The Maunga Terevaka hike passes by agricultural fields, rolling hills, volcanic cones and craters, and groves of trees while heading to the highest point on Easter Island, which contains views of the entire island from the top. Difficulties encountered on the hike include avoiding hiking during times of rainy weather, dealing with heat and humidity, having good route-finding abilities since there are very few signs, and arranging for transportation if doing this as a one-way hike as we did. A Google Earth map of the hiking route can be found by clicking on the button above. GPS coordinates for the Ahu Akivi starting point are -27.116249, -109.394661. GPS coordinates for the Vaitea starting (or ending) point are -27.124253, -109.359467. GPS coordinates for the Maunga Terevaka summit are -27.086209, -109.380473.
Maunga Terevaka (often referred to simply as Terevaka) is the highest point on Easter Island at 1,677 feet. (Note that our elevation reading is taken directly from the official Rapa Nui National Park map which shows 511 meters. Other resources place the elevation at slightly different numbers.) Terevaka was the second of four hikes that we did while on Easter Island. It is one of the more well-known and popular hikes, being that it goes to the highest point. However, during our visit, we did not see another single hiker on the trail all day. But we did see plenty of wild cows and wild horses to keep us company. Terevaka is one of three volcanoes which forms the triangular land mass known as Easter Island. Terevaka is the youngest and largest of these volcanoes, being located in the center of the island. The view of Maunga Terevaka from a distance reminded me of viewing Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea from a distance on the Big Island in Hawaii. The slope to the top is very gradual and the peak does not stand out in dramatic fashion. However, when driving all around Easter Island, the general summit area of Terevaka is almost always visible and seems to beckon hikers to come visit. There are two primary routes to the summit -- the Ahu Akivi route and the Vaitea route. Being that we wanted to get the most out of our hike, we decided to connect both routes and do it as a one-way hike. In order to do this, we found a taxi driver in downtown Hanga Roa and asked him to follow us in our rental vehicle. We then dropped off our vehicle at Vaitea, and had the taxi drop us off at Ahu Akivi to begin our hike. Thus, in order to complete both major routes in one day, we would simply need to use good route-finding while on the hike and not get lost. According to my tracking information, the Ahu Akivi route was 3.5 miles one-way with 1,200 feet of elevation gain, while the Vaitea route was also 3.5 miles one-way (which included a side trip to Rano Aroi lake) with an elevation loss of 1,100 feet.
To start our hike, we made a sunrise visit to Ahu Akivi. Ahu Akivi contains seven well-preserved moai statues which are overlooking the ruins of a village with the ocean in the distant background. While not quite as impressive as watching sunrise at Ahu Tongariki, the sunrise at Ahu Akivi was still very special, especially since we were the only visitors. After taking some photos of the rising sun behind the moai statues, we backtracked slightly and headed up the Terevaka Trail. The trail starts out on fairly level ground while passing through rows of trees. It gradually turns to the north, with fields of crops being grown along the trail. Because this is mostly pastureland, the views stretch on for miles in some directions. Seeing so many horses on the early part of the trail was entertaining, especially watching the foals stay close to their mothers. As we gained elevation, we started having great views looking back to the southwest toward Hanga Roa and Rano Kau. We could also see large and small volcanic cones rising up from the foothills. As you are passing through the vast fields of grasses here, you can imagine how beautiful this area must have looked in previous times (up until at least the 14th century), when the Easter Island Palm covered the landscape. The Easter Island Palm (Paschalococos disperta) is now gone due to various reasons not covered here, but archaeologists have confirmed its existence was widespread. Next, an interesting stone wall is passed and then a major junction is reached. Turning right at the junction leads directly to Rano Aroi lake by way of a shortcut route, but we stayed left and continued toward the summit. There were a larger number of wild cows and wild horses through this higher area on the mountain. We kept our distance upon seeing some bulls slowly walking across the trail while keeping an eye on us due to having calves in the herd. The Maunga Terevaka summit area is marked by a pile rocks, a jawbone, and a homemade sign. From the summit, views include the North Coast (to the north), Poike and Puakatiki (to the east), Eucalyptus groves (to the south), and Hanga Roa and Rano Kau (to the southwest). Upon finishing up our picture taking, we backtracked slightly and caught a trail heading to the southeast which skirted the grove of Eucalyptus trees seen from the summit (passing on the west side of the grove). Just below the grove was Rano Aroi, which is one of the three freshwater lakes on Easter Island. The other lakes are Rano Kau (adjacent Orongo) and Rano Raraku (also known as Crater). Rano Aroi lake is covered by Totora reeds and is located in a very pretty setting. It was definitely worth the extra effort to check it out. Past the lake, a fence line can be seen in the distance which helps guide you on the next portion of the hike. The key is to stay on the west side of the fence, while taking short side trips on the east side to check out interesting features. Most of these features are related to Ava Ranga Uka, which is a ravine that sometimes contains flowing water. Such a ravine is very unusual to find on Easter Island because the porous volcanic soil usually soaks up rain water and holds it in underground reservoirs. However, when it has been raining, you can see small waterfalls within the ravine as water flows down and replenishes the native and endemic ferns. The final portion of the hike passes though a forest with Eucalyptus trees, pine trees, and other trees. It was definitely interesting to see so many Eucalyptus trees during this hike. Eucalyptus trees were first brought to the island in the 1900s, all part of the effort to bring trees back to Easter Island after the ecosystem collapse and loss of the last trees in the 1600s. At the edge of the forest, we passed through a gate and arrived at the parking area in Vaitea. We then drove back to our lodging place in Hanga Roa, happy to have completed a successful and enjoyable hike. Our hike took place on December 29, 2017.
Many more photographs taken during our visit are available for viewing for this destination. To see all of them, choose one of the two options presented below. The two options are Slideshow viewing and Trip Report viewing. The Slideshow option allows for viewing larger images with an autoplay option and a full screen option (available on most browsers). This option works very well for large computer screens and tablets. The Trip Report option allows for viewing smaller pictures in a standard scroll-down format and enlarging of any panoramic photos taken during our visit. Click on the option of your choice to view all of our photos from this destination. The Slideshow format opens in a new browser window and the Trip Report format uses the same browser window for viewing.
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