Highlights and main attractions of Easter ISland

Easter Island, or Rapa Nui, its indigenous name, is a tiny volcanic island sitting in the Pacific Ocean roughly 2,000 miles off the western coast of Chile. As one of the most remote inhabited places on the planet, it is shrouded in mystery, due to more than 800 iconic statues, known as Moai, scattered all over the island. It is still unknown how the massive stone men came to be, with theories stretching from alien invasion to the more probable creation by ancient Polynesian tribesman. Although now part of Chile, it is heavily influenced by its Polynesian heritage, and it is believed that 60 per cent of its 5,000 or so inhabitants are descendants of the aboriginal Rapa Nui.  

Te Pito O Te Henua, or ‘The Centre of the World’, is what the ancient inhabitants used to called it. 

Where is Easter Island?

How and where to explore

It is believed that that the first settlers of the island came from the Marquesas Islands in the sixth century. Here they lived in absolute isolation for over a thousand years before Jacob Roggveen of the Dutch East India Company stumbled upon the island on Easter Sunday 1722, and its European name ensued. Such isolation created an obscure culture, which was compounded by food shortages and the inevitable tribal warfare followed. But the island spirit lives on its people, and their traditions are celebrated every year in February when the annual Tapati Rapa Nui festival is held. Here you will see ancestral traditions such as singing, dancing, body painting and the selection of their new queen.

It is a National Park and UNESCO World Heritage Site, and although the Moai take all the headlines there is much more on offer than one might expect. It is a veritable playground for adventure-seekers. With some of the clearest waters in the world Scuba diving is a must, and swells of the Pacific excite any surfing enthusiasts. You can explore the various grasslands and volcanos on foot or by horse, or discover the underground system of caverns. If relaxing on the beach with a book is more your cup of tea, then the pink sands of Ovahe beach will be the perfect getaway. Alternatively, you may look for the sublime white coral sands of Anakena, the beach where the first Polynesians landed and settled.

Getting to Easter Island takes around 5 hours by plane from Santiago, depending on the winds, and we would recommend about three to four days here to really make the most of it. Several surprisingly top-notch hotels including Explora Rapa Nui and Altiplanico make your stay on this unfeasibly remote outcrop extremely comfortable.

Far from anywhere, Easter Island is a stunning area with it's own unique traditions.

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