Easter Island is one of the most remote and mysterious places on earth. This tiny speck of an island is located 3,700 km east of Chile and is home to the mystical Moai statues – built in 1400-1650 A.D by the Rapa Nui people.
I grew up in Chile and always dreamed about visiting Easter Island. When I was a kid, I had this feeling that I wanted to get away from something. I think it was the noise of the city, the problems surrounding home and to be somewhere where silence reigns supreme. To visit places as remote as Easter Island.
Capturing stunning landscapes through photography has always been a passion of mine. I’ve always wanted to share what my eyes were able to see on adventures – incredible places that most people don’t get to see because they lock themselves into a routine of daily life.
I try to generate change by inspiring people to make a change in their own life and hopefully help them appreciate our natural surroundings.
A Childhood Dream: The South American Cross
When I was a little kid my biggest dream was to experience what is known on the continent as the “South American Cross”. This refers to the wonders of Machu Picchu, Torres del Paine, Iguazu Falls and Easter Island (Rapa Nui).
I had already ticked off Machu Picchu, Torres del Paine and Iguazu Falls from my bucket list. I just needed to take that final step – take a plane to the island. From the moment the plane took off, everything started to change. I realised how important it is to chase your dreams in life.
Touching down on Easter Island was quite the experience. I was really impacted by the weather. It was the heat combined with the intense humidity. The tropical landscape was totally different from where I was raised and far from the cold scenes of mountains which I usually climb.
What it was, indeed, was an unforgettable experience. Seeing the Moai statues for the first time was incredible. Those carved rock giants that protect the island give off this magical energy that stays with you.
Spending One Month on Easter Island
I recently visited Easter Island for an entire month. This is the longest you can stay as a non-resident. I’ve now been to the island twice and hope to come back soon. On both of my visits I have stayed with my friends.
Many South Americans go to Easter Island for work because the environment and nature is just so pleasant. Living near the sea is a dream come true for the vast majority of people in this region of the world.
I discovered the island mostly on foot. Yes I am always walking! The island is small and you can explore many places near the village. Most people don’t see Easter Island this way because they only stay for a short time. Renting a car does make your trip a lot faster and more convenient.
But for me, the experience of walking around the island without a plan is something very special. There is so much beauty to take in on Rapa Nui. I think the most beautiful thing I ever experienced was swimming with turtles and going diving. Life beneath the sea is a whole different world.
Then the people of Easter Island take your experience to the next level. They are warm and friendly. I had the chance to talk with many locals and learn about the rich history and culture of Rapa Nui. Generally, they are people who love and defend their land – the place of their ancestors.
The Best of Easter Island: Rano Kau Volcano
My favorite place on Easter Island is the Rano Kau volcano. The view is simply astonishing. You can walk all around the edge of the crater and get to a cliff that falls straight into the sea. From there you will witness a beautiful sunset – one of the best I’ve ever seen anywhere in the world.
Besides that, on your way down from the crater as the tour ends, the night sky blankets the volcano and you can see the stars above Rano Kau. It’s a totally unique experience and a place bursting with this beautiful energy.
10 Best Things To Do on Easter Island
1. Watch the Sunset at The Tahai Ceremonial Complex
The first thing you must do when you arrive on Easter Island is to sit down and watch the sunset at the Tahai Ceremonial Complex. See how the sun hides behind the Moai who guard the people of Rapa Nui. It’s a wonderful view and no matter how many times you go, every sunset is different.
2. Relax on the Best Beach of Easter Island – Anakena
Anakena is the main beach on Easter Island and is a stunning mix of white sand, crystal-clear waters and coconut palm trees which were actually brought in from Tahiti several decades ago. You can easily spend all day here. Go swimming, bathe in the sun and enjoy this little slice of paradise.
3. Snorkel at the Stunning Ovahe Beach
Ovahe is the second main beach of Easter Island. Due to its remoteness, this beach has a rugged untouched quality about it. The waters are a sparkling turquoise which makes Ovahe a great spot for snorkelling. Combine that with the red cliffs and you have yourself an epic beach.
4. Eat a Tuna or Octopus Empanada
Empanadas are a popular baked pastry filled with meats and vegetables all throughout Latin America. One of the more delicious foods of Easter Island is the empanada filled with tuna or octopus. Everything is taken directly from the sea and nothing is processed. The freshness will blow your mind!
5. Explore the Volcanic Caves on the Island
Volcanic eruptions throughout Rapa Nui’s history have created an intricate system of caves. Many of these caves are hidden gems so you would need to do some research or have local knowledge to visit them. I recommend checking out Ana Kakenga, Ana Kai Tangata and Ana Te Pahu.
6. See the Dawn at Ahu Tongariki
The 15 Moai statues at Ahu Tongariki with the Pacific Ocean as the backdrop are one of the most iconic sites on Easter Island. Waiting for the sunrise here is an experience unlike anything else. The best time to see the sunrise is between December 21st – March 21st for the summer solstice.
7. Admire Rano Raraku, the Quarry of the Moai
The Rano Raraku volcano is where the natives of Easter Island built the Moais and then proceeded to move them to different spots on the island. This remarkable archaeological site will leave you awe-inspired as you contemplate how these enormous figures were sculpted in the quarry.
8. Go Diving and Snorkelling on Easter Island
Easter Island is a surprisingly fantastic place to enjoy both diving and snorkelling adventures. Everything is different when you’re under the sea. It’s a peaceful and therapeutic experience. Visibility can reach up to 60 meters under the water making for beautifully clear and transparent views.
9. Walk up Rano Kao Volcano on Foot
Walk from the village to the top of Rano Kao and see the huge crater that contains a wetland. The landscape and view from the top is breathtaking. Enjoy the immensity of nature, sensation of a slight breeze, sound of the waves and epic views that will be hard to forget!
10. Visit Orongo, the Ceremonial Village
The stone village and ceremonial centre of Orongo is located in the southwestern corner of the Rano Kau volcano. A visit here will help you understand more about the richness of the Rapa Nui culture including the incredible low, windowless, round-walled buildings.
Hanga Roa – The City Center of Easter Island
Hanga Roa is the main tourist hub on the island. Many people come from all over the world to stay in this unique town. Everything here revolves around hospitality – from hotels, to restaurants, to tour operators.
It’s a place where local people live so it’s important to respect local customs, especially towards those who are working to deliver a better service. This is true not only on Easter Island but everywhere in the world.
Cherished Memories on Easter Island
My most beautiful memory on Easter Island was driving alone along the southern coast in the early hours while it rained. I watched the dawn arrive and waited while sitting at the end of Ahu Tongariki as the sky cleared.
It was something that made me cry and was tangible proof that dreams come true. I remember taking a few amazing photos too!
What you Need to Know Before you Go
The first thing you need to know is that the island is expensive. This is because of Easter Island’s remote location. I think it’s important to save on accommodation so you are able to visit for longer.
At the end of the day, it won’t be the accommodation that you remember from Easter Island. It will be those days spent exploring nature and culture!