Easter Island

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!

 

After dropping my belongings in my room, off I went to explore town and see my first Moai! I wandered into Hanga Roa town which largely consists of souvenir shops with scattered car rental places, cafes and supermarkets before walking to the small port area. Here I had my first glimpse of a lone Moai and they are quite a sight! Absolutely huge in size it is amazing to consider how these stone Giants were transported from the centre of the island to the coastlines. Nearly all of them face inland so can be seen against the backdrop of the sea. I then walked northwards along the coastline viewing lots of different Moai and an old cemetery. The whole of the island is surrounded by a rocky shoreline, creating huge crashing waves and an absolutely beautiful view. After finding a nice spot, I admired the view and watched my first spectacular sunset on Easter Island – there would be many more to come!
   

 

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! 

 
Sunday morning a group of us from the hostel all got up early for breakfast and went into town to go to the Sunday Service at the local church where we were told we would hear traditional Rapu Nui singing. It was an amazing experience and their voices and songs captured the essence of the island life – (I’m sure there must be a YouTube clip if you want to hear)!
 
After the service I hired a small 4x4car with Molly and Audrey from my hostel and we started our tour around the Island stopping at all the sites. Some of the sites were a little poorly preserved and some had fallen Moai which are thought to have been manually overturned hundreds of years ago due an uprising on the island. However, there were so many sites that were just simply breathtaking. Unfortunately a phone camera cannot do the island justice, but hopefully you will see why this is one of the man made wonders  of the world – incredible. My personal highlight was Rano raraku volcano – the area where stone was mined and the Moai were made. We had a fantastic day out and made the most of visiting every single archaeological site we could!
   
   

    




Monday morning we woke up early to drive to Ahu Tongariki to view sunrise – unfortunately it was a poor sunrise due to the clouds so the following photos are curtesy of Oliver!

  

After we returned from sunrise we had a leisurely breakfast before a few of us decided to walk up the local Rano Kau volcano and wander around the crater. It was a pretty amazing site – the inside of the crater looked like a ” globe world” – islands of any material surrounded by water. We met a stray dog along the way who shared our lunch and helped us navigate the way through the undergrowth. Unfortunately our short walk turned into a much longer one as we made the mistake of coming down the volcano by road….a. Very windy long walk! Thankfully near the bottom a lovely Chilean girl picked us up and took us back to the hostel…phew..our legs were saved.


 

 

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.

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s