Where is Easter Island and how to travel there
Easter Island is not only an incredible iconic place but it is steeped, influenced strongly by Polynesian culture and has also been recognised as a world heritage site which are only some of the reasons so many visitors make their way to these remote islands year after year.
Where is Easter Island?
Easter Island is the European name for Rapa Nui – one of the remotest islands in the world. Situated a little over 2,000 miles away from Chile in the south-eastern Pacific Ocean. The nearest inhabited land is a thousand miles away – Pitcairn Island (famous as the location where Fletcher Christian and the rest of the HMS Bounty mutineers made their home for a brief while.)
Easter Island was discovered by a Dutch explorer on Easter day in 1722, hence the name. The indigenous population (descendants of Polynesian explorers) numbered about 2,000 at this time.
How to get to Easter Island
Currently, the only way to get to Easter Island is to fly from Santiago, Chile to its airport, Mataveri International Airport, located at Hanga Roa, Easter Island’s capital town and harbor, with a population of about 3,000 people.
In addition to people flying into Easter Island specifically, the airport is used as a stopover for those passengers on their way to or from Papeete in Tahiti.
What to See on Easter Island
Easter Island Statues: The Moai
Easter Island is most famous for its stone statues, called Moai, which were carved thousands of years ago. Over 800 of these monolithic statues were carved, but about half of them were never moved from the quarry at Rano Raraku, and this is a popular tourist spot, not only to see the Moai but because it is a beautiful location, the remains of a volcanic crater.
A recent discovery by archaeologists proved that the heads are actually part of a full torso with mysterious engravings found on the body. Watch the video for more
Petroglyphs of Easter Island
In addition to the Moai, Easter Island has a rich collection of petroglyphs (pictures carved into rock) – with over 1,000 sites scattered across the island. The subjects of the petroglyphs vary depending on the part of the island one visits but have puzzled archaeologists for decades and work continues to decipher them and their meaning.
Easter Island Tours
Most Easter Island Tours will focus on visiting the different sites throughout the island, encompassing the culture, scenery and of course moai sites. Most South American or Chile tour operators will offer different ways to explore Easter island including self drive, hotel stay or inclusive lodge experience that includes your tours to different sites as well as accommodation.
Want to know more about travelling in South America? Check out our special Go To Guide featuring a brief summary of 32 of the most popular destinations.