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Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Easter Island - More Than Just Some Heads!

We spent last week on the most remote, inhabited island in the world.  We took a trip to Easter Island, known as Isla de Pascua in Spanish speaking countries or Rapa Nui, as it is referred to locally.  They all refer to the same place, a teensy, tiny island off the coast of Chile.  Waaaayyyyyy off the coast. In fact, Easter Island is 2,300 miles west of South America - its closest neighbor - and the next closest piece of land is Tahiti which is 2.500 miles further west.  If you have Google Earth handy, search for the island - and then you'll have a good idea of how amazing it is that anyone ever found it.

Obviously this is a less amazing discovery now that we have satellites and aerial views, but there is strong evidence that suggests that people lived on the island as early as 400AD, and that is truly remarkable.

The island is full of mysteries, there is little left of the original culture, so many of these mysteries go unanswered.

The island received its western name from Jacob Roggeveen, a Dutch navigator that first spotted the island on Easter Sunday 1722.  At this point in history, the indigenous trees of the island were extinct, the island population had been decimated by overpopulation and deforestation.  Since then, trees have been planted and some of the statues that had been knocked over by time, water, weather, or people  have now been restored to their original posts.

We visited the island via Lima, Peru, which was a decently longer trip than the more traditional route through Santiago, Chile, but the flights got us to the island with only one day of travel instead of taking an additional night to get there.

The only airport in Easter Island was a 2 minute drive from our hotel, yet we never heard a plane on our trip.  We stayed at the Hanga Roa Hotel, in the town of Hanga Roa, and it was a beautiful location. Our room was spacious and comfortable, our porch opened to an ocean front view.

It was a great hotel, great location, with inconsistent service.  We had many small incidents that could have been handled better by the staff, and discussed them with the manager prior to leaving the hotel, but the facility itself was fantastic.

This trip was intended to be a go-at-your-own-pace vacation, so instead of having tours lined up we rented cars for a couple of days and then spent the rest of the time exploring the island on foot.  It was an amazing, once in a lifetime experience and it will take more than one post to cover it all.  Here are some previews to the rest of the vacation:

1 comment:

  1. I have always wanted to go to Easter Island! Looks like a great trip - and a really stylish hotel!