A trio of ahu (ceremonial platforms) lining the seafront with their backs to the ocean, the Tahai Ceremonial Complex is one of the most visited historic sites of Easter Island and an important part of the UNESCO-listed Rapa Nui National Park. Like many of the island’s moai, the Tahai statues toppled over in the 18th century, but the site was among the first to be restored, a task undertaken in 1974 by American archaeologist William Mulloy, who is now buried on the site.
The moai at Tahai are known for their unique designs—the Ahu Tahai, with its solitary weather-beaten moai stands at the center, flanked by Ahu Ko Te Riku, a single moai featuring painted eyes and a pukao headdress, and Ahu Vai Uri, with five moai of various sizes. The most spectacular time to visit the site is at dusk, when the coastal moai are dramatically silhouetted against the blazing sunset.
The Tahai Ceremonial Complex is located on the northwestern coast of Easter Island, less than a mile east of Hanga Roa. The entrance fee to the Rapa Nui National Park is U$60 for all non-Chileans (payable on arrival to the island) and includes entrance to Tahai.