Explore Chile’s Isla de Pascua on horseback, a natural form of transportation

Humans have traversed the surface of earth on horseback since prehistoric times, and Chile’s Isla de Pascua (Easter Island) offers 164 square kilometers of open moorland to fathom this ancient partnership between species.

A circuitous network of roads and trails throughout the iconic island permits equine exploration of intriguing archaeological ruins, graceful scenery, mysterious stone monoliths, and the Rapa Nui community.

Isla de Pascua is one of our planet’s most isolated populated places, located 3,600 km from Chile and 2,000 km from the next inhabited land. Despite its apparent seclusion from the rest of the world, early indigenous immigrants formed a sophisticated society and complex mythology, leading to construction of the 887 Moai statues that quietly populate this singular island.

Greet the dignified Moai on horseback

Traveling Isla de Pascua on horseback provides a gratifying chance to integrate with the environment and tour the island at one’s own pace, escaping from the oft-trodden path to explore some of the less typical vacation hotspots. Many local travel agencies offer horses for hire as well as guided horseback adventures for outings from several hours to several days.

The following spots are ideal for horseback access, since this method of travel minimally disturbs the landscape and allows riders to exceed the boundaries of defined roads.

Mount Terevaka: Mount Terevaka is Isla de Pascua’s most prominent volcano. It can be ascended to an incredible viewpoint in several hours on foot or horseback.

Península Poike: Remote Poike peninsula is the island’s easternmost point and home to another, dormant volcano.

Orongo: Orongo is an archeological village of over fifty restored Rapa Nui homes that can be approached through the crater of the Ranu Kao Volcano, which is adorned with petroglyphs.

Anakena and Rano Raraku: One of Isla de Pascua’s two sandy beaches, Anakena is guarded by several ahu – stone platforms with Moai sculptures – and is easily reached from Hanga Roa, the island’s primary town, located 18 km to the southwest. The Rano Raraku volcano is nearby.

All the pretty horses

Isla de Pascua is home to a large population of wild horses. Domestic horses offer a tranquil method of arriving to and appreciating the purity of Isla de Pascua’s wild meadows, seaside cliffs, sentinel statues and endless azure sky that blends harmoniously with the surrounding sea in a climactic, panoramic blue horizon.

When to tour Isla de Pascua on horseback

Isla de Pascua is in a subtropical climate zone, so temperatures are moderate throughout the year. Rainfall is common in April, and storms can be expected throughout the winter months (June-August), so plan your outdoor horseback-riding adventure accordingly.

By Gretchen Stahlman, written for Chile.Travel

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