The plane from Lima lands on Easter Island’s Mataveri International Aiport at around 5:30am after two long flights totally around 14 hours from San Francisco. It was a comfortable ride on LAN Air and slept most of the time.
View Easter Island (Rapa Nui) in a larger map
Considering it was the most remort airport in the world, Mataveri was quite “cute” as an airport. Although their immigration set up leaves much to be desired. To process the entire plane, there were only two agents. So you can imagine it may have taken a while. Then again, I guess the number of people who go through the airport (arriving and departing) isn’t enough to justify a larger staff.
After going through immigration and baggage claim, I waited for my pickup to take me to my hotel. I got to my hotel… Hotel Taha Tai by around 6:30am. I remember discussing my trip with a few a my friends and everyone assumed that there were no hotels on the island… so they asked me if I was just there for a day trip.
I chose Taha Tai amongst the list of hotels due to its proximity to the water. At the hotel’s rear entrance, and across a road is the Pacific Ocean.
And it was a nice hotel. It even had WiFi… not entirely free… it was $5 for the whole duration of my stay… regardless of how many devices I had.
My room was nice and comfortable. Kinda big for one person, but hey… I wasn’t complaining.
Here is my room from the outside.
I rested up a bit. I had breakfast, took a short nap, took a bath… and decided to venture out to town before lunch time.
The hotel itself is somewhat in downtown Hanga Roa itself. So it was just a short 5 minute walk from the hotel to the town square itself. Which was my first encounter with my first Moai. It was on a platform called an Ahu. It would be later in the afternoon when I would learn all about the Ahu and the Moai and all its history.
Anyway… my first encounter… and it was awesome!
And just a few feet away… my second encounter with a Moai. This one facing the water.
At the end of the pier, I decided to have lunch at the seaside restaurant La Kaleta.
After lunch, I continued walking northward up the shore.
I ended up at a sacred location with three Ahus (Platforms).
Ahu Val Uri with 5 Moai of various states of damage.
Ahu Tahai with a lone Moai.
and to the far right… Ahi Ko Te Riku with a lone Moai restored with a Pukao (aka… red hats) and eyes.
As this my first day on the island and my first encounters with Moai (without my tour guides) I spent the an hour in the area just taking tones of pictures.
Every now and then, I would encounter a fallen Moai. This one is face down.
It was just about time for my first tour… so I made the walk back to the hotel.
Along the way I came up upon this “fake” Moai by the roadside.
Barely 5 hours since I arrived this morning, and I have already been “awe” struck.
Now… waiting for my first formal tour of the day.