There are two main sites, Ahu Akahanga and Ahu Hanga Te’e (Vaihu), on the southern coastal road that heads from town to the sunrise site of Ahu Tongariki. Both of these sites are examples of platforms with toppled moai and are interesting from an archaeological perspective. For me, however, the most tantalizing aspect of this section of the island was the rocking wave action.
Access to both of these sites is more tightly controlled than suggested in the guidebook with manned gates that close at 6 p.m. and last entry at 5:30.
Ahu Akahanga – Afternoon Visit
Besides the platform of toppled moai the site also has good examples of the remains of boathouses, the dwellings the Rapu Nui lived in. Unfortunately they now have the route suggested in the guidebook to see these remains “roped off”.
Actually, their route markings were not very clear and following the books advice I ended up at the boathouse and was promptly scolded for not staying on the marked path.
Ahu Hanga Te’e (Vaihu) – Afternoon Visit
At Vaihu they have two models of the boathouses the early Rapa Nui lived in. You can easily tell why they called them boat houses. They are basically an upside down boat with a stone front patio in front. We saw a couple of these patios when we were “illegally” touring the Ahu Akahanga site yesterday (see above).
The platform with fallen moai has a stunning setting, a rocky shore with waves crashing behind it. A couple of top knots complete the image. This site would also have good light in the morning.
Drive Along the Southwestern Coast
This drive, heading up the coast from Vaihu instead of directly into town, is recommended in the guide for the views from the cliffs. I’m not sure we were on the right road the whole time as we ended up in the modern quarry at one point, but you can take the coastal road all the way to the tank farm and airport.
We returned to the cliffs one morning for sunrise.
The southern coastline is awesome for watching waves crash, one of my favorite pastimes. If I thought the waves were rocking a day or two ago they were doubly rocking today. Huge waves crashing; the coastline a brilliant blue and frothy white.
March 16-20, 2018
See the Easter Island page for an outline of all the posts in this series and our complete day by day itinerary.