Rapa Nui (aka Easter Island)

Easter Island Travel Blog

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The COOLEST plane ride EVER! Ben played Chess the whole way to Easter Island.

Santiago to Rapa Nui:

Ok, so the plane ride was very cool! Lan Airlines is completely hip with the times. We only wish we could have sat in (real) First Class where the seats lay flat, you get linens, and etc etc on on the great service. But, we were in economy, which was much better than any other airlines. We had individual tv's which played movies, tv shows, games (chess, battleship etc), taught other languages, and had an external camera you could view of what you where flying over! Very cool. I watched movies the whole ride.. (finally, something in English!) Ben played 'CaveMan' - some game you go around smacking stuff with a club. Go figure! It was awesome!

We had reserved a hostel prior to arriving and we were picked up by the owner.

The only one with eyes.
We shortly found out that his hostel was full, so we were just randomly dropped off at another. Ok, a little wierd, but at least it was a place to stay. We arrived during the annual Rapa Nui festival, so it was a VERY busy time on the island! It takes place the first two weeks of feburary and has lots of traditional contests and games such as the triathalon around the volcano, singing contests, and the picking of the new Rapa Nui Queen (Miss America type thing). So, we were lucky to get a room. Keeping with Chile tradition, prices were again steep for limited comforts. We actually shared our room with a gecko who was leaving us little presents of skin every morning.

We were excited to start exploring right away, so off we when to see the closest Moai's.

The first ones we were able to walk to included the only one with eyes! IT was so cool. They sit with their backs to the ocean staring inland with hundreds of wild horses (sort of wild, owned, but set free on the island) surrounding them and the enormous, fluffy clouds above them and the ocean behind them. Very beautiful!

We walked around the town, which didn't take long ;) and found the local swimming hole. There are plenty of local holes to take a dip in and in each one you find plenty of people relaxing in the water at all times of day.. So, if they are all swimming in the ocean in the am.. in the afternoon... and in the pm... when do they work? Hmm.. maybe that is the real secret of the island- the work does its self and you get to play all day.

I like this picture.
.. hmm.. But always.. families in thw water.. surfers everywhere.. boogy boarders wiping out! Fun entertainment for us on dry land!

So, since we are young and buff (well... ben, not me- im more fluff) we decided we were going to go conquer one of the volcanos. So, bright and early-island time  (10am) we head to the hills to hike. So, I think I made it MAYBE 10 minutes before the whining set in. IT WAS SOOOO HOT! The heat and the humidity and the blazing sun (that burns in 8 minutes mind you) was intense. It completely brought me down to reality and I know realize I can't just go hike around the world and up and down any mountain including Everest at will.. That I am not superwoman and the elements are a factor! So, of course once we start something I want to complete it.

But I never said I might not whine the whole time. SO, up this volcano we climbed, with all the car full of people passing us in nice AC vehicles- not a sweat on their brow, only a smile on their face and here I am... hot, sweating, melting, icky, smelly, dying, wilting.. well, I think you get the picture! But, we MADE IT! and oh what a view! In the middle of the volcano is this great lake of water. On the opposite side of our hike was a view of the ocean. It was very pretty, but I definetly recommend JUST GETTING A CAR!

Well, that is what we did the next day. We shelled out the cash for a car for 24 hours. IT WAS WELL WORTH IT! You have to love AC! Well, we cruised around the island for the next 24 hours and saw everything! We headed up the volcano for the sunset and woke early to head to the north of the island for the sunrise.

Local swimming hole.
It was NICE having wheels.

Our last day on the island we decided to go by horse. We hooked up with a local guide and off we went to find the best fishing hole. On the way we passed a traditional village area that had the remnants of their old 'boat houses'. After originally landing on the island the first nights, the people flipped their boats over and used them as shelter. They then realized that the structure was good for the wind and other conditions of the island, so they build their houses in the shape of boats. We also saw the traditional birthing pools where the woman would come to a specific area around the time of the birth and would give birth in these specific stones that were carved in a bowl-type shape to catch the baby. The priest/midwive (woman religious person) would deliever the baby and the cord was cut and left in the bowl for the rains to return it to the land as a offering to 'mother earth'.

Fav pasttime on the island. He wiped out a few seconds later!

So, we fished (Ben caught 3) using a traditional reel (don't use poles) and had a fire, played in the swimming holes made by the lava rocks and ALMOST missed our flight. We realized how late it was and had to trot and gallop (SCARY) the horses back to town. We made it back though and had another great flight on Lan to Tahiti.

Some Information on Rapa Nui:

What we were told by the local guide we went horseback riding with was- the Moais were basically grave stones for rich individuals who hired the entire process done by professional engineers and carvers. So, when a family member died, if they could afford it, they would have a moai carved in that family members likeness and set up over their grave and the local families still know which ones belong to their ancestors.

Volcano with a lake in the middle. Beautiful, but DON'T recommend the hike. JUST TAKE A BUS LIKE NORMAL PEOPLE!

The mystery is- how they got them to each place from the quarry they were ALL carved from and why they quite building them including the ones that are built but abondoned and the ones half carved still in the quarry (about 400).

It is assumed the people used Palm trees to move them because the island was COMPLETELY stripped of all trees when white people arrived.

THIS WAS ONE LOCAL RAPA NUI GUYS STATEMENT- we have heard sooo many different statements on the Moais. Of course, no one really knows the facts. 

The one picture of the heads sticking out of the ground are actually full sized Moais that were buried in a land slide. It was taken at the Quarry where their are 400 Moais carved are in the process of being carved.

That is part of the mystery. Why did these ones not get moved if they took all the time to carve them. Also, the hats (I forgot the real name) are carved from a different Quarry that contains the red stone. The red stone is considered sacred and used for only religeous or special carvings and pieces.

The place with 7 Moais were said to be sent from a god to protect the island. They are found more interior than most. They are the ONLY ones that look towards the sea.

The 15 Moais were knocked down by tribal warfare and then a tsunami and were later restored to their upright position by the Japanesse.

 

amandalaren says:
This sounds like a great trip - I've always thought the moais were beautiful - I can't wait to go to Rapa Nui :)
Posted on: Aug 22, 2012
thebahamas says:
Wow what a view & place, I am always very excited about the places like it. Thanks for sharing it.
Posted on: Aug 16, 2012
MartijnKaspers says:
This looks so cool. I'm going to Easter Island at the end of 2008, so this has been extremely helpful. As well as very nicely written, I might add... :)
Posted on: Feb 23, 2008
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The COOLEST plane ride EVER! Ben p…
The COOLEST plane ride EVER! Ben …
The only one with eyes.
The only one with eyes.
I like this picture.
I like this picture.
Local swimming hole.
Local swimming hole.
Fav pasttime on the island. He wip…
Fav pasttime on the island. He wi…
Volcano with a lake in the middle.…
Volcano with a lake in the middle…
15 Warriors
15 Warriors
There are more horses than people …
There are more horses than people…
Buried in a landslide at the Quarr…
Buried in a landslide at the Quar…
This is the beach that the first p…
This is the beach that the first …
Day on the horses with our guide. …
Day on the horses with our guide.…
Easter Island
photo by: alexchan