An Easter (Island) Geocache – Rano Kau – Rapa Nui (GC22ZGB) – Geocache of the Week

Moai on Easter Island.
Moai on Easter Island.

Easter Island was given its name by an early Dutch explorer, who landed on the island on Easter Sunday, 1722. However, the Polynesian locals know it as Rapa Nui. This is one of the most remote inhabited islands on the planet and home to the EarthCache, Rano Kau – Rapa Nui (GC22ZGB), this week’s Geocache of the Week.

Geocacher RachelRoue emphatically earning her smiley.
Geocacher RachelRoue emphatically earning her smiley.

A visit to this EarthCache is a true escape: the island is located 2,182 miles (3,512 km) off the coast of Chile and the nearest inhabited island is 1,289 miles (2,075 km) to the east. Most visitors know Easter Island for the large Moai statues that represent ancestors of the island’s original inhabitants. These massive statues were carved between the years 1100–1680 out of compressed volcanic ash or basalt.

For geocachers that make the journey to Easter Island, finding the Rano Kau EarthCache in Rapa Nui National Park is a must. Rano Kau is an extinct volcano located in the southwestern portion of the island. It was formed at least 150,000 years ago from basaltic lava flows. Now, it stands over a thousand feet tall (over 300m) and contains a crater lake—one of only three natural sources of fresh water on the island. The crater is nearly a mile wide and contains its own micro-climate where figs and vines flourish.

Rano Kau crater on Rapa Nui.
Rano Kau crater on Rapa Nui.

The geocache creator, Dutzig, had this to say about Rano Kau, “The uniform shape of the crater, and the nature and the depth of the crater lake and of course the extraordinary beauty made me hide the cache on the crater of Rano Kau.” When asked about placing an EarthCache versus a traditional geocache, he said, “With my EarthCaches I try to point out unusual features of the world to travelers and give them pleasure. No one has to destroy nature, to look for a geocache. My EarthCaches are partly in very sensitive areas of the world and no one can sabotage the cache or remove [it]. ”

Another view of Rano Kau. Photo by geocacher Kulturmensch
Another view of Rano Kau. Photo by geocacher Kulturmensch

To log a smiley for this EarthCache, you must answer a few questions and you have the option to upload a photo of yourself and your GPS with the crater lake in the background. An uploaded picture to log a smiley is no longer a requirement.

Previous “Found it” logs include plenty of praise for the beautiful location. Geocacher sasktravelbugs had this to say, “We were excited to see another EarthCache from the famed Dutzig, with whom we found another of his caches on Antarctica only a few short weeks ago. What an AMAZING crater! We spent a lot of time just marveling at its size and colours. Thanks so much for creating another great cache that allowed us to learn more about the geography of Rapa Nui.”

Geocaching can take all of us to some pretty remote places, where is the farthest from home that geocaching has taken you?

Continue to explore some of the most engaging geocaches around the globe. Check out all the Geocaches of the Week on the Geocaching blog or view the Bookmark List on Geocaching.com.

If you would like to nominate a Geocache of the Week, send an email with your name, comments, the name of the geocache, and the GC code to pr@geocaching.com.


  • I thought you weren’t allowed to make the pictures a mandatory requirement anymore, even with Earthcaches…

  • This is an older cache, more than likely it’s been Grandfathered in.

  • Richard – You’re right. Thanks for posting. I’ve adjusted some of the language in the blog post to make it clearer. The rules changed. An uploaded picture to log a smiley is no longer a requirement for EarthCaches published after January 1, 2013. EarthCaches published before that are allowed to require photos to log geocaches.

  • bushmanfamily

    It says it’s no longer a requirement.

  • If a picture is not required, how do you know that someone actually went to the location?

    A cacher could just answer the questions and say that they were there (aka “found it”)… without even going to GZ. Doesn’t that go against what geocaching is all about? I would truly like to think that all cachers are not cheaters, but I’m sure that is an incorrect way to think. I understand that you want cachers to learn about an area via an EarthCache, but if they don’t actually visit the location it’s what are they really getting from it?? Just a brief history lesson… not an experience. There are so many tools nowadays to avoid having to actually go to GZ, such as Google, bird’s eye view or satellite view from Google Maps/Earth, or they can even go to Wikipedia to find the answers to the questions.

    A picture with, at the very least, your GPS showing the coords should be required.

    The unfortunate point that I am trying to make is… I think we are slowly moving away from the true roots of geocaching, which is such a shame.

  • hzoi

    It’s pretty simple to verify whether someone was there without a photo: one designs a task that is location specific.

    Which one should be doing anyway with earthcache tasks, since they are designed to actually teach a lesson and not merely be just virtual caches with an earth science theme.

    If an earthcache merely requires you to parrot information off of an interpretive sign or take a photo of a location, and it doesn’t actually require you to do some measuring or interpreting…it’s not a very good earthcache.

  • hzoi

    Nope. The guideline change on earthcache photos didn’t allow for grandfathering. But the change wasn’t well advertised, so there are still a lot of earthcaches that have this outdated requirement.

  • judi donahue

    EASTER ISLAND + EGYPT ,,They spoke pictogram * PICTIONARY … stand back + SEE once restored….Rapa nui is giant megaliths that are an actual miniature of the Pacific Ring of Fire..A volcanic ring within a far greater volcanic ring…Some dormant some with red erupting tops in both rings.. Egypt pyramid is another pictogram…once restored by adding back the missing mirror casestones the mirror of heaven becomes super volcanic mirror … a science of a mist aerosol mirror created by super volcanoes in stratosphere … cools earth + saves world..you can SEE both messages because they knew not what language would be spoken but we all SEE the same!..IF you can see them + they are real volcanic sciences how can anyone tell you its wrong? Makes sense, easy to see..The answer of Giza + Rapa Nui ,,, pictionary only real…giant toys of God…simply restore them to see the answers! PS anyone still wanting to claim WMD death ray is pyramid…a far greater volcanic winter if done wrong when geoengineered could freeze a death ray ,,, breath b4 it is breathed etc..ty Judith Woolworth Donahue aplesgldneroze@yahoo.com