Early rise for airport transfer; approx. 11 miles to airport; about 1/2 hour. Flight from Santiago to Rapa Nui is approx. six hours. Due to a change in time zone, we will lose two hours. Getting on/off the bus for field trips; driving approximately 3.5 miles for Tahai field trip; about 1/2 hour, with stops. Walking approx. 1/2 mile total for the day; uneven and unpaved walking paths, limited shade; periods of standing during field trip locations.
Aboard the motor-coach during transfer to the airport, we will have boxed breakfasts provided by the hotel.
Rising early, we will board our motor-coach for transfer to Santiago Airport for the flight to Easter Island. Once landed, we will transfer to the hotel via motor-coach and check in.
At the hotel, we will have a light plated lunch with coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.
After some time to rest, we will set out by bus for field study of Tahai as an introduction to the famous monoliths of Rapa Nui. “Moai” is from the Rapanui language and means statue, or figurine. Ahu has two meanings in Easter Island culture: The first is the flat base of the stone where the moai are supported, and the second is a sacred ceremonial place where there are numerous supports for the moai. Our first stop will be at Ahu Vai Ure, which is topped by five moai including Ahu Tahai (680 CE), Ahu Ko te Riku (12th century CE), and a 15.5-foot high 20 ton moai, which is topped by a pukao (red scoria top knot). These three ahu, all facing inland, are part of one ceremonial compound, which was restored in the 1960s by the late archaeologist, William Mulloy. Located near Hangaroa at the edge of the ocean, the area also has excellent examples of hare paenga (boat-shaped house foundations), hare moa (chicken houses), umu (earth ovens), occupation caves, and a boat ramp. The road along this coast is rough, but there are many ahu in this section of the island. At Hanga Kio`e, a small bay just past town, we will see two more ahu restored by Mulloy. Ahu #1, is surmounted by a small moai, and Ahu #2 has a fragment of a statue. They were part of a larger site that includes Ahu Akapu with its solitary moai. The wall of Ahu Akapu originally reached to Ahu #2. Dr. Mulloy’s gravesite is also located at Tahai.
At a local restaurant, we will enjoy plated meals featuring local ingredients. Coffee, tea, water included; other beverages available for purchase.
We will then return to the hotel for the remainder of the evening at leisure.