Getting on/off a bus. Walking and standing during field trips; uneven terrain at Ahu Tahai.
In the hotel restaurant, the breakfast buffet offers choices such as eggs, cheese, fruits, bread, pastry, juices, coffee, tea, water.
We’ll be joined at the hotel by a local expert who will give us a presentation on Rapa Nui, the indigenous name of Easter Island. The Rapanui people called it Te Pito O Te Henua, roughly translated as "Navel of the World." The island, covering only 66 square miles, is a speck in the ocean 2,500 miles from Chile and 2,000 miles from Tahiti. The greatest mystery is why and how the people made and moved nearly 900 gigantic figures — moai — some weighing more than 80 tons. Rapa Nui National Park that covers much of the island is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site. From the UNESCO inscription: “A society of Polynesian origin that settled there c. A.D. 300 established a powerful, imaginative and original tradition of monumental sculpture and architecture, free from any external influence. From the 10th to the 16th century this society built shrines and erected enormous stone figures known as moai, which created an unrivalled cultural landscape that continues to fascinate people throughout the world.” The fact that Easter Island is the most remote inhabited island on earth makes these achievements even more astonishing. We’ll then board a bus for a field trip to the Padre Sebastian Englert Archaeological Museum, named for a Bavarian priest who came to the island in 1935 and spent his life studying Rapa Nui’s cultural, historical, linguistic, and archaeological heritage. Padre Englert left his collection of artifacts to Chile and many more have been discovered since. We will see some of the museum’s highlights including a moai eye made of white coral and red scoria (volcanic rock) as well as displays of local geology, flora and fauna; maps; illustrations of house types; and many other elements of Rapa Nui culture.
Next, we will head to Tahai to see and learn more about the world famous monolithic figures, the moai themselves. The fact that Easter Island is the most remote inhabited island on earth makes these achievements even more astonishing. There are three ceremonial platforms, called ahu, that support moai figures. The site and its figures were restored by an American anthropologist, William Mulloy, beginning in 1968. We will see two more ahu restored by Dr. Mulloy at Hanga Kio`e, a small bay just past town.
At a Rapa Nui restaurant, we’ll have a plated meal with a choice of meat or fish; non-alcoholic beverages included, other beverages available for purchase.