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A ice climbing guide to easter island - in the open


Ask me which Calm island has the most to offer hikers and I'll almost certainly counter Easter Island. Here on an island 11 km wide and 23 km long you'll find near a thousand antediluvian Polynesian statues spotted along a compellingly delightful seaboard or littering the slopes of an died out volcano.

The tradition of Easter Island have been recounted many times. What's less known is that the island's assorted wonders are certainly approachable on foot from the comfort of the only settlement, Hanga Roa. Already background out see the sights, however, visit the first-rate archaeological museum next to Ahu Tahai on the north side of town (the term "ahu" refers to an antediluvian stone platform). Aside from the exhibits, the museum has maps which can help you plan your trip. On online map is obtainable at http://www. mapsouthpacific. com/easter_island/

The first crack of dawn after arrival, I advocate you climb Easter Island's most spectacular volcano, Rano Kau, where Orongo, a major archaeological site, sits on the crater's rim. But fairly than marching above-board up the main road to the crater, look for the safe shortcut trail off a driveway to the right just past the forestry locate south of town. It takes under two hours to cover the six km from Hanga Roa to Orongo, but bring along a picnic lunch and make a day of it. (If climbing a 316-meter hill sounds daunting, you can take a taxi to the brow for about US$6 and certainly walk back later in the day. ) Once on top, you'll find climbing down into the colourful basin presents no difficulty. It may also look easy to go right about the cave rim, but only do so if you're a very qualified hiker and have a companion along as shear 250-meter cliffs drop into the sea from the ridge.

Another day, rise early and take a taxi to lovely Anakena Beach at the end of the paved road on the north side of the island (you be supposed to pay under US$10 for the 20 km). A few of the eminent Easter Island statues have been restored at Anakena and you could go for a swim, while the main argue you've come is the attempt to trek back to Hanga Roa about the road-free northwest back into a corner of the island. You'll pass abundant abandoned statues lying facedown where they fell, and the only alive creatures you're doubtful to come upon are the small brown hawks which will watch you closely from perches on adjoining rocks. If you keep moving, you'll be successful back in town in five or six hours (but take acceptable food, water, and sunscreen). This is doubtless the finest coastal walk in the South Pacific.

Almost as good is the hike along the south coast, even if you're bound to run into other tourists here as a paved highway follows the shore. Begin early and catch a taxi to Rano Raraku, the stone extract where all of the island's statues were born. This is by far the island's most spectacular sight with 397 statues in a mixture of stages of completion lying scattered about the crater. And each day large tour groups come to Rano Raraku to sightsee and have lunch. However, if you appear ahead of 9 am, you'll have the site to by hand for a few hours. When you see the first tour buses headed your way, hike down to Ahu Tongariki on the coast, where 15 colossal statues were reerected in 1994. From here, just start under your own steam back concerning Hanga Roa (20 km) along the south coast. You'll pass many fallen statues and enjoy some superb scenery. At whatever time you get tired, austerely go up onto the highway and stick out your thumb and you'll be back in town in a jiffy.

An outstanding 13-km walk begins at the museum and follows the west coast five km north to Ahu Tepeu. As elsewhere, keep your eyes pealed for banana trees emergent out of the bare rocks as these often be a symptom of caves you can explore. Internal from Ahu Tepeu is one of the island's most photographed sites, Ahu Akivi, with seven statues restored in 1960. From here an interior farm road runs above-board back to town (study the maps at the museum carefully, as you'll go far out of your way if you desire the wrong road here).

A shorter hike takes you up Puna Pau, a less important cavern which provided stone for the red topknots that at first crowned the island's statues. There's a great view of Hanga Roa from the three crosses on an adjacent hill and you can by a long shot do it all in half a day. A altered walk takes you right about the 3,353-meter airport runway, which crosses the island just south of town. Near the east end of the landing strip is Ahu Vinapu with effortlessly en suite huge masonry compass reading an strange resemblance to comparable constructions in Peru.

Easter Island's moderate climate and scant foliage make for easy cross fatherland hiking, and you won't find physically blocked by fences and concealed acreage signs very often. You could also tour the island by mountain bike, existing from quite a few locations at US$10 a day. If you surf or scuba dive, there are many opportunities here. A bare minimum of five days are looked-for to see the main sights of Easter Island, and two weeks would be far better. The array of equipment to see and do will amaze you, and you'll be blessed with some cherished memories.

David Stanley is the dramatist of Moon Handbooks South Comforting http://www. southpacific. org/pacific. html which has a interval on Easter Island. Stanley's online guide to Easter Island may be perused at http://www. southpacific. org/text/finding_easter. html and his Easter Island journey photos are on http://www. pacific-pictures. com/easter_island/
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