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When you think of the word ‘Easter’ there are many things that come to mind; religious practices, chocolate, eggs, chickens, bunnies… Well, the list goes on. But would you associate this with a hidden island? Our first initial thought was a slightly confused one: maybe this island was like a mythical land filled with bright colours, enchanting forests all made from chocolate and tiny bunnies hopping around. Of course, nothing like that exists, but we have to say, when we discovered this place, it was like stepping into a magical kingdom.
Easter Island, a small Polynesian Island in the South pacific off the main land of Chile, has long fascinated both scholars and travellers alike. Why? Primarily because of the mysterious surrounding the culture of the moai carvings. Easter Island, also known as Rapa Nui, is the most isolated inhabited island in the world. There is only a town and it has most of the services you’d find anywhere else. The rest of the island is mostly occupied instead by free roaming horses.
Although this island seems remote and small, it encompasses a vibrant history and array of things to do. We have designed an itinerary that will let you explore the island with ease and excitement.
Any sunrise is magical to watch, but there was something about this one that stayed in our memories. It isn’t just a basic sunrise: the sun rises directly over the 15 moai at Ahu Tongariki. This particular location is so unique because it holds the best restored moai on the entire island.
We discovered a personal connection which stood out to us more than ever. Re-erected to their traditional positions after a huge tsunami knocked them down in the 1960s, the 15 moai stand tall with spectacular mountains and ocean views behind them. It is beautiful any time of day, being there for sunrise is especially captivating as the sun peaks up between the statues, throwing long shadows across the field. Stay for a while after the sun comes up so you can capture some great pictures once people have left.
Not only is renting a car a great way to explore a place but it also gives you a sense of freedom. There is nothing better than being able to go at your own pace, exploring places you actually want to see instead of being dragged around. We do, however advise that you get a tour for one of the days you are there, so you can best learn about the islands culture and history. If you’re not into driving you can also rent bicycles, ATVs or dirt bikes.
Everyone is a water child at heart, so what better way to explore the depths of the ocean than scuba diving. Sitting about 20 metres below the surface lays a magnificent moai statue, making for some incredible underwater photos. Crystal clear waters are all you can see, with a vibrant array of sea life. There are also other excellent diving sites around Rapa Nui, including some caverns and wall dives. Is the moai a historical artefact? Unfortunately, not! It was installed on the reef for a movie and left as a diving site ever since. But hey, we’re no complaining!
If you’re adventuring from a fast pace city lifestyle than this is something you must see. A lot of us aren’t so fortunate in being able to see the night sky so clearly, so take every opportunity you can get! The remote location of Rapa Nui makes it one of the most phenomenal places to admire the night sky. When the sun sets the stars come out at night in all their glory. Easter Island has one of the clearest skies we’ve ever seen. We were absolutely blown away by its clarity. Want to know the best part? You don’t even need to leave your hotel to see the Milkyway!
*Top tip: if you happen to be on the island during a new moon the lights from Hanga Roa only have a small effect on the sky, meaning you can see everything right there in town.
This is a must see if you’re visiting Easter Island. It is the most interesting and beautiful site on the entire island, and a place that is well worth spending as much time as possible at. It’s also arguably the best place to visit. Located on the edge of the Terevaka Volcano on the other end of the island, Rano Raraku is where all the moai were hand carved to be transported to their final destination. This was the quarry where you can find moai in all stages of construction, from barley carved out to full competition, yet, they were abandoned on the side of the hill. To see them scattered around is an unforgettable sight! If you’re all things nature, then behind the statues is a hiking trail to the large volcanic crater to another spectacular view. It also gives epic visions out to sea. There is so much to learn, with it so many stories and rich history to be learnt from this archaeological site.
If you’re one of those travellers who want to get stuck into every activity possible, we recommend you go checkout Ava Kakenga Cave. Rapa Nui is covered in dozens of underground chambers and trying to find one in itself could take weeks. If you’re an amateur explorer, you’re in the right place. What makes this place so unique though is that the cave actually has two openings that expose themselves at the side of the cliff, offering sensational views over the Pacific Ocean. This cave is not for the claustrophobic! You need to climb down a narrow entrance to get in, then crawl through a small chamber to reach the openings. It is worth it - trust us!
*Top tip: Bring a head torch or a light and try to be out for the sunset, the cave faces west!