One morning we leave our camp and take the rental car to the far east side of the island, about 20-30 minutes drive from Hanga Roa, to the 15 Moai at Ahu Tongariki. Surprisingly we don’t have to go very early, as the sunrise is later than I think here on the island. I hate to miss any of the coastline along the way but we have all day to come back and hit the highlights. There are a lot of other people here, maybe 2-3 dozen gathering in the darkness for what turns out to be a spectacular new morning.
I really enjoyed the changing colors of the sky and the way the sun peeks between the Moai.
After hanging out for an hour or two we head back along the coast to visit some of the other Ahus and then to visit Rano Raraku, the dormant volcano that was the quarry for the stone used to carve all the Moai. The giant mountain was looming in the darkness behind us as we watched the sunrise, and if I’d known they were there, I could have seen a few dozen Moai perched on the hillside near the quarry looking down on us.
We park near the visitor center and hike the trail up along the craters sides…and the land is covered with Moai. Some still works in progress, some damaged and discarded and others in excellent condition.
We hike over the rim into the crater itself which is now filled with a small lake. Wild horses graze along it’s banks.
We can see where the blocks have been carved out of the crater to make the Moai.
We continue along the eastern coast and follow the road as its turns west when we hit the north shore of the island. The turquoise water is incredibly beautiful.
We see falcons (or are they hawks?) all over the island.
Making the most of our one day with the car, we continue on, stopping at all the Moai sites we can. Ahu Anakena on the north side of the island is set in a small cove of palm trees….so beautiful.
We stop to see the Papa Vaka petroglyphs too….there’s just so much to see here.