Easter Island is just magical.
It is always fun to read travel magazines and articles about distant and exotic lands. There is a certain amount of excitement in dreaming about visiting beautiful destinations and learning about different cultures and people. For that reason, I have settings on my news feeds to highlight these types of articles. So, when I recently saw an article called “The twenty five places that you must visit in your lifetime” I immediately started reading and dreaming.
One of the “must see” destinations was Easter Island (known as Rapa Nui to the people of the island) in Chile. The article described an enchanting and mysterious island that is the most remote populated island on Earth. The island is also populated with large stone sculptures of human faces erected along the coastline and looking out over the island. The statues are extremely large and very heavy, and it is still a mystery as to how and why they came to be transported around the island and erected on platforms.
It didn’t hurt that the article described the near perfect climate and friendly local people. After reading that I knew that Easter Island would be one of our stops on our tour of South America.
We left Santiago and said goodbye to our children who had spent the Christmas holidays with us. I was excited about our next adventure! Rapa Nui! Ol was also excited, but I think he was just glad to be returning the rental car.
We boarded our Latam flight and thought it appropriate that we would be flying on a Dreamliner, as this was surely a dream destination.
We landed on Easter Island around noon after a wonderful flight. We purchased our required National Park ticket before we retrieved our luggage (the entire Island is a National Park and one ticket allows visitors to enter every site on the Island for ten days). When we exited the airport, our hotel’s owner greeted us with a beautiful lei of flowers and a warm hug. She then drove us around the island to get us oriented.
When she showed us to our little bungalow we were thrilled. Our cottage was spacious with a private kitchen, patio, deck, and a spacious bedroom that had a lovely ocean view. It was also in a perfect location.
We immediately changed and made the short walk to the bike rental business on main street. We negotiated a great rate for seven days and rode out on our mountain bikes which would be our transportation for the next week (Unfortunately, it seems that in every photo we are wearing our stylish green helmets!).
After a lovely lunch overlooking the harbor, (yes, tuna ceviche for me please!) we rode along the waterfront and the found a small market and made some groceries. It seems we easily fell back into the rhythm of traveling again.
We were actually a little giddy unpacking. I felt the years slip away and my sense of curiosity and excitement had me feeling like a little kid. I kept telling Ol to hurry, I wanted to go explore! We grabbed our map and headed across the street from our hotel.
Across the street from our lodging was Tahai, a platform of Moai where the town gathers in the evening to watch the sunset. We decided to stay close to our hotel, as Ol didn’t want to miss the sunset which is around 9:30 pm. In the afternoon, we had time to explore the archeological sites along the shore and to visit the Easter Island museum before we settled in for the sunset. This would be the first photos with Ol’s new iPhone X!
The museum was free and it gave us a great overview of the island and its history, geology, and culture. It was convenient that all of the exhibits were in English and Spanish. When we made it back to the beach, I had a greater appreciation of the statues, what they represented, and of the people who had created them.
We also had our first encounter with the wild horses that inhabit the island and the communal dogs!
Ol’s camera didn’t disappoint. His first images were amazing and put to shame the same images that were framed and hanging on the walls in our cottage. It was a perfect first day. Even though it was a really long day with the two hour time difference from Santiago, we had difficulty falling asleep. We were on Easter Island! Even though I could hear the crashing waves through our open window, I could still hardly believe it.