Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Discovering Easter Island from Explora Rapa Nui

Easter Island is so far from any mainland that it almost seems out of touch with the rest of the world. And, in fact, it is. Born from three volcanoes, surrounded by some of the clearest seas in the world (but a rugged, unfriendly coastline), and home to an enigmatic ancestral culture, Easter Island is unique (I don't use that word lightly) in so many ways.
Hike to a volcanic crater on Easter Island
overlooking the Pacific Ocean
Fewer than 4,000 people live on the island, which is a protected national park. Although it’s part of Chile, Rapa Nui (native name for Easter Island) is so remote that discovering the curious culture found there is best done with assistance from local guides. That’s why we decided to stay at explora Rapa Nui, a resort that provides lodge-based explorations for guests.

Moais on Easter Island at the rock quarry
where most were originally constructed.
Moai, crude sculptures of human figures that are scattered throughout the island, are the best-known example of this ancient civilization and what most people come to see, so guides make sure visitors come away with a sense of awe--and clearer understanding--about these mysterious sculptures.

Getting there
To begin with, it takes a sense of adventure to put Easter Island on an itinerary, considering the trip requires a five-hour flight from Santiago, Chile (plane only goes once or twice daily) to get there. Of course, that’s part of the allure.

The architecture of explora Rapa Nui follows the
curving "boathouse" design of ancient settlers
So explora Rapa Nui builds on the inquisitive philosophy that most travelers to remote areas like this possess. Explora offers 20 included excursions, all with strong cultural and archaeological overtones, and each led by an expert bilingual guide. In this isolated environment, we expected--and got--a healthy exposure to nature.
Guests and guides meet each afternoon by the hotel bar to plan the next day’s activities, which might be on foot, by bicycle or boat. It’s a collaborative effort that ensures each guest has the kind of experience that suites their interests and skill level. Groups never have more than eight participants, and several times Larry and I were the only persons on our specific tours.
Rooms are beautiful and comfortable with exquisite views.
explora resort

Located eight kilometers from the main town of Hanga Roa, explora is situated in a tranquil spot by the ocean and surrounded by eucalyptus trees, perfect for in-depth exploration of this mysterious island. It’s an all-inclusive resort built in 2007 that provides everything a traveler needs—sumptuous dining, all excursions, drinks and snacks, water bottles and walking sticks, luxurious swimming pool and hot tub, and spacious, beautifully appointed rooms.
Room d├ęcor utilizes bright colors and sustainable materials.
The architecture of the resort blends with the island’s geography and heritage, following the curved form of so-called “boat houses” which sheltered ancient inhabitants. It is built mostly of wood and volcanic rock from the island and was the first lodge in South America to obtain LEED-NC certification, which is granted by the U.S. Green Building Council to buildings that meet high environmental standards.

A negative edge pool, hot tub, and spa provide soothing relaxation.
Explora Rapa Nui was built on land that was not suitable for agriculture, so much of the existing vegetation is intact. The award-winning lodge has 30 rooms with breathtaking views of sunset and sunrise--and excellent natural ventilation (air conditioning is available if needed).

A large in-room whirlpool tub helped soothe away any aches and pains from our hiking excursions. Lounging on the cushioned window seat while gazing at the Pacific Ocean was a favorite activity when we had a moment to rest. There’s no television or Wi-Fi in the rooms (available in common areas), since the idea is to disconnect from usual routines and obligations.
Common spaces are great for gathering before dinner and visiting
with other guests to talk about the day's activities.
If you chose to visit, come prepared to bask in the beauty of the island’s landscapes and engage with the history and culture of this amazing territory. Relax—because explora RapaNui will handle all the details of your stay.

Photos by Larry and Beverly Burmeier

1 comment:

Wendy said...

Hi Beverly - Looks like we have similar interests in adventurous travel, and also in 'Traveling in Style,' based on this post. I put Easter Island on my bucket list as a result of seeing this post. Take a look at our adventurous travels - I am currently posting about South America.
Looking forward to reading more of your posts!