Rapa Nui, I Just Met You, And This Sounds Crazy…

Posted by on Dec 22, 2012 in Chile, Play-by-plays, South America | 0 comments

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Day 1
We landed at about 6am but didn’t get settled in till 9 or so. Saw a very romantic sunrise with our 400best friends from the red eye. Immediately loved the sunshine shorts and tshirt weather and in true Natalya fasion underestimated the potency of the sun (sunscreen is a must, I am sporting some exotic tan lines now).

Went for a walk through town to the Archeological Museum. It is about 30min walk from Mihinoa along the water and you can see your first ahu and moai! The museum is not as grandiose as the name suggests: more so a room with posters that you can read, but it does offer a nice glimpse into the history of Rapa Nui and an overview of what you will see around the island. Admission: 1000clp, 500 for students (which is obviously what we are).

After a nap, we hiked up to Orongo Village and Rano Kau Crater. This hike was a cakewalk compared to anything in Patagonia and it does not take 4 hours like the Lonely Planet suggests. More so 2, maybe 3 if you start from the museum and crawl and take a photo of everything.

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Day 2
Arrongantly unchallenged by the physical exertion of the hike, we rented mountain bikes to explore the island, get some “real” exercise, and save money on renting a car or doing an organized tour. Bike rental is 8k clp for 8hours, 10k for a day, 16k for 2 days.

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We biked down to Anakena Beach, one of only 2 beaches on Easter Island, as it is mostly surrounded by cliffs air sharp volcanic rocks. Pretty sure it was uphill 80% of the way, with the glaring sun overhead and scarce shade. Anakena would be picturesque on its own–with the calm azure water, white sand, palm tree grove and all. But it also has an ahu with a group of moai which makes it even more of a sight. After some beach time, we continued biking to Ovaje Beach, which is completely secluded and off the beaten path, and then continued on to the infamous Ahu Togariki.

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The sight really strikes you. You are struglling uphill, watching a volcanic crater on your right take shape as drips of sweat and specks of dust sting in your eyes, and just as you start to cruise downhill, the ocean appears on your left, and the row of 15 moai, guarding the panorama in front of you. It’s tough to capture all that in a photo, but believe me the scenery is stunning.

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The volcano we left for the next day and biked back to Hanga Roa. How we made it back I don’t know. But the last 3km was all uphill, in the midday sun, no shade, with the god forsaken bike seat jamming into your most private nether regions . I no longer care about any Tour de France doping scandals; I would have juiced ANYthing to take the pain away.

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Best part of the day: the Maori Tupuna show at Vai Te Mihi (right by the water in town, just before the cemetery). We went to get to know the culture and see something different. I’d go back just to see the guys sporting the washboard 12-packs. Oh and those loin cloths don’t leave a lot to the imagination. Holy cow, Magic Mike has nothing on this show. Armed with $3 Escudos (local? beers), we watched the dancers shake, gyrate, writhe every which way to the sound of the drums.

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…but here is my number, call me maybe?

For more on Easter Island, check out Days 3-4 or the Easter Island overview.

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