Arrive Santiago, Chile
Upon arrival in Chile’s capital city, meet your A&K representative and transfer to your hotel. In the afternoon, join your guide and set out to explore the sprawling metropolis. See the La Moneda presidential palace, Plaza de Armas and the Museum of Pre- Columbian Art, which houses over 700 exhibits. After exploring the serene Lastarria neighborhood on foot, proceed to San Cristobal Hill’s funicular railway for a panoramic view of the city and the towering Andes Cordillera. Then, visit the Pueblo de Los Dominicos Handicrafts Market before returning to your hotel. Tonight, attend a welcome dinner at the city’s most lauded seafood restaurant.
Easter Island | An Island Most Remote
This morning, fly to remote Easter Island, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Situated 2,300 miles from the nearest populated point, the 64-square-mile island exudes a Polynesian feel. Considered the world’s largest “open-air museum,” it is known for its moai, or human-like stone statues, which remain mysterious even to archaeologists. Upon arriving on the island, you are draped with traditional flower and shell necklaces and transferred to your hotel. In the afternoon, take a walking tour of Hanga Roa and learn about local Rapa Nui culture. Pause for a Scenic Sundowner at the restored Ahu Tahai ceremonial complex, site of sturdy and fascinating statues. After dinner at your hotel, proceed to Hanga Vare Vare to see the first of the Tapati Rapa Nui activities, which feature verbal and visual performances that may include kai kai (string figures used for storytelling), takona (body painting), riu and ute (songs), pata’u ta’u (recitations) and a’amu (the narrative itself in te re’o, the Rapa Nui language).
Easter Island | Local Traditions
Visit Ahu Vinapu, its incredible stone walls reminiscent of those built by the Incas. Ascend the Rano Kau volcano to the ceremonial village of Orongo, the center of the Birdman Cult. Here, a ceremony was held to elect the island’s religious leader, Tangata Manu. See the village’s meticulously restored, soft stone houses and the petroglyph-adorned cliff. Witness the Motu Nui, Motu Iti and Motu Kao-Kao, and take in the vast expanse of the Pacific Ocean before sitting down to a picnic amid picturesque views. Then, head to Rano Raraku for the Tau’a Rapa Nui, which may feature a boat-rowing race, swimming competition and a marathon, during which competitors carry banana clusters.
Easter Island | Marveling at the Moai
Enjoy a leisurely breakfast, and transfer to the Tapati festivities, which may include wood moai-carving and mahute (papyrus) stretching contests. Continue to Anakena Beach to see the partially restored Ahu Nau Nau and the Ahu Ature Huki, the first to be placed back on its ahu (ceremonial place) after it was toppled. Pause for a barbecue lunch. Drive along the southeastern coast of the island, stopping at the Rano Raraku volcano, where most moai were carved. Of note are the site’s 394 statues, which are here in various stages of completion. As you walk to the top of the crater, discover the pretty freshwater lake. Continue hiking to Ahu Tongariki to see its 15 moai. Although the site was destroyed by a tidal wave in 1960, it was later restored.
Easter Island | Traditional Song & Dance
Explore the Ahu Akivi, seeing its seven moai. Proceed to Puna Pau, the crater where the Rapa Nui carved red scoria to make the pukao (topknot) that was used to put heads on some of the moai. Then, attend the Tapati festivities. Today’s competitions may include carving rongorongo (system of glyphs) scripts and making shell necklaces. Return to your hotel for lunch and an afternoon at leisure. This evening, partake in a cultural immersion with dinner in a local Rapa Nui home. Then, enjoy more of the Tapati events celebrating traditional clothing, singing and dance.
Easter Island | Fishing Competitions
Attend fishing-themed festivities at the Tapati Festival, which may include various men’s, women’s and children’s competitions. After lunch, navigate through the breathtaking Motu Nui, Motu Iti and Motu Kao-Kao islets.
Santiago | Returning to the Mainland
Enjoy your last morning on Easter Island before flying back to the mainland and Santiago, where you arrive late evening.
Set out for the local wine district and tour Odfjell vineyard. Learn about each stage of the winemaking process, as well as organic and biodynamic farm management. Enjoy a wine tasting and a scenic, farewell Chilean-style barbecue lunch for a Chef’s Table experience. Return to Santiago and relax before your flight home.
Program Note: Travel in this remote region entails limited access to Western cuisine and active elements such as extended walks over steep, uneven terrain.