Located six hours from Chile’s mainland, Easter Island, known locally as Rapa Nui, is a tiny speck of land in the churning Pacific Ocean.
The island takes its name from the day of its discovery by Dutch explorer Jacob Roggeveen, who chanced upon the island on Easter Sunday in 1722. However, the Polynesian people settled on Easter Island sometime after 700 AD, so its history is long and blessed with a still-thriving culture. One of the most famous evidence of this is the prolific scattering of Moai statues across the island. The monolithic stones number nearly 900 and range from 10 – 40 feet in height, some weighing more than 50 tonnes.
Easter Island holidays can offer a balance of culture and exploration of the beautiful yet harsh environment. The island is one of the most isolated places on Earth, and its landscapes are a tapestry of savage beauty which can be explored on foot, two wheels or on horseback; a great deal of care is taken to preserve the environment and the culture. Explore the coast with a choice of watersports: the area is fantastic for snorkelling and surfing. However, the best way to get under the skin of this impossibly remote island is to integrate with the Polynesian residents of Rapa Nui.
To get the most out of Easter Island holidays we’d recommend between three to five days, flying from Santiago to the island’s small airport. Once you arrive, our team can arrange local tours of the main points of interest, such as ancient ceremonial sites and the various Moai statues.
You could visit the Raro Raraku volcano where most of the Moai were carved, or explore the ancient temple ruins at Vinapu; weather dependent, it’s also possible to picnic on the very beach where Captain Cook landed in 1774. For a more in-depth look at Easter Island, you may want to visit during the island’s annual festival, Tapati Rapa Nui, which takes place each February.
During the island’s summer months (December to February), a celebration of Polynesian culture takes place across Rapa Nui. The festival is not a tourist-focused event and although visitors are welcome to attend, this is a truly authentic and special event. Both men and women compete in activities based on ancient sports; from rafting, swimming and spear fishing to running with banana bunches and volcano racing while carrying a tree trunk.