Hanga Roa is the main town, harbour and capital of the Chilean province of Easter Island. It is located in the southern part of the island's west coast, in the lowlands between the extinct volcanoes of Terevaka and Rano Kau.
The population of 3,304 (2002 census) comprises 87 percent of the total population of the island. For much of the twentieth century, the rest of the island was leased to the Williamson-Balfour Company and closed to the Rapanui; in 1914, the population of Hanga Roa was just 250 and the rest of the island was inhabited by large populations of sheep.
The island's main avenue, Avenida Atamu Tekena (formerly Avenida Policarpo Toro), is the heart of the town. Many hotels, restaurants, grocery stores and pharmacy are found alongside this road. In 1998, the road was renamed after nineteenth century Rapanui hero Atamu Te Kena; it had previously been named after Captain Policarpo Toro, the Chilean Naval officer who annexed Easter Island to Chile in 1888. The island's museum and also the Roman Catholic church, are located in the center of town. With the advent of the Internet and the expansion of communication services by the Chilean government, many internet cafes and automated teller machines (ATM) have appeared in recent years.
The town has a number of hotels and guesthouses which cater for tourists who come to see the island's World Heritage Sites, in particular the famous moai statues. Hanga Roa and the surrounding area have a number of impressive moai, but there are larger ones elsewhere on the island.
The actual hotel capacity is about 600 beds, ranging from hostels to luxury hotels.
In addition to tourism, other businesses in Hanga Roa include fishing, farming and administration. Several Chilean government departments including the Chilean Navy maintain a presence on the island.
The island's only airport, Mataveri International Airport, is served by LAN Airlines, Chile's national carrier, which offers direct flights to Santiago, Papeete and Lima. It is currently the only commercial carrier that regularly serves the island.
As well as a small local fishing industry, the harbour has a shipping service to Valparaíso, Chile.
- Steven R Fischer The island at the end of the world. Reaktion Books 2005 ISBN 1-86189-282-9 page 248