Friday, March 5, 2021

Six reasons to visit Easter Island

Getting to Easter Island, a speck in the middle of the Pacific Ocean requires determination. It’s the farthest island from any populated land on the planet—the most remote inhabited island in the world. And that’s a large part of the attraction.

View the famous Ahu Tongariki, 12 ancient stone sculptures called moai.

Also called Rapa Nui, Easter Island is a five-hour airplane ride from Santiago, Chile. But once there, you’ll find plenty to do and like about the island. Plan on staying 3-5 nights.

Here are six reasons to put this tiny, remote island on your bucket list:

·       See Ahu Tongariki, the largest ceremonial structure on the island, with 15 moai (ancient stone sculptures) still standing on the original platform. At least 288 of these moai once circled the island in an almost unbroken line. Nearly all are carved from volcanic ash and are believed to represent ancestors of the original inhabitants.

Look down into Rano Kau volcano, site of ceremonial festivals.

 ·         Stand on the edge of a volcano. Rano Kau volcano is located in the World Heritage Site of Rapa Nui National Park. Look down into its impressive crater; then take in panoramic views of the sea and surrounding area where ancients held ceremonial festivals.

·         Sunbathe at a sandy beach in the shadow of one of the finest cultural sites on the island. Ahu Nau Nau, which overlooks the Pacific Ocean from a small hill, features moai that had been buried under sand and are remarkably well preserved as a result.

Despite a very rough shoreline, there are a few beaches for catching sun rays.

 ·         Visit the quarry where much of the stone used in carving the moais came from. See original statues in various stages of completion, and marvel at the ingenuity of the natives who moved these massive structures to other parts of the island.

Marvel at scattered moais in various stages of completion--
and wonder how ancient peoples moved
these massive structures around the island.

 ·         Hike to the highest point on the island (just over 5,000 feet) for spectacular views of farms, cliffs, ocean, and towns.

 ·         Stay at Explora Rapa Nui, an all-inclusive resort where one of the amenities includes guides planning and leading daily activities tailored to each visitor’s interests and abilities. 

Beverly exits a previously unexplored cave with our guide.

In addition to hikes, we explored caves, sipped champagne while watching waves crash on the rugged coastline, dined on fabulous meals, relaxed at the pool, and ventured into the town of Hanga Roa to see ancient artifacts in the museum and attend a show featuring native dancers.

If you travel anywhere near Chile, consider adding Easter Island to your journey. Especially in Covid times, this fascinating destination is perfect for exploring outside at safe distances.

Photos by Larry and Beverly Burmeier

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