We currently live in a world of surveillance, everywhere we turn there is a camera watching our every move. Going to the isolated Easter Island you think you can get away with it but there are prying eyes in every direction.
Moai sculptures will be watching you with their beady eyes looking down as you explore the Chilean territory in Polynesia, natively known as Rapa Nui.
The structures have an importance to the natives while becoming an attraction to everyone outside Easter Island.
One of the most isolated inhabited pieces of land with the island located around 3,500 kilometres away from mainland Chile and 1,850km away from Chilean Juan Fernandez Islands; both of which have gained the constitutional status as a ‘special territory’.
So what makes the small island with around 7,800 population so popular? Can it be classed as a high star tourist destination?
Their silence speaks volumes
It what brings the tourists onto the island, the selling point that can say a thousand words by staying silent. Over 900 statues complete the landscape across the grassy hills that adorn the skyline of Easter Island.
The monolithic statues and their minimalist style are decorated across the Polynesia Islands with their sheer beauty on display and to marvel at the .excellence it took to make and transport them.
You wonder how with manpower and simple physic ideas that a group of people can carry/transport as much as 86 tonnes to the location where it remains today. The heaviest stones are something to marvel at and must come with a story that is unlikely never to be told.
The majority remain at the main moai quarry, Rano Raraku, with hundreds transported from there and set on stone platforms called ahu around the island’s perimeter.
There is no clear answer as to why the statues were created but many people believe the Rapa Nui people undertook such a mammoth task over many generations to honour their ancestors, chiefs, or other important personages within their society. There is no concrete evidence within the island to solidify the scholar claims but it seems reasonable to continue their admiration from their world to our world, albeit many in the past have seen them as a threat and toppled them.
Easter Island has experienced a number of historical events that define their culture, albeit negatively. There is the birdman cult that replaced the Moai carving society and was an idea to give them their island supreme leader on a yearly basis. This ended badly as wasn’t efficient enough to always choose the correct leader, like the success under the previous ancestor rule.
The European explorers then discovered the island in the late 17th and 18th centuries and failed to understand many of the Moai statutes. Many were toppled and became slightly damaged when the Europeans felt threatened by the size and lack of understanding by their cultural meaning.
However, scratch beneath the surface and Easter Island can offer an insight into the historic periods of the island. There are museums and sites that are worth a visit to grasp what the previous generations experienced.
The Tapati Rapa Nui is a cultural festival that takes place at the start of February for two weeks and displays what Easter Island can offer. Used to promote the Rapa Nui culture on the tourists and islanders, and in particular for increase interest and a sense of identity amongst the youngsters. An easy fun way for tourists to learn the culture too.
It is possible that you can take part in some sporting festival events that locals train and celebrate their victory in a special way.
The lava always flows
Easter Island is a volcanic high island, consisting mainly of three extinct coalesced volcanoes, Terevaka, Poike and Rano Kau. These three volcanoes form the relatively triangular shape of the island.
Rano Kao is the most spectacular of these volcano sites and can offer a sensation of immensity and peaceful tranquillity, only can be interrupted by the gales, the sound of the waves crashing against the rocks and makes the volcano one of the favourites and unforgettable places for anyone coming to explore the volcanic grounds.
When inside the crater, you can hop from one lagoon to another. The accumulation of rainwater has formed a large lagoon, around a kilometre and half, something that a view can never spoil and truly appreciates that nature is a beautiful thing.
Not to worry about an imminent eruption, the last one occurred over 1,800 years ago.
So if that takes your fancy, why not visit one of the greatest islands that South America has to offer.
You will arrive at Mataveri International Airport on a LATAM aircraft, more than likely on a connection flight from Santiago, Chile’s capital, or Papette. Boat transfers are likely available, however, travelling by air is more than likely to be quicker and more efficient.
What Can You Expect When You Arrive on the Island?
The climate is temperate with no known high temperatures consistently recorded during the summer months. The weather is moderate all year round, however, under the Köppen climate classification, it is classed as a tropical rainforest climate.
July and August see the lowest average temperatures of the year, while January and February can be classed as the summer months as they receive average temperatures of 28 °C.
Once acclimatised to the conditions, you will probably find yourself in Hanga Roa as the majority of the high-quality hotels and accommodation sites are located there. Many hotels are up to western requirements with many meeting four-star or five-star luxury, all at a reasonable price.
Easter Island realises the importance of tourism to the island whether it is respecting their culture and heritage or to marvel at what their ancestors achieved. The island is also getting luxurious in their modern appeal as they look to attract people who just want a getaway that can offer relaxation with the odd bit of high-end glamour thrown in.
Easter Island is becoming more than a one-trick pony.