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Tiki Central Forums Tiki Travel Harro's trip to Rapa Nui (Easter Island)
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Harro's trip to Rapa Nui (Easter Island)
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Sep 05, 2005
Posts: 686
From: Australia
Posted: 2006-08-25 02:37 am   Permalink


well i finally fulfilled a long dream of mine by visiting Rapa Nui (easter island) in late April this year. The opportunity arose because I had been meaning to visit South America for a while but never found the time (or $$$) to do it, but then my good Argentinean mate (who now lives in London) was going back home to Buenos Aires for a friends wedding - so the lure of a guided holiday thru Argentina and Brazil with a local (and also catchnig up with friends from London/Argentina/Australia) was too good to be true - PLUS i could cross 2 things off my (long!) list of travel destinations by seeing the moai on the way over...

I live in Australia so i'd be flying right over the top of it on the way to Sth Am - BUT it wasn't as easy as just getting a stopover in Rapa Nui!! As anyone who has tried may know, it was extremely expensive to include Rapa Nui in the itinerary (but well worth it!). We had to spend a night in New Zealand, and a night in Tahiti (more on that later) before arriving in Rapa Nui. The total flight costs were astronomical!!! more than a round the world ticket!!! Since there are very limited flights in and out of the island, a 3 day stopover on the island is standard for most tourists before moving on elsewhere - BUT we decided to make it 5 and 1/2 days and this turned out to be one of the best decisions of the trip.

It rains a lot on Rapa Nui so while our first day and a half was fairly inactive due to it pissing down, fortunately we used the time organising our accom/hire car/getting our bearings etc. the next 3 days were fantastic though so we were so thankful we had decided to take the full 5 days.

The pictures tell most of the story, so i'll just add a few random notes:

1. Do your research - buy a guidebook (I thoroughly recommend The Complete Guide To Easter Island published by the Easter ISland Foundation), hire a car and search the island yourself - the most satisfying feeling was visiting Rano Raraku on our own and leaving just as the tourist bus arrived.

2. Barter with the residenciales when you arrive off the plane for your accom rates. We stayed at the brilliant Chez Maria Goretti and while the asking rate was $35pppn we managed to get it for $20ea (mind you it was the low season).

our humble residenciale:

3. Go hiking off the main tracks/around the rocky headlands, you might end up somewhere amazing! we found an amazing little rocky beach (complete with horses bones - very weird!!) and had some of the best snorkelling ever! and having a 4x4 and no tourist bus/time restrictions meant we could really savour the island's fascinating features.

this is yours truly finally fulfilling a long ambition of finding a REAL, authentic washed up fishing float on the shore of a remote tropical island - alas i couldn't take it home with me to my tiki bar as i was travelling with just a backpack and had a big journey ahead so the photo is the only legacy!!!

4. if you have your scuba ticket - go for a dive - awesome visibility (about 40m) and amazing fish and beautiful water all day every day! there's even a big sunken moai at 20m below the surface!

my mate (note trusty guidebook in hand - this gave us all the history and more of each site we visited) at Ahu Tongariki - words can't describe the mana at this place!

i was so jealous of this guy (below), he rode down to the shore on horseback with his surfboard under his arm, tied up his horse and caught a few waves just as the sun set...

5. Learn some Rapa Nui (the locals will get a good laugh out of it!), and of course Spanish - we hardly knew much of either but got by alright!

the amazing sacred site of Orongo:

if anyone wants to know anything in particular please just fire away. There are plenty more pics at

Many thanks to Tikibars for his help in my planning for the trip, The Easter Island Foundation for mailing the guidebook out so fast, Maria for their genuine hospitality and anyone else who helped make the trip so memorable!


[ This Message was edited by: harro 2008-10-31 09:31 ]

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Sep 17, 2003
Posts: 1438
From: Volcanic area of France
Posted: 2006-08-25 06:54 am   Permalink

Great story and pictures. Thanks a lot for making me jealous

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The Sperm Whale
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Joined: Aug 23, 2004
Posts: 1553
From: Lakewood California
Posted: 2006-08-25 07:03 am   Permalink

Yeah thanks for sharing!!! What a beautiful place!!!

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Tiki Chris
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Joined: Mar 24, 2002
Posts: 1542
From: London
Posted: 2006-08-25 07:06 am   Permalink

nice! thanks for sharing.

man, i gotta get back there some day (SOON!).



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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 22, 2006
Posts: 1886
From: Aotearoa / NZ
Posted: 2006-08-28 2:22 pm   Permalink

I will get there one day....somehow! Your pics are really good.

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 11, 2002
Posts: 2026
From: Aku Hall, Chicago
Posted: 2006-08-28 2:50 pm   Permalink

Glad you finally made the trip.

Your pics are great!

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Sep 14, 2004
Posts: 4284
From: Sydney, Australia
Posted: 2006-08-29 04:07 am   Permalink

Awesome pics man - looks great.

Bummer about that float...

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 12, 2006
Posts: 431
From: Vacant lot where T. Vic's, Van. was
Posted: 2006-08-30 6:29 pm   Permalink

So, so jealous...
Incredible pics - I love the one on the link with the schoolkids. Imagine going to school with a moai guarding the playing field... I guess if you were growing up on Rapa Nui you'd wonder why the REST of the world doesn't have these statues all over the place.
I must make a vow to get out there someday.
A Collection of Exotic Albums! & The Sandy Warner Files

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 1230
From: 37? 47' N, 122? 26' W
Posted: 2006-09-07 09:17 am   Permalink

Aroha Harro,
Wow, that's a stellar travelogue, indeed. Kudos on a fine trip and some superb photos. Those are commercial bought slides, right? Hah ha ha haa! That's an old trick of my Dad's, as he was fundamentally unable to take a decent photo. The post-vacation slide show would be crap shot after crap shot, then "BAM!" a perfectly focused and composed image. We caught on, eventually.

Fun to read about your trip, it certainly made me envious. I do get around a bit but a trip to Rapa Nui is high on my list of places to visit. It's a big world and many places to see, first Branson, MO then Rapa Nui I guess. Congrats on making it there, looks like a real exciting and interesting excursion.

The pictures are too good, some of them should be postcards. Ah haa!, I figured it out. Do tell how you got such nice pics. I am thinking it's a super high-priced camera, that's the one thing keeping me from taking such photos, of course. That, and I inherited my Dad's photography skills. Killer pics! Like these two shots, amazing:

Now, any word on the club sandwich scene there? Moais and ancient culture aside, they do serve an acceptable club, right?


ps. In one of the travel magazines I receive there's a long article this month on Rapa Nui. Might be "Travel & Leisure".

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 30, 2006
Posts: 1530
From: Aotearoa (New Zealand)
Posted: 2006-09-08 02:33 am   Permalink

Awesome Harro. Well done for making that trip happen! Im sure it takes some resolve & determination, but you really got there! I am among the countless others who are still dreaming of the day... (Im thinking TC members should wear nametags when visiting E.Island, bound to bump into someone..?) Beeeeeeeeeeutiful pics! Bring back anything nice? I just love E.Island carving! Tama

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Sep 05, 2005
Posts: 686
From: Australia
Posted: 2006-09-08 07:15 am   Permalink

thanks everyone for the comments!

yes i feel very fortunate to have made it to Rapa nui and i'm sorry for making anyone jealous (!!) - hopefully if you cannot make it there yourself you can enjoy it thru other people's experiences.

midnite - thanks for the photo comps - i'm no pro at all, just a hack with an average pocket sized digital camera like this:

its about 3 yrs old and cost about $US350. The only trick i use is to flick it to "sunset" setting when the sun is setting (no kidding!), and "scenery" setting when it's not! and i do my best to be patient and compose the image within the screen as best as possible before i take the shot. It's just luck that we had some gorgeous sunsets that day!

just to make you even more furious, during the forced 28hr stopover in the insanely overpriced city of Papeete (Tahiti), we managed to scam our way onto the private beach of the Sofitel resort (because we were staying at the cheapest, dirtiest hostel on the island that of course was miles from any beach) and for about 3 out of those 28 hours it stopped raining to reveal these photo opportunities:

we were even fortunate enough to witness a special song and dance by the locals for the guests:

it was totally amazing!! more of these tahiti pics at

oh, and the sandwich scene... ahhh can't quite remember if i had a sandwich there or not but the seafood and the fresh juices were to die for!

twitch - yeah the scene with the kids and the horses and the warship and the moai was just surreal, and just like you said - the kids wouldn't know any different!!

tiki chris - your blog is mind boggling! there is so much valuable information on there that i can't begin to comprehend it all - i need a free week to devote to it!

tama - yes I picked up many many treats for myself / friends / family / tiki bar, but on a backpackers budget meant i had to be careful so i spent many hours gazing and deliberating over the WEALTH of hand-made crafts that were available in order to make sure i was making the right purchases. And there were many amazing carvers and craftsmen/women on the island as this is obviously the main income for the locals. in the end i chose to buy the majority of items from carvers who weren't selling their wares thru a store in the town, but from the actual carvers themself as they sat on a blanket nearby to some of the sites. It just felt a bit more authentic that way. Although i gave many of them away as gifts, i kept some nice carvings and pendants for myself - I'll try to take some pics and post them here soon.

i also just bought a magazine here called "New Scientist" which had a cover story on the theory of the collapse of Easter Island. It was an interesting read, i'll try to scan it in and post it as i doubt it would be available outside Australia.


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Coco Loco
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Joined: Mar 21, 2004
Posts: 820
From: Exotic Isle of Alameda
Posted: 2006-09-08 09:51 am   Permalink

Stunning pictures. I'm jealous. Definitely have to visit. Thanks for sharing. Is the sky really that blue?

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 22, 2006
Posts: 1886
From: Aotearoa / NZ
Posted: 2006-09-08 2:08 pm   Permalink


On 2006-08-25 02:37, harro wrote:

Hmm, I'm sure I've seen this before somewhere...uncanny!

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Sep 17, 2003
Posts: 1438
From: Volcanic area of France
Posted: 2006-09-08 3:15 pm   Permalink

yeah, that last pic is in all the easter island books !!
Great pics of Tahiti, that made me want to come back sooo much.

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 04, 2006
Posts: 166
From: Satellite Beach, FL
Posted: 2006-09-16 8:22 pm   Permalink

Great shots...lucky you, it seems like an out of body experience.

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