As much as I enjoyed staying at the Lastarria Boutique Hotel, there was one little problem. The floorboards creaked quite loudly when walking on them. I was always worried about waking folks. Then the folks staying in the unit above us got back at about 2am; slamming the door and stomping about. I couldn't get back to sleep! Our shuttle came to pick us up at 5am and I was exhausted by the time our flight left at 750. In what I would consider a great stroke of luck, when I booked our flight to Hanga Roa, I noticed how cheap the business class fare was, so I just jumped on it. The prices for business class on the return was somewhat prohibitive, so that was a no-go. I was just glad to be able to sleep for a couple of hours during the 6 hour flight to Hanga Roa. LAN has fairly new 787s which are quite comfortable. There's one flight a day; to and from Hanga Roa. Five days of the week from Santiago and two from Tahiti; that's it. So it seems like quite a big deal when a flight arrives.
The place we were staying at had arranged for a shuttle from the airport. First thing you do after going down the stairs and walking off the tarmac is to go and get your tickets for Parque Nacional Rapa Nui. Most of the island, other than Hanga Roa is a National Park and you need admission for two of the sights. The tickets are good for 5 days from the first day of entrance; though you're only allowed one visit to Orongo and one visit to Rano Rarako. Also, there seemed to be random checks at various sights.
Having checked no luggage meant that we got to our shuttle quickly as the exit mob soon formed. It might look like a lot of people, but there really weren't any crowds at any of the sights we visited. Everyone else in business class on the flight (it was a Monday morning) seemed to be construction folks....I guess they've made this journey many times and have a nice stash of miles.
Funny thing; the place we were staying at; the wonderful Marae - Cabañas Premium was maybe a 15 minute walk from the airport! We could have walked over! The woman running this little compound of 3 cottages; named Vero was just fantastic. The cottages were huge! She also coordinated a vehicle for us; the Missus didn't want a tour, so we got a little Daihatsu Terios which was just perfect for our needs.
Of course, as soon as the vehicle arrived, the Missus just needed to see some Moai! So, to get adjusted to the vehicle, I drove thru the single main street of Hanga Roa, Atamu Tekena, and went to the North end of the town. I was told to look for the "cemetary". I found some parking on the street.......
Just north of these replica Moai along the rugged shoreline is the area known as Ahu Tahai.
There are three "Ahu" (shrines) here.
"Vai Ure" has five Moai of various sizes and in various states. Right to the north is Tahai. Worn and eroded; this Moai has a gaunt haunting look. Right past Tahai is Ko Te Riku, with the traditional top knot called a Pukao, which were carved from a reddish volcanic stone known as scoria. We'd actually visit the single quarry that produced the pukao later on the trip. For some reason, the eyes, which were painted based on a replica found during the 70's kind of creeped me out.
Easter Island had always been on the Missus' bucket list and She just couldn't take enough photos of the Moai......she'd take nearly 800 during our short time in Easter Island.
After the Missus had Her fill of photos, we decided to grab lunch. So we headed back to Hang Roa proper. Unfortunately, this being Monday, lunch option #1 was closed (named Casa Esquina they'd also be closed on Tuesday), as was option #2. We had parked the car along the main street on Hanga Roa.
We saw that this place was doing some pretty good business. A shop named "Club Sandwich".
The place had an interesting mix of tourists and locals. I'd come to find out that this was one of the more affordable places to eat in Hanga Roa.
So we decided to order a couple of things....I saw a couple of huge burgers being delivered to tables....it was just too much. So we ordered two empanadas and I was curious about the Hot Dog with Egg....Chileans love their hot dogs.....man, this was pretty over-the-top.
The bun was toasted, but really nothing special; nor was the hot dog. The best thing about this were the eggs......good eggs on Easter Island.
Not having really researched the empanadas, we were surprised at how large they were. The Missus got a cheese, which we ended up having for breakfast the next day.
I got the sausage version.
The good? Well, the salsa like condiment, which is basically Chilean "pebre" was really good, nice balance of spice-acid-salt. Think of this as a "pig-in-a-blanket" enrobed in an empanada shell...with cheese, lots of gooey cheese.
The meal was quite inexpensive; but not quite what the Missus thought we'd be having on Easter Island. Me? Well, this was island life.......especially walking into the markets.....it reminded me of visiting my grandparents; both in Honolua and Lana'i during the 60's and early 70's. And even growing up....Vienna sausage, Hot Dogs, Spam.......not very much in the way of "green" going on unless it was from your garden. It was all quite familiar.
Easter Island, Chile
We did some quick shopping and headed back to our home away from home........
We had a nice nap, then headed back to town, taking the round about way along the ocean side. It was time for dinner, but unfortunately option #1 was closed the entire time we were there....and for some reason, due to darkness, I couldn't find option #2, which was the same option #2 we looked at for lunch. By now, the Missus was frustrated and told me, let's just head back and have the cheese empanada....talk about desperate times. Along the way, we passed what we thought was a little restaurant. Turned out, this was a sports/karaoke bar......man, just like home! Named Piroto Henua. Since we were along the main road right across from the airport, I just went to the side and the Missus ran in and asked about parking....which was in the lot behind the place.
This being a Monday night, not much was going on.
But he made the Missus a Pisco Sour to Her standards (not too sweet).....
And I got a bottle (I already had a six pack in the fridge that I hadn't touched) of the local brew; the Mahina Pale Ale.
Typical; light, nice, white head, slightly fruity, easy to drink.
Looking at the menu, I decided on what I thought would be a typical bar dish.....and decided on the Chorrillana Classico. The origin of which is subject of debate; it's either Peruvian originating from Chorrillos or classic Chilean pub grub. But at this moment, we really didn't care.
Loved the flower presentation by the way. For me, this tasted like Lomo Saltado...with much more fries, crowned with fried eggs.....so for a San Diego; think of it as thick cut carne asada fries topped with an egg. Talk about classic bar food.
I believe this was 11,000CLP; about $16.50. This wasn't bad at all, except for the papa fritas which were a bit on the cardboardish side. Still, what do you expect? We quickly found that the eggs on Easter Island tasted really good. I'd take this over TGIFriday's any day of the week.
Easter Island, Chile
Funny thing, we were now on the road in front of the airport. Our cabanas was close by. The Missus had some landmarks in mind as to where to turn....unfortunately, the landmarks were statues alongside the airport. Remember that I mentioned that the airport features one flight a day? So what happens after the flight leaves? Well, they close down the "International" Airport of course. So that side of the road was completely dark. Still, this is Hanga Roa.....I had recalled a stone wall and some shrubs and turned there. Island life remember? As in typical instructions when I was growing up...."go mauka, turn left befoa' da long stone wall....wen' you see the white wall on your left and the beeeg hedges on the right, you dea', ok"?
OK.......just like home.