If you can visit just one Pacific island gem in your lifetime, you should strongly consider making it Easter Island.
This tiny island is a part of Chile, though the mainland is nearly a five hour’s flight away. It is a natural and cultural wonderland, with some of the most famous and interesting statues in the world located around its shores.
So pack your things and get ready for the trip of a lifetime. Here’s what you should try and see on Easter Island.
As you alight at Mataveri International Airport and make your way to your hotel, you will likely wind up in Hanga Roa. That’s because this town is the island’s only actual village, and acts as its commercial, accommodation, entertainment and dining hub.
Though certainly small compared with the major tourist centres of Australia, Hanga Roa makes for the perfect place to launch your wider Easter Island holiday. Thanks to the island’s relatively small size, getting from one end to the other by car is a breeze.
Museo Antropologico Sebastian Englert
A few minutes up the road from the Hanga Roa town centre lies the island’s only museum. The Museo Antropologico Sebastian Englert is a fantastic place to clue yourself up about the history of Easter Island (also known as Rapa Nui), and see some of its ancient artefacts.
The building is named after one of Easter Island’s most beloved priests, who put tremendous effort into cataloguing and understanding the local history, language and people. Some of the exhibitions here include carved wooden statues, as well as the only moai (the stone statues Easter Island is famous for) eye ever found. A variety of information boards are also nearby, telling the story of Rapa Nui, accompanied by some of its legends.
Rapa Nui National Park
A large portion of the island is taken up by a UNESCO World Heritage Site known as Rapa Nui National Park. This area was established to protect the fascinating architecture created by the ancient people of Easter Island, including both its famous moai and many other religious and cultural sites (ahu).
There are a number of roads that traverse the volcanic landscape of the park, some of which are paved, though many of which are simply gravel. Four-wheel drive vehicles are available for hire in Hanga Roa, and there are plenty of tour providers that have their own buses and such to take you around the area.
Taking a tour of Rapa Nui National Park is perhaps one of the best ways to immerse yourself in the history of Easter Island, especially if you have already visited the museum in Hanga Roa. The mysterious statues littering the coastline here are a wonder to behold, some of which are many metres in height.
Some of the recommended sites for you to gaze at in amazement, and take hundreds of photographs of, are Rano Raraku, Ahu Akivi, Anakena (a picnic area and restored ahu) and Ovahe (a pink sand beach).
Just 10 or so minutes southwest of Hanga Roa lies the ceremonial village of Orongo, perched high up on the crater wall of Rano Raraku.
Orongo itself is believed to have been used by the ancient people of Easter Island between the 17th and 19th century, as a place to worship the birdmen. There are around 53 shale houses here, with small entranceways facing the ocean. They are aligned in rows, and are a great place to see real petrogylphs and cave paintings. Just nearby there is also a quarry where it is believed most of the moai here were carved, and you can still see plenty of statues in the area.
If you’re planning a trip to Easter Island, consider packing some peace of mind in case something goes awry. Contact us to see if Virgin Travel Insurance is right for your needs.
What would you love to see on Easter Island?