It´s not the world's largest island, but surely, the Easter Island brings many natural beauties and mysteries, histories and an exuberant marine fauna, with 150 species of fish belonging to 60 distinct families.
Your civilization is estimated between at 400 and 800 years a.D., with the current population about 4000 inhabitants and only 173 km². The island is of volcanic origin of the triangular shape, created by the action of three volcanoes (Terevaka, Katika and Rano Kau), located in each of its vertices.
Belonging to Chile, Easter Island has the most isolated land mass in the rest of humanity. Your location is at a distance of 3000 km southwest of the Juan Fernandez archipelago; 2,200 km northwest of Pitcairn and, approximately, 3700 km from the Chilean coast (Port of Caldera). Thanks to this, the island received the title of "Navel of the World" that, in Rapa Nui, meaning "Te Pito te Henu".
Of immense solitude and surrounded by the waters of the Pacific Ocean, this small piece of land of Oceania was discovered, by chance, by the Dutch admiral Jacob Roggeven, precisely on Easter Sunday 1772. Later it was renamed by the Spaniards with the name of the patron saint of their emperor, going to appear in yours nautical charts as the Island of San Carlos.
Easter Island, as we know, is called Rapa Nui (Great Land) by yours natives, being the birthplace of an enigmatic culture that still persists until the present day. The language, music and customs are kept alive between yours inhabitants, arriving about 1,400 years ago. Since then, Rapa Nui is the most remote island in the world.
When the tourist arrives at the airport Mataveri the first word can read is Iorana, 'welcome' in Rapa Nui. Then 'Iorana' to Easter Island and feel a unique experience, knowing the value of a traditional and ancient culture and understanding the meaning of an important history of a people and yours legends, myths, songs and archaeological sites.
Ahu Tongariki, restored place where you can enjoy 15 statues of different periods of construction.
The monuments called Moai are presented by your people as "Aringa Ora" or "Te Tupuna" which means living faces of the ancestors. There are over 900 Moai and 270 Ahu (altars), carved in volcanic rock in the crater of Rano Raraku, known as "Moai factory". On this place is possible to see the various states of construction of the Moai, of different sizes. There are not equal statues, although they have been carved in the same way, starting with the face and lying in the bed of lava outside the crater.
Yours backs were separated from the rock and, thus, ready to go. When it came to yours proper places the statues were erected on ahu for the ceremony of "opening of eyes", with coral inlaid and black pupils of obsidian (natural glass produced by volcanic lava that cooled quickly). Thus, they were ready for the ritual evocation of spirits to represent an ancestor. The biggest mystery is how the Moai statues were taken miles away to their respective ahus. There are several theories, the most accepted is that the tree trunks were used for the statues to roll all over them. This would be a good explanation for the fact that there are so few trees on the island.
Tip: See the film “Rapa Nui”. A great opportunity to know, even as fiction, as the Moai were built. Direct by Kevin Costner.
Curanto - Te Ra´ai Restaurant
The local cuisine, also, is full of meanings and traditions. The most traditional dish is "Amu Rapa Nui" known as Curanto. Curanto is a traditional dish of ceremonial character (mainly Catholic) where, typically, family and guests gather to share memories and traditions of yours ancestors.
Prepared on land (dig a hole approximately 20 cm deep) the main ingredient of Curanto is the fish wrapped in leaves and vegetables, which are heated and cooked by heat from volcanic stones, usually, served with rice, salad and sauces.
Others traditional dishes are "Maika Raup", "Tunuahi" or "Grilled Fish”, also made on hot stones or coals. For dessert the traditional banana pie, in Rapa Nui, it´s call Powder.
Volcanic island of land quite porous.
The language on the island is Spanish, but most Indians speak Rapa Nui, one of the dialects of Polynesia.
Eight days by boat or five hours by plane. This is the time for the South American continent.
Where to stay
There are many options of lodge and hotel on the island, including the SAP highlights:
- Hotel Otai: Well located, a pool and a large green area. Prices start at U$100 (single) and U$130 (double) in class 'standard' and U$125 (single), U$160 (double) and U$180 (tripod) in the 'upper class'. With breakfast. It charged an additional fee of U$20 for the use of air conditioning. Tel.: (56-32) 2100-560/2100-250 – E-mail: email@example.com
- Hotel Manavai: Located in the center, has a small cinema that daily presents the film "Rapa Nui". Prices start at U$108 (single), U$134 (double) and U$199 (tripod) in class' standard 'and U$138 (single), U$164 (double) and U$229 (tripod) in the ' upper class '. With breakfast. But be warned: The service is very badly. Tel.: (56-32) 210 0670 - E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Rapa Nui Expeditions: Shacks with kitchen, breakfast and a phenomenal sunset, with prices ranging between U$80 (single), U$100 (double) and U$150 (tripod). Your distinguishing is the system of self-sustaining service and the possibility to connect directly with the owners Rafael and Sabrina. – Tel.: (56-32) 8881-8547 – www.rapanuiexpeditions.com
- Camping & Rooms Mihinoa: Great location with kitchen and bathroom – U$10 per person. Av Pont s / n – Tel.: (56-32) 2551-593 – www.mihinoa.com
- Vai Moana: Good huts. Prices for the website: www.vai-moana.cl. Policarpo Toro s/n – Tel.: (56-32) 2100-626 Email: email@example.com
- Altiplanico: With panoramic views, but well away from downtown, this hotel has a Polynesian style with gardens, pool and space for a well deserved relax. Prices by email: firstname.lastname@example.org – Tel.: (56-32) 2123021
- Explora Rapa Nui: Offering five star services, three meals a day (second menu bar) and all programs included with roundtrip transfers between airport and hotel, yours prices vary by number of nights and specific rooms. Let them: • Three nights in room Varúa (single U$3.354 and double U$ 2,280) and in room Raa (single U$ 4,809 and double U$3,030) • Four nights in the room Varúa (single U$4,472 and double U$ 3,040) and in room Raa (single U$6,412 single and double U$4,040) • Eight nights in the room Varúa (single U$ 7,864 and double U$5,512) and in room Raa (single U$11,480 and double U$7,136). The Explora accepts only the minimum three-night stay and includes all programs like: explorations on foot, horseback, bicycle and other, with bilingual guides and a group of maximum 8 people. Prices per person – Tel.: (56-2) 206 6666 or (56-2) 3952700 or (56-2) 3952800. From the United States you can call without cost to the number 1866750 6699. E-mail: email@example.com
Where to eat
There are many options of restaurants on the island, including the SAP highlights:
The only service station the liter of gasoline is U$ 1.30.
- Hetú u: Atamu Tekena s / n, downtown. Suggestion: Fish with squid (single dish - U$19) and to drink sour mango (U$9).
- Te Moana: Atamu Tekena, s / n, downtown. Suggestion: Parrilla del pescado and meat for two people (U$56) accompanied by a cold beer chilean (U$3).
- Kanahau: Atamu Tekena, s / n, downtown. Suggestion: Ceviche tasting/trilogy of ceviche (for 2 people) with a choice of three flavors including: Green fusión, Thai, Peruvian, kanahau and cuatrino (U$30).
- Mikafe: Caleta Hanga Roa O'tai – Beach Pea. Suggestion: Ice creams, juices, coffee and sandwiches to satisfy any hungry.
- Hakahonn: Policarpo Toro s / n, Pea coast. With an unforgettable sunset we suggest a delicious Camaron Apana for entry (U$19) and for dinner a fish gratin (U$25), accompanied by tahitian beer 'Tahiti' (U$6). In our opinion it is, certainly, the best restaurant on the island.
- Te Ra´ai: Here you are greeted with an appetizer (mix sour of mango with pisco of melon). The dinner is based on traditional local dish, the Curanto (see item gastronomy), with juice, mineral water, red and white wine served at ease. Price per person U$70. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 8pm to 11pm. Tel.: (56 32) 2551460. Ask about this restaurant at the front desk of your hotel. The restaurant offers 'transfer' round.
What to do
Before at all it's good to know that everything on the island is very expensive. Be prepared!
Square in Hanga Roa, Rapa Nui center located on the southwest coast of the island.
- The best option to move the island is to rent a car (U$70), bike (U$50), cycling (U$20) or horse (U$60).
- To know Akivi Ahu, platform with 7 Moai restored. According to legend, these 7 colossal statues representing the first explorers who arrived on the island, sent by the king Hotu Matua.
- To appreciate the cave Ana Tepahu, with volcanic galleries.
- To visit the quarry Puna Pau, place where were carvings the "pukau", hair of the Moai.
- To visit Vaihu, an Ahu (altar) not restored located in Hanga Te'e bay, south coast of the island. This place is testimony to the phase of destruction of a few centuries ago.
- To get to the region of Ahu Akahanga, whose legend tell that it is close to the famous tomb of Hotu Matua king.
- To visit the quarry of Rano Raraku, one of the most important places in the Rapa Nui culture where it were carvings a total of about 900 statues, of which 397 are still standing or lying down, showing different stages of your construction.
- To visit the beach of Anakena, with 2 platforms of Moai restored (Ahu Ahu Nau Nau and Atur Huki).
- To bath in the clear warm waters of the Pacific Ocean and to get some rest on pink sandy beaches in Ovache and Anakena.
- To do a half-day excursion up the extinct volcano Rano Kau which offer a panoramic view of the whole island. The second belvedere allows enjoy the crater of this volcano and your lagoon.
- To visit the village of Orongo (here were realized the ceremonies of the competition of "Bird Man") and, also, the Ahu Vinapu (architecture refers to buildings of the pre-inca people).
- To know the Ana Kai Tangata cave, where you can see rock paintings.
- To do an incredible journey walking 7 hours along the north coast of the island, from Ahu Tepeu to the Anakena beach, stopping for fishery in Otoki and lunch in Hanga Oteo. After this? A well deserved rest beneath the shadow of palm trees - (for more information about this activity send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org).
- To enjoy the beautiful setting of the sun in Tahai (near the cemetery), around 9pm, and a spectacular sunrise at Ahu Tongariki, around 7am.
- To participate in the folkloric show at the restaurant Te Ra'ai. An ethno-cultural event with the musical group 'Haha Varua', offering a show with songs, dances and voices of the Rapa Nui culture, in English and Spanish. The days of shows are Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 8pm to 11pm. Tel.: (56-32) 2551460.
- To visit the excellent anthropological museum that tells the story of Rapa Nui. Open Tuesdays to Fridays from 9am to 12am and 2pm to 5pm - Saturdays, Sundays and holidays from 9am to 12pm. Admission U$2. Tel.: (56-32) 2551-020 / (56-32) 2551-021. E-mail: email@example.com – www.museorapanui.cl.
- To participate in the show Kari-Kari, a traditional Polynesian dance with ballet culture. All Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays at 9pm on main street.
- To dive in the two best companies in the island (PADI Diving): Orca (Caleta Hanga Roa Otai, tel.: (56-32) 25 50375-25 50 877 – e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org – www.seemorca.cl) e Mike Rapu (Caleta Hanga Roa Otai, tel.: (56-32) 255 2055 – email@example.com – www.mikerapu.cl). Easter Island is surrounded by the most transparent waters of the planet. The best months for diving is between September and May.
- To surf in the clear and strong Pacific waves that, gradually, are unfolding for surfers worldwide. Among the options for surfing the Pea beach in Hanga Roa is good for beginners, with small waves. In the south of the island the waves are strongest, usually, between the months of April and November.
- To practice canoeing Polynesian. Are canoes that reaching high speeds used in Polynesia for a long time. There are three clubs of Polynesian canoeing that offers basic and advanced classes: Vaka Ama Terevaka, tel.: (08) 4178305 - firstname.lastname@example.org – Mata Hoe Vaka, tel.: (032) 100790 - email@example.com – Heke Maka´U, Tel: (032) 551391.
- To buy handicrafts and 'souvenirs'. Beside of two markets, you can do your shopping on the best and most expensive store on the island, Hotu Matua's Shoppe, located in the downtown, next to City Hall.
For more information visit SENATUR (Information Center) - Av Policarpo Toro s / n (PREA) – Tel.: (56-32) 2100-255 – E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Square in Hanga Roa, Rapa Nui center located on the southwest coast of the island.
The only service station the liter of gasoline is U$ 1.30.
Ovahe, pink sand beach ideal for scuba diving.
The language on the island is Spanish, but most Indians speak Rapa Nui, one of the Polynesian dialects.
Orongo, ceremonial village in cult of Make-Make and, starting point for the former competition of tangata-manu (birdman).
Ahu Akivi, 7 statues facing to the sea representing the first explorers.
Eight days by boat or five hours by plane. This is the time to the South American continent.
Volcanic island of porous land.
Who takes you: TGK Travel – Av. Paulista, 1009 - 1st floor - cj. 102 - SP - Tel.: (55 11) 3283-3233 - www.tgkturismo.com.br.
Climate: Because of your location in the middle of the Pacific, the climate is subtropical ocean, warm and moderately humid with pleasant temperatures all year round. The days are sunny with sudden rains and, during the day, the average temperature reaches 21 °C, and in February, the hottest month, at 27 ºC on average. August is the coldest month, with lows of 14 °C and May is the rainy month.
Time zone: GMT -4, -2 hours from Santiago, Chile. Or visit: www.saproject.com.br/br/paises/1/america-do-sul
Money: The Chilean peso is the official money, but the dollar is accepted easily. In most places it is accepted, also, credit cards.
What to bring: sunscreen • cocoa butter • hat • sunglasses • swimsuit • comfortable shoes (sneakers or hiking boots for walk) • repellent • photographic equipments • casual and comfortable clothes (between April and October is advisable to take knitting) • waterproof blouse • first aid kit • guides and maps.
Getting there: At the airport in Santiago, Chile (SCL) you must take a flight to Rapa Nui (IPC) for 5h. You can also come from Tahiti or Papeete (PPT) on a flight, too, for 5h.