One of the dreams for many is undoubtedly to visit Easter Island (Rapa Nui in the local language). For us too, it was a dream that came true, having been one of the stages of our honeymoon.
The famous and mysterious Moai, together with its position in the Pacific Ocean (so far from the mainland, more than 3600 km away from the Chilean coast!), Make this island truly magical.
Politically it is part of Chile, but geographically it is located in Polynesia, it constitutes one of the vertices of the Polynesian triangle. To reach it there is only one daily flight from Santiago de Chile and one weekly from Papeete (Tahiti). Once you disembark from the plane, in the small airport you will be greeted very pleasantly with a necklace of flowers around your neck.
To visit the island a few days are enough, being not very extensive, it has a maximum length of just 24 km! We stayed 5 days, and we had the opportunity to visit it all calmly. If you have time and want to unplug, we advise you to immerse yourself in its mystical atmosphere for at least a week.
Since there is no public transport, the only way to get around the island independently is to rent a car or a scooter, we suggest you to be directed directly by the staff of your accommodation. You will thus be able to explore the island and discover it step by step in complete freedom, admiring its unique landscapes.
Hanga Roa is the capital and only city of the island. Here are the vast majority of accommodations, restaurants and services.
Almost all the places of interest, including the platforms with the famous Moai (there are about 1000 on the whole island!), are protected by the Rapa Nui National Park, recognized since 1995 as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
The island is famous for the freshness of its catch. Here you can taste one of the best ceviche of your life. Fishermen supply the restaurants every morning. The menus mainly include fish dishes accompanied by tasty sweet potatoes typical of South America. In addition to ceviche, tuna is prepared in many other ways. Swordfish, octopus, prawns and small lobsters native to the island are also very common. There is no shortage of meat dishes, but we recommend you prefer fish because it is very fresh. We can assure you that nowhere else have we eaten a tuna so fresh and seasoned in a particular way, that will amazingly delight your palate.
Unforgettable and to be treasured in the heart are the sunsets and sunrises that this island offers. Do not miss the one in Ahu Tahai. Here there is a unique atmosphere at sunset: the sun drops behind the statues until it disappears into the ocean, all giving very bright shades of colour.
The first light of dawn is no different and gives powerful emotions. Absolutely a unique experience, witnessing the sunrise in Ahu Tongariki. Here is the largest Moai platform on the island made up of 15 statues next to each other facing the ocean. Attending the sunrise in this place is one of the strongest and most unforgettable experiences that we carry in our hearts. Fortunately, the sun on the island never rises before 7, so too high early risers are not necessary.
Being the island of volcanic origin (but no longer active), there are many craters, some interesting not only from the geological point of view, but also from a historical point of view, being connected to the past cultures of the island.
Rano Kau is located in the southern part of the island, not far from Hanga Roa. The crater, occupied by a freshwater lake, has a mini-ecosystem with a warmer climate than the rest of the island. From the top of the volcano (324 m high), in addition to the view of the ocean, you will see three small islands. This area is linked to the Tangata Manu (man-bird) ceremony, an ancient competition held annually. It consisted of a race to collect the first egg deposited by the manu tara from the island of Motu Nui, then swim again on Easter Island and climb the slopes of the Rano Kau to the ceremonial village of Orongo built on the edge of the crater. In this annual competition, many participants often died diving from the cliff, but it was the price they had to pay to get a set of rights and privileges if successful. This cult and related ceremony inspired the authors of the film "Rapa Nui".
Rano Raraku (in the eastern part of the island) is a volcanic crater formed by consolidated volcanic ash (tuff). It was a quarry for about 500 years and provided the stone from which about 95% of the Moai were carved. Today, almost 900 statues remain, many of which have remained incomplete, including the largest carved Moai, over 20 meters high.
The wild horses that live on the island come to drink at the lake inside the crater.
From Rano Raraku, you can enjoy a beautiful view of Ahu Tongariki.
The rocky coast of Easter Island is only interrupted by two small sandy beaches, the largest of which is Anakena. This white coral sand beach is very suggestive, and therefore popular, having two ahu with Moai and a palm grove.
According to the oral traditions of the island, Anakena is the place where Hotu Matu'a landed. This Polynesian leader guided two canoes here and founded the first settlement on Rapa Nui. Later it was a ceremonial center, and for its importance, the area has been the subject of numerous archaeological excavations.