Hanga Roa has an abundance of operators who offer tours around the island. Some have offices in Santiago where excursions can be arranged in advance, but this is more expensive and rarely necessary except for those seeking specific hotels or on a very compressed time schedule.
Partly because so many mainlanders have moved to the island and offered their services as guides, whether or not they have any formal qualifications, locals have organized an Asociación de Guías de Turismo de Isla de Pascua (Easter Island Tourist Guides Association) to regulate the industry. While it may not be quite perfect, it’s a good start toward establishing and maintaining standards.
- Aku Aku Tour (Av. Tu’u Koihu s/n, tel./fax 0322/100770)
- Aku Aku Tour (Estado 115, Oficina 703, Santiago Centro, tel./fax 02/6328173, fax 02/6332491, www.akuakuturismo.cl)
- Haumaka Tour (Puku Rangi Uka s/n, tel./fax 0322/100411)
- Kia Koe Tour (Atamu Tekena s/n, tel./fax 0322/100852)
- Kia Koe Tour (Napoleón 3565, Oficina 201, Las Condes, Santiago, tel. 02/2037209, fax 02/2037211, www.kiakoetour.cl)
- Mahinatur Services (Atamu Tekena s/n, tel./fax 0322/551513, www.mahinatur.cl)
- Manu Iti (Hotel Sofia Gomero, Av. Tu’u Koihu s/n, tel./fax 0322/100313)
- Ota’i Tour (Hotel Ota’i, Te Pito o Te Henua s/n, tel. 0322/100250, fax 0322/100560, otairapanui [at] entelchile [dot] net)
- Rapa Nui Travel (Tu’u Koihu s/n, tel./fax 0322/100548, www.rapanuitravel.com)
- Turismo Hotu Matu’a (Hotel Hotu Matu’a, Avenida Pont s/n, tel./fax 0322/100242, girasolviajes [at] entelchile [dot] net)
Except for Ahu Tautira and Ahu Tahai (for both see Parque Nacional Rapa Nui), Ahu Vai Uri, and Ahu Akapu, Hanga Roa proper has only a handful of typical tourist sights. Its vigorous village life is a very real if intangible asset, though; one of its foci is Avenida Atamu Tekena.
At the corner of Atamu Tekena and Te Pito Te Henua, Plaza Policarpo Toro contains side-by-side busts of its namesake naval officer, who claimed the island for Chile in 1888, and of Atamu Tekena, who ostensibly ceded Rapanui sovereignty to the Chileans.
On a rise at the eastern end of Te Pito Te Henua, the Iglesia Parroquial de la Santa Cruz (Tu’u Koihu s/n) is the island’s Catholic church and a focus of the colorful Easter Sunday services, when the priest arrives and departs on horseback. Its airy interior is decorated with spectacular carved wooden statues, a syncretic vision of Christianity and indigenous spirituality.
At the north end of town, overlooking Bahía Cook, artificial flowers festoon headstones at Cementerio Hanga Roa, the mostly Polynesian cemetery. At Eastertime, the cemetery is particularly vivid with decorations.
© Wayne Bernhardson from Moon Chile, 2nd edition