Easter Island is known all over the world for its mysterious statues that have puzzled archaeologists and historians for centuries. The "other half" of Easter Island’s fascination is its friendly inhabitants, of Polynesian origin, who are eager to show visitors some of their culture. Today, the Rapa Nui people are most willing to tell you about their ancient traditions and, at the same time, allow you to participate in the ceremony of body painting. From the port of Hanga Piko, you’ll head to the Tahai area, located on the west coast of the island. The altars and monolithic statues found here are the embodiment of Rapa Nui culture. Your guide will explain about the site and allow time for photos. Afterwards, take a short walk to a nearby cave and meet your hosts. During your time with the Rapa Nui people, they will teach you about their typical dances. You’ll also learn about kaikai—the traditional game that relates Rapa Nui history with the help of a piece of thread that is used to form different shapes in the hands—and the use of kie’a. The latter is a form of natural paint that was used in ancient times for body painting (takona). Participate and have your body painted, if you wish, or you can simply observe how it is done.
Wear sunscreen, sunglasses, light clothing and comfortable shoes. Tourism infrastructure is very limited on Easter Island. Transportation will be by way of several different types of vehicles, including minibuses and vans. A guide waits for you at each point of interest and provides narration and explanation with a loudspeaker rather than riding with you in the vehicle. The ship is at anchor on Easter Island and the Immigration clearance process can take more than an hour. Having your immigration card filled in prior to arrival will expedite the process. No fruits or meat are allowed. Very few vendors on Easter Island accept credit cards. Bring US dollars, Chilean pesos, or travelers’ checks.