So after much debate over whether I should splash out or not, I had taken the plunge and booked flights to Easter Island. The trip started well with an upgrade to business class. And so it was that I was sipping a 2010 Malbec whilst Easter Island came into view from the aeroplane window. Excited cannot even describe how I felt as I left the plane and crossed the runway. From the moment you land the magic of the place and the friendliness of the rapu nui people hits you. I was greeted by Mau our hostel owner who took us on a little tour of the village (Hanga Roa) before dropping us at the hostel. We were informed that luckily for us the 65 US$ entry to the islands national park was not being enforced due to political issues with the Chilean government – another win for me!
On Saturday morning after heading into town for supplies for a packed lunch, I decided to join a fellow Englishman from the hostel on a hike northwards around the island to anakena beach. We envisaged it being about a five hour walk. So off we set, and what started as a slightly cloudy day turned into a boiling hot day! After an hour we took a detour inland to go in search of some caves detailed on our map. The cave system was huge! Armed with torches we went hundreds of metres underground until we eventually reached a dead end with a small shaft that we climbed out of! We retraced our steps back to our original path eating wild guava along the way. A further three hours into our scenic walk, we started to get slightly concerned that our water supplies were almost gone and we had not turned the corner of the island onto the North side. It was just us and a large number of wild horses and cows as far as the eye could see. Eventually in the distance we caught sight of a palm tree- like an oasis in a desert! Upon nearing the area we soon realised that there was a small camp. We entered the make shift camp and were greeted by a lovely elderly Rapu nui woman and man who were living in the middle of nowhere in order to photograph and monitor the deterioration of the petroglyphs. They gave us water, refilled our bottles and sent us off with a bag full of mangoes. If you have never eaten an Easter Island mango, it is the sweetest most delicious fruit and completely unlike the variety sold in supermarkets. She left us with the added bonus news – the beach was only an hour and a quarter away! I have never been quite so excited to see a beach as I was that day. Beautiful white sand and cool clear water greeted us. Unfortunately we couldn’t relax for too long as the sun was going down and we needed to find a ride home – thankfully a couple from Santiago obliged!
My remaining days on Easter Island were spent enjoying the local Moai, magnificent coastlines, exploring caves, and looking at the local handicraft workshops. Was Easter Island expensive?- yes. Was it worth it? – 100%. Truly memories that will last a lifetime.