Easter Island: A Unique Place For Tourists

Easter Island has long been the subject of curiosity and speculation. Easter Island was given its common name of “Easter” because the first recorded European visit by a Dutch Admiral Jacob Roggeveen was on Easter Sunday, 1722. The mystery of the Island and its indigenous inhabitant, “the Rapanui” has made this island a unique place for visitors.

As per its area is concerned, the Island is over 2,000 miles from the nearest population center Tahiti & Chile, and that makes it the most isolated place o the earth. In fact no other populated Island on earth is as isolated as this.

Easter Island is best known for the giant stone monoliths, known as Moai, that dot the coast line. The interior portion of the island consists of high plateaus and craters surrounded by bluffs. Also, small coral formation occurs along the shoreline, but the lack of any continuous reefs has allowed the sea to cut cliffs around much of the island, which makes this place more attractive and beautiful.

The island is full of several flora and faunas. Long platforms or ahu bearing slender statues known as moai were built near the coasts, with long retaining walls facing the sea. Each ahu generally carried four to six moai towering four to eight meters high. These statues, or aringa ora (living faces), looked inland towards the villages, to project the mana (protective power) of the aku-aku (ancestral spirits) they represented. Some 887 moai have been counted on Easter Island, of which 288 were actually erected on the ahu.

Hiking and surfing are the big activities here. One of the most intriguing and practical hikes on Easter Island is along the rocky northwest coast from Anakena to Hanga Roa.

The Island is also famous for scuba diving. But, the diving off Easter Island is not for beginners as one must dive in the open sea and the water is cool (Nov.-April is warmest). On the plus side are the unique caves, walls, corals, and fish. Two dive shops opposite the small boat harbor at Caleta Hanga Roa run trips.

Surfers will find a couple of consistent waves adjacent to town, such as the rights at Caleta Hanga Roa and Ahu Tahai and the left at Hanga Mataveri Otai. On the south side of the island, a powerful right plows into the lava at Hanga Poukura. Some of the highest walls are a couple of kilometers east at Cabo Koe Koe near Ahu Vaihu. Summer is the best season for surfing on the north coast, winter on the south especially March to September.

Horseback riding here is fun and inexpensive. Anakena is too far to go by horse and return in a day anyway, so look upon riding more as a change of pace than as a way of getting around. The area north of Hanga Roa is ideal to explore by horse.

Easter Island today, remains one of the most unique places you will ever encounter; an open air museum showcasing a fascinating, but unfortunately lost, culture. The Rapanui are among the friendliest people you will ever meet, and the landscape is truly amazing – with its volcanic craters, lava formations, beaches, brilliant blue water, and archaeological sites.

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