Easter Island

As islands go, few hold the mystery and fascination of Rapa Nui, an island in the southeast Pacific, once home to a rich and prosperous civilization of the same name. The monuments of their decline are the massive stone statues (moai) that peer eerily across the barren landscape, a landscape that was once lush and fertile. As Jared Diamond argues in his excellent book Collapse, if we paid heed to the lessons of Easter Island, we can see how a prosperous society can disintegrate due to greed, war, superstition, and most importantly, misuse of abundant natural resources. For those lucky enough to visit this remote island, a territory of Chile, standing amongst the spooky, eternal moai is not only brazenly exotic, it forces us to think about the very traits that shape our humanity.

Length of Trip : 4 - 7 days.

Cost :
With its remoteness, Easter Island is understandably expensive. For mid-range hotels and restaurants, taxis and some activities, you're looking at about $US150 per person a day. To save costs, book your flights in advance, look into budget accommodation and consider bringing food with you. Nomadic Matt has great tips for travelling Easter Island on a budget.

Best time to go : December to February are the warmest and busiest months. October/November and March/April are less crowded and still pleasant weather-wise.

Wheelchair friendly : Can be very challenging. Contact a local operator to see if arrangements can be made.

Family friendly : Yes

Where to eat :
Most of the restaurants are located in Hanga Roa along or near the main street. Seafood is very popular, especially the local tuna and lobster. If you're on a tight budget, consider bringing tinned food with you from the mainland as restaurants are understandably pricy. Good options include Kotaro, Haka Honu and Te Moana.

Official Site :
Discover this unique cultural heritage in the middle of the Pacific Ocean with World Expeditions

Where to Stay :
High End: Explora Rapa Nui
Mid Level: Kaimana Inn
Budget: Vaianny

Getting There :
The only way to get to Easter Island is flying in to Hanga Roa with LATAM Airlines from Santiago or Tahiti. It's about a 5-hour flight, with more scheduled flights out of Santiago. There are more flights scheduled for the Tapati Festival in January/February. On the ground there's no public transport but plenty of taxis operating on an affordable, fixed rate. Tour operators also arrange transportation to all the popular sites.

Note from Robin :
Many visitors time their visits with Tapati, an annual festival that takes place during the first two weeks of February. It's wonderfully authentic, largely because it is organized by and for the locals. Men covered in traditional body paint don boards for races down a large, grassy hill and into the surf. There's music, dancing, sporting events, and other celebrations of Polynesian culture.

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