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Of the three major volcanoes that give Easter Island its triangular shape, the highest, Maunga Terevaka, is perhaps the least dramatic even though its slopes and subsidary vents form a very large part of the island's 112 square kilometres.
Terevaka is the youngest of all the volcanoes, a mere 240,000 years old. The crater, known as Rano Aroi, is not very distinct, it's more a series of ridges so that when you think you're about to reach the top, there's another crest in front of you. The volcano's only a little over 500 metres high, the track to the top is a long and fairly gentle slope and it is possible, sometimes, to drive virtually all the way - if you have a four wheel drive vehicle. However, you can't count on the track being passable at all times. After rain - and it rains a lot on Easter Island, the track can be extremely slippery and often breaks away in places.
Given the changeable weather conditions the island experiences, the hike to the top can prove to be rather more strenuous than you would expect. Damp, windy days (such as we experienced) expose you to a very chilly walk in very strong winds, whilst bright sunshine would make it hot and thirsty work. The view from the top is spectacular however.
There is a track indicated from Ahu Akivi to Terevaka but it is not well maintained or clear and takes you across a very empty stretch of country. Better by far is to travel out of Hanga Roa on the main road until you see the sign for Terevaka and turn off there. Allow at least 3 or 4 hours if you intend to walk a fair bit of the way, and don't forget the water and sunscreen if it's hot.
Updated Jun 15, 2012
You can essentially get to all the island sites of interest by road so you can travel by vehicle, bike or horse. Going by foot is a challenge of stamina and locally not recommended for the northern and southern shores. It is too far, the locals say. On the other hand, the open countryside is free of snakes or other dangerous animals, and the hiker generally has clear vistas. A map, a good pair of shoes, a compass, some sun screen, water and some stamina is all you need most of the year.
If you get too tired you can just get back to the road, if you are not already on it, and hope someone will give you a lift back to town.
Updated Dec 31, 2008
On Sunday we had to get up rather early to visit the mass (at 9.00 am) in the Church of the Holy Cross.
We walked from our residencial Tahai through the quiet streets to the nearby church.
Suddenly there was rumour and a lot of people in front of the church were waiting to enter.
Rapanui as well as foreign visitors were visiting this mass. Try to be (rather) early to get a seat, otherwise you will have to stand for one hour or so.
The mass itself was in Rapanui, Spanish and sometimes a little bit English. But most impressive part is the singing in the original Rapanui language, which is supported by music. The Rapanui people sound so enthusiastic and it worked infectious on the crowd.
Although we are not religious at all, it was a great experience.
Updated Aug 12, 2008
after a visit to ahu akivi,the map i had wasn't really that good so i asked for directions from the one tour bus driver i saw,i wanted to take the road that goes to the coast,so he says just follow that one and its very close,so off i go i n my 4 wheel drive jeep,turn right down the road and their is a puddle in the road so i start driving thru it and the jeep starts sinking and stops short of an inch of the door,what to do,try every gear in the jeep and got no farther,so i had to get out in the mud look for stones and nranches to put under the tires for traction,45 min later im out heading down the road and another alomst a lake in the road with tire tracks going in but not coming out the other side,so i turned around back to the ouddle this time going off road to avoid it,moral of the story when you see what looks like just a puddle in the road avoid it
Written Apr 27, 2008
Maunga Terevaka is the highest point on Easter Island. Understandeably, the views are good going up the mountain. This is the youngest of the volcanoes on Easter Island and was the last one to erupt. The trailhead is found at Ahu Akivi. Beware of one sign in particular that says "Tere Vaka" (see photo). It will lead to someone's house who conducts tours, thus the sign. I wonder how many times people end up at this house thinking they are going up the mountain. I also made the mistake due to the sign. Someone who made the same mistake right before me drove me back down to the real trailhead. See the photo for the sign marking the real trail. Fortunately, the false trail does not waste a lot of time, but preferably will not be taken in the first place. The real trail ascends steadily, but is not too much of a problem. It is a nice hike with good views of the countryside. At the top, it was windy but worth it. Going to the top of the island gives a nice perspective. Most people who come here are in good enough shape to climb it. The mountain is not difficult.
Written Dec 28, 2007
Most visitors see the erected moai on Ahu Tautira in the center of Hanga Roa, however there is another one just south of town that many people miss. To see this one, follow the coastal road south past the Armada de Chile. Soon, the road reaches a sheltered boat harbor. There, Ahu Riata rises just above the harbor. There was no one on the site while I visited.
Written Dec 28, 2007
This is located just south of the Tahai complex. It is the only cemetery I saw on the island. The place is well kept and beautifully appointed. The cemetery is worth a look while exploring around Hanga Roa.
Written Dec 28, 2007
Pantu horseback adventure. Ask to do a trek ($40. per person) on the North Coast (not accessible any other way) ending at Anakena beach, ask for a car pickup there (at no extra cost) the north coast takes about 5 hours on horseback and is the only way to see this pristine part of the island, the trail horses know all the spots fallen moai, ahus, caves, and petroglyphs unless you are a seasoned rider ending at Anakena beach is a great idea, have a wonderful lunch beach side and go for a swim before returning back to your lodgings.
Written Jan 20, 2007
At this point, you're walking towards the cliff, between the two volcanic hills nearest it.
As you come between the hills, you’ll see on your left what looks like an excavation, or perhaps the restoration, of a small ahu. There were two people working there when we passed. Keep walking straight ahead for a few minutes until you reach the tire tracks - you can't miss them, the red earth stands out against the green/yellow grass making them really obvious.
Follow the tire tracks about 500 metres - you'll be passing occasional clumps of bushes that are about 15-50 feet across. Keep following them to a very large clump of bushes - much bigger than the others you'll have passed. Follow them through this huge clump. The bushes on your right will eventually end, but they'll continue on your left. Keep going. You'll reach a midsize clump of bushes, close to the cliff's edge on your left. You're now pretty much at the cave.
Turn at a 90 degree angle left and walk through the red-dirt slip, bearing left, until you reach the cliff, with a tricky, steep descent on your left. You've got to get down that one ugly steep decline (with sheer cliff on your right, yikes!), and then immediately the cave mouth will be there at the bottom on your left. You can see it from above, before you descend - look for lime-coloured pools of water at the entrance. The mouth of the cave itself is about two feet wide and one foot tall. It opens up quite a bit inside, although you'll still need to crouch.
That’s it :-)
Good luck, and as easyoar said: be careful.
Updated Jan 6, 2007
Thank you so much to easyoar here at Virtual Tourist for the instructions on how to find the cave of the white virgin. We successfully followed them in December 2006 - and would NEVER have found the cave without them.
At the time of our trip, the whole of Poike was in “rehabilitation” mode, meaning no vehicles. This meant we needed to walk a good chunk of the way to the cave, which gave us a lot of time to second-guess ourselves and worry we were on the wrong track. So, in an effort to make finding the cave easier for others in future, below are slightly more elaborate & updated instructions that build on the ones from easyoar:
First, you need to get to Poike. Do this by driving up, past Tongariki, to what looks like a farmhouse at the top of a hill – I think it’s actually the SIRPA (Chilean cattle company) office. Follow the tire ruts past the building and along the barbed-wire fence to the cliff edge. Here, about 100 metres before the cliff, the fence will curve left and then stop. At that point you need to leave your vehicle, jump the fence, and head across the peninsula towards the three volcanic hills. You can choose to hug the shoreline for a slightly more interesting walk, or just cut straight across to the hills. Either way, it’s basically a long, easy walk across rocky scrubby terrain.
The first chunk is slightly uphill - through scrub, bushes and rocks. You'll pass a red-earth crater on your left. This bit takes less than ten minutes.
The second chunk is a ten-minute scrabble across red earth and black volcanic stones. Then you walk across a bit of grass and cross a fence into cow pasture. You’ll probably have passed a cow skeleton or two by now.
The final chunk is the longest and scrubbiest. It took us 45 minutes. You basically walk straight across the pasture, heading through the middle of the two hills closest to the water.
End, Part 1 of 2
Updated Jan 6, 2007
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