Rapa Nui, also known to visitors as Easter Island or Isla de Pasqua, is the world's most remote inhabited island. Its position is 2,200 miles west of Chile's Pacific Coast—a rough midpoint between South America and Tahiti. Although the island has been under Chilean administration since 1888, Rapa Nui's heritage is unmistakably Polynesian. The island's original inhabitants are believed to have sailed from the Cook or Marquesas islands around 800 AD. In the centuries that followed, they developed a complex culture with written language and monumental architecture.
Rapa Nui's 63 square miles are distributed in a rough triangle between three extinct volcanoes: Terevaka, Poike, and Rano Kau. The only residential township, Hanga Roa, rests on the western coast.
Outside Hanga Roa, nearly all of the island is protected as Rapa Nui National Park, which was established in an effort to protect the more than 20,000 archeological sites that dot the island. These include 887 moai—massive volcanic stone statues originally finished with white coral eyes, obsidian pupils, and red stone topknots. Other noteworthy sites include the Rano Kau "Bird Man" petroglyphs, the Orongo ceremonial center, the quarries at Puna Pao and Rano Raraku, caves, and boat-house settlements.
Most visitors stay for at least three or four days, touring the archeological sites, horseback riding, mountain biking, and diving. Surfing lessons and snorkeling excursions can also be arranged. The island's main beach, Anakena, invites travelers to linger and enjoy the gentle surf, pale sand, and Tahitian palms.
Easter Island can be reached by air from Santiago (five hours and 40 minutes); and Papeete, Tahiti (seven hours and 20 minutes). Flights are available twice weekly from Easter Island to Lima, Peru (although these flights change often).
The island's climate is marine subtropical, with little precipitation and fairly constant temperatures year-round. During the summer months—November through March—highs reach into the low-80s and dip into the mid-60s. The June through August winters bring highs in the mid-70s and lows near 60° F. Cloud cover and light rain can arrive at any time of year, but the winter months bring more precipitation and a lusher landscape. The high season for visitors is December through March. Lodging for those months should be booked well in advance.
Mosaico Travel Services arranges accommodations, transportation and tours on Easter Island. We know Rapa Nui first hand, and can guide you through the options. Speak with a Mosaico travel planner today at 801.582.2100. We’ll take care of the details.
"How was it possible that these people, who are devoid of heavy lumber for making any machines, as well as strong ropes, nevertheless had been able to erect such images?"