At World Words, we are very proud of our team’s extensive travel experience. You see, not only are all our writers and editors highly experienced in the worlds of journalism and marketing, they’re also uncommonly well-travelled. In fact, you won’t find many corners of the world that members of the World Words team have not visited. And we believe that this passion for travel and this personal experience gives our travel content unparalleled authenticity.
As regular readers of the Our Travels blog series will know, we like to share some of our most exciting trips with our readers. This month, it’s the turn of editor-in-chief Joe. Having previously written about travels to Belarus, The Gambia and Corsica (among others), he is now heading to one of the most remote places on earth. Easter Island.
Scroll down to read his thoughts about this extraordinary Pacific paradise…
Why I went to Easter Island
Ever since I can remember, I’ve wanted to visit Easter Island. The majesty and mystery of the island’s iconic moai (monolithic stone heads) captured my imagination at a very young age. They seemed like creations from a whole other world. And as I got older and a little wiser, the interest only intensified; Easter Island may not be on another planet, but it is about as far as it gets from anywhere else on this one. Its remote location, thousands of miles from the nearest inhabited landmass, makes it a logistically (as well as financially) tricky place to visit. So when I found myself with a chance to incorporate an excursion into my wider Chile trip, it felt like it was a case of now or never.
My highlight of the trip
Easter Island’s moai are truly extraordinary. And they are everywhere. You can find lone figures with painted eyes and topknots (Ahu Tahai), lines of full-body moai on stone platforms (Ahu Tongariki), or hundreds of broken statues scattered on hillsides (Rano Raraku). It was a great adventure to rent a quad bike to discover as many as possible.
However, the unexpected highlight of the trip was the Tapati Festival. We knew the festival would be taking place during our February visit, but it was only upon arrival that we saw how big a deal it was. We were lucky enough to experience several traditional Polynesian cultural events, including kai kai (where competitors recite stories while creating figures by interlacing thread between their fingers), aka venga (where men raced while carrying a 20kg banana head under each arm) and takona (body painting with natural pigments where motifs relate to life events).
What else I love about Easter Island
There are plenty of other incredible places in Easter Island. Rano Kau, a giant volcanic crater lake that makes up the southwestern corner of the island, was a particular highlight, offering spectacular views out to a smattering of uninhabited motu (small offshore islands). The beautiful white-sand beach at Anakena, where you can take a dip in the warm sea while watched over by seven well-preserved moai, was also very special. As was the harbour of the island’s capital Hanga Roa, where you can see green turtles playfully swimming in amongst the fishing boats.
But for me, one of the main highlights was the cuisine. As you would expect, Easter Island produces very little of its own produce – most food is imported from mainland Chile or elsewhere, making it a significant expense – but one thing it has in abundance is seafood. Whether made with tuna, swordfish or rape rape (a small native lobster), the ceviche – raw fish with citrus juices, capsicum, chopped onions, coriander and chili – was unfailingly delicious.
Why you should go
Too often, travel writers are drawn into the trap of describing somewhere as ‘one-of-a-kind’. It rarely applies as, in an increasingly homogeneous world, there are less and less places that are truly distinctive. But Easter Island is one them. This fascinating place, with its mix of Polynesian heritage and Spanish-speaking locals, is like nowhere else on earth. There’s plenty to do for a short stay (I was there for five days), particularly during the Tapati Festival, and the high cost and inconvenience of visiting means that it is refreshingly quiet… even during the ‘high season’.
How you can visit
There are twice-daily flights from Santiago de Chile, as well as a once-a-week flight to Tahiti (all with Latam). Both are thousands of miles away, so strap in for the long haul. Once on Easter Island, you can easily walk around the capital Hanga Roa (lucky, as there’s no public transport), while getting further afield can be done with a rental car, scooter or quad bike. Or, for the physically fit, bicycle. Private taxi or tour group excursions can also be arranged.
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