Birding on Easter Island
Day 1. Early flight from Santiago Airport and welcome tour
Day 2. Rano Raraku Volcano and Birding in the Motus
Day 3. Rano Kau Volcano and Birding in the Motus
Iorana..the traditional Easter Island word for greeting. That the same word is used in Tahiti gives some evidence for how this remote and mysterious island came to be populated.
If you want to explore one of the world´s most curious cultures and to combine it with some unusual and interesting birding then this is the right trip for you!
Easter Island is one of the more enigmatic and isolated places on the entire earth, is part of Polynesia and is located practically in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. The island has a rich culture and excellent seabird watching!
It is now a World Heritage site and most of the island is now protected within the Rapa Nui National Park.
Given that it is more than 2000 miles from Chile to what is known in Chile as Isla de Pascua you might wonder how Chile was able to annexe the Island in 1888 without argument. The answer is that nowhere else had a continetal landfall that was nearer!
Since the beginning of this culture it was strongly influenced by the presence of seabirds.
One of the main ancestral rituals ..the Tangata Manu.. is an extraordinary rite of initiation in which the young and strong men had to get an egg from the seabird colony of the close islets or “motus” and return with it to the main island to be crowned as a King for the following year.
During our trip to Easter Island the activities focus on birdwatching and also the other attractions of this magical island. A native guide will lead us through the Rapa Nui’s history. We will visit the main archaeological places where we can see the colossal Moai statues. Also we will go to the megalithic workshop on the slope of Rano Raraku Volcano, where some of these giant Moais (some of them 21 meters high) were left in the middle of their construction or on the way of the final altar.
For the birding around the island, we will do some short boat trips to watch the seabird colonies in three motus (Motu Kau Kau, Motu Iti and Motu Nui) as well as looking for the relatively small number of terrestrial species and birding for seabirds from the shore.
The seabirds arrive at the motus late in the day and leave the colonies early in the morning. By choosing our time carefully we will have the chance to see amazing displays of Pterodromas! Here there is the chance to see 5 different species of Petrel (Kermadec, Herald, Phoenix, Murphy's and Henderson Petrels) among other spectacular species of seabirds!
This trip offers magnificent photo opportunities of birds, great landscapes and a lot of culture. Also the influence of Polynesia makes for a great mixture of food, rich in fruits and local fish.
This trip can combined with any other of our birding trips in Chile.
We receive a traditional island welcome in the airport of Mataveri, Easter Island. During the afternoon we will do a short walk near to the small town Hanga Roa, where we will see some birds and our first Moais.
During the morning we will do an archaeological tour to visit one of the more impressive places on the Island - The megalithic workshop on the slope of Rano Raraku Volcano. Here it is possible to see the spectacular Ahu Tongariki (15 moais aligned altar). To get a balance between birds and culture we can lok for the Red-Tailed Tropicbird which is breeding among of the Moais ! At the end of the day will do a short boat trip to the Motus to look for the Petrels.
In the morning we will visit the ceremonial village Orongo, located at the top of Rano Kau Volcano. This is one of the highest points of the Island where there are fantastic panoramic views.
Also in the Rano Kau slopes is breeding the Kermadec Petrel and other seabirds, so they will be flyingaround making aerial displays to entertain us.
Later in the afternoon we will sail around the Motus trying to make sure no species of Petrel escape us.
Day 4. Early morning boat trip to the Motus and cultural farewell tour
Flight back to Santiago
Very early in the morning, with the first light of the day, we will do a boat trip to the Motus, where we will spend some hours sailing around and looking for the seabirds making their daily commute from the breeding colonies to the open ocean to hunt for food.
Our final cultural experience will be to visit the great Museum in the town and after lunch we catch the afternoon flight to Santiago and end of the trip.