The Mysterious Easter Island •
Situated on Chilean territory, Easter Island is one of the worlds most remote & inhabited volcanic islands. Its native name is Rapa Nui and is home to the Rapa Nui people.
The legacy of the people can be found all over the island in the form of pictorial petroglyphs which depict fishing, the use of canoes, several marine animals and the daily life of the Rapa Nui.
Easter Island is famed for its archeological sites, known as Moai. There are 900 monumental statues all over the island.
The Moai are carved monolithic human figures with oversized heads, created by inhabitants of the island during the 13th-16th centuries and are considered to be the living faces of deified ancestors. These statues rest on massive stone pedestals called Ahus and can be found in different locations around the island.
FUN FACT: When on a visit to Easter Island, make sure you check out Ahu Tongariki which has the largest group of upright Moai!
Easter Island is located south east of the pacific ocean on the south eastern point of the Polynesian triangle in Oceania and has been named a 'World Heritage Site' by UNESCO since 1995.
Most of Easter Island is within Rapa Nui National Park, so you are sure to find lots of other activities to engage in!
- Hike! The best part of the island to go hiking is Terevake Volcano. At 507 meters above sea level, it is the highest point on the island. Here, you can enjoy a 360 degree view of Easter Island!
- Visit the small fish villages
- Relax on 2 of the best beaches on the island! Ovahe and Anakena Beach, a small beach that is easily accessible. Enjoy its white sandy shore and crystalline waters!
- Bike around the island and see Hanga Roa town, Anakena and Ahu Tongariki.
- Go on a snorkelling trip to Motu Nui in Easter Island's remarkable blue waters!
- Watch the sunrise from Tongariki. This is one of the most iconic sites on Easter Island! Here you can find 15 Moai statues standing side by side on Ahu (ceremonial platform). At sunrise, watch the orange-gold sun and a silhouette of the Moai in the shadows!
- Enjoy a traditional Rapa dance show at Vaitemiki in Hanga Roa.
Polynesian people settled on the island between 700 and 1100 CE. They went on to create an exciting and industrious culture, as seen with the Moai and other artefacts around the island.
Gradual deforestation and extinction of natural resources became an issue due to various human activity and overpopulation. This securely weakened the Rapa Nui civilisation and led to a massive drop in the population from approximately 15,000 to just over 2,000 people by 1722.
By 1877, the population further reduced to only just over 100 inhabitants.
Easter Island is one of the worlds greatest mysteries and no one fully knows the true story behind the Moai. The average Moai is about 12 tons in weight and 13 feet in height, with the tallest Moai standing at 69 feet!
For the longest time, it was believed that the statues only had heads, but it was later discovered that some stautes had full bodies exluding legs. About 150 statues are buried up to the shoulders on the slope of the volcano. This was discovered by Van Tilburg, a researcher at the Cotsen Institute of Archeology, University of California, Los Angeles.
LATAM is the only airline that flies to Easter Island from Santiago, Chile and Tahiti.
EASTER ISLAND FUN FACTS:
- Sunrise on the Island is quite late. Expect the sun to say good morning at around 8:30am.
- Visitors to Easter Island do not get stamps on their passport upon arrival at the airpot as the island is a territory of Chile. Get your Easter Island stamp at the post office in town for an adorable Moai stamp.
- Get unique souvenirs at the artisanal market in Hanga Roa.