The Easter Island is one of the most isolated pieces of land in the world. This volcanic island in the South Pacific has its nearest neighbors, Chile and Tahiti, 2000 miles away. If you are from North America, you have to take an airplane, another aircraft, and a boat to see the famous Easter Island statues.
Natives of the island call their home Te Pito O Te Henua or Navel of the World. The Dutch explorer, Admiral Roggeveen, discovered the island in 1722 during Easter and thus named it Easter Island. Today, Rapa Nui is a collective term to define the island, its inhabitants, and their language.
Discovering the Island
The Easter Island sculptures are the center of attention when one visits the island. The best way to discover them among other interesting things is by hiking or a short taxi ride.
To start your visit, it will be best to visit the Ahu Tahai on the northern part of the island. It is an archaeological museum which can give you an overview of what to expect while discovering the Easter Island head and Easter Island statues. Maps that can help you plan your stay are also available.
A must see in the island is the Rano Kau. It is most magnificent volcano of the Easter Island where the Orongo, an archeological site, can be seen. If a 316 meter climb sounds daunting, you may take a taxi to the summit and hike down the scenic crater. When you see the view from the top of this volcano, you will understand the true meaning of awe.
On your third day on Easter Island, visit Rano Raraku along its south coast. It was a quarry site considered as the birth place of the Easter Island heads and other Easter Island statues. This spot will let you see almost 400 stone Moais or statues in different stages of completion and deterioration. You can enjoy the site by yourself if you reach it before 9 am. If you do not want to join other tourists, you can again walk back to town.
Ahu Tepeu is a site where you will not see Easter Island statues but you will appreciate the stone works and caves that you can explore. From Ahu Tepeu, you can head inland to Ahu Akivi considered to be the most photographed site. You will see seven Easter Island heads re-erected in the 1960s. You can go back to town by taking farm roads nearby. Just check your Easter Island Map and you will not get lost.
A short hike can also take you to the top of Puna Pau which is a small crate which has been the source of the red stones that crowns most of the Easter Island heads.
The weather on the Easter Island is perfect to get your legs going. There are no fences to block your way and you can discover the island from many exciting points that will give you the most spectacular view of the Easter Island, the Easter Island statues, and the surrounding blue of the Pacific Ocean.