It’s not often you get to mix up a day at the beach with a viewing of some of the world’s most iconic archaeological monuments, but this is exactly what you get at Anakena beach on Easter Island. Anakena is home to a set of moai; these are the huge carved stone figureheads that Easter Island is famous for. The Ahu Nao-Nao stones at Anakena are a set of 7 such statues located right by the beach. I would have said overlooking, but they actually face inland. It is rare for any of these moai to have been set facing out to sea.
Anakena has further historical significance in that it is believed to have been where Hotu Matua, the first settler of the islands, disembarked. It is said that one of the many caves along the beach was this king’s home.
The beach at Anakena is composed of white coral sand and is one of only two sandy beaches on Easter Island. This pacific beach is fringed with palm trees and is almost as deep as it is wide.
The coconut palm trees at Anakena were actually reintroduced from Tahiti as virtually all the trees on the island were cut down to make and transport the Moai. The story of Easter Island and how the islanders virtually made themselves extinct is one of history’s greatest ironies and forms the storyline to the movie 1994 Rapa Nui.
There are plenty of facilities at Anakena.These include a car park, changing rooms, toilets and a picnic are amongst the palm trees - just remember to keep an ear open for the sound of falling coconuts!
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