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Getting There

Easter Island's Mataveri International Airport in Hanga Roa is served by LAN Airlines only (IPC; tel. 866/435-9526 in the U.S., or 600/526-2000 in Chile; www.lan.com), with daily flights (except Mon and Thurs) and two flights on Wednesday and Sunday. This flight carries on to Papeete, Tahiti, twice a week on Wednesday and Sunday. Most hotels pick you up at the airport and greet you with a garland of flowers.

Visitor Information

The Sernatur office is at Avenida Policarpo Toro at Tuu Maheke (tel. 32/210-0255); it's open weekdays from 8:30am to 1:30pm and 2:30 to 5:30pm. They also have an information desk at the airport that is open daily when flights arrive. You'll find information galore here, plus maps.

Special Events -- Tapatai, held since 1975 for 2 weeks in late January and early February, is the largest cultural gathering and celebration of Rapa Nui culture. Craft expositions, horse races, fishing and swimming competitions, and dance and theater performances make up this festival. A few of the more unusual and interesting events are the Tau'a, a tortora reed raft race held inside the Rano Raraku volcano, and the Haka Pei, where contestants slide down a mountain on a banana tree trunk and try to stay on the longest. The festival culminates in the crowning of a queen.

Orientation

Easter Island measures just 168 sq. km (65 sq. miles), and there is only one village, Hanga Roa. The island is roughly triangular in shape, with each point dominated by an extinct volcano: Maunga Terevaka at the northern point, Maunga Pu A Katiki on the eastern edge at the Poike Peninsula, and Rano Kau, a vast crater on the southern edge next to Hanga Roa. The island is principally composed of a wide, grassy expanse and about 70 smaller volcanic craters and cones, as well as lava beds peppered with so many volcanic chunks of rock that it is said that certain areas "bloom" stones. Most of the island's roads are paved, with the exception of the western coast and the road to Ahu Akivi. Given the island's relative lack of significant coral reef, the pounding ocean has created towering, sheer sea cliffs in some areas. The island's two beaches, Anakena and Ovahe, are located on the northeast coast.

Getting Around

By Foot -- Hanga Roa is small enough to be seen on foot. Throughout the island, there are walking trails (not very well marked, however) that can be found principally in flatter areas, providing easy to moderate treks. Some tour guides, including those used at explora, traverse between archaeological sites on the west coast or the Rano Kau volcano. None of the hikes are that intense, and if you have the time there is not a more beautiful way to see the island.

By Car -- Renting a vehicle is a great way to get out and explore the island at your own pace. Rental agencies ask that you keep your speed down to 30kph (19 mph) outside of Hanga Roa, which is a smart idea considering that animals are often found on or near the island's roads. Also, rental agencies do not offer insurance.

By Taxi -- Taxis charge about $3 (£2) for local destinations. Call Radiotaxi Avareipua (tel. 32/210-0700 or 32/221-0398).

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.