Orongo, Rano Kau volcano, Easter Island

Rano Kau volcano, Easter island, Rapa-Nui, Chile

Rano Kau volcano, beside Orongo village.

Over on the west side of Rapa Nui the 1. 5 km wide Rano Kau volcano not only provides support for one third of the explosively upthrust land, but also the rim carries fine remnants of the religion that replaced moai ancestor worship, the bird god Make-Make.

Village of Orongo, Rapa Nui, Easter Island Chile

The ceremonial village of Orongo, teetering between Rano Kau volcano and the deep blue sea.

Rapa Nui bird-god cult

Tangata Manu, Easter Island, Rapa Nui petroglyphs, Chile

The half-man, half-bird petroglyph of Tangata Manu visible on the rock centre left, crouching unpleasantly and peering at the more distant island of Motu Nui.

After Rapa Nui locals lost respect for the moai’s powers of protection, people based in Hanga Roa created a bird-god cult and Orongo was the cermonial centre dedicated to the god Make-Make. It is a beautifully situated stone village of 54 houses, reminiscent of Peru’s Machu Picchu with its stonework and dramatic location (though not at all an Inca equal in terms of quality we hasten to add).

And the rongorongo script? It’s still a mystery, but most likely it was an ideographic (picture) reminder for information or story-telling, rather than the world’s fifth original form of writing.

Rano Raraku quarry, Easter Island, Rapa Nui, Chile

Rano Raraku quarry.

And so farewell to Rapa Nui and your moai, long may you live unspoilt, undeveloped and far from reality.

Easter Island weather

This island is subtropical with an annual average temperature of 20C.

The coldest month is August with average high temperatures of around 15C-18C while the hottest month is February (24C-27C).
The wettest month is May (16cm of rain) while the driest is September.

September to April (i. e. the drier months) is the main tourist season.

A minimum visit of two days in Easter Island is possible, but due to clouds and occasional rain that will disturb the ambience and attempts to take decent pictures, at least three or four days is recommended.