Far from everything on Easter Island

posted in: Chile | 57
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Easter Island or as the locals call it Rapa Nui was undoubtedly one of the places that we waited the most to see in our round the world trip. The most remote habited place in our planet in the middle of the Pacific; an island that is full of legends and mysteries. A fallen civilization that was brought to almost complete extinction thanks to both the misuse of their natural resources and the diseases carried by the European conquerors. Easter Island now belongs to Chile (although it takes more than 5 hours by plane to get there from the mainland) but the still existing autochthones don’t consider them Chileans. They speak their own language which belongs to the Polynesian family and they try to protect their own culture.

Being a remote place, it is not surprising that the island is really expensive. We were lucky to have a friend’s acquaintance there who offered us one of his bungalows with a huge discount and we brought most of the food from Santiago to avoid spending 3 times more in everything.

We spent a week there which is more than enough to explore all the little hidden corners of the island. Local people live in the small town of Hanga Roa that is situated in the Southwest corner of the island and the rest is basically inhabited. The island has a really special atmosphere that captures your imagination. Everything is so calm and quiet, only the clouds run fast on the sky. As rainy and sunny moments alternate with each other, rainbows are so frequent on the sky that we haven’t seen anywhere else.

Easter Island rainbow

Some of the interesting places are found close to Hanga Roi, so we could get there on foot. We climbed up to the crater of the Rano Kau volcano where amazing scenery was waiting for us. At the bottom of the crater there are some small lakes – so colorful scenery for a volcanic crater!

Rano Kau Volcano Easter Island

Near the crater we can find the rests of Orongo, an antique settlement. On the other side of Hanga Roi we had our first encounter with the famous statues called moais, which are the symbols of the island. There are still various legends, theories about these statutes. No one has a sure explanation about why they built them, how they moved them and why they didn’t finish most of them. The area of Tahai is perfect to see the sunset, as the sun goes down just behind the moai statues, really wonderful!

Tahai Sunset Easter Island

The best way to explore the island is renting a small motorbike. Bicycle is another option, although sometimes the strong wind and the ups and downs might make it a tiresome way of moving around. Moreover, the island is a tax-free zone, so fuel is basically the only cheap thing on. We were there in winter, so it was really low season, and we found ourselves alone most of the time. Finding nobody on the roads was also great for getting used to riding a motorbike (later in Asia we really became pros in that).

Motorbike Easter Island

On the Southern part of the island there are several archeological sites to visit. Vinapú, Vaihú and Akahanga are the most important ones, in these sites most of the moai statues have already fallen to the ground and we can also contemplate the ruins of some ancient altars. The colors of the island are so intense: the harmony of the lively green of the grass and the vivid blue of the sky are interrupted sometimes by a group of wild horses running around. You really feel far from everything.

Wild horses Easter Island

Probably the most important archeological site is found on the side of another volcano, Rano Raraku where all the moai statues were built. Here we can see many different types of moai statues. It is worth spending here a few hours to walk around and to observe these statues that make this island so unique.

Moai statues Easter island

Moai kiss Easter Island

From the top of the volcano we can already see the Tongariki Bay, which is probably the most photographed point of the island. Here there are 15 impressive moai statues just on the coast. All the statues have a different “personality”, we spent here a lot of time although we knew that we would come back next morning to see the sunrise.

Tongariki Bay Easter Island

Moai statue Easter Island

We woke up two consecutive mornings to see the sunrise in Tongariki, although it was already amazing the first time. It is a spectacle of lights and colors in such a unique place that deserved the effort of waking up early and riding there on the dark roads. The colors were gradually changing from orange through pink to purple and when the sun finally rose behind the rocks, the few clouds simply fled. These are probably one of those images that will never be erased from our memories.

Tongariki Bay Sunrise Easter Island

The Northern part of the island also hides some interesting spots. In Papa Vaka we can see some rock engravings, and nearby we visited a stone which is considered to have special magnetic properties as it makes compasses behave strangely.

Magnetic Stone Easter Island

In the North we find Anakena Beach, the only real beach of the island. It is a beautiful  white sand beach and palm trees, and the peculiarity is given by the moai statues as guards of the beach.

Anakena Beach Easter Island

We visited Puna Pua, where the hats of the moai statues were made and also Ahu Tepeu where we found the only group of moais that are facing the ocean. What we loved the most was getting lost on the dirt roads and enjoying the feeling of being in such a remote place.

Ahu Tepeu Statues Easter Island

It is expensive to get to Easter Island, the tickets are not cheap even in low season, but we think that it is really a special hidden corner of our planet that is worth visiting. It is colorful and mystical at the same time.

What was the place in your travels where you felt the farthest from everything else?

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57 Responses

  1. I really enjoyed this post. You photographs are excellent!

    • Rachele & Gábor

      Thanks Marilyn! I am glad you liked the pictures!

  2. VERY nice that you were able to score a deal on accommodations. :) Did you spend a lot of time shopping around for the best or most interesting deals? Most things I’ve seen advertised very pricey, even from places in Chile where I thought decent deals could be found.

    I’ll make it there one day. :)

    • Rachele & Gábor

      Accomodation is really expensive there, actually we planned to sleep in the camping there with our tent. However, our friend in Santiago helped us out, so we had an amazing fully equipped bungalow for only 40 dollars per night!

  3. WOW,WOW,WOW! What an opportunity. And these photos are incredible. Funny at times but also strikingly beautiful!

    • Rachele & Gábor

      Thanks Erin! It was really an amazing place, incredible colors there!

  4. Every now and again I read a post that just makes me instantly add that place to my list of places I need to go… This post did exactly that. I didn’t even really know much, well, anything, about Easter Island really… but it looks so tranquil and unique and lovely.

    • Rachele & Gábor

      Thanks Anastasia! So happy to read that our post put Easter Island on your bucket list!

  5. Easter Island is certainly one of those places that are rarely visited, generally because of the high cost and also because most folks think it is near impossible to visit. But when you read a post like this, it gives you a sense of exactly what you are missing if you don’t find the money and time to venture there.

    The fact that a place such as Easter Island is so inhabited makes it even more beautiful because there are less tourists to damage the scenic landscapes.

    I love this post and I hope that one day I will have the opportunity to see this for myself!

    • Rachele & Gábor

      If you reserve plane tickets in advance (several months before traveling) for low season you can find return tickets from Santiago for 400 dollars just as we did. It was not too expensive for a 5-hour flight, in high season the prices are crazy! And yeah, it is a special, unique place in the world, it is definitely worth visiting it!

  6. I nearly made it to Easter Island the first time I flew to South America… unfortunately, it didn’t happen. It seems like such a strange place, I look forward to exploring it in future!

    The place that felt furthest from everything where I have been? Hmmmm good question! Honestly, it may even be the island of Tasmania when I was growing up. It felt so far from everywhere – even getting to the mainland of Australia used to be expensive, let alone the rest of the world. Otherwise, maybe when I went to the Guianas.

    • Rachele & Gábor

      We couldn’t make it to Tasmania either when we were in Australia, and we felt really sorry for that! Australia and New Zealand were really hard on our budget, so we couldn’t afford more than a month each country. Easter Island is a strange place just as you say, we haven’t been to any other place similar!

  7. Another faraway place you made it too… and another one where you had a friend with a place to stay (awesome!).
    Your photos are gorgeous. And the crater of the Rano Kau volcano is really impressive (love the scenery, and the view that stretches faraway). Funny photo of the Rachele kissing a moai statue :)

    • Rachele & Gábor

      As Spanish is like a second mother tongue for us, in South America we made friends really everywhere with locals, and we had help anywhere we went. In Easter Island we appreciated it a lot, because we saved a lot of money!

  8. Oh man! This is so cool. Rapa Nui is one of those places that I’ve been itching to see for such a long time. From what I understand, the Polynesians, trying to prove that they had found and settled the island (and many others) purposely 1000’s of years back without any sort of compass set out in 1985 from Hawaii (I think?), no compass on board, and managed to get the 10,000 miles tacking upwind for a good chunk of it and landed on this little spot that, had they had a compass, would’ve taken less than 1 degree error on a compass… The Moai are something extraordinary unto themselves, and the fact that the ancient civilization cut down all the trees… What an incredible, and amazing experience! It literally does not get more remote than this!

    • Rachele & Gábor

      Thanks Jonny!Just as the one you tell, the island is full of mystical histories and strange legends! You really feel this sensation of being far from everything when you are on the island! I hope you can make it to there one day, I am sure that you will find it unique too!

  9. I really enjoyed the photos and story – getting lost on dirt roads on a remote Pacific islands sounds like an ideal way to unwind. Wish I’d taken the time to do this when I was in Chile several years back!

    • Rachele & Gábor

      Thanks Dave! It is really a one-of-a kind place in the world! I hope you will have the chance to visit it in the future!

  10. My friend went to Easter Island a few months ago, but I haven’t seen her pictures yet. You look like you had an amazing trip. I love that rainbow over the water, the little lakes in the volcano crater and the sunrise coming up over the statues. I hope to get to Easter Island myself some day.

    • Rachele & Gábor

      We are glad Michele that you appreciated our post and pictures! I also hope that you can get there one day!!

  11. Great pictures. I was looking at visiting Easter Land last year but getting to it looked a bit expensive to get to the actual island from Chile?

    KÖLNER DOM | COLOGNE CATHERDRAL

    • Rachele & Gábor

      In low-season you can get return tickets for around 400 dollars from the mainland, and it is really worth paying that money for the amazing experience!

  12. This looks like amazing! I never considered visiting Easter Island but those statues are so funny and I’d love to see the sunrise over it.

    • Rachele & Gábor

      Thanks Samantha! The statues are really strange and both the sunrises and sunsets on the island are amazing!

  13. nice big heads
    i am surprised how they get them up and there how they are still around after so many years!

  14. Oh wow, what a privilege to read about your experiences in this unique place. It’s rare that I’m green with envy but this time I am! Easter Island is on my bucket list of bucket lists but I just can’t imagine ever getting there. At least I got to see your stunning photos!

    • Rachele & Gábor

      Thanks Phoebe! It was really a privilege to visit this amazing island!

  15. Never seen anything like this….interesting indeed!! May be one day I will get a chance to visit .Thanks for sharing..

    • Rachele & Gábor

      Easter Island is really different from anything we have seen. Such a unique place!!

  16. These photos are gorgeous!! I really want to go to Easter Island and those horses are beautiful. What an amazing opportunity!

    • Rachele & Gábor

      Yeah, this was really an amazing opportunity! We didn’t really have to make any effort to take gorgeous pictures!

  17. I had never given this place much thought before – shame on me. It looks wonderful, and I just love your photos – especially the smooching one. I love trying to take silly photos – although hubby is never too happy. Big thanks for linking up with us to #SundayTraveler once again.

    • Rachele & Gábor

      Thanks Sarah! We were also in doubt before visiting this island. We had the sensation that most people visited it just because it’s so remote and not for what is there. We were happy about our decision, it’s a wonderful magical place!

  18. Easter Island has been on my bucket list ever since I saw a moai at the British Museum many years ago. Even though it’s pretty wrong that there is one there in the collection, it’s definitely given me a decent dose of wanderlust!

    • Rachele & Gábor

      Yeah, our English friends should bring that moai back to the island, but I have the sensation that it is not gonna happen…I hope you can make it to the island one day!!

  19. Nice pictures guys, reminds me the time when I visited the Island…it has been already 4 years ago, time flies!

    • Rachele & Gábor

      I am happy Marysia that we took you to a nostalgy tour around Easter Island:)

  20. Absolutely fascinating! Except for the enormously expensive bit, Easter Island with its natural beauty and quiet sounds like our kind of place. Thanks so much for sharing!

    • Rachele & Gábor

      I am glad that you liked our post! Easter Island is really a unique spot, we haven’t seen anything similar to it!

  21. I would love to visit Easter Island! I got to get up close with one of the few Moai’s that are off the island when I was in Chile, and it was amazing. I would probably die in a fit of archaeological happiness to see them all.

    • Rachele & Gábor

      Jess, I can I imagine that because of your profession, for you it would be even more special to visit this island! I hope you can get there one day!!

  22. What a beautiful place and I love the photos that you have included in this post! The crater looks like a great place to explore and the rugged cliffs that plunge into the water are breathtaking. Thanks for introducing this piece of paradise to me!

    • Rachele & Gábor

      We are so glad to read your comments! Easter Island was really a breathtaking scenery, the landscape, the colors, simply unforgettable!

  23. If I was only able to visit one place in the world it would be Easter Island. There was a really good programme on BBC a month ago called Easter Island: Mysteries of a Lost World – if you get the chance watch it as they seem to have proved what happened to the island. Originally it would have been totally covered in palm trees etc like any other polynesian island. Nice post and great photos guys.

    • Rachele & Gábor

      Thanks Keith, Easter Island is really mysterious and unique. I will definitely check out this BBC documentary!

  24. Just gorgeous. I would love to see the statues one day.

    • Rachele & Gábor

      Easter Island has such a special atmosphere! Thanks for your comment!

  25. […] to see more Easter Island goodness? Check out these amazing Moai photos at Surfing the Planet for […]

  26. Great pictures, guys! The Easter Island seems super mysterious to me. I’m adding it to my bucket list :)

    • Rachele & Gábor

      Thanks Justyna! Easter Island is such a mysterious place!

  27. Your photographs are amazing!

    Do you know the story behind the statue with the hat (rock) on top of it? I’d never noticed that in any other pics from Easter Island.

    • Rachele & Gábor

      I don’t remember the story, but we visited the place where they made the hats for the statues. Thanks for your comment!

  28. Easter island is on my bucket list. Your photos really bring it to life. I especially like the sunset with the three moai.

  29. Very cool and informative post, and especially, _beautiful photos_! An image says more than a thousand words, right? With your selection of key photos you really took us all along with you on your trip.

    • Rachele & Gábor

      Thanks so much for your really kind comment! Easter Island was really one of our favorite places from our trip!

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