Guide to visiting Easter Island Chile

Easter Island (known as Papa Nui in Polynesian, or Isla de Pascua in Spanish) is a volcanic land formation located 2,100 miles west of Chile in the Pacific Ocean. Annexed by Chile in 1888, this Polynesian island is approximately 14 miles long and 7 miles wide. Considered one of the most remote islands on earth, Easter Island is world-famous for its monuments (called Moai) and petroglyphs (carved pictures), created by the ancient Rapa Nui inhabitants.

Visitors have the chance to see the monuments in person and ponder the meaning of the huge stone Moai. These mysterious, kneeling figures have massive carved faces, and are column shaped, with small arms folded against the body. They are a testament to the creativity and ingenuity of the early Easter Island civilization; weighing up to 82 tons, the enormous statues were transported by unknown methods from their volcanic stone quarry, Rano Raraku, to their present locations. The Moai have cultural, archeological, and religious significance, but their symbolism is still not understood. Studied and viewed by archeology groups and tourists alike, the statues are preserved within Rapa Nui National Park, a World Heritage Site.

Over the centuries, the island has been affected by erosion and deforestation, and famine, wars, and overpopulation caused a decline in the early native population. Today, a small group of the original Rapa Nui inhabitants remain, and the economy relies on tourism and research for needed revenue. Tourism sites must be carefully managed to preserve the fragile ecosystem and archeological shrines.

Easter Island has hilly terrain and is of a mild, tropical climate. The island can be accessed by flights through LAN airlines (a South American airline) from Chile’s capital, Santiago, or Tahiti. Transportation around the island is possible by car rental, or walking. In addition to viewing archeological sites, activities include hiking the magnificent trails of the two extinct volcanic craters, Ranu Kao and Ranu Raraku, and surfing and swimming along the white beach of Anakena.

Accommodations for travelers range from hostels and guesthouses to a small number of hotels, such as Taura’a Hotel, located in Hanga Roa, with beautiful views of the coastline. Single rooms and suites are available and amenities include airport transfer services, car rentals, and a restaurant on the premises. Another lodging option is Easter Island’s Hanga Roa Hotel, with 90 rooms and conveniently located near the airport. Amenities such as ocean views, restaurant, direct dial phone service, terraces, and private baths are available.

Easter Island is known for its natural beauty and archeological treasures amidst glorious views of the Pacific Ocean. Its preserved sites displaying statues and petroglyphs give the visitor a rare opportunity to view and contemplate the mysteries of an ancient civilization.