"Motus" Top 5 Page for this destination Easter Island Things to Do Tip by pure1942
Easter Island Things to Do: 305 reviews and 695 photos
Just off the south-western corner of the island lie the three motus or islets of Motu Nui, Motu Iti and Motu Kao Kao. While you can’t land on any of the motus due to their protected status as nesting grounds for seabords, there are fantastic views over the three motus from Orongo and they have played an important part of the island’s history.
At almost 4 hectares, Motu Nui is the largest of the three offshore islets and is basically the summit of a 2000m high underwater volcano. Motu Nui played an important part in the make-make cult and in particular the tangata-manu competition where competitors had to swim as far as the island to find the first egg of the sooty tern and return to the main island (see separate tips on Orongo and the Birdman cult for more info). The island has two caves which contain paintings and carvings and there is also the remains of a small ahu. Today the island acts as an important protected area for colonies of sea birds and casual landing on the island is prohibited although you can charter boats to circle the island and you get close to the island on diving trips to the area.
Motu Iti is also part of an underwater volcanic mountain and lies close to Motu Nui about a mile off shore. In the past, Motu Iti was an important source of obsidian, which the locals used for tools and decorative purposes as well as the moai eyes (see tip on Ahu Ko Te Riku).
Motu Kao Kao is basically a sea stack which rises majestically from the ocean and is one of the most popular dive locations on the island, although due to difficult conditions we didn’t dive here. We have the Open Water certificate but it is advisable to at least have the Advanced certificate to attempt dives of Motu Kao Kao. Stick to the dive sites closer to Caleta Hanga Roa with the Open Water cert. (see separate tip on diving Easter Island)
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