Puna Pau Topknot (Pukao) Quarry

We had driven across Easter Island on an ATV, and we had one more stop, at the topknot quarry, now tinted golden by the swiftly setting sun.


At some point, the epic Moai statues of Easter Island acquired topknots, which look rather like red top hats, which were from Puna Pau. Puna Pau is a fair distance from the other, major quarry, Rano Raraku. Which makes sense, because the topknots, or pukao, are a different colour than the Moai upon which they sit.


Nimble cows engaged in hillside grazing.


Some pukaos have petroglyphs etched into them.

We parked the ATV and hiked the path alongside a scattering of pukaos.



The path takes you up a steep climb, from which you get a great view of Hanga Roa.


And you get a peek into the quarry. It’s all overgrown, with the odd pukao hanging around.


Apparently they weighed 11 tons or so. How’d they get them out of there?


Stunning views as the sun prepared to set.


Not that many people appear to visit the desolate, unrestored fallen statues we had just spent the afternoon with… but as Puna Pau is close to Hanga Roa (and the road is paved), it seems to attract more tourists.


The volcanic rock is pretty porous and soft, so the pukao are getting pretty weathered. These look like melting marshmallows. Except red.



The sun was setting on our time on Easter Island. We raced the sun back to town, and returned to our accommodation to prepare for our morning flight.

Next! Santiago, Chile.


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