10 Top Things To Do On Easter Island

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So Easter Island’s on your Bucket List, huh? Smart choice. With endless azure waters to dive in, stunning beaches and the world’s most mysterious monoliths, it’s got a lot going for it. But with SO many amazing things to do it could be easy to miss the very best of the best. 

So what ARE the top things to do on Easter Island? On this page we’ll run you through our pick of the best so you can make sure you don’t miss a thing when the time comes to tick Easter Island off your Bucket List. 

If you just tapped “top things to do on Easter Island” into Google, you’re in the right place. Buckle in!

Our 10 Top Things To Do On Easter Island

Easter Island, or Rapa Nui as it’s known in its native Polynesian tongue (or “Isla de Pascua” in Spanish), is a place that’s long been cloaked in mystery. 

Situated in the middle of the Pacific Ocean at the farthest eastern tip of Polynesia, Easter Island might be the most remote inhabited area on Earth, but this volcanic island’s appeal has long drawn tourists from all corners of the earth. With such breathtaking scenery and SO many things to do, it’s hardly surprising why. 

We’ve all seen the pictures of those strange, iconic stone heads that the island is so famous for – but what are they? They’re the moai (“mo-eye”) – and more on those in a moment (no prizes for guessing they made our list of top things to do in Easter Island!). 

Politically, Easter Island is part of Chile, but it is geographically located more than 4,000 kilometres from South American land. Even though Spanish is the official language, Rapa Nui, the local language, is also widely used.

Now you know where it is, what should you do when you get there? Needless to say you’ll want to tick as many moai off the list as you can, but here are our 10 top things to do on Easter Island of the less obvious variety…

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1. Observe The Stars At Night

Rapa Nui is one of the most amazing places to view the night sky because of its remote location. The stars shine brightly after the sun has set and you’ll be completely astounded by the sheer clarity of the sky in Easter Island.

The best part is that viewing the Milky Way doesn’t even require leaving your accommodation!

Why the stars make our list of top things to do on Easter Island:

The lights from Hanga Roa (the main town on Easter Island) have very little impact on the sky during a new moon, which means you can still see everything shining overhead right from the centre of town. 

TBLC top tip: The later it is, the better the vista so take a stroll or a drive at midnight for a far better view of the stars.

2. Visit Ana Kakenga Cave

Even if you feel like you’ve already done caves to death, there’s something seriously thrilling about the Ana Kakenga Cave on Eater Island.

Numerous underground passageways cover Rapa Nui, and it would take weeks to search through them all, so we’d recommend concentrating your time at Ana Kakenga (so long as you’re not claustrophobic). 

This volcanic tube is about 50m long and it’s said to have been used as a refuge during struggles between clans centuries ago. To access the openings, you must first squeeze through a tiny entrance (which was made smaller with paenga slabs to create better defensive control). Rest assured, the squeeze is worth it for the views (and it’s not often you can use the words “views” and “cave” in the same sentence!)

Why Ana Kakenga makes our list of top things to do on Easter Island:

What makes Ana Kakenga so special is that it has two entrances that are exposed at the side of a cliff, with breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean!

TBLC top tip: The caves face westwards so get there before dusk for an amazing sunset over the sea.

Ana Kakenga Murray cueva de las dos ventanas isla de pascua Foote
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3. Visit The Island’s Largest Volcanic Crater, Rano Kau

Easter Island’s Rano Kau features three volcanoes, which together created the unusual ecosystem this place is so well known for. Rano Kau is by far the most impressive (which is why we always include a visit in our Easter Island itinerary).

You’ll find this large crater (breathtaking sea views included) situated at the southwest corner of the island, close to the coast.

The best thing you can do is simply stroll around the crater and take in the views, looking out for the mysterious microfauna within the crater too. The ocean backdrop makes this natural beauty truly sublime. 

Why Rano Kau makes our list of top things to do on Easter Island:

Rano Kau’s diameter is more than a kilometre and you’ll discover the beautiful and impressive freshwater lagoon, totora islands and lush vegetation within!

TBLC top tip: Visit during early morning or late afternoon for the best light and views.

4. Sunrise Over Ahu Tongariki – Time For Some Moai!

Watching the sunrise over the 15 moai at Ahu Tongariki is arguably the most moving activity on Easter Island. This is where you’ll fine the best restored moais on the entire island. Needless to say, it’s very special!

These 15 moai were rebuilt in their original locations following a massive tsunami that destroyed them in 1960, and they now tower over the surrounding mountains and seas.

Why the Ahu Tongariki moai at sunrise make our list of top things to do on Easter Island:

Any time of day is a great time to visit Ahu Tongariki, but seeing it at sunrise is particularly enthralling as the sun peeks up between the statues, casting long shadows across the field.

TBLC top tip: Stick around as long as you can once the sun’s up to get some fantastic pictures after everyone has left.

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Easter Island War Dance

5. Watch A Traditional Dance Performance

It might sound a bit cliché but attending a traditional dance performance on Easter Island is one of the most cultural things to do. Polynesians place high value on music and dance after all, and Rapa Nui is no exception.

The dances are so authentic and deepen your view into the Rapa Nui culture, aimed to preserve that culture as well as to entertain tourists. Many of the younger islanders use dance to get to know and love their heritage!

We always include a dance show in our Easter Island trips to show you how important this aspect of the culture is here. 

Why traditional dance shows make our list of top things to do on Easter Island:

The dances never cease to amaze everyone watching, depicting scenes of everyday life – love and war included. They’re great fun too!

TBLC top tip: Make sure you arrive with a happy and upbeat mindset because these visually stunning performances can take up to 90 minutes and frequently involve the audience in dancing… Fair warning!

6. Discover The Birdman Competition

The old town of Orongo is located high up on the side of Rano Kau, Easter Island’s biggest volcano. More than 50 stone homes can be seen here, gazing out over the water and onto a few rocky islets.

Rano Kau is breathtaking in and of itself and is worthwhile a visit at any time of day (or night), but Orongo gives you a fascinating glimpse into the history of the Rapa Nui people.

The historic “Birdman” competition took place right here in Orongo. Representatives from each hamlet on the island would compete against one another in a perilous climbing and swimming competition to one of the offshore islands, trying to be the first to collect the first bird egg of the year.

Why the Birdman Competition makes our list of top things to do on Easter Island:

The winning tribe would be given control of the entire island for the following year! With such high stakes, the site is worth a visit – and since the locals valued the competition so highly, the homes in Orongo are amazing as a result. 

TBLC top tip: Visit Orongo with a local guide for a much deeper understanding of the past and that crazy contest that took place in this legendary spot.

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10 top things to do on Easter Island - Anakena Beach

7. Float On Anakena Beach (more moais)

Thanks to the island’s volcanic origins, the majority of Rapa Nui’s shoreline is rocky, but there are two locations where you’ll find white sand beaches and turquoise waters that are as stunning as any in the Pacific Ocean!

On a beautiful day, Ovahe Beach is a wonderful site to visit, but Anakena Beach is the true pearl. When you first see Anakena Beach, you’ll think you’ve arrived in a tropical paradise straight out of a movie. 

Out to a bay of shimmering smooth sand is a stretch of lush green grass dotted with towering palm trees. The stunning views provided by the rock headlands on either side also serve as a refuge for the shimmering waves that lazily wash against the shore.  

Why Anakena Beach makes our list of top things to do on Easter Island:

With such stunning views and eight moais that stand tall over the beach, you won’t find a much more spectacular setting anywhere in the world!

TBLC top tip: The sand and water will be less crowded if you head to the far end of the beach.

8. Swim With Turtles In Hanga Roa Harbour

Every day, incredible marine life fills up the stunning Hanga Roa harbour, where you’ve got a beautiful and secure environment for snorkelling.

It’s not just fish that’ll have you marvelling behind your mask either – sea turtles come out to play in the rippling current!

Most hotels have basic snorkelling equipment available for hire and there are a few rental shops dotted around the harbour too. 

Why Hanga Roa Harbour makes our list of top things to do on Easter Island:

The lively harbour is the hub of the island, with interesting fishing boats to look at and plenty of places to stop and enjoy a drink with beautiful views.

TBLC top tip: Go at high tide and make sure you keep your distance from those beautiful creatures so visitors can keep enjoying the spectacle for years to come.

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10 top things to do on Easter Island - surfing

9. Grab A Board And Go Surfing

Surfing at Easter Island will keep you pumped up whether you’re a seasoned pro or brand-new to the waves! 

Easter Island’s north shore experiences extremely strong swells – and you won’t be able to surf anywhere else nearby as there’s literally NO other landmass for thousands of kilometres!

Why surfing makes our list of top things to do on Easter Island:

Surfing on Easter Island is relatively inexpensive (expect to pay around $20 to rent a board for half a day) and there’s a very unique feeling about surfing at the only beaches for thousands of kilometres!

TBLC top tip: If the 12-foot waves don’t appeal to you, try the harbour at Hanga Roa instead, where there are often milder waves that are ideal for learning on.

10. Dive Underwater With The Moai

Okay, so the moai you can dive to on the seabed might be a fake but…it’s a good fake. And the sight of it lying there will still blow you away, even if it’s not quite as ancient as the ones on land!

There are a few diving companies on Easter Island and while diving here might not be world-class standards, you’ll get decent visibility wherever you go, around 40m usually. 

Why diving makes our list of top things to do on Easter Island:

The moai that lies 20m below the surface was placed on the reed for a movie scene and it might be fake but it’s still pretty unique! And you’ve got some other incredible (and natural!) places to dive on Easter Island too, including caverns. Mmmm.

TBLC top tip: If you’re travelling to Easter Island with a tour company, why not use one of your free afternoons to dive? You get plenty of free time in our itinerary, which you can check out here

Moai Scuba Dive Easter Island
Top Things To Do On Easter Island – Our Summary

So there you have it: our list of the top things to do on Easter Island. Aside from those mysterious moai, for us, you can’t beat the natural treats, so the stars, the sunrises and Rano Kau have to be at the top of your list. 

Several of these amazing adventures are already included in our Chile and Easter Island trip itinerary, but there’s plenty of free time to dedicate to the others too. You can find out more about our Chile and Easter Island itinerary here and check out the next trip dates. Don’t let life pass you by!


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