The Natural Beauty of Easter Island

Pano Anakena beach, Easter Island. Photo: Rivi.

By Nicole Anderson

It is understandable that most of us Outdoor Women Adventurers just love to get away from our normal living routines and embrace nature as far away from our day-to-day grind as possible.

Well I certainly managed to do that quite well by visiting Easter Island in late January 2017. This scenic and fascinating place is known to be one of the most remote inhabited places on Earth.

 

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The point marked “A” is the location of Easter Island. Image: Wonderopolis.

 

Easter Island is located in the South Pacific Ocean, some 1,850km (1,150mi) west of Juan Fernandez Islands (which has 850 inhabitants) and some 3,512km (2,182mi) west of continental Chile. It is 2075km (1,289mi) to the east of Pitcairn Island (which has only 50 inhabitants!).

The Island is triangular in shape and is only 24.6km (15.3mi) long by 12.3km (7.6mi) at its widest point. That makes it a very small dot in the vast South Pacific!

 

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RapaNui (Easter Island). Image by Jesse Allen, NASA Earth Observatory, using data obtained from the University of Maryland’s Global Land Cover Facility.

 

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Moai: Rano raraku, Easter Island – By Aurbina.

Governed by Chile, their 2017 census showed that Easter Island has a total population of 7,750 of which some 60% of these people are direct descendants of the aboriginal Rapa Nui.

Easter Island is most famous for its nearly 1,000 stone monoliths called ‘moai’. The moai were created by the early Rapa Nui people and have fascinated and puzzled westerners for centuries.

UNESCO (United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation) declared Easter Island a World Heritage Site in 1995. Much of the island is contained and protected within Rapa Nui National Park.

 

Getting there

There are two ways to travel to Easter Island: by air or sea.

Easter Island has a direct air service from Chile’s capital Santiago to their Mataveri International Airport located at the southern end of the island. Operated by LATAM airlines, at the time of writing there are daily flights with standard round-trip economy prices ranging from US$450 to US$900. The flight takes around 5 hours, 10 minutes. Alternatively, there is a once weekly flight to/from Papeete, Tahiti taking roughly the same time but is a more expensive option.

If going by sea, there are between 5-6 cruise ships that stop here annually and a few yachts also visit mostly during the January-March period. I got there by sea on a cruise that my fiancé and I did travelling across the South Pacific from Sydney, Australia to Valparaiso, Chile.

 

The natural landscape

Easter Island is classified in geological terms as a volcanic high island. However, this is not a climber’s dream as the highest point on the island is only 507 meters (1,663 feet).

The island consists of three extinct volcanoes. ‘Terevaka’ (507 meters) forms the bulk of the island while ‘Poike’ (370 meters) and ‘Rano Kau’ (324 meters) form the eastern and southern points to give the overall island its triangular shape.

The map below shows the main topography of the island, locations of the 3 volcanoes as well as roads, tracks, populated places, the airport, ruins and numerous of the famous moai statutes scattered throughout.

 

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Easter_Island_map by Eric Gaba (Sting), translated by Bamse.

 

My Impressions of Easter Island

In a nutshell, I loved it.

I found it’s unique volcanic geology very interesting, it’s natural flora to be very similar in some ways to other Pacific Islands and its history, culture and stories of the mysterious moai to be fascinating.

Here are some photos of the island that were taken during my visit to give you a broader idea of the place from on the ground:

 

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Dawn arrival by sea at Easter Island. Photo: Nicole Anderson.

 

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The inlet that our ship’s tender brought us into land. Photo: Nicole Anderson.

 

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Shot taken from one of the beach areas showing the ‘lay of the land’ with a stone turtle in the foreground. Photo: Nicole Anderson.

 

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A moai statue positioned at the entrance of a seaside community. Photo: Nicole Anderson.

 

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A side shot of the group of moai taken inland at Ahu Tongariki. These were the only moai that we could see which faced the ocean. All the other moai were erected with their backs to the sea. Photo: Nicole Anderson.

 

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The ceremonial centre known as Ahu Hana Tee, where you can see a group of moai knocked down during the civil wars of the huri moai period. There is a circle of stones called paina in front of the Ahu. This circular area had special ceremonial significance in ancient times and was where certain commemorative rituals were carried out. Photo: Nicole Anderson.

 

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For the most part, most of the island was very green as we drove along a combination of sealed and dirt roads. Photo: Nicole Anderson.

 

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Lots of peaceful, natural green space. Here we see an ancient stone wall dividing sections of land that remains so well kept today. Photo: Nicole Anderson.

 

 

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My fiancé James and I with a single moai and another group of moai in the background, together with the cruise ship we arrived on.

 

 

For Campers and Explorers

If you are keen on camping on Easter Island you can only do so at one of a couple of established campsites. No one is permitted to camp anywhere else as most of the island is contained within the Rapa Nui National Park. If you ever find yourself in this part of the world and would like to check out all the details, here is a link with camping specifics. Bookings are definitely advisable.

 

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Shot of me at one of the camping sites at the waterfront with two moai and the ship in the background.

 

As with most significant National Parks, permits are required to visit within the Park area (which covers the majority of the island) and these are easy to obtain once there. At the time of writing the cost for entry for adults is US$80.00 and children is US$40.00 which will cover you for a period of 10 days. As the tickets can be required to be inspected at any time throughout the Park, it is recommended that you carry these with you.

 

History and Mystery

For those readers that may be interested in learning more about the history, culture and origins of this place, her people and mysteries surrounding the famous moai, there are many publications, documentaries and even a number of YouTube videos that are really fascinating.

 

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Hodges: Easter Island – by reproduction from art book. More information at the picture’s page at the National Maritime Museum’s collections’ web site.

 

To summarize

Easter Island is indeed a special and unique experience.

Due to its remote location and the average cost to get there, this place has not (yet) been over-run by tourists. Hence there is still much in the way of unspoilt natural beauty to experience. In terms of global tourism, relatively few people ever get to make it here and that of course makes it all the more special for those that do.

A final resource that you might want to look at is from the Lonely Planet website that you might want to check out if you are ever heading there.

I hope you have found what I have had to share about my visit to Easter Island interesting and that you may one day consider seeing this wonderous place for yourself.

Nicole

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So happy I made the trip here. Easter Island, January 2017.

 

NB: Acknowledgements of factual data source/verification: Wikipedia.

Founder and Publisher at | Website

Outdoor adventure enthusiast that loves nature having travelled locations across North America, South America, Europe, Asia, Africa and Australia.

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126 thoughts on “The Natural Beauty of Easter Island

  • March 18, 2019 at 6:34 am
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    Wow…never heard of this place before.. looks like a relaxing place to visit! Adding up to my list !!! 🙂

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    • March 18, 2019 at 10:47 am
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      Thanks Aby – yes I would think this could indeed be quite a relaxing spot to take a vacation, besides the other things the island is known for. Quite remote, friendly locals and very peaceful.

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  • January 8, 2019 at 8:49 pm
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    Easter Island would be such a cool place to visit. As you mention, it’s so far away so less tourists visit so it’s pretty cool to be able to say you’ve been. I now have to visit!

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    • January 10, 2019 at 1:24 am
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      I agree David that Easter Island is one of those places that captures your imagination and just makes you want to go and visit. Fewer tourist numbers, of course, mean a better experience for those who do get there. Do let us know of your experience after you have explored it also.

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  • January 7, 2019 at 10:11 pm
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    I am so fascinated by the moai and how they came to be. One of those enigmas which will possibly never be explained like the pyramids. I had no idea it was a 5 hour flight from South America. I always thought it was so much closer. Beautiful photos, everything is so green. Glad you loved your trip to Easter Island. what an adventure!

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    • January 10, 2019 at 1:22 am
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      You bet Amy! This place is quite isolated being a long distance from the South American continent and the country of Chile, which Easter Island is a part of. I loved checking out the moai and also wondering how they came about.

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  • January 6, 2019 at 2:48 pm
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    I love islands, and an island rich in history would be the best for me, as I love history too. Easter islands are surely not over-run by tourists as I have rarely heard of them. But the place is surely a must-visit for me, I must say thanks to the pictures you have put up here.

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  • January 6, 2019 at 10:35 am
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    Certainly a unique place to visit. I am fascinated by the ‘moai’. Wonder why some face the ocean and others don’t? Really interesting article on such a fascinating island.

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    • January 10, 2019 at 1:16 am
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      I wish I knew the answer to why moai face in a certain direction, Jane. There is only one ahu (group of statues), Ahu Akivi, (photographed above) with moai facing the ocean. It is unusual also by being one of the few inland ahus. At all other ahus (including all coastal ones) moai face inland. But who knows why? It’s just one of those things we are left to ponder. Thank you for commenting.

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  • November 24, 2018 at 2:16 pm
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    I have been to Easter Island and I absolutely loved it. As you also said, I loved its unspoilt natural beauty. Great post and amazing photos! Thank you for bringing back these memories to me!

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    • November 24, 2018 at 8:21 pm
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      You’re very welcome Sara and thank you so much for such a lovely comment. Having been there myself now, I can absolutely relate to what you are saying. It is a place that I’m sure will live ‘long and strong’ in my memory.

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  • November 19, 2018 at 9:53 am
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    Wow the history looks rich here. I would love to explore Easter Island and explore for myself.

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    • November 19, 2018 at 8:44 pm
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      I agree KiSheyne that the best way to really take in the wonders of a place like Easter Island is to head off on the unbeaten track to discover it all first hand as you go. There is so much to see that you’re bound to be amazed no matter what direction you choose.

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  • November 19, 2018 at 8:37 am
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    Wow, talk about an off the beaten track destination! This looks like an adventurer’s paradise – and well worth the trek to get there!

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    • November 19, 2018 at 8:42 am
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      You bet Sophie! While it does take a bit of an effort and trip to get there, I totally felt it was worth it and was so pleased I made the effort to include it on the itinerary. If you ever decide to know and want any further info, just let me know.

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  • November 19, 2018 at 2:11 am
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    Such eye-popping beauty there Nicole. Been on my list for years. Unlike any island on earth.

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  • November 13, 2018 at 6:19 pm
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    I am sure if I visited Easter Island, I probably wouldn’t want to come home! So happy you enjoyed your time there!

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  • November 13, 2018 at 3:02 pm
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    WOW this place sounds so interesting. I had never heard of it before. It looks so pretty <3

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    • November 13, 2018 at 7:56 pm
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      You are definitely not alone in not knowing about Easter Island, Laura. Many people you run into have never heard of the place and wouldn’t know of its existence unless they were interested in, or searching for, information on remote places or interested with history to do with the mysteries of the Moai. There is no denying it is a beautiful place though.

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  • November 12, 2018 at 12:58 pm
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    Sounds like a pretty spectacular place to visit. Thank you for sharing all your tips. I think I will be adding this to mine and my husbands bucket list!

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  • November 12, 2018 at 12:23 pm
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    Wow! that is true an awesome place to explore. I’d love to visit Eastern Island someday with kids. Glad to hear that you enjoyed your time there.

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  • November 11, 2018 at 2:07 pm
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    Wow! 7,000 people Easter Island looks like a relaxing pace, a place to get away from the city to just unwind and change scenery. The history behind it is incredible. Thanks for the tips Easter Island will one day must visit.

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  • November 11, 2018 at 12:03 pm
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    I love camping! The history behind the Easter island is intriguing. I would love to visit

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