EASTER ISLAND IS ONE OF the most remote islands in the world and covers just about this same area as Washington, D.C. While you can travel there by boat, it is very impractical and the rough coastline and brutal seas don’t allow for a proper dock on the island. Daily flights arrive from Santiago and flights from Tahiti arrive a few days a week, All operated by LAN Airlines. This is only possible because the runway was extended in 1986 so it could be used an emergency landing site for the space shuttle. The island doesn’t seem to have changed much over the years and the mystery of the Moai still reigns. Here’s what it is like in this remote travel destination.

1

There are almost 900 moai on the island. Some are fully complete and have been raised into place while others were left partially carved in the quarry. Hundreds more are spaced throughout the island en route to their final destination on an ahu or stone platform.

2

These moai, called Tahai, are close to the only town on the island, Hanga Roa. The sunset is magnificent, but you’ll be sharing it with hundreds of other visitors to the island.

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Anakena is the only real beach on the island. The water is cold, but worth a quick swim. Rent a car or scooter to get to the beach for some relaxation.

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LAN is the only airline to operate flights in and out of Easter Island. Flights come from Santiago and Tahiti. Besides visitors, these planes bring all the supplies for the island from mainland Chile.

5

With no major sources of light pollution for thousands of miles the island is a prime spot for stargazing. Even at Tahai, close to Hanga Roa, the milky way is easily visible.

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The ocean surrounding the island is pretty rough and local surfers and paddle boarders take advantage of it. Each evening they can be seen from the shores near Hanga Roa.

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Some of the later stone work on Easter Island has obvious influences from the Inca of South America. While the original inhabitants came from Polynesia the influences from South America is thought to have come centuries later.

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The volcano of Rano Kau dominates the southwestern corner of the island. The inaccessible inner crater is matted with grass islands creating magical patterns in the water. The edge of the crater is the site of the Orongo ruins and the ancient Birdman Cult.

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Rano Raraku is the quarry where all the moai on the island originate. Many are still partially carved out of the rock or laying around the quarry in preparation for transport to other parts of the island.

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Most of the local dogs are friendly and playful. This one brought us a piece of lava rock to play with. Another snuggled with us and kept us warm while attempting to nap while making a time lapse a Tahai.

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Besides the sheltered beach of Anakena most of the coastline is rough and rocky. The swells are tremendous and worth taking the time to prop yourself on a smooth lava rock to enjoy.

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Tongariki is the most popular site for sunrise. Tours arrive just before the sun crests the horizon and leave right afterwards. If you rent a car or scooter, leave Hanga Roa in the dark and watch the sun brighten the sky behind the Moai.

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