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Diving

The crystal-clear waters of the South Pacific afford great visibility for snorkelers and divers. Dozens of types of colorful fish as well as turtles flourish in the warm waters surrounding the island's craggy volcanic rocks. Some of the most spectacular underwater scenery is at Motu Nui and Motu Iti, two adjoining islets just off the coast.

Mike Rapu Diving Center. Mike Rapu Diving Center arranges first dives (no certification necessary) for 40,000 pesos, and for those with NAUI or PADI certification (they are a PADI partner), it's 30,000 pesos. A photographer can be provided for an additional 10,000 pesos. Snorkeling trips are available as well. Caleta de Hanga Roa, Hanga Roa, Easter Island, Valparaíso, 2770000. 3/2255–1055. www.mikerapu.cl.

Orca Diving Center. Orca Diving Center provides a boat, guide, and gear for 36,000 pesos per person or 47,000 for a night dive. The outfitter also rents snorkeling masks and fins if you'd like to go out independently, but the guided boat trips let you see much more. Caleta de Hanga Roa, Hanga Roa, Easter Island, Valparaíso, 2770000. 3/2255–0877 or 3/2255–0375. www.orcadivingcenter.cl.

Hiking

The breezes that cool the island even in the middle of summer make this a perfect place for hikers, and because such a large part of the island is a national park, you can walk more or less wherever you want without worrying if you might be on private property. Be careful, though, as the sun is much stronger than it feels. Slather yourself with sunblock and bring along plenty of water.

Numerous hikes leave from Hanga Roa. You can take a short walk roughly north along the coast and onto the grassy field before it takes you to Ahu Tahai. More strenuous is the hike on the unpaved road from Ahu Te Peu to the seven moai of Ahu Akivi, about 10 km (6 miles) north of town. One of the most rewarding treks is along a rough dirt path on the northern coast that leads from Ahu Te Peu to Playa Anakena. The six-hour journey around Terevaka takes you past many undisturbed archaeological sites that few tourists ever see. CONAF (parks service) recommends a guide for this route. If you insist on going without one, pick up an Easter Island Trekking Map at any local shop.

Horseback Riding

One popular way to see the island is on horseback, which typically costs around 35,000 pesos for a half-day or 70,000 pesos for a group tour with a guide, but you may get a discount if you pay cash. Trips past Ahu Akivi and up to Terevaka (the highest point on the island) are popular, and full-day tours of the north coast are also possible. Some outfitters may offer multiday tours, with a minimum of two passengers.

Mountain Biking

Mountain biking is a great way to get around Easter Island's sights. Most car rental agencies also rent mountain bikes for 11,000 for 8 hours or 13,000 pesos for 24 hours. Remember to pack water, as you won’t find much (if any) outside of town.

Surfing

When the weather is right, you can find surfboard rentals near Playa Pea, or at Makemake, the bike rental shop in Hanga Roa, for about 20,000 pesos for the board or 25,000 pesos with a lesson. Alicia Ika, at Easter Island Traveling teaches surfing as well. Vendors at beachfront stands near the SERNATUR (local tourism office) can also take you out.

Hanga Roa

Hanga Roa has only two tiny beaches: Playa Pea, a stretch of sand near the bay, and another small beach on the northern edge of the town, with a sea pool for swimming. Both are popular among local families with small children. This is more of a jump-in-because-I'm-hot kind of beach than one you want to spend time at, though you could sit and read a book while watching the waves. Amenities: food and drink. Best for: swimming; snorkeling.

The Southeastern Circuit

Easter Island's earliest settlers are believed to have landed on idyllic Playa Anakena. Legend has it that the caves in the cliffs overlooking the beach are where Hotu Matu'a, the island's first ruler, dwelled while constructing his home. It's easy to see why Hotu Matu'a might have selected this spot: on an island ringed by rough volcanic rock, Playa Anakena is the widest swath of sand. Ignoring the sun-worshipping tourists are the five beautifully carved moai standing on nearby Ahu Nau Nau. On the northern coast, Playa Anakena is reachable by a paved road that runs across the island or by the more circuitous coastal road. For 15,000 pesos (or ask your hotel to negotiate a better price), a taxi takes you from Hanga Roa and picks up at the agreed-upon time later. Bring snacks and water from Hanga Roa. Amenities: toilets; parking; food and drink. Best for: snorkeling; swimming.

A lovely strip of pink sand, Playa Ovahe isn't as crowded as neighboring Playa Anakena. The fact that most tourists pass it by is what makes this secluded beach so appealing. Families head here on weekends for afternoon cookouts, but swimming is dangerous because of strong undercurrents. The cliffs that tower above the beach were once home to many of the island's residents. Locals proudly point out caves that belonged to their relatives. Amenities: none. Best for: sunrise; solitude.