There are destinations in this world that encourage you to visit because of their mystery. Everyone who set foot on Easter Island would like to be the first to reveal the mystery of the huge statues which the island is famous with. Touching the magic of such an atmosphere makes the place remarkable, inspiring for travel, and a desirable destination for many adventurers around the world. This interesting island, small in size, causes a great thirst for exploration. The trip there is worth every minute and every step. Since 1995, this place is inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
- 1 Easter Island –
Exoticism, Beauty and Mystery
- 1.1 Where Easter Island is Situated?
- 1.2 The Mysterious Easter Island Heads & Their Hidden Bodies
- 1.3 Easter Island Map
- 1.4 Easter Island Population
- 1.5 Easter Island Climate
- 1.6 Languages, Culture & History
- 1.7 Flights to Easter Island
- 1.8 Easter Island Points of Interest
- 1.9 Best Restaurants & Hotels in Easter Island
- 1.10 FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
- 1.10.1 To which country does Easter Island belong?
- 1.10.2 What is the key lesson learned from Easter Island?
- 1.10.3 What to do on Easter Island?
- 1.10.4 Attractions & Things To Do in Santa Monica CA
- 1.10.5 15 Best State Parks in Texas
- 1.10.6 14 Best Waterfalls in Wisconsin
- 1.10.7 12 Best Waterfalls in Ohio
- 1.10.8 12 Things To Do in Galveston Texas
Easter Island – Exoticism, Beauty and Mystery
Where Easter Island is Situated?
Easter Island, in Spanish – Isla de Pascua; in the local language Rapa Nui – Rapa Nui, in Dutch – Paasch-Eyland, is an island possession of Chile in the South Pacific. The island is located 3514 kilometers west of Chile and 2075 kilometers east of the Pitcairn Islands. Along with the Tristan da Cunha archipelago, Easter Island is one of the most isolated settlements in the world. It is formed by three volcanoes: Poike, Rano Kau and Terevaka. Together with the uninhabited island of Sala and Gomez, it formed the province of Isla de Pasqua in the Valparaiso region. This mysterious island was discovered by the Dutch traveler Jacob Roggeveen on the Easter Sunday, 5th April 1722. Its capital is its only city too – Hanga Roa.
The Mysterious Easter Island Heads & Their Hidden Bodies
Easter island is famous for its moai, or massive stone statues made of extruded volcanic ash. According to local beliefs, they have a supernatural power from the ancestors of the first king of the island, Hotu Matu’a. They depict stylized human figures are about 900 and of different heights, from one to eleven meters. Some of the statues have bodies, while others are buried next to the shoulders. In the stone quarry on the island, unfinished statues have been found, one of which is almost 21 meters.
The impressive statues are even more mysterious because they are carved without the help of any machines or tools for lifting stones which are unbearably heavy – from and 50 and 80 tons. Тhe methods used to transport the blocks are still unknown, though many explorerers have their assumptions. The most commonly accepted theory is that the statues had a ritual purpose and were erected in memory of the ancestors of the islanders. That is why they are evenly scattered throughout the island and face inland, with their backs facing the sea – thus, they are radiating their supernatural protecting power. Proponents of paleocosmic contact even tend to consider them the work of extraterrestrial civilizations.
Easter Island Map
Easter Island is located in the southeastern Pacific Ocean in Oceania, 3512 kilometers from its nearest coast in Chile – Concepcion. The nearest settlement is the Chilean islands of Juan Fernandez, located 1850 km to the east which accommodates about 900 people.
The Easter island has a total length of about 24.6 km and a maximum width of 12.3 km. Seen from above, it has a triangular shape. Its area is a total of 163.6 km2 and its maximum height is 507 m above sea level. There are three crater lakes with fresh water, but no rivers or streams.
Easter Island Population
As of 2017, the island’s population is 7,750 people, made up of about 60% indigenous Rapanui, 39% Chileans with European or Methian roots, and 1% are indigenous Chilean Indians. The population density as of 2017 is 47.4 people per square kilometer.
In 1982, the population of the island was 1936 people. The smallest registered population on the island was in 1877, when only 111 people were counted.
According to archaeological evidence, the indigenous population have been much larger – about 1500-3000 individuals who inhabited the island in the 18th century. The population history of the island remains highly controversial topic to this day. The collapse of the population is attributed to “ecocide” due to the depletion of the island’s resources by its inhabitants, thereby reducing its ability to sustain human life.
Easter Island Climate
Easter Island is dominated by the equatorial climate, bordering on humid subtropical. The lowest temperatures are registered in July and August, and the highest – in February. Winters are relatively mild, and the rainiest month is May, although the island rains almost all year round. The average annual temperature is 20.5°C. The highest temperature reaches 34°C and the lowest, to 7°C. The isolated location of the island exposes it to strong winds, and that keeps the temperature relatively cool. As the island falls outside the inland tropical convergence zone, no cyclones or hurricanes form around it.
Languages, Culture & History
The original language of Easter Island is Rapanui, though Spanish is the official one. It is estimated that about 2,700 indigenous Rapanui on the island speak to some extent their traditional language, which, however, is declining and threatened with extinction. Spanish displaces it because the island is owned by Chile and is home to a large number of Chileans who speak only Spanish.
According to historians, Rapa Nui were inhabitants of the Marquesas Islands, belonging to ancient Polynesia. For unknown reasons, they migrated from this area of the island in about 300 AD – long before they were found by Europeans in 1722. Since its inception, the Rapa Nui civilization has had a class division and centralized government. For several centuries, the king was considered an untouchable figure, and ruled authoritarianly.
Throughout their history, Rapa Nui have faced a series of devastating events that have significantly reduced their population. Wars between clans and local tribes have killed thousands of islanders. Apart from that, in the 19th century the island was affected by external problems that reduced its population to zero. Many of its inhabitants were sold for slaves by Peruvian traffickers. This, in addition to epidemics and infections caused by rats, has brought the Rapa Nui ethnic group to the brink of extinction.
The importance of white is great in the Rapa Nui culture. In ancient times, tribal sorcerers used white paint to color their bodies during rituals and worship. Today, Rapa Nui men often wear white trousers to formal ceremonies. The traditional clothing used in dances and music ceremonies are huru-huru and kakenga. These clothes are usually accompanied by sea shells and feathers. It is also common to wear a crescent-shaped necklace or sacred wooden carvings, especially when dancing the typical dances such as sau sau, tamure, ula ula.
Flights to Easter Island
The only airline that serves flies to Easter Island is LATAM. It is departing from Santiago, Chile, with a flight time of about six hours when traveling from abroad.
On the way back from the island to Santiago, the flight time is four and a half hours due to the strong winds.
Getting to Easter Island from Chile is relatively easy, as these flights are up to three times a day during the high season (from October to April) and twice a day, on Wednesdays and Sundays, during the low season (from May to September). As always, the best way to get cheap flights is to book in advance. But if you’re not sure about the exact dates, the cheapest way to get to Easter Island is to download the free Hopper app.
Easter Island Points of Interest
This small island offers such exciting places you are to visit:
- Orongo Ceremonial Village, located 300 meters along the edge of the crater wall on one side and touching a vertical drop descending to the cobalt blue ocean on the other. It shows one of the most dramatic landscapes in the south Pacific Ocean.
- Rano Raraku – it is the volcano which is located about 18 kilometers from Hanga Roa, is the hard tuff quarry from which the moai were cut.
- Parque Nacional Rapa Nui – it is an open-air museum with mysterious archeological sites and scenic hikes through barren volcanic cones.
- The monumental Ahu Tongariki has 15 imposing statues, it is the largest ahu ever built.
- Anakena – а perfect beach with white sand.
- Península Poike – a high plateau which is bounded by cliffs.
- Ahu Tahai – a stunning sight that contains three restored ahu ceremonial platform.
- Museo Antropológico Sebastián Englert.
- Ahu Akivi – this is the island’s first scientific restoration in 1960. It featurs seven restored moai – the only ones facing the sea and looking directly at the setting sun.
- Maunga Terevaka – this is the island’s highest point of 507m, as well as the youngest of its three volcanoes.
- Puna Pau – this is an archaeological site in Southwest Circuit. The volcanic Puna Pau quarry was used to make the reddish, cylindrical pukao which have been placed on many moai.
- Parque Nacional Rapa Nui.
- Ovahe – if you look for a privacy, this beach is close to Anakena and does provide it, so you can feel just like Robinson Crusoe being. However, it is considered unsafe due to falling rocks.
Best Restaurants & Hotels in Easter Island
If you are looking for a high class restaurant on the island, the names are: The Moai Sunset, kataro, Makana, Haka Honu, Tataku Vale, Te Moana, Kanahau, Te Ra’ai, Dominican Restaurant, Mamma Nui Glamping Restorant, Empanadas Tia Berta, La Kaleta, Panaderia O Te Ahi, and others. There you will find exotic, traditional dishes to enjoy your stay.
About the accommodation, you will find classy hotels such as: Explora Rapa Nui – All Inclusive, Nayara Hangaroa, Tupa Hotel, Maunga roa eco lodge, Hotel Hare Uta. And if you prefer something not so luxury, you can find hotel of 3 stars and less, such as: Cabañas Rapa Nui Orito, Mataveri Inn, Hotel Victoria, and many others. In each of them you will feel the atmosphere of the night island and the romance surrounding even the urban environment in this isolated place.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
The information provided to you here tells you the most important things about Easter Island. However, more questions may arise in your mind, such as the following below, which we give you an answer to. If you got excited and very interested in this destination, you may want to know:
To which country does Easter Island belong?
Easter Island belongs to Chile, South America – the country that stretches like a ribbon between the Andes and the Pacific Ocean. The piece of land has been owned by Chile since the 19th century, although it was discovered by Danish researchers in 1722.
What is the key lesson learned from Easter Island?
The big lesson for modern humanity which shoıuld be learned from the fate of Easter is to remember that our planet has limited resources to support human society and all its will. Like the islanders before, the human population has nowhere to run if the planet perishes. We must appreciate every creation of nature, because we are part of it.
What to do on Easter Island?
Once you have known the points of interest, you can do: seeing the Moais at Rano Raraku National Park, gazing the sunrise from Tongariki, relaxing at Anakena beach, biking around the island, hiking on the top of Terevaka; seeing the dancing show at Vaitemiki. Also, you can visit the lesser-known caves. And do not forget to get your Easter Island stamp.