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Polynesia Part II: Easter Island & Mexico City via LATAM Business & Alaska First

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Old Jan 12, 18, 8:38 pm
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Great report, very detailed! I really appreciate the restaurant portions of the report. I feel dining is one thing lacking on this forum. Pujol has been on my radar, and it looks great, but I'm not sure if the pairing worked. The mescal in particular seems like it would completely overpower the dishes. Looking forward to the next report!
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Old Jan 12, 18, 10:52 pm
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Not only is an Award impossible to obtain to Easter Island but I was unable to even find an economy seat in January or February to Easter Island from Santiago. And the fares are close to $1,000 just between these 2 cities alone. What was the "discounted Business fare?" I assume it was from Mexico City to Easter Island? Another island that is interesting is Robinson Crusoe Island.
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Old Jan 13, 18, 9:59 am
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Looks like you had a great time in Mexico City! My sister just got back from visiting there and talked about all the incredible meals she had. I'm now really wanting to go! The food pictures you have here are amazing - wow!

LATAM looks like they offered a nice product/service on the flight down to SCL. Looking forward to the next part.

~Matthew
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Old Jan 14, 18, 4:01 am
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Looking forward to the rest of your report
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Old Jan 16, 18, 7:59 pm
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Originally Posted by Anlun View Post
Great report, very detailed! I really appreciate the restaurant portions of the report. I feel dining is one thing lacking on this forum. Pujol has been on my radar, and it looks great, but I'm not sure if the pairing worked. The mescal in particular seems like it would completely overpower the dishes. Looking forward to the next report!
Thank you Anlun. I agree - the dining parts seem to be lacking in the trip report area, and there are only so many photos of plane food we can take

Originally Posted by Bretteee View Post
Not only is an Award impossible to obtain to Easter Island but I was unable to even find an economy seat in January or February to Easter Island from Santiago. And the fares are close to $1,000 just between these 2 cities alone. What was the "discounted Business fare?" I assume it was from Mexico City to Easter Island? Another island that is interesting is Robinson Crusoe Island.
Thanks Bretteee. I found this particular deal in this thread in the Premium Fares section of Flyertalk. The Robinson Crusoe Island unfortunately didn't make the cut this time. It was a quick and easy decision when it was located.

Originally Posted by 757 View Post
Looks like you had a great time in Mexico City! My sister just got back from visiting there and talked about all the incredible meals she had. I'm now really wanting to go! The food pictures you have here are amazing - wow!

LATAM looks like they offered a nice product/service on the flight down to SCL. Looking forward to the next part.

~Matthew
Thanks 757. Mexico City was all about the food. The sights were a little meh. . .

Originally Posted by camsean View Post
Looking forward to the rest of your report
Thanks camsean. More coming up right now.
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Old Jan 16, 18, 8:18 pm
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Latam Airlines
Business Class (Z)
SCL – IPC (Santiago Arturo Merino Benitez Airport – Rapa Nui Mataveri International)
LA 841
Oct 12, 2017
Booked: Boeing 787-800
Flown: Boeing 787-900
Departure: 9:30 AM
Arrival: 1:25 PM


We arrived into Santiago and passed by the "no longer for Canadians" reciprocity fee. Australia is the last remaining country that seems to have a fee. There is some sharp black material covering the sign where the Canadian flag used to be. The desks were unattended anyway.







We collected our bags and headed landside through immigration and customs. There was no convenient transfer desk or sterile connections passageway. Instead, we took the elevator upstairs to the LATAM Vuelos’ Nacionales desk on the top departure level. Since we already had our bags tagged, we were just going to drop the bags and head for breakfast. The LATAM Vuelos’ Nacionales line dragon directed us to head to LATAM Preferente check in the end of the terminal on the 4th floor for the executive check in. It wasn’t easily marked but if you’ve been around a few of these more “private” business class check in areas, it was pretty easy to find if you knew what you were looking for.



The LATAM Preferente check in was at the left end of the departure hall.

















At the LATAM Preferente Check in, they weighed our bags and accepted them into baggage check as is. I asked if there was a lounge on the domestic side and I got some “fake laugher” back from two check in agents. It was the kind of laughter you get at a cocktail party when the joke wasn’t funny but people were still trying to be polite.

"No – still no lounge…"

Most of LATAM’s domestic flights don’t have a business class cabin so it makes some sense that they don’t offer any lounge. There was a priority pass lounge there but we don’t have a membership and didn’t bother paying the entry fee.

We had a café con leche at the Gatsby bar on the public side while we killed off a several hour connection. We watched the sun come up slowly. We skipped breakfast since we both ate on the plane. Service here was abysmal for what it was worth. It was over 25 minutes to get served for a coffee since everyone was getting the breakfast buffet. This is not a complaint, but more of an observation. Eventually, we headed over from one end of the terminal to the other to the domestic side and re-cleared security.











The large suitcase display atrium that used to be over here in the domestic atirum has been filled in, and now contains shops.



It was a bit larger than I was led to believe on the domestic secure side. There was a Starbucks with Chile mugs, a Fachon store selling foie gras and champagne of all things. . . Perfect for your patagonia adventure experience!!



There was also a book swap – something that I’d never seen in an airport itself but something that certainly speaks to Chile’s high rate of literacy in its population. The selection today was a bit lean.



I took some photos from the Starbucks in the sterile area of the runway apron. Little did I know that we would be riding on the last plane of three in this photo (right hand side).





We found our gates downstairs in the bus zone at Gate 35. Easter Island is known 3 different ways: it’s English name as Easter Island, the Chilean name as Isla de la Pasqua, and the Islander’s name as Rapa Nui. Today's flight was marked in the Chilean name of Isla de la Pasqua, but strangely our boarding card read the English name of "Easter Island".







We boarded at Bus Gate 35. Although there was a Preferente priority line, it only allowed access to the bus first. We were on the first bus out of what appeared to be three. We were bussed over to the apron and climbed the stairs onto a Boeing 787-900. It was my first time riding on this type, since I’ve always been on the 800 series.











Once we had climbed the stairs, we headed over to our seats on the right hand side of the plane. The plane was new but surprisingly the seat tables were marked up a bit.















A pre departure beverage was offered of orange or water. There was no champagne it seems and we didn’t ask.





The in flight entertainment was of the same on demand variety and offered enough to keep us occupied.





We had a trolly service of Spanish magazines and amenity kits. These domestic kits were a “business”reuseable bag containing slippers and, well the bag. It wasn’t super exciting compared to the medium / long haul segments.



We got underway and had great sunny views of the vineyards on out way out of town. Within about 10 minutes, we were over Valpariso as we headed westward to IPC.













I was super excited to be underway as for aviation geeks like myself, the Easter Island flight had some unusual characteristics. The IPC airport runway is so remote that in 1987, it was upgraded by NASA as a remote space shuttle landing site. There are also rules about flights into the airport as governed by the Chilean Air Authorities. As there are no taxi ways, only one aircraft can approach at any given time. The closest secondary airport is GMR which is some 1,600 miles away.

Once underway, printed menus were distributed. Instead of the full elaborate wine list presentation, we had a small sheet attached to the main menu. Still, I have to hand it to LATAM for having a printed menu on a 4 hour domestic flight. It’s something we don’t always get in Canada or the USA.









We had a breakfast served on board. The choices were omelette and meats and cheeses. I went with the omlette which was plain. The coffee again was not very exciting.



After the meal, I crashed out and slept pretty much the whole way to IPC. I didn’t have lots of sleep on the last flight so I took advantage of it and hit snooze.

We started our descent, which seemed like it was in the middle of nowhere. We dropped through some thunderclouds and were able to get our first glances of the barren island. It was a lot like landing in under developed countries like Cuba, Myanmar since there was not a lot on the island.











When we parked on the apron, it was startinng to thundershower. Since there are no gates here, we got a bit soaked getting into the building. There were no complimentary umbrellas here like on our Air Tahiti flight. I guess they are running on a bit of a budget if they are selling business class fares with 30 hours of flying for $1,100 USD. Our 1 hr Air Tahiti flight was $500 by comparison. =)











We purchased our park pass at the airport with “clean bills only” $80 USD each , valid for 10 days and only 1 entry to the Volcano and the Quarry. We had brought cash with us and they didn’t accept credit cards.

The bags were eventually put out on the only belt at the airport- quaint wooden structure.



In summary, it was a neat flight over to IPC. It was a long way at about 4 ½ hours; it was similar to a trans continental flight in the Americas. LATAM provided a comfortable seat along with a single meal offering. The amenity kit and food itself was forgettable but I can’t complain about the awesome seat. The fact that we landed at Easter Island was pretty cool too!!
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Old Jan 16, 18, 8:30 pm
  #22
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Taura’a Hotel
Hanga Roa,
Easter Island


There aren’t any major chain hotels on Easter Island. The whole place is like Hawaii of the 1940’s; not developed and wholly peaceful. I also understand that there is a special rule that indicates that only local Rapa Nui can own property on Easter Island. I ended up checking with Trip Advisor and the Lonely Planet guidebook and ended up with the Taura’a Hotel booked through Expedia. Their hotel website was quite dated and didn’t allow booking direct so we just booked through Expedia. The property had excellent reviews and warm hospitality. I considered the luxury Explora property but decided against it due to its price ($700 USD) per night and the fact that it was well removed from the main town of Hanga Roa. I was looking to get a more grass roots connected feel to the area and being out of town wouldn’t really accomplish this goal.

We were picked up by who I initally thought was the owner of the property in an older van. Free airport transfers seem to be included in most of the accommodation stays on Easter Island. I laughed a bit as I dragged my Tumi through the mud parking lot thanks to the recent thundershowers. We had a very short 4 minute drive over to the Tauraa hotel.

The Taura’a hotel is well situated right off one of the main streets in Hanga Roa. The property shows much better than in the photos. It was exceptionally clean and well maintained.











We were led to the room in the lower annex and provided a welcome drink. As we settled into the room, Edith came over to introduce herself and explain the property. She was very friendly and chatty. The room overlooked a local garden.











The room showed well. The furnishings were basic but it was more than comfortable for a 5 night stay considering it wasn’t franchsied or otherwise part of a chain. The mattresses were much better than what I was expecting and we had a very comfortable sleep for a local hotel.





The room also offered a small fridge which was large enough to store wine, a kettle with instant coffee and a stand up shower bathroom.





One thing worth mentioning is that the property, along with many others on Easter Island, doesn’t offer included soap, shampoo or conditioner with the room. I had run out about halfway through the trip and had to rely on the overnight miniatures that are usually in my rollie Tumi. Make sure you pack what you need, unless you plan on buying some that has been freighted from the mainland. It is also worth mentioning that the hotel does not offer air conditioning. At the time, this was not an issue but in the warmer months, it could get quite warm with the humidity on the island.

Ultimately, we were very happy with this choice and I'd recommend this property as a place to stay in Hanga Roa. Bill and Edith also offer island tours, although we didn't end up booking with them in the end. The property was really comfortable for a rustic adventure and the location couldn't really be beat.
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Old Jan 16, 18, 8:42 pm
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Hanga Roa
Easter Island
Day of Arrival


As the thundershower clouds lifted, we later attended up to reception and met her husband Bill. He was very pleasant and offered to give us a lift around town and a brief tour. Seeking adventure, we declined and set out walking on our own.

We walked from the hotel down Ave Atamu Tekena towards the harbour Caleta Hanga Roa. The weather was a bit stormy but it came in waves and would clear up in about 10 minutes after the showers passed. The roads in town are all cobblestoned, which made for an interesting sound as the cars and trucks passed over them.





We were a bit snacky so we headed down to the water to seek out some food. We took in a view of the harbour, seeing our first moai that was implanted and placed against the harbour. There were a few small fishing boats and other small boats that were perhaps used for tour groups.

















We arrived to Pea; a small place on the shoreline. We enjoyed the first of many Pisco Sours’ and a French fries snack on an open air patio. It was a beautiful view and to our surprise, there were several (3+) turtles swimming in the bay that could be seen from the deck. This was pretty odd, and even in Hawaii, we usually only see turtles near the beach - not near structures where people frequent.











The weather turned quickly and the thundershowers that we had quickly evaporated, fading away to bright sunshine amid dreamy clouds. After our snack, we headed northwards on foot towards the site of Ahu Tahni. We past our first moai at Ahu Tautira; two lonely moai overlooking what is now a soccer field. We passed through some jagged coast line which would become really familiar throughout our time on the island.









On our walk up, we found a nice sheltered bay for swimming. We would later come back here during the trip to spend the day in the sun. We also found a few moai; including one of the few on the island with a topknot that actually had eyes on them. These moai are absolutely massive for the most part and are simply stunning the first time that you see them.













We continued on the shoreline walk and spent some time in the afternoon at the awesome Ahu Tahni. It’s a large area shaped in a bowl that has moai with the ocean in the background. It is beautiful sight with moai overlooking the ocean. This was the area to come for sunsets, as we did twice on this trip. This site became one of my favourite places to visit on the trip, in part thanks to the awesome views at sunset, but also because it was so easily accessible from our hotel in Hanga Roa.















We walked back towards the Taura’a hotel and passed by the Hanga Roa graveyard, one of the few on the island.





For some strange reason which I couldn’t figure out, while on the island, my iPhone continuously showed as being two hours ahead. My phone believed that it was 6:04 PM, when it was actually 4:04 PM. This happened to both our iPhones on this trip. I've never had this happen before internationally, so if anyone had the same thing happen to them, I'd love to know why!



We were feeling hungry by this point, and ended up walking back towards Hana Hoku, an outdoor patio restaurant that was highly recommended by Lonely Planet. It had a charming but rustic feel to it, with fresh ocean breezes.











I enjoyed some tuna, which was the food staple of our trip. We were able to get some reasonably priced Castilero del Diablo Carmeniere. I was expecting over the top wine prices, but it was pretty reasonable considering the distances that it had traveled. I suspect that the transport costs were subsidized by the government.





We closed with a beautiful but still sunset outside of the restaurant overlooking the harbour.



We headed back to the Taura'a hotel with Catholic Church bells in the background ringing at 7 PM. Wow - what a surreal experience to be all the way out here surrounded by turtles, tuna and moai!
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Old Jan 16, 18, 11:09 pm
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If I am correct the Explora is $700 per person per day. Did you enjoy Easter Island? Is it worth it?
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Old Jan 17, 18, 1:56 am
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In regards to your bag being searched I imagine that TSA did the search during your connection at SEA. My experience when flying from Canada to the USA is that TSA searches my checked bag(s) during any connection at a USA airport.
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Old Yesterday, 12:57 am
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Originally Posted by Bretteee View Post
If I am correct the Explora is $700 per person per day. Did you enjoy Easter Island? Is it worth it?
Yes, Bretteee, I believe that is about the price of it. I suppose it is worth it for some people, but I don't think you need to come to Easter Island to experience a $700 a night resort. If that's the case, the Maldives is more your type of beach holiday.

Originally Posted by Loose Cannon View Post
In regards to your bag being searched I imagine that TSA did the search during your connection at SEA. My experience when flying from Canada to the USA is that TSA searches my checked bag(s) during any connection at a USA airport.
It's funny Loose Cannon, TSA is usually pretty good at putting slips in my bag. The next thing to look for is a stamped TSA search location on the card; if you get one.
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Old Yesterday, 1:29 am
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Easter Island
Day 2


We had booked some guided tours to help us understand our time on the island. Unfortunately, the tours that we wanted did not completely align with our dates. As a result, day one on the island was self guided. I walked up from the Hotel Taura’a and rented a 4 X 4 light truck from Oceanic car rental for 35,000 CP ($56 USD). We ended up with a small Suzuki with only 113,000 km on it. Checking the night before, there was no reservation needed and I just turned up at 9 AM and got the best available car.

There were a few dings and dents on the car based on the vehicle inspection on the right hand side of the form.



We set outfor the day guided with only a map and a guidebook. We set out northwestward around the island. The goal was to see as much as possible of the better sites that we would visit with our tour group, so that we could enjoy them at our own pace. Driving, like mainland Chile, is on the right.



We started off with some terrific rugged coastline. Wildlife was everywhere; scattered all round without much fear of being approached by humans.















The surf line on the north side of the island was pretty unreal. It was similar to the ragged coast line of some parts of Hawaii and I would imagine parts of Iceland. Majestic.











Moving onwards on the tundra like landscape, after a short while, we came across our first sight.







We arrived to Ahu Vailhu, which was the site of a prehistoric village. Our entry passes were stamped, and we entered. As was the case with most of the sites, we were the only visitors here.

There were several moai that had been pushed down adjacent to the ocean. The surf crashing in behind them made for an impressive sight. There were several top knots (the hats) lying nearby.



















We departed Ahu Vaijhu and headed onwards through ever changing weather. Throughout our visit to the island, we had periods of intense sun, but also periods of thundershowers and intense gloomy-ness. It was similar to changing weather patterns like living in the mountains, but instead we were in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.





Our next site visit was Akahanga. It is a archeological sea side city site with several toppled moai. We didn’t know this at the time, and there are few plaques around to explain all the features. We would revisit this site later in the trip so I’ll save the explanations for the second visit. For this visit, we again took a walk around and appreciated the area that was once a village and admired the falled moai. This time, they were scattered all around the village area in different states (singular and group). It still amazes me that the Rapa Nui used to live in these harsh and windy sea side conditions and managed to live for several generations.

















Our next stop today was over to Ahu Tonjariki. It’s the site that is the most well known out of the Easter Island sites. It is the largest ahu on Easter Island and has 15 moai that were restored into an upright condition under a cooperative agreement between the Tandano Limited (a crane company) and the University of Chile. Most of the moai were toppled during the earlier civil war, then swept inland by a tsunami. They’ve now been restored into a beautiful condition. All of the moai face the sunset for the summer solstice.

It was super neat to see these gorgeous moai all on your own without the pressure of being moved along with a tour group. We spent about 45 minutes here taking it all in through varying weather conditions. Again, the sites were deserted and we were all on our own.























Strangely, there was a sixteenth moai lying nearby. There was apparently room on the ahu platform for it but it never made it there.





The site allows you to walk pretty much around the entire ahu platform. I could have spent hours sitting here watching these moai; wondering about all the things they would have seen in their lifetime.









We wandered through the back to see the reconstructed ahu platform. You can see the reverse view from here towards the quarry, along with the awesome view towards the water.







We then left the spectatular sites of Ahu Tonjariki and headed counterclockwise around the island. We ended up on some rural road that seemed to be away from the few white tour vans. The road followed the coast line and contained super forthy white surf all along. We of course stopped for a few photographs along the way.









We then made our final stop of the day at the picture postcard beach of Anakena. This has to be one of the most beautiful island beaches I’ve been to. It has all the features you’d find in a travel brochure magazine with implanted coconut trees (from French Polynesia) that make the place look like an island paradise. You had to pass through the coconut grove to get to the beach.









History has it that the islanders came ashore at this particular spot so it has some significance to the Rapa Nui. We sacked out here for about 90 minutes and took in the sun.













There are also several moai nearby on an ahu with a wind swept field of sand in front of them. Four out of the five had top knots which was an unusually high percentage.











We stayed here until the weather turned. Evidencing the changing weather of Easter Island, we got assaulted by a major tropical thunderstorm. It turned the beach paradise into a soggy space. We had to run for cover. I ended up losing (or redistributing the wealth of) my Maui Jim sunglasses here as we scrambled for cover.





We headed back to the rental truck and headed back to Hanga Roa; a full day of sightseeing accomplished. It was great to see the sights at your own pace but it was definitely lacking in full understanding since it’s an area that doesn’t offer a lot of explanatory plaques. We would get better understanding over the course of the next few days as we did our guided tours.
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Old Yesterday, 7:08 pm
  #28
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Easter Island
Day 3


We had breakfast at the hotel, which was included in our room rate. I had reserached on Trip Advisor and Easter Island Travel was the top rated tour. The comments generally favored the depth and breath of experience of the tour guides.

Going in, the website was professional and they offered a full Easter Island experience in two days / two tours. They also offered guided walks to some of the lessor known sites; a feature we would have used if we were staying for a longer period of time. We booked both tours about 5 days in advance at $90 USD per person per tour. They also offered fully private tours at $145 USD per person if that’s your thing. I was a little worried about the LATAM Easter Island Fare not being honored and didn’t want to end up with a whole bunch of sunk costs, which is why we booked late. In the end, I would recommend booking a little further in advance as we didn’t get our first choice of tour days and had to spend the first day on our own in Easter Island without a tour guide. Either way, their tours were excellent and I would easily recommend them.

Getting back to the day, we were picked up by Easter Island Tours guide Patricio. We had booked on the “Megaliths” tour today. There were only 2 other people in the tour so it was the 5 of us altogether for the day. Our guide Patricio had lived on the island of Rapa Nui for 40 years. He had many interesting stories of moving here and marrying a local Rapa Nui woman. He several great stories of having witnessed the island change from having only 6 cars to now several hundreds of them.


A Megaliths tour map courtesy of Easter Island Tours

We went over to our initial site Ahu Vinapu which was just off the airport runway. It was a bit of a grey day this morning. We saw the cominbations and formations of new ahu landings versus old ones. This included an explanation of the precision that was used in constructing the ahu platforms. I didn’t realize that the ahu’s were sacred ground where the remains of the elders and family members were buried.

One rectangular piece is a great example of how precise the platforms were cut. It was “inca style” block cutting although it was not proven if the Incas from Peru had visited easter islald or whether the technique just made sense.

















Most of the Rapa Nui history was passed down through oral traditions. As with other cultures, sometimes there are slight variences in the stories. We also saw one of the few female moai statues that was remaining. It was a small upright column that had breasts on it. It was the sole one standing up in this photo and it didn’t look like much. It was unusal as all the other moai were of men.



We also learned about the civil war that occurred on the island. In short, we learned bout long ears versus the short ears. The long ears were the royalty of the island having likely wore decorations in the form of heavy earings that made their lobes stretch long. The long ears and “employed” the short ears as their slaves. At some point, there was a civil war and the battle that resulted in many of the statues being toppled over. It also likely resulted in the freezing of moai construction projects as when the island was discovered, many elements were in a frozen state of construction.





Departing the site, we headed over to Hanga Poukara. We looked at some jagged volcanic coast line. Very beautiful with lots of water. Our visit today had lots of wild horses roaming through the coast. This was a similar feature to other visits we had on the island. I couldn’t figure out whether anyone owned these but they seemed to wander free all over the place.









We made it past the horses and over to the coastline. The rough rocks made it for a spectaular sound with the waves crashing ashore that photos don’t do real justice.









We left Hanga Poukara and travelled up the road to Akahanga, a site we visited yesterday. We looked at different areas. It was more symbolic with a guide as we were able to get the interpretations on many items. Overall the site was a large village like an inca village. We were able to inspect the small house foundations for sleeping (left side of the photograph). The houses, in that time, were just used for sleeping, and all the living (cooking, eating, cleaning) occurred outside of the sleeping area. You can also see the proximity of the houses to the fallen moai on the shoreline (in the distance).







Similar to the archeological ruins of Egypt, each site has some unique features to it that make them special and unique. At this site, we looked at several toppled moai with particular examination for the eye sockets and their formation. History described that most of the finishing touches for the moai were constructed when they were finally mounted on the platform. The moai were made to be representations of the elders of the community after they had passed away.





This particular site had some hyrogliphics carved into the nearby rock at the base of the toppled moai.







Unusually so, this was one of the only sites that had a toppled “baby” moai. It was reported to be initially on a local platform now resting on its back with a view of the ocean. It’s always hard to imagine the death of a child and I can’t help but wonder the circumstances of how this one became to be imortalized in a moai statue.





We wandered through the village looking at features of the toppled moai. The Akahanga site was among the largest of our visit so there was lots to see with the guide.







On our way out, we looked at at a shelter cave at AkaHenga. Again, it was just for sleeping in not for living in.









We left Akahanga and headed up the road to Te Ara O Te Mora. All of the moai were chiseled from the Rano Raraku quarry, which was just up the road. Something happened on the island, either a civil war or population starvation, which caused all the production activity and moai to stop suddenly. Te Ara O Te Mora was an example of this: a massive maoi that likely weighed several tons that sat frozen in transit… miles from it’s final destination. It was similar to the mysteries of how the Pyramids of Giza were built.. did they get rolled? Dragged? It’s never been definitely or scientifically solved.







The site was again next to rugged coastline.





We then traveled onwards to Rano Raraku; the quarry and the initial carving site for more than the 900+ moai around Easter Island. The quarry was the market where you could buy a moai for your ahu and have it (presumably) transported to your village. The top knots were made a different volcanic rock from elsewhere on the island.

The Government of Chile has it set up that you can only visit the quarry once per $80 USD park pass. I assume this is due to crowding and capacity concerns, but it was pretty quiet on our visit. It's a bit sneaky because I would have loved to spend lots of time here.

We stopped near the entrance to get some initial photos. It was very impressive with the mountain in the background with the light hitting it just right.









We went up to the admission gate and a through walk throughout the property.



Most of the moai statues were buried over time due to hill erosion up to their heads. Some are just peering out from the ground. It was also reported that the quality of the statues are better when they are covered (and buried) as they are not subject to water and weather erosion. As a result, there were no plans to have the site excavated, although there have been some projects to excavate inidivual moai. You can get a perspective on how big these giants actually are by the size of them compared to the humans standing next to them.



















It was very surreal to be wandering throough these giants. What did they see? Who were they designed for? It was amazing and I could have spent days taking photographs of them and hanging out watching them. MrsWT73 took a more jaded view towards them; "They're a bunch of rocks - you've seen one you've seem em all. It's hard to fault that logic at times but I still really enjoyed myself.











We continued upwards towards the top of the quarry. We saw the areas where they were cut out from the volcanic rock. You can see a few peeking outwards from where construction and carving just stopped.











There was a breathtaking view from the top. One could see both the quarry and the coastline for miles.











From the top, we wandered around the corner to see the only kneeling moai; Tukuturi. He’s best described as a short eared warrior who was kneeling.







From this vantage point, you could also have distant views of Ahu Tongariki, which looked spectatular amongst all the blue sea in the background..









We had to pass through the quarry to get access to the other side of the site.

















Our guide Patricio took us up on a short hike to the crater. It wouldn’t be Easter Island without some wild horses running through the park being herded off by mangement.







We climbed about 10 minutes up to the crater and discovered a crater basin. There were yet another series of moai statues in the top side of the mountain. We were not able to get too close to these. We just appreciated their view from the distance.













We headed back down to the base of the quarry and had lunch at the base. It was a needed re charge as we had been on the go and it was nearing 2 PM.

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Last edited by worldtraveller73; Today at 11:28 pm
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Old Yesterday, 7:11 pm
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Easter Island
Day 3 continued


After a snack and re-charge, over to Ahu Tongariki for a second and last look at this magnificent site for this trip. Our second visit was in the late afternoon, which was ideal for photographs since the setting sun lights up the statues in a way that allows for great photographs.









According to our guide Patricio, the center moai is the most senior, followed by placements around them (as opposed to numerical seniority starting from each or one end). The tallest statue was suggested to be as a result of a strong economy and not by any one tall person; meaning that the villagers could have purchased a larger statue as opposed to a smaller one.

In terms of recent history, the civil war had seen the moai statues pushed over. The site was then mowed over by a tsunami from Chile in 1960;s which resulted in a large amount of damage. The sit was then re-created by a Japenese crane construction company Tadano Limited, which took 4-5 years depending on which account of the story you read. The project was reportedly chosen by the japenese company as the Ahu Tonkariki sight was also the land of the rising sun. The company maintains some cranes on the island.











We also located and inspected some petro glyphs in the areas, including turtles and fish. These were located just set back in land from the 15.





The last 16th moai lay nearby and did not get placed when they all of a sudden stopped construction.

The sight is totally majestic from every angle. I couldn’t get enough of it.





We took some funny photos. How do you resist this?



On our way out, we stopped for a last look at the travelling moai.





We returned to town and were dropped off at the Hotel Taura’a by Patricio. It was truly and excellent tour and he was a wonderful source of knowledge for our day.

We dropped off our day supplies and immediately headed out for a sundowner cocktail. We ended up at the Rapa Rock Bar; which was recommended to us by one of the LATAM flight attendents as the IPC aircrew bar. It completely fit the bill of an aircrew bar. It was 5 minutes beyond every other waterfront restaurant / bar, with prices that were 20% cheaper. It was also totally deserted when we enjoyed Pisco Sours’ on the deck.







After our apperativo, we walked about 20 minutes up to Ahu Tahai to watch the sunset. Ahu Tahai is just outside of Hanga Roa and is the place to see the sunset in Hanga Roa. Watching the sunset silhouetted behind 4 moai will be something that is seared into my travel mind for quite some time.

















All in, it was a pretty spectacular day for us. I really enjoyed the experience of seeing these massive sculptures and the legacies that they have experienced through their lives.

Last edited by worldtraveller73; Today at 11:25 pm
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Old Today, 3:57 am
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