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Easter Island Travel Guide

Ahu Vinapu
Perfectly formed stonework at Ahu Vinapu.

East of Hanga Roa

Five km from Hanga Roa via the road along the north side of the airstrip are the 11 fallen moai and fine Peruvianlike stone walls of the two ahu at Ahu Vinapu. According to Heyerdahl, the perfectly fitted stonework of one platform dates from the earliest period and is due to contact with South America. Most authorities reject this claim and suggest it was a later development by the skilled Polynesian stonemasons. This fascinating site is just south of the white oil tanks at the east end of the airport runway.

An easy half day walk is to Puna Pau, where the topknots were quarried. The road inland from the north side of the church is the shortest way to go, but you must turn right on the back road to Anakena (ask). About 20 red topknots are in the quarry at Puna Pau, the largest weighing 11 tons. After seeing the topknots, climb to the three crosses atop neighboring Maunga Tangaroa (270 meters) for a great view of the center of the island. A pilgrimage is held here on Good Friday.