Day 1: Arrive and Relax
On day 1, arrive at the open air Isla de Pascua airport. Navigating the hustle of a plane arrival is the last time on your trip you will witness a crowd. Drive into town and stock up on groceries. Supplies are limited on the island as they rely primarily on imported goods to sustain. Expect to find mostly shelf stable goods in the grocery, and plan to pack kid essential items and bring them with you from home. Check in to your lodging, and venture into Hanga Roa for dinner. There is a fair assortment of nice restaurants with beautiful views to choose from. What the cuisine lacks due to limited supply of produce, the scenery makes up for in abundance. Try to snag a table at Te Moana where the tropical drinks are tasty and colorful. We were able to get our son a special drink of his own, always a fun way for us to engage our kids in a more adult meal.
Day 2: Rano Raraku, Ahu Tongariki
Rano Raraku is a volcanic crater that served as a quarry providing the majority of the stone used to make the moai on the island. The site has 887 moai, some in different stages of completion.
The area is hilly and there are some steep cliffs. We chose to keep our little one in a carrier as we climbed the trails. The views were breathtaking, and a photographer’s dream.
Not far from Ranu Raraku, you will find the spectacular Ahu Tongariki. This is the largest ahu on Easter Island, and has been restored such that all fifteen moai are upright. Here children can run and stretch their legs, getting below the towering statues. My son was particularly taken with the moai with the “hat” on.
I would recommend bringing a picnic lunch, as there are amazing places to stop and take in the views in this area of the island. Once you have seen the amazing moai in these two areas, venture in the car and explore the surrounding road. There are overturned moai everywhere, and beautiful pull off sites where you can enjoy lunch and allow the little ones to roam free and explore.
In the afternoon, return to your hotel for some well deserved rest. In the evening venture again into Hanga Roa for dinner. You might consider Haka Honu, casual, comfortable, with a nice view of the coast.
Day 3: Orongo and Ahu Tahai
On day 3, depart for the archeological site of Orongo. The village of Orongo was inhabited seasonally by individuals participating in the ritual competition to see who could recover the first manutara egg from a nearby islet Motu Nui. The village has 54 stone masonry houses, as well as preserved petroglyphs, and a spectacular view into the volcanic crater Rano Kau. You could easily spend a half day here exploring the trails. Bring a jacket, it gets windy. We elected to use a carrier here as well, as some vistas had a steep plunge.
That afternoon, drop into town and visit the Mercado Artesanal and select some souvenirs. We still adore our little wooden sculpted moai , and it stands proudly in our living room as a reminder of our trip.
In the evening, spend your sunset at Ahu Tahai, one of the most beautiful places on the island to watch the sun dip below the skyline.
Day 4: Ahu Akivi and Ana Te Pahu
Today, journey in mid morning to Ahu Akivi. Unlike other moai on the island, these figures precisely face the sun during the Spring Equinox. This is a good place for little ones to run and explore while you take in the wonder of the formation.
After several days of spectacular moai, the nearby Ana Te Pahu is a welcome change of pace. The largest cavern on Easter Island, Ana Te Pahu is a petrified lava cave, and was used by ancient inhabitants as shelter. A small well marked trail leads you from a parking area to the entrance to the cavern. Wear good shoes, and be prepared to be cautious with little ones as things can get slippery. Overall, it was doable with children and a welcome change of scenery from the other sites around the island.
In the evening, retreat back to Hanga Roa and get dinner at La Kaleta, with stunning views of the water, and an easy venue to enjoy a meal with kids.
Last, one of our favorite things when traveling with children is to find playgrounds in incredible settings. Easter Island doesn’t disappoint with a beautiful playground set with spectacular views of the water, allowing children to be free, and parents to soak in the feeling of being at the end of the world.
Day 5: Ahu Nau Nau and Anakena Beach
On day five, pack up some towels and put on bathing suits. Anakena Beach is a perfect relaxing finale to a week of exploration. We found the beach a little too shelly to lounge on, but my family enjoyed exploring the surrounding area and dipping our toes in the water. For a break from the beach, you can visit Ahu Nau Nau which is quite impressive in a breathtaking setting.
Ahu Nau Nau, a short walk from Anakena Beach
- Bring sunscreen and mosquito repellant
- Consider mosquito nets, there was a Dengue outbreak when we were on the island
- Bring essentials with you, and bring your trash home. Bottles on Easter Island will be there forever. We still have memories of the shampoo bottle that we purchased there, realizing there was nowhere for it to go if we left it.
- Explore, be free, and just go!