Essentially an open-air archaeological museum, a visit here promises it won’t be just the moai staring at the views...
A five-hour flight from the mainland, Easter Island, called Rapa Nui by its native Polynesians, is an open-air archaeological museum. Hundreds of moai (gigantic stone statues) are scattered throughout the island and tours take in a range of sites as well as the quarry – while the small village of Hanga Roa is easily explored alone. As well as the moai, which gaze enigmatically out over the gently rolling hills, the island is dotted with ahu (stone platforms), stone houses, walls, puzzling petroglyphs and colourful cave paintings that depict brightly painted birds in flight. You’ll have to pinch yourself to be reminded you’re still in Chile and for many seasoned travellers it is this cultural oddness that makes Easter Island so captivating.
Those who make the 3,700km journey across the open ocean are often surprised at the level of comfort available in such a remote place. The Explora Easter Island hotel, Posada de Mike Rapu is on a hill overlooking the Pacific and is built from volcanic rock. As well as 30 well-appointed rooms, a bar, infinity pool and an open-air jacuzzi, it has a fine dining restaurant with a menu that matches Chilean wines and Polynesian cuisine – including some superb fish dishes.
The crater of Rano Raraku volcano; most of the island’s moai were cut from this quarry. Best explored on horseback.
Sample itinerary Fly to Easter Island to explore the mysterious moai statues scattered across the volcanic island. Cox & Kings recommends staying three or four nights and can include a visit as part of any Chile holiday.
Three nights (including flights) is from £1,025pp. Call an expert on 0845 619 6094.
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