The Mysterious Island

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The name "Easter Island" results from the day it was discovered by Dutch navigators: on Easter Sunday, 1722. However, its original name in the rapa nui language was "te pito o te henua", which means " the navel of the world ".

The Polynesian name comes, perhaps, from its isolation. Easter Island is a solitary island in the Pacific, and one of the most isolated places in the world. Although geographically part of Polynesia, Easter Island belongs to Chile, whose capital is about 3,800 kilometers. But what makes the island world-famous are its stone statues, and so it is well worth a trip to one of the most distant places in the world.

Currently 638 statues are cataloged carved in volcanic stone, which the islanders call "moai". Its purpose does not seem to be fully understood, but it is believed to represent heroic ancestors or famous bosses. The largest is 10 meters high and weighs about 100 tons, but there are statues of all sizes and although some are upright, looking at the ocean, many others are tilted and some will still be buried waiting for someone to find them.

For the traveler, the island has other mysteries that can more easily be revealed, such as its fascinating underwater world. With clear waters that allow a visibility of 50 to 60 meters, diving to admire its marine fauna is the best activity to do on the island.

For those who like to have both feet well on the ground, a trip through the UNESCO National Park Rapa Nui, leads to the discovery of flora and volcanoes, relaxing cycling routes, on foot or on horseback. Anakena, in the northeast, is the only beach on the island with its white sands is the excellent reward for relaxing in the sun or surfing after a walk.

If you want to add a cultural experience to your visit to Easter Island, go during the Tapati festival, which happens every year in February, to experience the traditions of the rapa nui, with their music and exotic dances, wearing Polynesian costumes and painting the body like their ancestors.

Remember that it is not easy to go to Easter Island. Although the airport has an excellent runway with 3.4 km built for possible emergency landings of the North American space shuttle, the island is served with only two weekly flights, so it is advisable to confirm the reservation, two days in advance, given that the flight is often overbooked.

The island has only a small town, but it has some lodging facility, from camping to hotels. Two days are sufficient to know the island, but taking into account the distance of the trip and the interval between flights is convenient to schedule 3 to 4 days.