My experience in Easter Island
Easter Island is one of the most beautiful places in the world where one can ask many questions without receiving a respond. It is almost impossible to explain where the first settlers came from, how they developed a culture parallel to the rest of humanity for approximately 1000 years, and how they managed to transport colossal monolithic sculptures of tons of weight at distant distances with no help other than their physical strength.
This island is in the Pacific Ocean, in the middle of nowhere, is part of the Polynesian Triangle and belongs to Chile being at a distance of 3500 kilometers from its shores, only from 3 points of the planet is connected with commercial flights, from Santiago de Chile, Lima Peru and Papeete Tahiti, some friends and I traveled from Lima to the Island on a 5 and a half hour flight, I had already read that the feeling of distance is incredible when you are there and that’s how it was, as it only has a surface of 163 kilometers , you can see the four cardinal points, almost from everywhere (only sea and more sea).
We arrived at the island at night, close to 9pm. The airport is amazing and rural, upon arrival you are greeted with flower necklaces, which you must leave on the island, but most hotels change them for other snail necklaces, which you can take with you as a souvenir.
In the airport there is the National Park post, where you can buy the entrance to the Rapa Nui National Park. This ticket is useful to visit several of the unmissable sites of the island, you can also buy it in the first place you visit, but if you want to get that mandatory item off, it’s worth the stop at the post.
We were picked up by the hotel taxi (in our case the Hotel TEA NUI) and helped us to locate us around the island; the taxi driver showed us where were the important places were, such as the ATM, the LAN office, supermarkets, etc; and then we arrived at the hotel. And the best thing was that the airport was very close to the town, so there was no need to wait a long time to go to bed and rest.
The general appearance of the only village on the island (Hanga Roa) is completely rustic but it has all the necessary services to be well. I took three guided tours made them by a native man of the island. 1 for the whole day, we were traveling places unmissable as AHU Tongariki (the famous one of the 15 moais), Cantera de moais, Rano Kau Volcano and Anakena beach, and 2 half-day excursions, one visiting the ceremonial village Orongo and the path of the bird man; and the other half day also visiting AHU Akivi and the pukaos quarry.
Each of the sites visited was worthwhile, since in each one the marked facts were relevant to the Rapa Nui culture.
On our own, we visited the Sebastian Englert anthropological museum, interesting because it exposes through story and unique pieces, the life of the men who populated the island.
When someone visits the site where the Tahai AHU is located, it is important to go through the cemetery and observe the imprint of the culture on this site, as it is simply beautiful. In the Tahai AHU you can see the best sunsets, let yourself go looking at the horizon, and see how the red dyes the sea behind the Moais, it is something hard to forget.
Relaxed, walking from the village, we made a visit to the Ana Kai Tangata cave. We saw how the strong waves seem to enter the cave, which it is impressive. In the cave, you can see cave paintings.
It is not necessary to have a car or taxis to move around the island near the town, one just have to take excursions to the archaeological sites, especially to listen to the stories of the guides who are very well informed and transmit it from their ancestors, since most are descendants of rapa nui.
Another must-see is the rapa nui dance show, music and dance that transport you to the past. In the end, the ancient civilization of this Island, always develops the Bird Man Ceremony that allows them to choose which Tribe would govern for a year. When we were there, we could witness how on a cliff the bravest men were thrown to cross a stretch of the sea full of sharks and rough waters to reach an Islet where they had to find a bird egg and return it safely. All using the dance.
At night, there are also different live music shows with typical dances and dinners. I still remember how I had to represent a woman in a play there a woman that was part of the history of Rapa Nui, which is the original name of the island. That experience was amazing.
On the other hand, I have to mention that Easter Island, is undoubtedly an expensive destination because all services cost a lot to transport them from faraway places, but this experience is very much worth living; there are many incredible things that I saw in this spectacular place, but one of the most beautiful was the experience to see the sky, the sky with more stars and the most intense blue I have ever seen in my life. I will never forget it. In addition, considering the small things of the Island, it is also inevitable to mention that it is impossible to go to the Island and not visit the church. Visiting the town church is another must-see, but attending traditional Mass on Sunday is truly something unique and magical. In the 9am mass, the traditional Mass is celebrated, where the Catholic cult is intertwined with the Rapa Nui tradition.
Also something that I found interesting was that Anakena beach has a craft fair, in which the objects cost much less than at the town fair and are much prettier. In the post office, next to the fire station, you can also stamp the passport with a seal of the island, that although it is only tourist, it is beautiful since it is a representation of moais, a detail that without a doubt is unique. On the other hand, behind the AHU Tahai, and walking just a little, is another AHU that is worth visiting, especially because behind the moai, and down to the sea, you can see how the molten lava was in the water. In the cove, and generally where the fishing boats are, you can see swimming sea turtles, which arrive in the afternoon to find part of the surplus of the day’s catch.
And speaking of food, there are many places to eat in the Island. I loved the delicious empanadas in Tia Berta, the Dominican restaurant, also Haka Honu restaurant facing the sea and Pea restaurant on the cove, from which you can also observe sea turtles, are also good restaurants.
Definitely Easter Island is an island full of interesting places that many people would love to know. My experience was more than wonderful, and I am always grateful for that.
By Maria A.