It’s remote. It’s beautiful. It’s mysterious. And it’s a bucket list destination for nearly every traveler. Easter Island — also known as Isla de Pascua in Spanish and its indigenous name, Rapa Nui — is one of the world’s most legendary destinations, thanks to the iconic stone figures that sit majestically around the island. And South America specialist Coddiwomple Journeys offers some of the best options for discovering what makes Easter Island so special.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1995, Easter Island can easily be added to any of Coddiwomple’s Chile itineraries, with a four-day/three-night extension the most popular way to take in all the island has to offer. Whether you book the trip on its own or add it to another Chile tour, Coddiwomple offers lots of flexibility and the ability to customize your visit, so you can explore, enjoy and relax the way you want. Every tour is filled with unique and immersive experiences that connect you with the rich culture, the gorgeous scenery and — of course — the fascinating story of the 900 monumental statues called Moai, which have captured the imagination of travelers for centuries.
Here are six ways that Easter Island wows visitors, and why it should be on your travel wish list.
Those Amazing Statues
Simply mentioning the name Easter Island immediately conjures up images of the centuries-old stone figures that rise mysteriously along its shores. Distinct from sculptures found anywhere else, the statues tower are carved from porous rock formed by volcanic ash, stand an average of 13 feet and weigh about 13 tons. Coddiwomple Journeys guides provide in-depth knowledge about these structures and their historical significance.
Remote Location & Geography
Located 2,300 miles off of Chile’s coast, Easter Island is a relatively small volcanic island, measuring just 14 miles long and seven miles wide. It’s graced with picturesque hilly terrain, subterranean caves and volcanoes, the largest of which is Rano Kao, which reaches nearly 2,000 feet above sea level. And the island’s dry, sunny subtropical climate makes it an especially pleasant place to visit.
The island’s first inhabitants arrived sometime around 300 to 400 A.D, calling their new home Rapa Nui and naming the island’s first king, Hoto-Matua, who came from a Polynesian subgroup. Dutch explorers renamed the island Paaseiland, or Easter Island, when they arrived in 1722. After Chile annexed the island in the late 19th century, the Spanish variation on that name — Isla de Pascua — also came into common use, and is still used today.
Easter Island is home to a population of largely Polynesian ancestry, and visitors can easily immerse themselves in the islanders’ rich culture. Coddiwomple Journeys offers the opportunity to visit the Orongo Ceremonial Village, which overlooks a handful of small offshore islands and was home to an 18th- and 19th-century bird-worshipping cult. “Birdman” petroglyphs are still visible on the boulders.
Also worth attending is the annual Tapati Festival, which fills the island with celebration during the first two weeks of February, with traditional dancing and singing competitions, as well as sporting events that include swimming, horse racing, canoeing and even a triathlon.
A definite must-see on every Coddiwomple Journeys itinerary is Rapa Nui National Park, makes up an impressive 42 percent of the island, and is rich with opportunities to view volcanic peaks, villages and, of course, the legendary Moai statues. There are lots of other ways to enjoy the island, including horseback riding, snorkeling, boating and even fishing. Scuba divers can find lots of excitement as they explore lava caves and view sea turtles and even an underwater Moai. For an interesting introduction to Easter Island’s history, the Sebastián Englert Anthropological Museum is a great complement to the wealth of knowledge provided by Coddiwomple’s expert guides.
Coddiwomple Journeys itineraries include accommodations at Hanga Roa Eco-Village & Spa, a beautiful property with an ideal location on the main promenade of the town of Rapa Nui. The hotel offers lots of amenities that guests love, including the largest swimming pool on Easter Island, as well as two restaurants, a pool bar and a spa that offers treatments using natural ingredients from the island. It’s a perfect base for exploring the wonders of this beautiful island.