The Traveling Steve's

Touring Tonjariki on Easter Island!

Ok, so we’re up by 8am this our second morning on Easter Island and hurry down to have our first breakfast here at the Hangaroa Eco Village Resort, before taking our 9:30am tour.

IMG_8669 The breakfast buffet was very good, with fresh juices, fruits, pastries, breads, omelettes , cheeses, ham, turkey, bacon, sausage and more.  We made sure to get enough as we would have a full day touring, although it would be broken up in to two half day tours, with a break back at the hotel for lunch in between.

We met our English-speaking tour guide in the lobby, and she introduced us to the other Chilean couple and another Chilean woman traveling with her 2 year old son.  The driver showed us to the tour van parked out front, and as there were only six of us tourists in this large touring van, we all had plenty of room.  In the last post, I gave some of the trivia and tips for seeing the island thanks to our guide, but now we can visit the sites.

To reiterate one of the tips, be sure you take a photo of the signs when you are touring so you remember where you were, and can locate it more easily on the map.  The island only has a few main roads, so we would start to recognize the airport as a focal point when we passed it, knowing we were getting close to the hotel, which was only a couple miles away.

The first stop we went to, Tonjariki, is the most famous of Easter Island’s ruins.IMG_9351Tonjariki has 15 restored Moai statues of different sizes and shapes, making it the largest restored site on the island.  The original statues were knocked over during tribal wars, and a Tsunami in 1960 caused further destruction and moved them away from their original ‘platform’.  Now the statues stand overlooking the beautiful green pastures with the Pacific Ocean’s breezes felt from behind them.

DSC06132We learned on our tour, a Japanese company offered it’s services, including a large crane (no doubt for some publicity with the name of the company on the crane), and later money (after they figured out the crane alone wasn’t going to do any good!) to restore the statues in the mid 1990’s; a project that would take some five years to do.  The work, money, and time was obviously well spent, as today the ruins stand tall for all to see and wonder in amazement how they could have have ever been sculpted much less moved to their platforms in the first place!

Here is a photo of the 15 statues,


but there’s always room for 2 more!


As you can see from these photos, Tonjariki was even more amazing and special without the crowds!   Our small group of six people were all that were there when we went!  There were more statues than people!  As I said in the last post, the island tour guides know each other’s schedules and do try to plan around them, and as you’ll see in these and other trip photos, our Easter Island trip was without crowds anywhere we went!

IMG_9366 IMG_9383 The weather conditions change rapidly on the island due to the winds, and during the hour or so we were there, you can see many changes in the clouds, which made for interesting shades of colors and photos.IMG_9385 IMG_9364

DSC06112 DSC06115 IMG_9353 IMG_9352 IMG_9369 IMG_9368 IMG_9381This statue has been restored lying down, which offers a close up view of the facial figures, and sheer size of it.IMG_9390

IMG_9341 IMG_9343 IMG_9338 IMG_9410 IMG_9379 IMG_9385

The next post will show photos of the quarry where the statues were actually sculpted, and somehow – no-one knows for sure – how they were moved to their respective place on the island.

2 thoughts on “Touring Tonjariki on Easter Island!

  1. Erin Lauscher

    Hi there!

    You’re pictures are amazing and you seem like such a fun duo! I came across your blog from a forum and like you, I will be traveling to Easter Island in August. Who did you use as a tour guide? I’m a solo traveler but would like to book at least one tour. I will be there 6 night 7 days so I have plenty of opportunity to explore. I figured if I was traveling that far, I might as well make it worth it!



    1. Steve Uno Post author

      Hi Erin,
      You will love Easter Island! We did not use a tour guide per se, as the tours were included in our hotel stay. We booked directly with the Hotel Hangaroa Eco Village and Spa, and they did everything from meet us at the airport and return, meals, and twice daily tours. The island is not that big however, so where ever you stay your hotel should be able to arrange a local tour for you. I’m sure all of the local tour guides are fine, and as ours told us communicate with each other so they don’t all congregate at the same places at the same time. Easter Island is quite quaint, and if you’re staying near the town of Hangaroa you can easily walk into town and see several tour companies you can choose from. Whatever you do, it will be a trip you will remember for a lifetime! Depending where you are flying from, you may need to spend the night in Santiago the night before you fly to Easter Island, and then the night you return back, depending on flight schedules, as there is normally only one flight a day to Easter Island. Enjoy!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *