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Easter Island

Easter Island travel guide

Get a heads-up on the giant moai (carved stone sculptures) of Easter Island

One of the most isolated places on earth, afloat in the midst of the Pacific, until the arrival of an airport in 1961 tiny Easter Island (or Rapa Nui, as it’s known by the islanders) in the Pacific Ocean used to receive just visit each year by supply ship.

Most visitors now make the 3,500km trip from mainland Chile by plane, enticed by the mysterious moai (carved stone heads) that keep a watchful eye over the coastline. Thought to have been sculpted by early settlers between AD 700 and AD 1500, some 887 moai dot Easter Island, with the 15 giant heads of Ahu Tongariki the real stars of the show.

When you’re all moaied out, you can snorkel or dive among the coral and exotic fish of offshore islets, saddle up for a day of horse-riding, lounge on a white sand beach or throw some shapes on the dance floor with the fun-loving locals.

Wanderlust recommends

  1. Meet the locals – they can be just as intriguing as the moai
  2. Experienced divers can plunge down to 45m around Motu Tautara and hang out with the fish
  3. Soak up the sun or go for a dip at the lovely Anakena Beach
  4. Pull up a chair at one of the bars along Av Atamu Tekena, order a pisco sour and watch the world go by

Wanderlust tips

Get up with the lark and see the moai at their most atmospheric by watching the sunrise at the eastern end of the island behind the 15 colossal figures at Ahu Tongariki. Easter Island is like a huge outdoor museum and it’s worth hiring a guide for at least one day to get the low down on all those big heads. Here is an excellent source of info prepared by the Easter Island Foundation.

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