Are you visiting Easter Island and want to treat yourself to a snorkeling session on the shores of this legendary island? Go to Anakena, Rapa Nui’s only real snorkeling spot, without hesitation. This pretty white sand beach, bordered by coconut palms, contrasts with the volcanic and rocky landscape that everyone sees everywhere else. In its crystal clear waters, you will discover the island’s rich underwater life, which includes several unique fish species.

Blue striped orange tamarin at Anakena Beach
The blue-striped orange tamarin (Anampses femininus) is one of the most colorful coastal fish in Easter Island.

How to get to Anakena?

Anakena Beach is located on the northern coast of Easter Island, at the end of the main road. On the island, there is no public transport service, but some Hanga Roa tour operators which offer shuttle services to and from the beach (up to 3 times per day, from 7,000 pesos per person return trip). Car, quad bike, and scooter rentals are also available in Hanga Roa. From the village, take a 25-minute drive to reach this well-marked beach.

Anakena Beach snorkeling map, Easter Island

Getting into the water to snorkel at Anakena

Enter the water from the sandy beach near the rocks that line the bay.

Anakena snorkeling tips and recommendations

The main snorkeling area covers the rocky zones bordering both sides of the bay, as well as the sandy areas facing the beach (though of less interest). Of the two rocky areas, the eastern area (on your right when facing the ocean) is the most sheltered, but also less extensive and lively than the western area.

Cowries and sea urchins at Anakena Beach
Cowries and sea urchins find shelter in the volcanic rocks.

Along the shore, east of the beach, you quickly come across pretty rocky screes (↕1-1.5m), partly covered with algae. This area is the most sheltered in Anakena, but can be brewed on swell days, which causes the sand to “fly” and reduce underwater visibility. Numerous whitebar surgeonfish come and go above the rocks, as do small groups of blue-striped orange tamarins, and a few Easter Island butterflyfish, endemic to the island. Stop at the concrete platform, as the sea tends to be more agitated beyond this point.

Easter Island butterflyfish at Anakena Beach
Easter Island butterflyfish (Chaetodon litus) is easy to spot all around the island.

The rocks along the opposite shore (to the west) are certainly the most interesting area from the point of view of underwater life. The water level is greater (↕2-4m) and the underwater landscape is more varied, where rocky bars fall on sandy bottoms. In some places, the rocks are riddled with rounded holes, in which sea urchins and cowries are hidden. There are also some small coral heads attached to these bottoms. Schools of hundreds of surgeonfish are flying over the rocks, rocked by the swell. Among the most colorful fish that live in the area are the yellow-brown wrasse and the yellow longnose butterflyfish. We also come across red mullet, Easter Island butterflyfish, and rabbitfish. Do not get too close to the edge if the sea is a little rough to avoid any risk of being thrown against the rocks.

Restaurants and accommodation nearby

There are several small cafes set in the grassy areas above the beach. Only one camping site has been set up in place (Camping Sustentable Ana Tekena). Wild camping is forbidden in Easter Island.




 

  • Level required Intermediary
  • Maximum depth20ft/6m
  • Water entranceFrom a sandy beach
  • Potential DangersWaves
  • LifeguardNo
  • Visitor numbersLow
  • Access costsFree
  • Restaurants nearbyYes

MAP Spot

These spots are accessible to anyone with basic snorkeling skills, and feeling comfortable in the water and with his snorkeling gear. You will enter the water from the shore (beach, pontoon, ladder, rocks) or from a boat. The water height in the sea entrance area is reasonable, but you will not necessarily be within your depth. Moderate currents can occur in the area, even when the sea conditions are good. The distance to swim to reach the most interesting snorkeling areas of the spot does not exceed 200 meters.

This level only apply when the spot experiences optimal sea and/or weather conditions. It is not applicable if the sea and/or weather conditions deteriorate, in particular in the presence of rough sea, rain, strong wind, unusual current, large tides, waves and/or swell. You can find more details about the definition of our snorkeling levels on our snorkeling safety page.