Hanga Roa

The city of Rapa Nui

Today, the small islander society is urbanized, as are the rest of the towns in the planet. The roots of each one of the old islander families that survived the turns of history are located in the outskirts of Hanga Roa, but the church, as well as the school, the hospital, commerce and administration, convert the town into the real political and economic capital of the island. The islanders don’t complain, since their urbanization bears no stress for them. In Hanga Roa, more than in any other place, calm is appreciated more than anything, and not even the morning market can disturb it. The bank, the mail, the telephone, the tex, Internet and even the supermarket are located only a few steps away from each other. Certainly, 4×4 cars and all terrain motorcycles are preferred to the traditional horseback riding or walk, and only religious ceremonies give the slight impression of a crowd. These take place every Sunday morning, and the crowd is fairly calm; nothing seems to startle it.

According to the 2002 census, the population of Hanga Roa is 3,304 inhabitants, which accounts for over 87% of the total population of Easter Island. Avenue Atamu Tekena is the city’s main street, and it goes from north to south. This street bears its name in honor of the local hero Atamu Tekena, and it was previously known as Policarpo Toro Avenue, in memory of the Chilean naval officer who annexed Easter Island to Chile in 1888. It is the center of the city and has many stores, hotels, restaurants, as well as the only supermarket in the island and the pharmacy. The rest of the commerce and public buildings are located at the intersection with Te Pito o Te Henua.