History of Easter Island – Rapa Nui

 

Easter Island is a historical, yet magical and mystical island.  It’s a dream come true to see this stunning island and the majestic moai in person.  In Spanish, Easter Island is called Isla Pasqua and the locals call it Rapa Nui.  This island sits more than 2300 nautical miles NW of Chile and is considered one of the most isolated places on earth.  However, the remote volcanic island is on our route to French Polynesia and will be a very welcome stop for Sugar Shack.

Easter Island’s mystery is centered around the most logic-defying statues on the planet: the moai.  These human depictions with over-sized heads emanate a magnetic, mysterious vibe.  They are mounted on massive stone pedestals called “Ahus.”  Stay tuned for a blog solely on the history of the moai.

How Did Easter Island Get It’s Start?

You might wonder, as I did, how a society blossomed in this unlikely place?  Somewhere around 300-400 A.D., several hardy souls navigated a fleet of wooden outrigger canoes to Isla Pasqua in the vastness of the Pacific Ocean.  Today, the population is roughly 3,300 people on what is now known as a World Heritage site.

Easter Island was formed by a series of volcanic eruptions.  It is an isolated triangle measuring 14 miles long by seven miles wide. In addition to its hilly terrain, the island contains many subterranean caves with corridors that extend deep into mountains of volcanic rock. The island’s largest volcano is known as Rano Kao, and its highest point is Mount Terevaka, which reaches 1,969 feet (600 meters) above sea level. It has a subtropical climate (sunny and dry) and temperate weather.

There is no “natural harbor” here, but ships can anchor off Hanga Roa on the west coast.  This is the only anchorage with “decent” access to shore. You do have to brave through the breakwater which has waves peaking over 2 meters.

Hangoa Roa at Easter Island

Hangoa Roa at Easter Island

On Shore

It is fairly easy to get around, by foot, bus, taxi, bike, or horseback.  The island’s economy depends on tourism and things are not cheap.  You can find decent provisioning between the multitude of small tiendas, but there is no true “market.”  Plenty of touristy stores can be found off the main road.  But other than that, you won’t find much.

Horses, cows and dogs roam freely among the locals and tourist.  The sun shines brightly against the brilliant blue water surrounding the lush, green island.  It is truly a breathtaking sight to behold.

Locals hanging out Easter Island

Locals hanging out Easter Island

The armada even has a pretty sculpted piece in front of the building

Armada on Easter Island

Armada on Easter Island

The only church on the island is just off the main road, in the center of town.

Church on Easter Island

Church on Easter Island

Some Great Articles:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *