woke to bursts of rain during the night. The rain was forecasted overnight but was supposed to clear by day break. Early morning I peeked out the door. It was still pitch black but I could see stars. There was hope for a good sunrise.

Sunrise is late here in mid-March – not until around 8:15. The electricity went out just as we were leaving the house at 7:15, making the dark night even darker. There were a few cars on the road, most likely heading to Tongariki, as we were, for the sunrise, one of the must dos on a visit to Easter Island.

Along the coast voluminous dark shadows loomed over the sea as it started to get light. The large blobs on the horizon worried me as they could potentially spoil sunrise.

There were just a few cars on the road but when we arrived at Tongariki the parking lot was filling quickly. The site opens before 8:00. A subdued assembly of tourists was spread out in the large grassy area in front of the 15 moai on the largest platform in Polynesia. From time to time you would see a camera flash but mostly people were just hanging out in the darkness, staring out at the moai and waiting for the show.

Ahu Tongariki

The moments before sunrise can often have some of the deepest colors. This morning was rather drab and I didn’t think it would amount to much, but just before sunrise the clouds nearest to where the sun was coming up started to turn a brilliant orange-red.

Ahu Tongariki

Rounded cumulous clouds started building to south. Hints of color began to appear in every direction. Before long there was a great pink streak across the sky. Not such a blah sunrise after all.

Ahu TongarikiAhu Tongariki

If you want to catch the sun rising between the moai, time of year and where you stand makes a big difference. In mid-March the sun rises behind the left side of the platform and would be moving further left away from the moai heading towards winter solstice in June. To see the rising sun more in the middle of the platform you should time your visit closer to summer solstice in December.

Ahu Tongariki

Ahu Tongariki

Vast size of the platform

Ahu Tongariki

The back of the platform is nicely lit at this hour and has some interesting angles for photography.

Ahu TongarikiAhu Tongariki

Early morning is also a good time to check out the petroglyphs at the back of the site near the wall as the ground level carvings are more easily seen before the sun gets too high.

Ahu Tongariki

The Traveler, located near the entrance, is a moai that did a tour in Japan in 1982 and was successfully returned to the island.

Ahu Tongariki

Most everyone disperses from the site shortly after sunrise. If you don’t make it for sunrise it’s really better to visit this platform in the late afternoon when the sun isn’t directly behind the moai.

March 19

Ahu Tongariki

Ahu Tongariki

Shadows lightened to show the people at the site

On our second sunrise visit to Ahu Tongariki there were more people than there were two days earlier, including a couple of tour groups. This time I tried standing further back from the moai to be able to see the sea at base of the statues and maybe catch the sun’s rays between them.

Ahu Tongariki

Certainly this sunrise was not as dramatic as two days earlier, but it’s a delightful time of day to be out. The only time it is really cool.

Ahu Tongariki

Ahu TongarikiAhu Tongariki

Be sure to check out the backs of the moai before leaving sunrise. They glow orange with the first rays of light.

Ahu Tongariki

March 21

On our third sunrise visit there were even more people than at the first two. It was still not crowded per se but there were too many people standing on rocks, some of which were interfering with the silhouettes of the moai against the lit sky.

Ahu Tongariki

Like the other two mornings there was not much color until the sun was up.

I had higher hopes on the drive out to the site as there were low stratus clouds over the sea which can light up beautifully if other factors are right. While they did light up some it wasn’t as bright as the first morning.

Ahu Tongariki Afternoon Visit

March 20

Ahu Tongariki

Don’t let a sunrise visit be your only visit to Tonganriki. The faces and other details of these impressive moai are much more visible in the afternoon light, preferably as late as possible. The site closes at 6 with 5:30 the last entry.

Ahu Tongariki

When we arrived just at 5:30 the site was nearly empty except for one young couple with a tripod trying to get a photo or video of them lip locked in front of the majestic row.

Ahu TongarikiAhu Tongariki

Ahu Tongariki

Coastline behind the platform

Ahu Tongariki (1 of 1)-2.jpg

The Traveler

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