Chile

The legendary statues of Easter Island

Moai on Easter Island

After saying goodbye to Buddha, we hopped into a plane to cross the Pacific Ocean. Why not introducing a few stops in this immense ocean? So that is exactly what we did. Our first stop was Easter Island, a very remote and tiny island in the middle of the Pacific. It takes 6 hours to get there from Santiago in Chile, the closest airport to the east. It also takes 6 hours to get to Tahiti, the next airport to the west in the Pacific. The island itself is just 24×12 km, so it is really small! The Spanish call it Isla de Pascua and in Polynesian it is Rapa Nui. We included Easter Island on our bucket list for quite some years now, because of its remoteness and the mysteries around its legendary statues.

An abundance of statues

Moai on Easter IslandEaster Island on a mountain bikeMoai on Easter Island

When you hear Easter Island you probably immediately think of statues also known as moai. What you probably don’t know is that there is not just one spot with a couple of these statues. To the contrary, there is an abundance of them and you cannot miss them when you walk, cycle or drive around the island. Therefore, our trip to Easter Island consisted of checking out several spots with moai at sunrise, during the day at with sunset… Although the island is small, you need to be a very enthusiastic hiker to do everything by foot. So to circumvent the island we walked parts, but also rented bicycles, and even a small 4×4.

Mysteries around the moai

Moai on Easter Island

On the island you will find some standing moai and a lot of moai that are broken and lying with their face down. The standing ones are restored; the others are original. Several theories exist about why these statues have fallen down. The most probable theory is that they have been thrown down deliberately. The main mystery, however, is how the statues have been moved from the place they were carved. Some statues are kilometers away from the construction site and must have been moved over hilly terrain. An interesting challenge if you ask us!

Same, same, but different

Moai on Easter IslandMoai on Easter Island

Were we bored after 6 days on Easter Island? Not at all! Although the moai are similar, they are definitely not the same. Because moai represent dead ancestors, they have different facial expressions. They have different sizes, can wear a hat or not, have a different level of detail and are situated in a different setting.

But Easter Island is more than just moai

Moai on Easter IslandCrater lake

Of course the main purpose of a visit to Easter Island is to see the moai. However, the island offers much more than just admiring the statues. There are some interesting historical sites, which are linked to the moai. These include the “factory” where they were made. This factory is the hill where you can still see some unfinished moai. There is also a cultural village, which was the main location for the birdman tradition and hence an important religious site. Young men would jump off the high cliffs and swim to a nearby island in search for the first egg of a specific (now extinct on Easter Island…) bird. Respect!

A visit to Easter Island even goes beyond culture

Easter Island Ovahe BeachAs Easter Island is a volcanic island, there are opportunities to stretch your legs and to climb one of the 3 volcanos. Don’t expect to hike through lush forests, because the island lacks trees. Some say that all trees were cut to support the movement of the moai, while others say the locals just needed firewood. From the top of the volcano we were rewarded with a 360-degree view over this tiny island. Really beautiful!

Easter Island has also beautiful caves and an unspoiled beach (Ovahe beach). And after all the physical exercise, we could even swim in the Pacific ocean at Anakena beach. White sand and crystal blue water backed by a row of moai, what do you want more?

We also experienced one day with typical Easter Island weather, read: never-ending rain. Without proper internet, we could not do anything else than relax, drink coffee and buy a souvenir. Not too bad either.

Camping on Easter Island

Camping on Easter IslandEaster Island view

As we need to watch our budget when traveling for 9 months and because Easter Island is not the cheapest destination, we decided to go low-budget. Hence, we went camping. In mainland Chile we already bought a nice tent and mattresses in one of the big supermarkets, so we had all equipment ;).

Unfortunately, our mattresses (with a thickness of approximately 1 centimeter) were less comfortable then we had hoped. Therefore, we couldn’t sleep the first 2 nights. But trust us, we got used to it and slept the rest of the trip as little princesses. Moreover, going to bed with the most beautiful sunset we had seen so far and waking up hearing the wild ocean, definitely compensated for the lack of comfort. And we loved our new big (4-person) tent :)!

Moai on Easter Island

After Easter Island, we included a second stop in the Pacific. Does Bora Bora ring a bell? In our next blog you will read all about our most memorable moments on French-Polynesia!

Discussion

10 Responses to “The legendary statues of Easter Island”

  1. Ontzettend indrukwekkend die beelden! En Bora Bora klinkt extra interessant voor iemand met een stralend beroep…

    Posted by Tim | 1 January 2017, 4:17 PM
  2. Schitterend, weer zoveel moois gezien!

    Posted by Marion | 1 January 2017, 4:23 PM
  3. Ik zie in de beelden wel iets van onze voorvaderen jaonoom, toonoom, willemoom en jantje vingerhoets. Maar dat zal ik wel fout hebben. Is er ook niet een legende dat de beelden door buitenaardse wezens zijn geplaatst? In Polynesie is er zoiets als een cargo cult, heb ik in een ver verleden ooit geleerd. Het is in ieder geval zeer indrukwekkend en mooi….

    Posted by Jan schellekens | 1 January 2017, 5:16 PM
  4. Op zo’n klein eiland zo veel te beleven. Lekker!!!

    Posted by Piet | 1 January 2017, 5:22 PM
  5. Wat een prachtige foto’s weer!! Kan niet wachten op de verhalen en foto’s van Bora Bora! Ben benieuwd of die cocktail nog gelukt is?? XXX

    Posted by Saskia | 1 January 2017, 6:56 PM
  6. Lieve Renée en Tom,
    Wat een verhaal weer. De tijd gaat snel, het is al 2017 en eind maart zien we elkaar weer live. Kan niet wachten om jullie weer te zien. Voor nu: geniet nog van de laatste 3 maanden.
    Liefs xxx,

    Engel

    Posted by Engeline | 1 January 2017, 10:56 PM
  7. Prachtige foto’s en verhalen weer guys!! Paaseiland lijkt me echt n bijzondere bestemming!! Happy travels!!

    Posted by SiuSan | 2 January 2017, 1:56 AM
  8. Leuk om te zien dat jullie het nog steeds naar je zin hebben.

    Succes met het eiland-hoppen in de pasific de komende tijd en nog veel reis plezier in het nieuwe jaar!

    Posted by August | 2 January 2017, 9:14 PM
  9. Wow, wat een mooie foto’s!!
    Gelukkig nieuwjaar, groetjes

    Posted by Monique | 3 January 2017, 8:50 AM
  10. Ik heb hem nog maar eens gelezen! 😉 Het blijft mooi om te lezen en de foto’s te zien. Krijg al weer zin in de volgende, zeker nu de lente hier even langs is geweest en de winter toch weer even terug komt! Laat nog eens wat jaloersmakende plaatjes voorbij komen ;-)!

    Posted by Fabienne | 8 February 2017, 12:59 AM

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