Easter Island is one of the most isolated places in the world. It belongs to Chile since 1,888 and is located 3,600 km from continental Chile, 3,759 km from the Peruvian coast and 4,251 km from French Polynesia (Tahiti).
This small volcanic island is famous for its more than 900 Moais (large stone sculptures) as well as for the mysterious decay and disappearance of its civilization. the exact reason is still a mystery: deforestation of the island, fighting between clans, etc…
Easter Island: 1st day
After a 5:30 flight from Santiago I arrived at Easter Island, one of the most isolated places in the world.
A female friend who lived there came to pick me up, whose house I was going to stay the weekend. When we arrived home in Hanga Roa, I was greeted with the typical Polynesian welcome flower necklace.
The house was typical of the Polynesian area: single-storey, large and surrounded by palm trees. He belonged to a family whose father was from Easter Island, because on the island the land belongs to local people. It is not allowed to sell properties to outsiders, including continental Chile, without the consent of the community.
Renting a room in a house is not cheap, like about 30,000 pesos per night (40 euros), but it comes out cheaper than in a hotel (more than 100 euros on average).
Once I left the suitcases in the room, we went to tour the Island. As it was late we enjoy to see the volcano Rano Kau.
Volcano Rano Kau
It is one of the 3 volcanoes of the island, along with the Puakatiki and Maunga Terevaka (highest point of the island with 511 meters), and stands out for the lagoons that have been formed in its interior.
It was quite close to the house, as about a 15-20 minute walk (here the distances are quite small).
Once in the summit we could observe the crater, that when being inactive and due to its situation is covered by lagoons of small size.
To see it completely, and to see also the islets nearby, you must pay the tourist ticket. This ticket, which costs $ 80 for foreigners, will also serve to see the rest of the national park for a period of 10 days.
Since the volcano was on one side of Easter Island, as well as at one of the highest points, a photo of the whole island could be made.
From here you could also see the islets where the Manutaras, a bird of the area, nest. So far the young rapanuis swam to take an egg and take it to dry land, within the competition of the bird man.
There was a very important cult in the island to these animals due to the food that they gave them (eggs and meat) in an island with few natural resources.
After this first visit, we returned to the house and had dinner with the family. What surprised me most is how people talk there. They are very direct and of few words, it seems even that they are angry. But it is not so, its native language has this characteristic, so it gives the feeling of being edges or that are angry when speaking in Spanish.
Easter Island: 2nd day
The next morning we rented a few bicycles to tour the island, as it is not very big and easily walked (except for a couple of slopes …)
We went along the coast towards the famous stone quarry where the moais were obtained, stopping first at the Ahu Tongariki.
This is one of the most famous enclaves on the island. It is formed by a row of 15 moais on a ceremonial platform (Ahu).
This place is striking both for the length of the platform (200 meters) and for the number of moais aligned (15), being also the largest megalithic construction in the South Pacific.
One of them still retains a pukao on the head which, according to the most widespread theory, is the representation of a red bow and not a hat.
We continue the road by bicycle and head to the beach of Anakena, one of the 3 beaches that are in this whole volcanic island.
What we found was a postcard view of the Polynesian: green lawn, palm trees, a gentle wind, white sand and crystal clear water.
We take strength with a tuna patty, bathe and enjoy the sun and the views.
The rest of the island has all the coastline with volcanic rock, so we would not have another chance.
The beaches of Ovahe and Pea are smaller and less accessible, so we did not visit it. However, if you prefer tranquility and scuba diving they will be your best choice.
We continue the way and we arrive at Rano Raraku, another one of the most important tourist points of the island.
On the slope of this volcano was the quarry where the stone was extracted and the moais were carved.
It is impressive the size of these sculptures and how they were worked and placed all over the island with the tools they had.
Within this quarry there are remains of more than 400 moais in different phases of carving. Some are still “attached” to the volcano…
… others almost finished and to extract …
… and some totally finished but that were not placed in its final location.
Once we finish the visit of the quarry, we continue the journey until arriving at the Akivi Ahu, another of the most important places of the island (along with the one of Tongariki).
This place is famous not for the moais itself but because, unlike the rest of the island, moais look out to sea. And not only that, they are oriented to the exact point of the sunset during the equinox of the austral spring (September 21).
And no wonder, with these magnificent sunset views…
On our way home we made our last stop at Puna Pau before dark.
If in Rano Raraku the moais were carved, here the pukaos were obtained from the rock of this small volcano (reddish by the presence of iron).
This place is not very spectacular, but you can see some pukaos … and we were on our way home …
When we got home, we had a quick dinner and went to see one of the shows of music and dances of the Rapa Nui culture, as well as other cultures of the Pacific.
It was a great day. And glad we went to sleep with the satisfaction of having seen these unique wonders in the world.
Easter Island: 3rd day
We got up a little later, since we were tired of all the beating the day before. We had breakfast and went to visit several lesser known places.
Cave of the 2 windows
It is located just over 2 km from Hanga Roa, in the cliffs area.
To enter you must go down a hole in the ground, advance crouched in the dark (we use the phone to light something) until at the end of the grotto you can see the light and hear the sea.
It is a perfect place to relax and enjoy the views with the pacific ocean in the background.
We continue the way and we go to see another Ahu that contains a wall very similar to the Inca walls of Cusco (Peru).
It is located at the end of the airport runway. It is not far from the city, but you have to go quite a way.
Here we could see a wall very similar to those built by the Inca culture, so there are theories that speak of the landing on the Easter Island of the Inca Tupac Yupanqui and his warriors.
It is a theory, but in view of the wall it seems quite plausible.
On our way back to the city we were able to see some more moais before taking the plane back home.
Each place has its charm, but this one left me with an incredible feeling. Tour the island by bike, see the impressive moais, share dinner with a family Rapa Nui … certainly an unforgettable experience.
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Kiss and hugs.