Hititeairaghi, Rapa Nui, Te Pito-o-te-henua, Tekaouhangoaru are all other names for the area we know as Easter Island. For most people, Easter Island is associated with something mysterious – and no wonder: it is famous for the huge stone statues lined up along the coast. They stare out at the ocean with painted eyes, and this look is both creepy and mesmerizing. One of the main questions is how did these 10-meter idols get there? — is still unresolved. Tourists flock here in the hope of unraveling the mystery, but they return home hung with souvenirs and… without an answer.
Note: according to allcitypopulation, the population of Chile is 19.21 million (2021).
How to get there
Easter Island is part of Valparaiso, one of the regions of Chile. There are two ways to get to the island, both of which are expensive. The first is on a tourist yacht or cruise ship, which sometimes come here. You can go on an independent trip and call at the port in a couple of weeks.
The second way is by air, there is an airport on the island that receives flights from the Chilean capital Santiago, Tahiti and Lima. The flight schedule depends on the season: for example, from December to March, flights are operated only once a week. In other months – twice a week. The flight from Santiago takes about 5 hours.
All the attractions of the island are close to each other, and the territory itself is small. On Easter Island, you can ride a taxi, bike or rent a car. It is almost impossible to get lost on the island, as there are only two roads.
The average cost of renting a car is from 95 USD per day with a full tank of gasoline. By the way, it is better to refuel completely – it will be difficult to do this on the island. Prices on the page are for November 2022.
Easter Island beaches
There are several beaches on Easter Island, but Anakena is the best choice. Locals even warn that they can swim only here. There are several cafes on the sandy beach, and in general the local landscape is somewhat reminiscent of the Black Sea coast: there are stalls with cold water on the beach, natives sell sweets and other snacks, and the smell of barbecue is in the air. Only instead of the sea – the ocean.
Cuisine and restaurants
There are enough small cafes on the island where you can have a cheap meal. On the menu, you should choose seafood dishes, such as soup or tuna steak. In general, the steaks here are very good – from meat and fish, with potatoes and herbs. Local beer is soft and very pleasant.
Some restaurants are built very close to the water. They stand on stilts, while the owners of the establishment can demolish one of the walls so that visitors can enjoy the view of the ocean.
Easter Island Hotels
There is only one city on the island where you can stay in a hotel – Hanga Roa. Most tourists prefer mini-hotels, rather than network operators, and yet the cost of living is rather big. The fact is that many goods are imported to the island from the mainland, which increases their price. The most expensive hotel on the island is Explora EN RAPA NUI. There are 30 rooms, a restaurant with an outdoor terrace, a bar, a souvenir boutique, an outdoor pool, a massage parlor, an open-air jacuzzi.
One of the ways to earn money for the inhabitants of the island is to rent apartments. At the airport, each new plane is met by a crowd of local residents, vying with each other offering accommodation in hotels or in their homes.
There is also a campsite on the island – here you can pitch a tent or rent a very simple room for little money, and with the Internet. To get to the campsite, you need to find a guide at the airport with a Mihinoa sign – this is the name of the place where you will stay.
Selling souvenirs is one of the main sources of income for the islanders. In shops and shops you can buy idols of different sizes, from pocket ones to 2-3 meters. The main thing is that you can take this piece of wood out of the country to your homeland. Especially popular are the “kawakawa” statues – either a person or a ghost – and, of course, magnets, necklaces, beads, hats, headbands, and embroidered shoes.
Entertainment and attractions of Easter Island
Stone moai are carved from the petrified volcanic ash. These are stylized human figures with short bodies and elongated heads. The weight of each of the idols reaches almost 20 tons. According to the beliefs of local residents, they contain the supernatural power of the ancestors of the first king of Easter Island – Hotu Matua.
Moai stand along the coast and look at the island. Hundreds of books have been written about the history of their occurrence, films have been made, but there are still no clues. Someone believes that aliens brought them to the island, others are sure that only giant people 3-4 meters tall could make such statues. Another version is that these idols themselves came to the island, but later forgot how to walk and stayed here forever. In total, there are about 900 statues on the island, most of which are located near the Rano Raraku volcano.
The craters of the volcanoes Rano Kau and Rano Raraku are another attraction of Easter Island. It was from the remains of Rano Raraku that the moai were made. Half-finished statues are scattered in the pit of this volcano. Inside Rano Kau, the view is breathtaking – the crater is filled with rainwater, covered with islands of grass, and the sky is reflected in this giant lake.
The ceremonial village of Orongo is located on the edge of the Rano Kau crater. Ceremonies dedicated to the bird-man were once held here. In the village you can find many cobblestones on which images of the god Make-Make and the bird-man are carved.
Hanga Roa Church
This is a Catholic church famous for its wood carvings. Looking at it, it seems that the building itself is carved from wood. Craftsmen work here, and on Sundays music services are held.
5 things to do on Easter Island:
- In late January – early February, visit the unique Tapati festival, which probably has no analogues in the world. It takes place in late January or early February. “Tapati” is a cross-section of the culture of Easter Island, and not an export version, but a real one. The natives sing, dance and measure their strength.
- Climb to the ceremonial site Te-Pito-te-Khenua, whose name in Rapanui means “navel of the earth”.
- Arrange a romantic picnic in the palm groves of Anakena Bay.
- Come up with your own legend about moai – and then tell it to the locals. They love to listen to versions of how the statues appeared at Easter. You will be listened to attentively, maybe your story will be written down if it is unique, and will be placed in the collected works of tourists.
- Visit the village of Orongo and see numerous petroglyphs with images of birdmen and the god Make-Make. By the way, this island had its own written language, rongo-rongo, which has not yet been deciphered.