Easter Island (Isla de Pascua or Rapa Nui) is one of the most remote places on earth, situated in the middle of the Pacific Ocean far away from Chile (5.5 hours by plane) and from Tahiti (6 hours by plane). It is tranquil, beautiful and mysterious. The moais (gigantic heads carved out of stone) give the island an eerie atmosphere. Over the decades they have fascinated people about their origins. Were they brought by aliens from outer space as in Chariots of the Gods? Were they created by a race of extinct humans?.
Only a small part of the island, the town around the airport, has electricity and habitation. The rest is uninhabited, except by small birds, wild horses and a few cows. Because there’s nothing else on most of the island, walking along the many paths by the coast or around the volcanic craters makes one feel calm and serene.
How to get there and where to stay
Easter Island is difficult to reach. Your two options are flying LAN from either Santiago, Chile or from Tahiti, both alternatives are expensive. There are two high end hotels on Rapa Nui: the Explora resort, an all inclusive full service hotel and Hotel Hangaroa, a resort recently opened that was delayed due to demonstrations of indigenous people who claim it as part of their ancestral site. Other lodging alternatives can be found in the only town in the Island, Hanga Roa, and are mostly basic.
What to do
The Island is so small that from many hills one can see the endless south pacific ocean on both sides. Rent a jeep or a motorbike and explore. Visit the main moai sites, the quarry and the dramatic crater of Rano Kao on the north tip of the Island. The moais look different as the day changes, so it is recommended to visit the sites in the morning and afternoon.
When to go and festivals
September to March is the best time to visit, but expect temperatures to be hot in January and February. The Tapati Rapa Nui festival which includes dance, sports and music events takes place in late January or early February.