Rapa Nui, Île de Pâques, Chili
5 days - March 2019
An old dream is about to become true: we head to Easter Island!
This island in the middle of the Pacific is the most isolated inhabited island in the world (4,000 km from Tahiti and 3500 km from the Chilean coast!) And to get there it’s a long 5 hours’ flight. If the island sits in Oceania (and more particularly in Polynesia) it belongs to Chile since 1866.
The atmosphere is far from being Chilean though and we are surprised to find a very marked Polynesian culture that begins at the airport being welcomed with a flowers necklace! We are at the end of the world!
Three and a half days on the island to discover all the secrets of this particular and mysterious island.
We start with the Anthropological Museum of Father Sebastien-Englert (not to be missed) to learn more about the population of the island and of course about the origin of the Moai.
The first sources of population were identified back in the year -450 BC but the opinions diverge. Thus the official version is the one that all scientists validate: the population came from the massive arrival from Polynesia, by canoe in the year 1200 (remember that Polynesia is 4,000kms how can they paddle for so long!). They called it the island of Râpa Nui (called Easter Island by the Europeans who discovered it on Easter day in the 18th century.)
Some 500 years later European missionaries colonized the island and brought their share of disease that decimated the local population (already partially decimated following internal wars being Râpa Nui clans and famines). Thus survived only a hundred or so of Râpa Nui people...
Numerous legends and mysteries surround the Moai- these huge stone statues that can reach 5 meters high and 80 tons. One thing is certain, they represented ancestors of the different Râpa Nui clans. However in the absence of modern techniques, how were they moved from the quarry on sometimes more than 20 kilometers?
Were they dragged on mud? Were they taken with pulley systems made of wood? No ! Apparently they "walked" based on a pendulum system!
From the museum we then walk to the Terevaka Volcano and the village of Orongo - Birdman. The crater contains a lake with many endemic species from Easter Island, the coast is steep, the sea is of a blue ink color is really beautiful. As for the village (well the ruins), we saw many petroglyphs and it is here that was born the legend of the bird-man, big competition during which the representatives of the different clans clashed during a kind of triathlon. The winner then became the leader of the island and was offered many privileges. (we let you guess the privileges!)
Finally, our daily ritual: going to watch the sunset at Ahu Vai Uri- five Moai lined up at the edge of the water. So beautiful ! One is sitting next to the 5 and has eyes - all Moai apparently had eyes at a some point.
The next day we hitchhiked to get to Ahu Akivi, 6 Moais which have the distinction of facing the ocean and being really well preserved. There is nobody, we admire them for a good thirty minutes before joining the coast and walk back to the village located about twenty kilometers away. We cross the plains shared with wild horses and cows, many caves, the weather is nice, we dominate the Atlantic Ocean from the top of our cliff, we fell good! Super hike.
Finally the 3rd day we hire a car to visit the rest of the island. Here insurances do not exist and there is only one type of gasoline that does not exist anywhere else. Island life holds many surprises for us city people!
We start with Ahu Nau Nau, this time with many Moais with little hats called Pukao. They are resting quietly on a white sand beach, turquoise blue sea and palm trees on the horizon! We could not imagine discovering such paradisiacal and volcanic landscapes in addition to a mysterious culture, we love it!
We enjoy Anakena beach before walking to Ovahe beach, walking on ocher red earth this time and crossing tall grass. We think we are in Africa, we will confirm if Africa looks like this in a few weeks!
The beach is just as beautiful and desert!
Then we go to the quarries of the Rano Raraku volcano. This site is magic! There are about 100 Moai in the crater that have not been moved and have been carved directly from the rock-Moai standing, Moai lying, Moai decapitated, Moai nose in the sand, there is something for everyone .
Some legends say that the Râpa Nui people did not have the time and the means to move them because following many wars between clans of Râpa nui, the island runs out of resources and the system and the values around the Moai disappeared .
Finally we headed to the site which for us represents Easter Island as a whole: Ahu Tongariki. 15 moai perfectly aligned, nobody in sight, the cliffs, the sea. It's crazy! We feel so tiny.
We stay there for quite a long time and then we came back the next day for the sunrise. The colors are incredible and change from yellow to pink to purple. How lucky are we?
Finally we visit the other sites like the career of small hats (Pukao), sites where the Moai are lying and we stop many times on the side of the road to admire other breathtaking landscapes.
We definitely love the island vibes and the landscapes. We are totally disconnected and this gave us ideas for future destinations, let’s see where we go next !
# We booked a room with shared bathroom at Camping & Hostel Tipanie Moana for 45 USD per night. Great room and kitchen!
# we booked our flight on the Latam website but with the Spanish language option. Half price compared to the reservation on the same site but with the English option picked! 280 euros per person round trip. 5 hours by plane.
# The pass to get to all the sites on the island can be purchased at the airport: 80 USD per person. Keep it on you because the rangers often check it.
# a car normally can be hired for 55,000 pesos but with the hostel we got it at 35,000 for 24 hours. Scooter at 35,000 also but can not be hired without a motorcycle license; bike at 15,000 pesos.
# we had done all our grocery shopping in Santiago because the prices are of course more expensive on the island.
# the only mobile coverage is provided by Entel. Wi-Fi works pretty well for such a secluded place.
May 6, 2019 - 09:26 AM
cela doit être magnifique, vu les photos, et de vivre tous ces moments, quel bonheur !