Easter Island is a tiny dot of volcanic rock some 3,800 km from mainland Chile, just about as far from land as anywhere else on earth. For centuries it has mystified historians and drawn travellers intrigued by this strange island in the middle of the Pacific.
Coming face to face with the fascinating moai statues is an incredible feeling, one our Chile specialist Olie experienced a couple of years ago. The majority of the moai are set upon restored ahus or platforms, such as Ahu Tongariki, one of around 360, with its stunning coastal setting on the south-eastern side of the island. Others include Ahu Akivi, one of the few inland platforms, whilst others overlook tropical Anakena Beach for example.
The highlight for Olie and many visitors is the quarry where most of the moai were carved and transported to their ahus. There are many moai strewn across the Rano Raraku quarry site, still in situ after the decline of Easter Island’s population. The outline of a number of moai carved into the cliff face are still evident, one measuring a huge 20 metres plus would have been the largest of all.
It is also worth visiting Orongo ceremonial site and Rano Kau crater to gain a deeper understanding of the cultural side of the Rapa Nui. Horse riding and hiking the island trails along the coast and up the volcanoes is very much worthwhile, whilst boat trips, fishing, snorkelling and scuba diving are also options.