We could say that Easter Island is a huge open-air museum. Archaeological sites are scattered throughout the island, and they give an idea of what their culture was like, the development achieved when sculpting the stone to create the huge moai with its gigantic ceremonial platforms and the beliefs that their organization was based on. Discovering these places is quite a fascinating adventure worth living without haste.
However, Easter Island archaeology is not limited to the moai, but includes ceremonial altars, remains of ancient tombs of chiefs and important people that were buried according to Rapa Nui traditional religious rites, ceremonial caves, petroglyphs and more.
Due to the abundance of archaeological remains and the special geographical situation of the Easter Island, which has favored the island keeps still pretty virgin (very few visitors it receives), in many cases it is possible to tour the archaeological sites alone. An experience that leaves no one indifferent.
Main archaeological sites
The Rano Raraku volcano is one of the most incredible and extraordinary archaeological sites on the planet. In this magical place full of mystery, the moai were made, the giant statues that have made Easter Island famous worldwide. Read more »
Located in Hanga Nui, on the southeast coast of Easter Island and just 2 kilometers from the Rano Raraku quarry, Ahu Tongariki is the most majestic ceremonial platform on the whole island. Read more »
Tahai is the generic name given to this complex, which once consisted of a village with three Rapa Nui ceremonial platforms, and currently is the largest and best restored archaeological site near Hanga Roa. Read more »
Ahu Nau Nau is symbolically one of the most important ahus on Easter Island as it is located on the beautiful beach of Anakena, the place where, as the story goes, King Hotu Matu’a first landed to populate the island. Read more »
The first excavation and full restoration jobs of a ceremonial platform in Easter Island were performed in Ahu Akivi by the American archaeologist, William Mulloy, and the Chilean, Gonzalo Figueroa. Read more »
The ceremonial village of Orongo, a Rapa Nui word that means “The Call”, is majestically nestled on a narrow strip of about 250 meters, between the edge of the Rano Kau crater and a 300 meter cliff. Read more »
Ahu Akahanga is a ceremonial platform located on the south coast of the island. This platform is 18 meters long, has not been restored, and allows you to see the state in which the island was found by the first European explorers. Read more »
Vaihu is one of the places where Easter Island’s isolation is most strongly felt. Framed by cliffs where the ocean waves strongly break and shape the landscape, the Hanga Te’e Bay has a stunning appearance. Read more »
Vinapu is a ceremonial area where the remains of three platforms can be found, Ahu Tahira to the left, Ahu Vinapu right to the right, and a third one with almost no remains left that’s located within the island’s fuel tank area. Read more »
The area of Ahu Te Peu is nestled in a fascinating landscape along the cliffs, which very few visitors go to, so the feeling of loneliness and isolation is overwhelming. Read more »
Hanga Kio’e means “Mouse Bay”. This is due to an old legend which tells of a widow that walked in the bay with a mouse in her mouth, a sign of mourning for the death of her husband, whose remains she buried here. Read more »
Although most ceremonial platforms and their respective moai are found along the coast, there were also inland villages with ahus, especially in the agricultural regions. Read more »
Following the road on the north coast, facing a fishing cove in La Perouse Bay, Ahu Te Pito Kura can be found. This platform is intact and its moai lies in the position it was when it was knocked down by the Rapa Nui. Read more »
Papa Vaka is an archaeological site located on the island’s north road between Anakena and Ahu Te Pito Kura. It is characterized by its numerous petroglyphs (designs carved into rock) with motifs related to the sea and fishing. Read more »
Located in the northern part of the coastal road, Pu o Hiro is a rock that’s about 1.25 meters tall whose name means “Hiro’s trumpet “, the ancient god of rain. Read more »