Orongo & Rano Kau Half Day Tour
Duration: 3,5 hrs aprox Distance: 20 kms aprox, with a soft 45 minutes walk Altitude: 320 mts Places visited: Ceremonial Village of Orongo, Rano Kau crater, Ana Kai Tangata Cave and Ahu Vinapu
Ceremonial Village of Orongo: One of the Island’s most important places is the ancient ceremonial village of Orongo, southeast of the Rano Kau volcano, where visitors may still see petroglyphs and cave paintings as well as ancient houses and walls from different areas.
The volcano crater measures approximately one and a half kilometers in diameter. Its high walls, measuring 200 meters, constitute a natural reservoir used throughout time by the island’s inhabitants. It conserves an enclose garden of priceless Polynesian and native species that constitutes an appropriate microclimate for the main preserve of flora on the island.
The ceremonial village was used between 1600 and 1866 AD to worship the birdmen. Orongo village consists of some 53 elliptically shaped houses having shale walls and a small square entry overlooking the ocean. Arranged into two uneven rows, the lower row ends at MATA NGARAHU, the sacred precinct where the Birdmen use to be worshipped, and the one most profusely decorated with petroglyphs on the island.
Volcano Rano Kau: Is the southern most Volcano of the island. On the west side of the slopes we have an impressive view of the islets Motu Nui, Motu Iti, Motu Kao Kao. Next to the Crater is the Ceremonial City of Orongo.
Ahu Vinapu: Used in the 1200’s AD, it includes three Ahu. The first, called Ahu TAHIRI, is worth noting on account of its perfect stonewall, superficially compared with those in Cuzco and Machu Picchu. Its six Moai, which used to be colored in red, are down. The second Ahu, the astronomical orientation of which is similar to the first, features an allegedly female Moai that used to have two heads. Only removed stones remain from the third Ahu, the oldest of all.