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"Orongo Ceremonial Village" Easter Island Things to Do Tip by wadekorzan

Easter Island Things to Do: 304 reviews and 693 photos

  Orongo Ceremonial Village
by wadekorzan

This ancient village site is built on a spectacular slope overlooking the sea, near the crater lake called Rano Kau. The drive up to Orongo from the one and only village on the island (Hanga Roa) is very nice and you'll get great views over the entire island.

This ceremonial village has been partly rebuilt, but it is well worth visiting for the views of the island, the sea, and the crater lake. There are many big boulders lying about with interesting petroglyphs depicting the famous %fbbirdman%*. The houses of the old village seem to be sunken in to the ground, are built of old and heavy blocks of stones, and have a very narrow entrance. You would really have to get on your hands and knees to fit inside the door, and even then you mght struggle to get in.

Historically, Orongo is important because of the famous "birdman cult". Tradition still survives on the island with the annual competition popular with the indigenous inhabitants. the goal of the competitio is to be the first one to obtain the egg of the bird called "Sooty Tern". The men competing have to make their way all the way down the steep cliffs and then swim or use a small raft built of reeds to get out to another small island about a mile away. Once on the island they have to be the first to get the egg---and then make their way back to the main island, climb the cliff, and present the egg to win the competition. The winner becomes known as "Birdman" fir the following year.

There is alot more to know about the birdman cult, so when you go to Easter Island, try to pick up some books that will give you insight as to the culture of the Rapa Nui people.

Also, there is an entrance fee to be paid at Orongo for the National Park, and I do say it is well worth paying it. It is not too expensive (about $10) and allows you to get into other sites around the island.

Directions: Located at the very southwest tip of the island, about 4 KM south of Hanga Roa Village, in the National Park.

Review Helpfulness: 4.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Written Jan 6, 2004
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