This remote volcanic island is best known for the giant stone statues.
A five-hour flight from Santiago, Easter Island is a curious speck in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. It is one of the world’s most remote and isolated inhabited islands and since 1995 it has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The island has intrigued mankind for generations due to its 887 monumental stone statues (‘moai’), which were created by the early Polynesian Rapa Nui people during the 10th-16th Centuries. These massive human figures with oversize heads often rest on giant rock altars known as ‘ahus’ and today much of the north of the island is protected within Rapa Nui National Park.
It remains a mystery how and why these early people carved these gigantic moai, but ever since Europeans discovered the island in 1722 (on Easter Day – hence the name) these massive statues have intrigued and bemused both scholars and visitors alike. Many academics believe that they were created to honour ancestors, chiefs, or other important individuals. However, no written and little oral history exists on the island so it is impossible to be certain. Most were erected along the coastline and face inland, with their backs towards the ‘spirit world’ in the ocean. One of the most interesting of these is Ahu Vinapu where the stone platform bears a distinct resemblance to the stonework of the Incas at Sacsayhuaman in the Sacred Valley, Peru. No connection has been proved but it is hard to believe this influence could have come from elsewhere.
Easter Island is a special territory of Chile yet feels like an other-worldly place, with a magical and mystical vibe. The tiny island (a mere 163 square kilometres) is currently home to about 6,000 people – some 60% of whom are descendents of the original Rapa Nui people. The main sites of interest are all easily accessible, and are best explored with a guide, who will explain the fascinating history and legends surrounding the moai and the Rapa Nui people.
But Easter Island is more than just an open-air museum: there are beaches, superb diving, snorkelling and surfing and it is a great place to chill out and recharge ones batteries – thousands of kilometres away from the nearest inhabited land.
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Explora Rapa Nui
Explora Rapa Nui is the best base from which to explore the wonders of Easter IslandView details about Explora Rapa Nui