Exploring Enchanting Easter Island
Join me on Easter Island. A journey of ancient marvels and culinary delights.
This April, we had the amazing opportunity to travel to Easter Island, an isolated paradise located in the heart of the Pacific Ocean. Rapa Nui, as it’s called locally, is known for its mysterious Moai statues (the famous stone heads that, contrary to popular belief, do have bodies). The remote destination offers an unforgettable, serene experience with lush hills, clear beaches, a pace set to island time, and welcoming people. And if you are planning a visit any time soon, here are a few things I’d recommend for your trip!
KNOW BEFORE YOU GO
Currently, following the island’s reopening after COVID in August of 2022, there are several requirements to visit the island.
Firstly, you need a local guide to visit many of the Moai locations, such as Ahu Tongariki and the quarry. We used Easter Island Travel, and were also able to book additional local guides through our hotel Altiplanico Isla de Pascua. I recommend booking any key tours you want to take in advance.
You also need to purchase a ticket to visit many Moai sites. The ticket to the Rapa Nui National Parks good for 10 days and costs $80 or 54,000 pesos for all non-Chilean visitors. You can purchase these online or at the National Park booth after baggage claim and before the arrival hall of Mataveri Airport when you arrive on the island.
Before boarding your flight to Easter Island, you also need to complete an entry form and have proof of lodging at a SENATUR approved hotel on the island. Updated requirements, as well as a link to the entry form and approved lodging, visit here. We stayed at Altiplanico Isla de Pascua and were blown away by their welcome, attentiveness, beautiful rooms, and excellent menus.
MYSTERY OR HISTORY
The Moai are absolutely breathtaking, and there are more than 800 on the island. Here are a few of the sites I would recommend you not miss during your trip:
Ahu Tongariki: A Majestic Moai - Ahu Tongariki is home to one of the most impressive collections of Moai statues on the island. Standing tall against the backdrop of the Pacific Ocean, these towering figures create an awe-inspiring sight, one that is even more spectacular at sunrise. The picturesque views make it a must-visit site for any traveler.
Ahu Anakena - Sentinels in the Sand - No trip to Easter Island would be complete without a visit to the breathtaking Ahu Anakena. This stunning white sand beach is framed by turquoise waters, lush palm trees, and the ruins of an ancient village where Moai still stand sentinel against the backdrop of the ocean. It’s an ideal setting to take a dip, nibble on a snack from one of the small food stands, bask in the sun and soak in the ancient, exotic essence that is Easter Island
.The Quarry: The Moai Forge - To truly understand the incredible craftsmanship behind the Moai statues, visit the Rano Raraku quarry. Here, you can witness the works in progress frozen in time, marvel at the sheer scale of these magnificent stone creations, and speculate as to why the Rapa Nui abandoned their carvings and tools where they lay. It's a captivating glimpse into the island's intriguing history.
Orongo Village: Secrets of the Birdman Ceremony - Discover the intriguing rituals of the Birdman Ceremony that began centuries after the Moai were abandoned as you explore the Orongo Village. This UNESCO World Heritage site preserves stone houses and petroglyphs atop a volcanic crater, which offers breathtaking panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean.
Ahu Tahai: Sunset Over Ancient Ruins Before you leave, head over to Ahu Tahai to witness a magnificent sunset while admiring the remnants of an ancient village. This location offers a serene and tranquil atmosphere, making it an ideal spot to reflect upon the island's rich cultural heritage.
DINER AND A SHOW
The island offers a array of exquisite artistry, not only through it’s carvings, but also through dance and cuisine. During your stay, make reservations for at least one of the island’s dance performances. Through these dances, the Rapa Nui recount the history of their people. I recommend Ballet Kari Kari or Te Moana.
Other favorite restaurants during our stay included Kanahau, which offers a delightful fusion of traditional Polynesian and international cuisine, using fresh, locally sourced ingredients, and Neptune's Island that offers a fresh seafood menu that incoporates the flavors unique to the island. I had the seafood pasta at each and I could have eaten both dishes for days. The couple at Neptune’s Island were so kind and attentive, and gifted us with a small Moai as we left!
Any time I travel, I try to learn a little about the location and culture before I go, and here are a few things that may be helpful:
- Island time is a real thing on Rapa Nui. When someone says ‘in five minutes” anticipate something closer to 15 minutes. Be patient and enjoy the slower, relaxing pace of life.
- Internet is very, very limited, even if wifi is offered. The closer you are to Hanga Roa (the only city) the better it is, but plan to disconnect (willingly or not) while on the island.)
- Uber and Lyft aren’t active, but taxis are readily available through your hotel. ( I recommend asking your hotel for their recommendation of driver(s) and ask for the driver’s number to call for rides during the visit. Most drivers will expect payment in cash (pesos).
- Pesos are the local currency, but credit cards are accepted at hotels and restaurants. Bring lots of 5,000 and 10,000 peso bills (small increments).
- Most visitors wear athletic gear (shorts and yoga pants) for excursions, but some (like me) do wear dresses (like this sleeveless blue and white print maxi , this pink floral maxi or this flirty pink and orange maxi). And I love this casual summer midi that can easily be dressed up for a night out, too.
- Leave yourself room in your luggage to bring back Moai carved from local lava stone! I love these suitcases (or these) and this carry on because of their expandable options for extra room! This makeup bag is an amazing space saver, too, and I love the pearl bee! (This toiletry bag and make-up brush holder are also perfect for your next trip.)
- Take a phone charging battery pack with you (I love this light weight, wireless charger) and plug adapters (we used these which worked for Easter Island and Hong Kong)
- Take a phone charging battery pack with you (I love this light weight, wireless charger) and plug adapters (we used these universal ones which worked for our trips to Easter Island and Hong Kong)
Want a touch of Easter Island at home? Check these out:
Easter Island's allure lies not only in its mysterious Moai or captivating Birdman rituals, but in it’s mezmerizing landscapes, delectable cuisine, serene pace of life and welcoming people!
Iorana and bon voyage!