Trace the origins of Easter Island's mysterious moai statues by visiting the quarry were they were carved and various sites where the statues were painstakingly transported.
Depart from the pier and enjoy a short drive through Hanga Roa, the island's sole town. Before long, you'll arrive at Tahai, a ceremonial site with five moais that vary in scale and shape, unlike most of the moais on Easter Island. The two largest figures may represent a mother and father or symbolize different leaders of the indigenous people. Their exact meaning remains a mystery, despite the efforts of American archaeologist William Mulloy, who excavated the site and is now buried nearby.
Like most of the statues on the island, these were made at the quarry at Rano Raraku and then transported to their eventual resting place. A visit to the quarry reveals all sorts of stone-faced moais in various stages of production. Some are half carved, others are broken, and still others seem to have been abandoned in mid-transport. It's a fascinating peek at the past.
A short drive away is Tongariki, where fifteen of the statues ended up and where they stood until 1960, when a massive tidal wave swept them hundreds of yards inland. They have since been restored to their original sites, allowing visitors to view them in their intended location.
Finally, you'll visit Anakena Beach. It is here where the island's first settlers are thought to have landed. Six moais, several decorated with red volcanic rock topknots, overlook this idyllic setting. You'll have time here to capture some photos before it's time to transfer directly back to the pier.
Please note: This tour includes nearly 2-hours of mostly moderate walking/standing. At Tahai, there will be uneven ground and dirt paths to negotiate. At Rano Raraku, there is a slope and uneven dirt paths which can be challenging. The tour is not available to wheelchair guests and those with mobility concerns are cautioned to carefully evaluate their personal level of stamina and ability. Light-weight clothing with long sleeves; sun cap; sunglasses; sunscreen; insect repellant; and flat, comfortable walking shoes are recommended. Guests should bring plenty of water from the ship as none is available during the excursion. The only restroom facilities are at Anakena Beach. Several vehicles of differing sizes are used as transportation on this tour and only one guide goes with the group so there is no commentary on board the vehicles. However, at each stop, the guide will provide commentary for the entire group. Littering or touching the statues is strictly prohibited on Easter Island. The order of the sites viewed or visited may vary.