Easter Island: Orongo & Ahu Akivi Tour

View of Motu Nui from Orongo
This excursion involves two half-day tours to Orongo and Ahu Akivi. The experience begins in the southwest corner of Rapa Nui and the remains of the village of Orongo. Located on the rim of an inactive volcano called Rano Kau, this area enjoys a special place in the island's history as it was the principal site of what's known as the "Birdman" era. The cult of the Birdman took root on Rapa Nui in the 16th century after locals gave up on the moai (stone idols) due to war and famine. 

The cult of the Birdman was also a contest. To appease their deity, islanders would hold an annual competition where a group of men would swim to two nearby islands from Orongo and wait until terns laid their first eggs of the season. Whoever returned with the first egg became chief for a year (the "Birdman"). There are a number of impressive sites here, including the remains of the village, the volcano, and a cave by the sea known as Ana Kai Tangata. Inside there are petroglyphs done by the ancient inhabitants of the island. This excursion ends in the early afternoon.

The second tour involves a trip about a mile inland to visit Ahu Akivi. This place is unique. Not only is it home to seven moai, but in ancient times it also doubled as a celestial observatory. In other words, this is where islanders came to stargaze. An interesting feature is that the seven moai all face sunset during the spring equinox and their backs are to the sunrise during autumn. There are two other archaeological sites here: the cave of Ana Te Pahu, the largest cavern on Rapa Nui, and the Puna Pau volcano.
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Itineraries with Easter Island: Orongo & Ahu Akivi Tour

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