Visiting Easter Island (Land-Based)

Ovahe Beach

The secluded and very pleasant beach at Ovahe.

Farther along the coast, I wanted to take a look at Playa de Ovahe, which is a small sandy beach east of Anakena beach. I could see it from the main road, but I had to find the right access road. Coming upon a likely possibility, I turned right and headed down a dirt track. As I was slowly driving, my attention was diverted for a moment and the car edged off the narrow track and into the weeds. All of a sudden, the car lurched heavily and there were two big bangs. I quickly shut off the engine and got out to see what had happened. Turns out I ran over a big rock, about the size of a bowling ball. When the car bounced over the rock, it banged down on the rock and actually cracked it in half.

More importantly, what did the rock do to the car? I inspected the undercarriage for dents, broken pieces, or fluid leaks, but didn't see any problems. I inspected both wheels and tires, and the rear tire had a slight indentation where it had hit the rock. I really hoped I hadn't dented a wheel or bent an axle. There's no insurance coverage, so I would have to pay for any damage. To top it off, this wasn't the right road for the beach anyway, so I had to go back to the main road. Once I got back on pavement, I drove slowly and opened the door so I could lean out to look at the rear wheel. It didn't seem to be dented or bent, but the mark on the tire did make a small but noticeable vibration. I assume the rental guy will notice it, but I hope he doesn't get too upset. I don't think I'll mention it when I bring the car back; I'll just play dumb: "Oh, the rear wheel has fallen off? I hadn't noticed!"

Back on the main road, I passed a grove of mature eucalyptus trees, non-native species that have been introduced to try to reforest the island. Finally I found the correct turnoff for the beach—they even had a sign. It was a very narrow dirt track that in places had tall grass brushing against both sides of the car at once. I kept driving until I reached some huge ruts, and not wanting to push my luck with the car, I parked and walked the rest of the way.

The beach was small, just a couple hundred feet, and was backed by sheer volcanic cliffs with lesser cliffs to each side. It was the picture-perfect "secluded" beach, and it was completely deserted. I walked to the far end of the beach and climbed part-way up a cliffside trail to get a picture looking back at the beach. Despite whitecaps on the ocean, the beach itself was quite sheltered from ocean swell and had only small half-hearted waves idly rolling up the sand. It was a really pleasant spot.

Walking back across the beach, I saw a small cave cut into the volcanic cliff perhaps 10 feet above the sand. People had obviously visited the cave frequently, because there was an easy but steep trail to the entrance. The cave wasn't very deep, but it was pretty neat, like a cave a castaway would use, or where you might find a pirate's treasure. It had a really good view of the beach and ocean.

I took this picture from the far side of the beach after climbing part-way up the cliffside trail.   Right down on the beach, with Poike Peninsula in the background.

An exterior view of the small castaway cave in the cliffside. You can see the short but steep trail leading up from the lower left.   The view a castaway would have looking out of the cave. This is a panorama of three pictures stitched together.

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