Secret spots and unusual things to do in Easter Island

Easter Island or locally known Rapa Nui is not short on wonderful spots, yet there are another lesser-known landmarks. Read on to discover the secret spots and unusual things to do in Easter Island.

1. See unusual moai at Ahu Akivi and Ahu Tahai

These two ahus can be easily reached via a couple of hours’ walk from Hanga Roa. Built following a precise astronomical orientation, Ahu Akivi’s seven moai are the only ones located inland, looking towards the ocean. Because of this, they’ve acquired a freight of myth, including the idea that these might have been aggressive moai, warning off seabound outsiders.

Ahu Akivi, Easter Island

Ahu Akivi, Easter Island

The ceremonial complex of Ahu Tahai is remarkable for having the only moai with eyes made of white coral and obsidian pupils. On his head it carries a pukao, a cylindrical piece carved in red scoria from the Puna Pau volcano. The result looks slightly cartoonish. Moais are believed to have had eyes, but it’s unclear whether they were a ceremonial or permanent fixture.

Ahu Tahai, Easrer Island

Ahu Tahai, Easter Island

2. Find the Navel of the World

On first sight, the so-called Navel of the World appears to be nothing more than a rounded boulder placed among a crude rock perimeter. However, the enigmatic rock was believed to have been brought to Rapa Nui specifically by the first king, Hotu Matua. The name of the rock comes from the legend that it is the navel of the world, from which all life sprang. The mysterious stone does display a few abnormal traits. For instance, when a compass is placed on the stone it loses its direction, due to magnetic elements in the rock itself.

The Navel of the World, Easter Island

The Navel of the World, Easter Island

3. Go to Ovahe Beach

In addition to the magnificent Anakena beach, the Ovahe beach stands out for its wild and surreal beauty. Ovahe is located just over a mile from Anakena beach in a southeastern direction, but due to the lack of signaling and the poor accessibility, it has retained its almost untouched character.

Ovahe beach, Easter Island

Ovahe beach, Easter Island

This small beach, which is rather a cove, is surrounded by cliffs of reddish volcanic origin. Its waters are of turquoise color and its fine sand is of pink color product of the mixture of the red volcanic slag and the eroded white coral. A must see lesser-known spot in Easter Island!

4. Explore one of the many caves in the island

Although moai statues have always been the main attractions of Easter Island, the cave system of Rapa Nui has recently attracted the attention of travelers. In spite of the limited surface of the island, underground galleries have been found that total more than 7 km in length, which form the largest system of volcanic caves in all Chile and one of the largest in the world.

View from Ana Kakenga window, Easter Island

View from Ana Kakenga window, Easter Island (Pic courtesy of Trover)

Most important caves in Easter Island

Ana Kai Tangata is one of the most interesting and accessible caves on the island. Its spectacular location on the seafront, the proximity to Hanga Roa, its rock paintings and the legends that surround it, make it the most attractive and visited in Rapa Nui.

Ana Kakenga is, after Ana Kai Tangata, the most visited. It is about 4 km north of Ahu Tahai following along the coastal path. The cave has two openings cut out in the rock of the cliff. These two large natural windows located 30 m high and created by the exit of the lava flow towards the sea, are those that give the nickname to the cave.

Last but not least, Ana Te Pahu, the largest cavern on the island. Located on the foothill of the Maunga Terevaka, Ana Te Pahu comprises former cave dwellings with an overgrown garden of sweet potatoes, taro and bananas. The caves here are lava tubes, created when rock solidified around a flowing stream of molten lava.

Natural garden inside Ana Te Pahu cave

Natural garden inside Ana Te Pahu cave

5. Visit the Catholic Church of Easter Island

Founded in December 1937, The Catholic Church of Easter Island is avidly visited by curious tourists – believers and non-believers alike. The holy church is located at the top of street Te Pito O Te Henua in Hanga Roa. Christian and Rapa Nui art is mixed here in a truly unique manner.

Holy Cross Church, Hanga Roa, Easter Island

Holy Cross Church, Hanga Roa, Easter Island

Here, the top secret spots and unusual things to do in Easter Island. Please, leave your comments below and share the article if you liked it. Are you heading to Santiago next? Follow the link to discover the top thing to do in Santiago de Chile.

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