Easter Island

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Chilie’s Easter Island and the Mysterious Logic-defying Moais

Guest Post by Jace Sinclair

 

Few areas in the world possess a more transcendent pull than this tiny speck of land, Easter Island.

Easter Island

Easter Island Moais by Thomas Griggs

One of the most secluded places on Earth, with the most logic-defying statues on the planet—the strikingly familiar moais—Easter Island (Rapa Nui to its native Polynesian inhabitants) emanates a compelling, enigmatic vibe.

But Easter Island is much more than an open-air museum. Diving, snorkeling and surfing are splendid. On land, there’s no better ecofriendly way to experience the island’s savage beauty than on foot, from a bike saddle or on horseback. But if all you want to do is recharge the batteries, a couple of superb expanses of white sand beckon.

Located 2,000 miles from the nearest population center, Easter Island‘s geographical seclusion has not hindered it from weaving a colorful tapestry of wonder, history, and yes, even controversy. Its inhabitants have endured famines and epidemics that almost wiped out its entire population.

They aren’t strangers to colonialism, slave raids, and civil wars that would soon define the future of its people. And in this remarkable society that has developed in the bosom of isolation, enigmatic giant stone monoliths sprouted all over to seemingly elicit both awe and confusion for generations after.
 

Getting There

The Rapa Nuis (locals) themselves run the entire tourism program of Easter Island. Far Horizons Archaeological and Cultural Tours organizes packages, including hotels and tours. Take the Lan Chile flight from Santiago, Chile to Easter Island.

Easter IslandRoundtrip airfare costs around 800 USD. The most celebrated cultural event in the island is the Tapati Festival held from late January to early February and it is worth planning your visit for that time.

It’s easy to drive a car around to see most places in the island. If you only have a day or two, renting a car with a knowledgeable local driver is always best. While taking a bicycle ride is fun, most roads to the main sites can be treacherous given the uneven roads.
 

Monumental Statues

The Moai, grand monolithic human figures, dot the coastline of Easter Island as if protecting its inhabitants in perpetuity. The Moai are immortalized faces of deified ancestors that gaze inland with their overly large heads sprouting from their pliant bodies.

The Rapa Nui people carved these human figures between the years 1250 and 1500. There are 887 extant statues, and they are part of UNESCO’s prestigious list of World Heritage Sites.

At over 45 feet tall, it must have been extremely challenging to carve and move the Moais at Rano Raraku. Centuries of erosion have covered parts of the Moais, but there’s an undeniable terror that penetrates the senses as one listens to the howling winds that seem to block the giant’s basalt mouth from screaming its story.

The largest Moais can be found at Ahu Tongariki at the south coast section of the island. All 15 moais, toppled due to either war or natural events, now stand proudly after a massive restoration project in 1992.

Photos really can’t capture the magnitude of seeing the Moais at this site. The ocean provides a beautiful backdrop to the tons of carved stone lined up. On the other hand, the statues at Ahu Naunau are remarkable for their red scoria headdress.

The reason behind this remains a mystery.  The Moai here are not the largest, but they were among the best preserved. This site is located at Anakena Beach and well worth a visit after enjoying sun and fun at the water.
 
moai

Other Activities

There’s an explainable thrill that comes with exploring the fascinating extensive cave systems in the island. Most of them can be found near Ana Kakenga. This is the cave of your childhood imaginings.

It really takes your breath away. You descend into the earth through an opening (oops, watch your head!) and walk cautiously with the help of a flashlight/torch. Turn a corner and suddenly the cave interior is visible. There in front of you is a glorious stone window looking out onto the ocean. Only one word can describe this feeling—breathtaking!

A kilometer south of the island, you can find the beautiful islets of Motu Nui and Motu Iti which host scuba diving and snorkeling activities. Take a dip at Ovahe, a beach surrounded by spectacular cliffs in the southern shore of the island near Ahu Vaihu.

A lot of tourists make sure to include Anakena, on the north side of the island, on their itinerary. The place is packed with surfers from all over. They can’t wait to get that impressive shore break with a bit of north swell.

Wonderful, picturesque South Pacific beach is one of the few, but most practical places on the island. There you can swim without rocks. You’ll find a beautiful white beach and a clear blue sea with palm trees and Moais behind you. Can anything get any better than this?
 

Discover the magic of one of the most remote inhabited islands in the world. Add Easter Island now to your bucket list!

 

View the pictures and read the above text BEFORE taking the quiz.

Take this quiz and let’s see how good your memory is about Easter Island.


Quiz #106 Easter Island

travelersThis Travel Quiz is about the famous Moais on Easter Island. There are no clues to help guess the answers. The level of this test is easy.

Answer all questions. Each answer is worth about 10 points. If you don’t know the answer, then take a guess (unless you want a guaranteed zero for the answer).

This test is timed (2 min) so be aware of that.


 
 

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Charles, a retired Programmer/Analyst, senior citizen, website nerd w/50+ websites. Owner of Travellistics.com. Charles is a domain name owner/seller at DomainSam.com. Go to CharlesHarmon.com for more info. Coming soon - IslandJaunt.com All about Islands you can visit. Add me on

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