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Easter Island, Chile

Vinapu Easter Island Reviews

Toonsarah Toonsarah
534 reviews
Toppled moai Nov 11, 2016
Our final stop on an afternoon tour of the southern part of Rapa Nui was at the ahu site of Vinapu which lies at the eastern end of the airport runway. There are two ahu here, Ahu Tahira and Ahu Vinapu. The rear side of the former features neatly hewn, mortar-less blocks very like those found in Inca ruins. This has led some to speculate about links between South American cultures and the island – perhaps the Polynesians who discovered and settled on Rapa Nui didn’t stop here, but carried on further east and eventually made contact with the mainland? A few other clues suggest that this is possible, including the fact that sweet potatoes and squash are known to have been native to both South America and Polynesia long before Europeans sailed between the two regions. Some historians go further and claim that the Inca built this and possibly also Ahu Vinapu, citing ancient stories as proof of Inca presence here. The truth may never be known …

What we do know is that Ahu Tahira once had six moai which now lie face down nearby, with three of their pukao in front of them. The torsos of some were used at one point as shelter, illustrating just how much respect was lost for these statues that had formerly been held so sacred. Behind the ahu is another moai, half-buried, but it is clear that this one never stood on the platform as it is unfinished, its eye sockets not carved out. Perhaps it was damaged while being transported here and never used? Oral tradition states that the giant 21-metre moai, which still lies at Rano Raraku (presumably abandoned when the moai culture collapsed), was intended for this ahu.

Nearby Ahu Vinapu is the older of the two on this site and its moai are also scattered in front of it, along with several pukao. The red stone monolith which stands in front of it was thought by William Mulloy when he excavated it to possibly be a rare female moai. An early (19th century) sketch made before it was so worn shows it with two heads arranged as a Y, leading to speculation that it may have been a funeral column carrying a wooden platform on which they put the bodies of their dead out to dry before burial. Again, we may never know. Part of the fascination of Rapa Nui is this mix of the known but mysterious and the not-known and therefore even more mysterious.
Toppled moai at Vinapu
Tahira's "Inca" wall
Toppled moai at Vinapu
Toppled moai at Vinapu
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andrejav andrejav
751 reviews
Ahu Vinapu Nov 05, 2013
Vinapu is the Ahu (ceremonial platform) with the nicest made platform that I have seen on the whole island. It looks a bit like Inca’s walls and the way they used to place stone… Precisely cut and placed large stones reminded me on many locations that I have seen through my Peru travels. It is located right under the Rano Kau volcano and it is easy to find it if you always follow road on the right. Right under the Ahu there is small bay with beautiful wave lines but I did not see anyone surfing there. Surrounding is very peaceful and tranquil, kind of perfect place to spend morning or evening enjoying in the fresh air or morning mist.
docdotcalm24vt says:
Great tip with a lot of detail. I did not get to this area when I was in Chile. Loved the country reminded me a lot of California. Thanks!
Posted on: Feb 07, 2017

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