Pea Beach, the beach of Hanga Roa
Pea, the nearest beach
Pea beach is the tiny beach that has Hanga Roa, the capital and only urban settlement of Easter Island. Pea, together with the natural pools of Hanga Vare Vare, is the closest option that residents and tourists have to take a swim without having to travel to the most eastern end of the island where there are the beautiful beaches of Anakena and Ovahe.
The Pea beach is divided into two parts separated by the small protrusion where Pea Restobar rises. To the left next to the breakwater has been built a natural pool protected by stone walls. Its shallow depth and security make it the ideal place to the little ones can swim and splash.
On the right side facing the sea is the beach itself. This is reduced to a small portion of sand with some umbrellas giving access to the shore.
A few meters beyond is the Ahu Tautira on which stand two ancient statues. Possibly these are the first authentic moai that tourists observe when arriving to the island, by their proximity to the urban centre. Care must be taken to respect it and not invade it, as it has a great historical and archaeological value and remains a sacred place.
Parallel to the Ahu Tautira there is a small and pleasant wooden boardwalk that connects with the Hanga Roa Otai Cove, another of Hanga Roa’s most lively corners. Just opposite is the Hanga Roa Municipal Stadium which was inaugurated again by soccer star Pelé. There you can attend the football and rugby matches of the local teams.
Things to do at Pea beach
Because Pea is located almost in the center of Hanga Roa, it is almost always lively. The recent implementation of new benches and umbrellas, and a greater accumulation of sand have managed to increase its attractiveness.
Apart from resting, sunbathing and cooling off on the shore, Pea beach is famous for two reasons. The first is that this is one of the most accessible spots on the island to observe sea turtles. With a little luck and patience, it is relatively easy to surprise these friendly animals as they approach the shore. Sometimes they cross the stone wall of the natural pool, which allows you to swim near them and take pictures. Turtles are a protected species therefore you have to avoid physical contact and get too close to not harass them.
The second reason is that Pea is one of the best places in Rapa Nui to practice surfing. Visitors who want to try to keep their balance in this corner of the South Pacific can take some surfing lessons.
Read more about surf on Easter Island
Almost every day it is frequent to see the local youths on their boards, trying to catch the best waves. And is that surfing is part of the way of life of the islanders. An example of this historical connection with the sea can be observed during the Tapati Rapa Nui, the most important cultural and sporting festival on the island, which is celebrated in the first half of February.
Read more about the Tapati Rapa Nui Festival
Half day of the Tapati is dedicated to the tests of Haka Honu and Haka Ngaru, which are developed in Pea beach. The Haka Honu consists of sliding on the waves only with the body, adopting a peculiar posture that imitates the way the turtles approach to the shore.
The goal of the Haka Ngaru is similar but using a totora (reed) float, called pora, which acts as an ancient bodyboard, which achieves greater speed when surfing. In both cases, the winner is the participant who reaches the farthest point on the course and is closest to the shore.
The Tongariki Cultural Center is opposite Pea beach, which aims to spread art and culture on Easter Island. It usually organizes exhibitions, concerts and other cultural activities. There is a small place where you can buy t-shirts, posters and videos of the Tapati Rapa Nui.
Where to eat at Pea beach
The fact that Pea is located in the heart of Hanga Roa, makes the gastronomic offer quite varied. The restaurant of the same name that separates the beach is the closest option. Its attractive terrace is perfect for watching the sunset and the silhouettes of the surfers clipped on the waves. In this place the famous tuna patty (empanada) was created and later it was extended to the majority of establishments. They emphasize their cocktails, their rich natural ice creams and its live music spectacles.
Read more about Pea Restobar
Another place with a magnificent view is the Haka Honu restaurant located opposite the natural pool. On their small terrace they serve tasty fresh fish dishes like tuna ceviche.
Cheaper options can be found in the little stalls known as “carritos”. Here they offer pizza, empanadas, hamburgers and typical Chilean hotdogs in a more casual atmosphere.
Shopping and tourist services
Just in front of Pea beach is the office of Sernatur, Chile’s national tourism service. There you can get information, ask questions and collect illustrative brochures about activities and businesses on Easter Island.
The two bank offices of Hanga Roa are nearby. The Banco Estado office is on Tuu Maheke street about 50 meters aways and Banco Santander office is next to Haka Honu restaurant. Both have an ATM for withdrawing cash.
Read more about money and prices on Easter Island
If you continue on Tuu Maheke Street, you will find the agricultural and handicraft fair, just a little over 200 meters away, where, in addition to being able to buy some food, you can get good handicrafts made of stone and wood.
How to get to Pea beach
Pea beach is located in the center of Hanga Roa, in the Policarpo Toro street that runs parallel to the coast. It is located at the end of Tuu Maheke street in front of the town hall and the tourist office of Sernatur. You can park the car in the vicinity, but the easiest thing is to get here on foot or by bicycle. Just bring the towel, bathing suit and sunscreen.