Mahia Guest House Restaurant Easter Island
Mahia Guest House Restaurant on Easter Island is at the entrance to the Hanga Piko village harbour. It is the main cargo port for Easter Island and centre of its fishing industry. For two evenings we watched small boats leave the harbour on fishing ventures. The fleet had passed one man outrigger canoes: three and four at a time. I watched them through my camera lens. They paddled with a consistent stroke. Ferociously stabbing their oars into the ocean surge while the waves in equal measure tried to topple their ride.
Mahia resides on ancestral land inherited by Owner, Rafael Vasquez’s wife. It is (in my opinion) the best kept secret on Easter Island. Maria, the receptionist at Hotel Tea Nui recommended it. Tea Nui served breakfast only. We were on our own for dinners. Lunches we made while eating breakfast. Slapping meat and cheese between a white unleavened and crusty bun glued together with a slather of unsalted butter. That combination got old fast. Making us game for a good meal at dinner.
We strode along the dirt road for about 15 minutes from our hotel. We hoped the restaurant would be cheaper than the ones in town. Eating out tends to be really pricey on this island! We had been warned it was expensive.
Chef Osvaldo Pradenas trained at a culinary arts program in Santiago. He is a One Man Show! He served up the best Pisco sours. And prepared, the most delicious, fresh tasting savoury and citrus infused ceviche I have ever eaten. It was heaven to devour tuna caught that afternoon. Friends we had met on our tour that day of the archaeological features of the island joined us for the first dinner. Sue reached over. You don’t have to eat so fast!” I wasn’t rushing so we could leave. I was truly famished from the vignette production and relishing in the magic of the “navel of the world.” I couldn’t get enough of the ceviche. “It’s so amazing! And I tried something new too – Piafri.
Piafri tasted like tuna. I was corrected when I assumed it was tuna ceviche. It was the same texture. I tried to find some information about Piafri when I arrived home. However, when I google Piafri there is very little about it on the net. I assume it is part of the tuna family. Or it could be a local word for tuna. If anyone knows anything about Piafri, feel free to educate me in the comments section. I would appreciate it. I enjoyed both types of ceviche. I am not a big fish eater. And I know why! I don’t eat fresh fish. It’s either frozen or 24 hours old. That sounds picky. But there is nothing like eating fresh fish. So gooooooood!
The divine fare made us return the following evening. Me and Eddy, my travel buddy sat on a small, covered deck overlooking a dirt road that ran into a small harbour to the left and along the coastline to our right. We became mesmerized by the changing light. I took some vignettes of the sunsets. I had a front row seat. I hope I did them justice. They were truly spectacular. We realized the time on Rapa Nui was the same as in Toronto, Canada.
The sun seemed to take forever to set here on the island versus home. The dramatic and merry dancing of the sun’s rays along the surface of the ocean were drowned beneath the waves as they crested. Ripples and swells became powerful waves that crashed onto the black, volcanic shore. The water rushed backwards as if inhaled by a large mouth in the orb burning brightly on the horizon. The ebb and flow of the tide was energizing and calming. Between “vignette producing”. My term for picture taking. Chef Oswaldo would serve many Pisco sours, ceviche and shrimp with a pea puree.
Eddy decided to call her Princess Rapa Nui. I had been dropping my ceviche on the floor for her to gobble up. When the ceviche ran dry, Eddy began feeding her pea puree that was delicious. Princess Rapa Nui concurred. She nipped slightly and then licked Eddy’s finger. Princess Rapa Nui satisfied from her meal promptly jumped up on Eddy’s lap and went to sleep. And as Princess Rapa Nui slumbered, the sun’s flame blazed brightly and then dropped out of sight. It had been the best entertainment Mother Nature could have provided. The spectrum of colour shining through the clouds created the best stage for an incredible light show.
I loved this spot. So peaceful without the surfers and tourists in town. For a few hours you felt like a local enjoying the catch of the day. I had been sad it had to end. I just loved Easter Island. I lamented my regret that this would be our last meal at the Mahia Restaurant.
Or so we thought.
We arrived at the Matavari International Airport. We slung our bags through the x ray machine inside the airport entrance. I wheeled my bag over to the Check In counter. As I dug my passport out of my bag, I silently prayed the bottle of Pisco in a Moai shaped bottle would survive the journey through Chile, Argentina, Brazil, and finally Toronto. “Please Baby Jesus!”
The attendant said the plane was delayed enroute from Santiago. “Your flight is now leaving this afternoon.” My face went blank. I think the attendant thought I was going to have a melt down. My face erupted in glee. “Bad luck! I get to stay a little longer on Easter Island!” She handed me two vouchers for lunch, smiling. “There is a shuttle outside to take you into town to eat. You can return on the same shuttle later.”
Eddy and I jumped into a van and headed back into town with our carry on bags. We arrived at a restaurant where we had had drinks the previous evening. I handed over the vouchers for our lunch. Jody and Mike members of our tour were seated at a table. We joined them and ordered a round of Pisco Sours toasting. “When in Rome!”
I scooted over to a pharmacist after lunch. I could never go anywhere without getting bitten by something. My right eye had clouded over. The lid was puffed up. I was convinced I had dengue fever. A large sign on arrival to the island scared me with the details of the symptoms of the illness. There wasn’t anything you could do. But take Tylenol for the pain. Antibiotics were useless. You basically had to ride it out. The Pharmacist assured me my puffed eye was a reaction to the pollen in the air. It was Spring. I was relieved.
When I got back to the restaurant, it had been decided we go back to the Mahia Restaurant. The Pisco Sours were cheaper and I had to have more ceviche. (I know I just ate lunch.) Jody and Mike were game. We stepped out onto the street. And got a cab immediately. A woman behind the wheel was apologizing for her child’s toys in the front seat. Someone was going to have to get in the front with the kid.The rest of us crammed into the back of this Lada ish vehicle.
We arrived at the Mahia Restaurant to find the deck facing the ocean – set for a party. The table looked lovely for the graduation and birthday celebrations of Mr Vasquez’s family being held that evening.
But they accommodated us. In an instant, Chef Oswaldo was shaking up Pisco Sours and preparing ceviche. We danced and sang. And then poured ourselves into a cab back to the airport.
Easter Island is truly an amazing place. Always wanted to come here. It was a peaceful and lovely experience. An ideal place to unwind after a hectic work week. It’s a long way to go to just relax. But I am glad we decided to have some time to chill before we joined an action packed tour from Santiago to Rio de Janeiro for the following two weeks.
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