It’s been a few years since we went to Easter Island…on a whim! We were planning our South America jaunt to the Galapagos, Peru (read Macchu Pichu), and Chile. Easter Island kept popping up, but it seemed a little much to hope for and just a little expensive with everything we were already doing. However, walking around Santiago, we noticed a sale in a travel agent’s window. It was way too cheap to pass up. We walked in and bought a ticket. Talk about spontaneous! And to be honest, with everything we did that summer, it was still one of our highlights.
Literally in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, about a five and a half hour flight from Santiago, we were probably the closest to Tahiti that we will ever be. We landed at the small airport, deplaned, and walked into the terminal. I love landing at small airports like that. It feels so much more exotic and welcoming than a stark arrivals hall.
There are plenty of hostels and pensions on the island, and we booked one with no problem. Like Hawaiians, they met us at the airport with leis to christen our arrival. We were suprised how closely all of Rapa Nui resembled the polynesian culture, until we discovered more of its history at the small museum.
There’s not much civilization, and the town of Hango Roa (the capital) is basically an intersecting of two streets. It is very well set up for tourists, and we set about booking a car to explore the various moai sites. There were a number of bars and restaurants, but I wouldn’t say you should go there for the cuisine, it was rather lacking in imagination. We also took the opportunity to watch the local dance group perform some traditional polynesian dances. Very primal. Loved it.
Sightseeing-wise, we headed to Rano Raraku volcano and the surrounding moai carving sites. Along the way, we discovered a strain of obsidian underneath the dirt road. We spent a couple of days meandering around the island finding beautiful views and a number of moai stands.
In four days, we did everything there was possible to do on all of Easter Island. We went during the rainy season, but it didn’t dampen our spirits. It felt adventurous and exciting the whole time. We loved it and would heartily recommend it to the more intrepid of tourists.