Far flung and famous
Tiny, isolated but world famous Easter Island is far away from mainland Chile, both physically and culturally, but it’s this uniqueness that draws people here. Mysterious and culturally rich, it has captivated visitors ever since it first came to international attention for its moai, the ancient big-headed figures that dot the island. Carved from volcanic rock between the 11th and 14th centuries, the reason for their existence and how they were transported to the sites remains mysterious. It’s a mystery that only adds to their allure. There are around 900 moai spread across the island, and each has its own distinct features.
Visit the ahu, the stone platforms on which some of the moai stand – the most impressive is Ahu Tongariki where 15 statues face towards the hills. Nearby, on the white sands of Anakena beach, you’ll find the moai in a standoff – with several figures facing the sea, while a lone figure solemnly stands staring back at them. You can also see where the statues were carved in the Rano Raraku quarry. In this volcanic crater you’ll find moai that are upturned or fallen, and in other various states of construction.
Despite the maoi’s draw, the island has plenty more to be explored: volcanoes, caves and sandy beaches await hikers and horse riders. The island’s clear and unpolluted waters are popular with snorkelers and scuba divers, as well as surfers when the waves are right.
Hire a local
You should also make time to meet the Rapa Nui, the island’s local population. Get a feel for their way of life in the island’s main town, Hanga Roa, or hire a local guide for fishing and trekking trips.