Rano Raraku was my favorite Moai sight on Easter Island. Hundreds of unfinished Moai are spread across the landscape along trails for an easy walking tour.
Rano Raraku actually refers to the now extinct volcano where the people of Rapa Nui carved their monolithic statues before moving them around the island. The Moai found around the base of Rano Raraku are still in the stages before completion, looking different than most Moai around the island.
Tourists can take a walk through the hillside and get up and close for some great photos. My suggestion if you ever do this hike is to go first thing in the morning when it opens so no one is in your photos and the sun isn’t as hot yet. I went both in the afternoon and morning (although your ticket only allows you one entry, I snuck in a 2nd time).
There is also a hike up to the volcano rim but it was hot and I wanted a beer in the shade instead.
The beer water combo:
Prior to visiting Rano Raraku, I drove my crappy rental car to Tongariki for an amazing sunrise. This is the place to watch it! You will have to hang out with a hundred of your closest fellow tourists but the site is big so you won’t all be on top of each other.
Tongariki from Rano Raraku:
After traipsing around Rano Raraku and my beer, I hit the beach at Anakena one last time. For my last dinner in Hanga Roa, my AirBnB host recommended Kai Sushi Rapa Nui restaurant on one of the main streets after her and her daughter came home with leftovers from their dinner and raved about their sushi and pisco sour there. I love sushi and pisco sours so I was sold.
I am surprised I did not turn into a tuna by the end of this trip I ate so much of it! The sushi was amazing and I couldn’t finish it all either so I saved some for breakfast the next morning- who says sushi can’t be breakfast food too
Easter Island was quite the experience and I’m so glad I got to see the Moai I’ve been obsessed with since learning about them in middle school. While it is not easy to get to Easter Island, should you ever get the chance, spend at least 3 days exploring this remote section of the globe. You will end up obsessed with the mysteries of the Moai too!