-: Wood Craft
There are a variety of souvenir shops and a large central market located along Av Atamu Tekena where you can pick up some nice wood crafts including carved moai kavakava, rongo rongo tablets and stone moai statues. The best selection is in the central Mercado Artesenal but we went straight to the source. Along Petero Atamu we found the home of a local craftsman who sold us his woodcraft directly. This was far better for us because we got a better price than at the market and it was better for him too because he didn’t have to go through a ‘middle man’ shop owner. We also got to see him at work, skilfully carving the piece of wood by hand. Keep your eyes peeled and seek out these local craftspeople...the prices are better and it’s a great way of meeting some locals. We ended up chatting to this guy for ages and learnt a lot about the island from him and his family...just sorry I didn’t write down his name because now I can’t remember :(
Santander Bank: Two banks to get money from
The Santander bank is a new bank at the oceanside. It is a beautiful building! Do not forget to take your pinpass with you. My partner left it in the machine, fortunately someone gave it to a bankemployee and so he got his pass back...
Close to the Santander bank is one more bank, we however did not use that one...
Mercado Artesanal: Souvenirs and handcrafts
If you are looking for Rapa Nui handcrafts then one of the places to go is the Mercado Artesanal which has about 40 different stalls with similar wares for sale.
Even if you are not looking to purchase anything it is a pleasant walk around the Mercado.
What to buy: You can buy Moai replicas made of wood or stone, sarongs, t-shirts, other wooden carvings, pottery, jewellery.
What to pay: The items are not cheap. You will be looking to pay at least 30,000 pesos for a decent Moai made of wood for example.Related to:
- Women's Travel
- Arts and Culture
Everywhere: Carry it with you
If you are tight on money you will want to bring all the essentials with you. All manufactured items are imported. Fresh fruit, fish or meat are generally not worth carrying because they may be subject to confiscation and because there is some local production. I had no trouble with packaged trail mix and camping foods I had in my luggage in anticipation of some trekking I planned for Patagonia. It is not practical to bring your own beer, but a bottle of your favorite liquor might be a good idea.
As far as arts and crafts for souvenirs, I can not say I saw much of interest. The prices were high. I suspect that one might find cheaper Easter Island souvenirs in Santiago.
There is a crafts building just in front of the airport terminal with individual vendors with table stalls, and there are, of course some airport shops inside the terminal, but all these are probably better for spending time then money. The price markup at the airport is not as extreme as one commonly finds at larger airports.
In town there are private shops, a market and a shop at the museum where you might find something of interest.
What to buy: You might consider some shell or seed jewelry, or maybe a model carving of one of the Moai in stone or wood. I bought a small cloth print at the airport sold by an organization giving aid to senior citizens.
What to pay: Try to negotiate a lower price. Be aware that the first price you hear may be a special price just for you and anyone else who would pay the first price asked. In any case, expect to pay more than you might on the mainland.Related to:
- Budget Travel
several stands: Mercado
This is one of many places to buy the local crafts of Easter Island. Stone and wood carved moais in various sizes are numerous. They range for a few dollars per piece and on up. Wood carvings are also popular. The replicas of the Rongorongo tablets are unique to the island. They are usually replicas of various tablets found in museums around the world. They can be expensive depending on size and type of wood. Bowls, spoons, shell jewelry, and shirts are also mainstays here. Some haggling is possible. Most of the shopping can be done in one area of town. The Mercado is adjacent to the church, although I recommend checking out the shops in other places as well.
What to buy: Carved moais and Rongorongo replicas were my favorites.
What to pay: A few dollars to several hundred dollars for an item.Related to:
- Hiking and Walking
Temporary shops at the sights
Some locals gather their crafts and head out to some of the most touristic places to sell you their merchandise right on spot while you are waiting for the other members of your tour, or just when you walk by. Sometimes they are at one spot only for a short period of time, while the bigger tourist buses stop at that place.
What to buy: They offer usually the same sculptures, carvings as the ones you can get in Hanga Roa in the Arts and Crafts Market, but in this case you have no possibility to compare the goods and the prices, as there is usually only one person selling these things at one sight.
What to pay: They are probably a little bit more expensive than those in the market, but you never know.
Supermercado: Convenient Grocery Store
You may get more stuff at the "real" supermarket right next door, but I found it nicer to buy my daily food and drink at this small place with a local-touch to it. They always had fresh bakery products and you could buy some meat and cheese to go with it. Visiting this place every morning before heading out to an island exploring day is really worthwhile as you can get everything you may need (especially water and snacks to get you by the day until your dinner in one of the restaurants of Hanga Roa).
What to pay: About average.
Stalls, shops and markets: Tangible memories
You'll have more than enough opportunities to buy yourself a souvenir of Easter Island before you leave. You'll find stalls set up at Orongo and Anakena, and possibly at other sites too, depending on when you are there ... the further into the "season" the more souvenir sellers there are. There's a small shop at the museum, selling high quality, and fairly expensive, pieces including some attractive silver jewelley with rongorongo and birdman motifs , and the main streets in the town have plenty of shops selling a wide range of handicrafts, books, T-shirts .... all the usual stuff.
Individual shops and stalls like these aside, there are also two markets - the Feria Municipal in the centre of town, and the Mercado Artisanal near the church. Both are packed with the wooden carvings the island is particularly noted for, and stone moai of every size, as well as a huge range of other handicrafts... the depth of your wallet and the spare room in your luggage will dictate what you choose.
What to buy: Whilst we all like a bargain, remember that the better quality work (and some of it is very fine indeed, beautifully finished, sometimes with inlays of obsidian or bone and lovely detailing) has probably taken hour and hours, if not weeks, of meticulous work to complete and should be considered a workof art, not merely a souvenir.
Not all the material you see used is local to the island. Whilst the pumice stone is from the island, as you would expect, a lot of the wood is imported and some of it - mako'i particularly - is very expensive. Silver, copper and lapis lazuli is all imorted from Chile, obsidian may well be too. All shells are imported, mostly from Tahiti. Please don't buy anything with coral - the damage caused to coral reefs in gathering it can be irreparable. It is illegal to remove any antiquities (spear heads, fish hooks, stone tools, etc) from the island, nor should you "souvenir" pieces of stone from any of the island sites, no matter how small and insignificant they may seem.
What to pay: Items bought from wayside stalls and the Feria are likely to be cheaper than anythng you find at the museum or the Mercardo Artisanal. Some bargaining is possible.
Mercado Artesanal: Local Art and Souvenirs
Mercado Artesanal is a market for many merchants selling local craft. Some of those are of high artistic value, some are "regular" souvenir stuff. You can look for anything from a small keychain with a carved moai to big wood or stone Moais, or even traditional other Rapa Nui Art figures. Some of the merchants are actually working on spot, while in many cases the wife is selling, while the husband is producing all the items somewhere else. In special cases you may meet real artists, from whom then you can order a special piece, and they would prepare it for you in a few days. This version is a little bit more costly than choosing from the existing sculptures and products.
What to pay: You can bargain a little bit, around 10-20 percent, but my personal experience is that they would rather give you a small souvenir item as a gift instead, but keep the original prize for your major product.
Craft market, local artists or shops: Off course a moai ...
When visiting Easter Island it is logical you want to buy some souvenirs from the island for yourself or your friends at home. Off course there is the normal touristy stuff, but Rapa Nui is more or less famous for its wood carvers.
We found that type of souvenirs in the craft markets (close to the church and in the municipal fair) and in many shops. Small gift items range from earrings, key chains to chess sets and large fruit bowls, or wooden spoons/forks. And off course ...
What to buy: ... moai, carved from wood or stone. We did like the moai made out of stone the most, because they do look like the real ones. We had seen almost every shop in Hanga Roa, before we could decide which moai we wanted to buy for home. (To be honest we already do regret not having brought home a bigger one.)
What to pay: Depends on the size; from a couple of US dollars to ....
Buy at the Smaller places
Some of the more formal places to buy souvenirs such as the Artisan Shop near the cathedral and the Museum Shop, can be very overpriced. It is worth looking around. Sometimes you see a seller beside one of the Moais, and these can be much better value, especially if you haggle hard!
What to buy: Small Moai carvings in stone
Birdman carvings in Wood
Traditional Carving of elongated human figures.
What to pay: Quality varies so much it is impossible to say. The Artisan Market can go to several hundred dollas (US) for some. But many other places have much cheaper prices.Related to:
- National/State Park
Airport: Never Too Late to Shop
If you spent too much time sightseeing and didn't have a chance to buy a souvenir, don't panic. While you are waiting 1-2 hours for your plane to leave, walk across the street from departures and there's a pretty good selection of local crafts. Wont be cheap, but little on Easter Island is.
Fabrics are a great buy
Walking around Hanga Roa, you will find lots of small places selling fabrics with typical Easter Island motivs on them. These fabrics are inexpensive and are handmade, and make great souvenirs or gifts for people back home. They are not heavy, they are easy to pack, and they are unique. We especially liked the fabrics showing the "Birdman of Orongo".
A visit to the supermarket
Hanga Roa is such a small village, if there is another supermarket besides the one in the picture, we didn't find it. However, we had a really interesting experience talking to the lady who runs the small supermarket and also to one of the customers (well, the only customer, in fact). Only about 4 people actually fit in the supermarket at a time, but it was intersting to see what is available and also, it was another chance to speak with the locals.
It turns out that the customer with whom we spoke had a niece working as an airlne hostess on Lan Chile. After talking to her and explaining that we would be going on to Tahiti with Lan Chile, so told us she would have her niece take good care of us on the flight. Then we said our goodbyes. Some days later when we were seated on the plane to Tahiti, the airline hostess came and introduced herself as the niece of the lady with whom we spoke, and she was so nice and we had some great conversations about life on the island. She made a point of saying good bye to us when we arrived in Tahiti, and then some days later, when we were flting back to Santiago from Tahiti, we had to stop again in Easter Island. Again, the niece came to us in the airport and again we had a nice long conversation while waiting for our flight. It was a great cultural exchange and it all came about because we had gone to the supermarket!
What to buy: WATER, AND LOTS OF IT!!!!
Crafts Market: Local artesan crafts
This local craft market is a great place for your souvenir buying. Most of the locals have their booths set up with everything from carved wood items, shell necklaces, volcanic miniature moais, and much more.
What to pay: Bargain with the sellers... This is a must. Do not pay what they ask. Walk away if you have to. They will follow you and bargain with you more.
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