Last updated on December 31st, 2018 at 12:01 pm
The Top 5 Things to do in Easter Island (on your own!)
Whether you’re looking for an expert-led tour or you’re more of an independent traveler, there are plenty of things to do in Easter Island! Some travelers enjoy visiting the main Easter Island attractions and participating in regular guided Easter Island tours to Anakena, Orongo and Ahu Akivi. Guided tours ensure that you will receive a full explanation of Easter Island history, as well as information on the island’s current state. While guided tours are interesting and informative, some visitors would rather explore Easter Island on their own. For the independent travelers out there, I have a couple of suggestions for what you can easily do without the help of a guide!
#1. Watch the Sunset at Ahu Tahai
Ahu Tahai is THE best place to see the sunset on Easter Island. Luckily for visitors, Ahu Tahai is walking distance from most of the Easter Island resorts and hotels. You can find the restored complex located north of Hanga Roa, between the cemetery and the museum. Make sure to arrive early and bring a blanket to sit on the grass.
#2. Visit the Anthropological Museum
The Father Sebastian Englert Anthropological Museum is located north of Hanga Roa (about 20 minutes walking distance from the center of Hanga Roa) between Ahu Tahai and the Altiplanico Hotel. I recommend visiting this museum on the same day that you arrive at Easter Island. That way, you can learn crucial information about the island that will be interesting to you throughout your stay. The descriptions in this museum are provided in both Spanish and English and explain the whole story of the island, from the first settlers to its current state. Among the collection, you will find a female Moai, and also some remains of the coral eyes of the Moais.
The museum is open Tuesdays through Fridays from 9.30am to 5.30pm, and Saturdays, Sundays, holidays from 9.30am to 12.30pm.
#3. Santa Cruz Church on Sunday Mornings
The Santa Cruz Catholic Church is worth a visit for its beautiful exterior and interior. The church is especially mesmerizing on Sunday mornings when the first mass (9 am) is given in Rapa Nui. Other masses are given Monday through Friday at 7 pm, and on Sundays at 11 am. You can also visit the church outside of mass hours. Don’t forget that the church is a sacred place where many local people go, so you must be respectful when visiting. With that being said, the mass is not a show. Guests should dress appropriately and avoid talking or taking photos during mass.
#4. Buy Handicraft at the Easter Island Jail
Easter Island is one of the most peaceful destinations in the world, which is why you might be surprised to find out that the island has its own jail. Locals have nicknamed the jail “the Hotel”. You can visit the Hotel for souvenirs and handicrafts because this small and quiet prison hosts its own workshop, where inmates work and sell their own creations. You can choose to support them, as they work to get their life back on track by purchasing their handicraft. It is especially worth it if you would like to bring back home medium or bigger size wooden statues.
The jail is located close to the airport. Simply ask the hotel staff for directions on how to get there, and the exact opening hours of the workshop.
#5. Relax at the Easter Island Beaches
Head to Anakena, Easter Island’s most famous beach. Imagine yourself bathing in the clear waters of Polynesia with views of the swaying palm trees and historic Moais, in one of the most historical sites in the world. Sounds nice, no? If you have extra time and the weather permits, you might also want to visit Pea, a natural pool located in the town of Hanga Roa (perfect for swimming but also for surfing and body boarding), or Ovahe, closer to Anakena but smaller and more intimate. Ovahe, characterized by its pink sand, is a great spot to snorkel.
BONUS OPTION: Visit the Jardin Tau Kiani Rapa Nui
Welcome to Polynesia. A place full of lush, dense vegetation, and colorful flowers! If you are interested in Polynesia’s native flora, don’t miss the Jardin Tau Kiani Rapa Nui, a small privately funded botanical garden. The garden is located close to Ahu Akivi and is easily reachable by taxi.
During your time in Easter Island, you can also easily rent bikes, a car, or buggy. After renting one of those options, you can effortlessly travel to various parts of the island. Watch the sunrise at Ahu Tongariki (or the stars and milky way at night!), snorkel, dive, surf, horseback ride, or hike one of the island’s volcanoes! If you’d like to learn more about Easter Island and what you can do there, make sure to contact one of our Expert Travel Consultants. We’d be happy to assist you!