At just 15 miles by eight miles at its widest point, Easter Island fits its attractions within a small area, but there is still plenty to see here. The statues are mostly located in rows, which are lined up and look out to sea, but there is also a small selection of the total 887 monolithic stones positioned inland. Although the intriguing stones are similar, the fact that they line up in different geographical locations on the island means most visitors develop an appetite for seeing as many as possible.
The moai are not the only stonework unique to Easter Island. The stone platforms on which many are displayed are themselves celebrated artifacts; so too are the many stone carvings and traditional houses. Orongo, a small village with stunning views out to sea, is the best place to see these homes.
The best place to take in the island is at Rano Raraku, an extinct volcano crater with a freshwater lake with statues on its steeper side that rolls down to the sea. It is also the area with the largest density of statues on Easter Island and lies within Rapa Nui National Park.
The cave systems, the best examples of which are found at Ana Kakenga, are a lesser known but equally intriguing attraction on Easter Island. At Ana Kakenga, the caves’ small openings expand to huge underground systems that seemingly go on forever. Diving excursions to two small islets, Motu Iti and Motu Nui, can be arranged from the main island through a number of tour operators.
Given many of Easter Island’s attractions are outdoors, it is blessing that the climate here is mild year round. Rainfall remains low, peaking in April before the winter months of June and July, but even in winter the temperatures rarely drop to uncomfortable levels. In summer the heat’s edge is almost always taken off by the wind. Although Easter Island misses the tropical storms that plague the Pacific islands situated much farther west, storms do hit on occasion.