Hanga Vare Vare
The Hanga Vare Vare area is located shortly after the Hanga Roa Otai cove and before reaching the cemetery. It is a wide and open green space with a calm and relaxed atmosphere, where horses are often grazed on the island, but at the same time it is a place widely used by the islanders for all types of events, such as concerts, meetings, performances, gastronomic samples or the exit of the Rapa Nui Marathon.
But it is during the first half of February, when the Tapati Rapa Nui festival is held, where it takes on more prominence. In fact it is here where most of the activities and competitions included in the festival take place and where the great central stage is installed.
The moai of peace
The area is decorated with several statues of stone and carvings made during the last editions of the Tapati held here. On the right side facing the sea, stands a moai on a metal platform. This is the Moai of Peace (Moai de la Paz), built in 1992 with basaltic rock from the Rano Aroi volcano. With a height of 3 meters and 5 tons in weight, it was traveling through different countries until it returned to the island and settled here to celebrate the solar eclipse that took place in 2010.
Poko Poko natural swimming pool
Next to the group of palm trees located in front of the Moai de la Paz, there is a beautiful natural swimming pool of shallow depth protected from the crash of the waves by a wall of rocks, allowing the possibility of enjoying a bath in a zone of the coast where it is difficult to do. This place called Poko Poko is perfect for lounging and relaxing on the water in the warm sunset sun.
Between Hanga Roa Otai harbor and Hanga Vare Vare the Ahu O’Rongo is placed. According to the descriptions of sailors and travelers, this ahu was constructed with stones of great dimensions and finely carved. He came to have four moai of tuff and a fifth moai made of very hard stone, called benmorita. It was located in a secondary structure, at the southern end of the ahu (left facing forward). Throughout its history, this ahu was dismantled to use the rocks in the construction of houses and, even, the old pier of the cove of Hanga Roa.
In 1872 the French ship La Flore landed in Rapa Nui, and in the event of the impossibility of carrying a complete moai, the crew sawn one to transfer only the head. Today it is on display at the Museum of Man of Trocadero in Paris. At that time, one member of the crew was Juliane Viaud, better known by Pierre Loti, who besides being a poet was a great draftsman. His drawings and narrations are a source of information about life on the island in the late nineteenth century.
The French-Belgian expedition (1934-1935) led by the anthropologist Alfred Métraux and the archaeologist Henri Lavachery, took from this same ahu the Moai Pou Hakanononga, which according to tradition would not have been related to the other moai of the ahu, but which would have been set there by a king to indicate the best place for tuna fishing. Pou Hakanononga is on display at the Royal Museum of Art and History in Brussels.
Hitu Merahi, the seven archangels
At the northern end of Hanga Vare Vare, before reaching the cemetery, is a sculptural group called “Hitu Merahi” designed by the Chilean artist Paola Yancovic and is composed of seven archangels of molten metal between 67 and 202 centimeters in height placed on a semicircle of stone.
It was inaugurated in September 2014 and it is the first place in the world dedicated to the Seven Archangels to radiate peace and love to humanity. The figures are placed on a semicircle of stone that faces the sea. In front of them is another semicircular wall in which one can sit and look at the horizon. The set is complemented by two explanatory panels, stones carved with figures and traditional inscriptions made by local craftsmen Pau Hereveti and Joni Tuki.
What to do in Hanga Vare Vare
Hanga Vare Vare is one of the best places to see the sunset of the whole island. You can contemplate the silhouette of the palm trees clipping on the purple sky from one of the restaurants that are facing the sea, such as the Au Bout du Monde of Belgian-Polynesian food or taste a delicious empanada on the terrace of Donde la tía Sonia.
How to get to Hanga Vare Vare
Hanga Vare Vare is located on the Policarpo Toro street that runs along the coast, about 250 meters from the Hanga Roa Otai cove and 300 meters from the cemetery. The Tahai complex is about 600 meters north following the same path that runs parallel to the sea.