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While we didn't see any large packs of stray dogs, there are plenty of single dogs around. And most of them seem to exist on tourism. Overall they seemed to know how to work the tourists. So not really a danger, just a warning.
Written Jan 27, 2013
One thing the islanders take very seriously is the respect that must be shown to the ancestors. This, combined with the need for strict measures to ensure the preservation of the amazing and unique statues and structures of Rapa Nui mean that touching any of the statues or walking or sitting on the ahu - all of which are regarded as sacred to the ancestors by the islanders - is something to be avoided at all times, and by everyone.
The very nature of Easter Island, with so many sites spread over the whole island, many very isolated and unguarded, means this has to be a matter of trust - and, of course, not all visitors have the sensitivity or sense of respect that is necessary to observe this. You can be sure that if a ranger sees you standing or sitting on an ahu or touching an ahu you are in for an uncomfortable few minutes as you will be picked up on it severely. Your own sense of what is right and proper should mean you won't find yourself in that position of course.
Updated Jun 15, 2012
While not always immediately apparent to visitors to Easter Island there is underlying political discontent on the island. Rapa Nui independence from Chile is a controversial topic on the island and one which casual visitors would be advised to steer clear from unless you know what you are talking about. While it probably won’t affect your stay here it is important to remember that the isalnders do consider themselves very different from mainland Chileans and are fiercely proud of their unique culture, language and traditions. Be aware of political sensitivities and don’t voice your political opinions until you are sure who you are talking to and that they are comfortable talking to you about the topic. Rapa Nui culture was fiercely suppressed by the Chilean government in the past and resentment is still evident.
Written Nov 2, 2011
While hiking along the remote north coast, you will come very close to some sheer cliff faces. Be extremely cautious along this route as crumbling cliff edges and long grass can make a stumble or trip very likely. There is little hope for anybody who falls from the edges of these cliffs with jagged rocks lurking below and strong rough seas bashing the cliff face. This is also a consideration you should bear in mind if seeking out the White Virgins Cave which is located in a cliff face and is not the easiest or safest place to locate and access. You need a good head for heights and willingness to scramble down a sheer cliff face! Not to be undertaken lightly.
Written Nov 2, 2011
At many of the sites within the National Park you will see signs warning visitors not to touch the artefacts. This may seem obvious but it is amazing to see the amount of people who think its OK to touch and even climb on top of these ancient treasures. It is not only the moai themselves which can’t to touched but the ahus on which they stand are also off limits, not just due to their fragility but also because they are considered sacred places. While exploring some of the more remote sites it is easy to get up close and personal with many of the moai statues and there aren’t always signs telling you not to touch but whether there are signs or not, it is forbidden to touch any of the artefacts regardless of their size or location.
Written Nov 2, 2011
Watch out for roaming packs of dogs in Hanga Roa. The locals just seem to let their dogs out to roam and they can be a pretty rowdy and argumentative lot.
They do not seem to bother you ( maybe if you have food) and often flake out under trees in the midday sun but they can be a bit worrying if you are not used to being around packs of dogs.
Written Nov 29, 2008
If you decide to hike or bike or in anyway travel on your own around the island, carry some water. You will find craft vendors outside a number of the sites, but none will be selling drinks. I was told that on weekends that there are some concessionaires who sell food and drink at the beach, but on the weekday morning that I visited their stands were closed and the beach empty.
Written Nov 29, 2008
The island is very rocky, so a good pair of shoes is necessary here. Whatever you do, avoid walking barefoot anywhere on the island with the exception of the two sandy beaches. The lava is sharp, especially at the coast. Also, the rocks can be slippery in spots.
Written Dec 29, 2007
The island is mostly a national park. It is also described as the largest outdoor museum in the world. The vast majority of people who do their research know what the rules are visiting Easter Island. One big one is to not walk on the ahu or touch the moai. The ahu consists of a platform in addition to a ramp leading up to it. The ramp will be marked by stones distanced equally apart. In many of the locations, signs will remind the visitor not to walk on the ahu. Not only does it cause unnecessary wear and tear to this unique place, it also is disrespectful to the culture. In the photo, it is unfortunate that this guy is teaching his son a bad habit. Note that he is on the ramp while his son is about to touch the moai. I hope that the place will be around for many more generations. In order for this to occur, everyone needs to help out.
Updated Dec 28, 2007
The island is full of livestock, especially horses and cattle. They will be found in the road quite frequently. Because there are some blind curves, this could be a danger to some. It does not matter which part of the island the road is on, there are likely to be animals nearby. While Easter Island is an open air museum, it should also be considered a large ranch. For those who walk or ride mountain bikes, the animals are not aggressive and will largely ignore your passing.
Written Dec 28, 2007
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