I dreamed about Rapa Nui ever since I applied during faculty for a cigarettes contest to win a trip to one of eight wonderful places. I chose Easter Island because seemed so much different and mysterious from all I knew. And I haven’t won. Because I’m not a lucky person. But I’m a person who enjoys daydreaming and tries to make the dreams come true.
So here I am, traveling from Antarctica to Alaska trying to visit most of the countries. And of course I wouldn’t skip Rapa Nui. Being in Santiago is as close as you can get to the beautiful island. And cheapest. I met many people during my travels who told me I should skip it because there are many other places beautiful but less expensive. Or if I still want to go there I shouldn’t spend more than 4 days. And so I did and big mistake it was. Because Rapa Nui is one of the most beautiful places I ever saw and felt. And it has such a good energy. And although it’s part of Chile now, the island is geologically part of Oceania and the people who inhabited it first came from Polynesia, therefore the culture there is polynesian and you can feel it everywhere. And as a first advice I say people going to the island should spend at least 7-8 days, because although you can see almost everything in 4-5 days it’s also wonderful to spend some days on the beach relaxing and feeling the energy of those places. And maybe it’s rainy and grey when you plan to see the sunrise at Tongariki so it’s good to try again another day. Needless to say that the flights there are quite expensive, but if you get there at least you can spend some relaxing days without rush.
The flight to Easter Island was the first flight I took in almost 3 months and I was quite excited about it because at my last job I was flying every month and got used to it, not flying for 3 months was quite weird. And the funny thing is that they had a problem with the plane, so after sitting for more than one hour in the plane they told us we have to change it with another one. We arrived on the island 3-4 hours later than planned, at 2-3 am. Some of the hostels were offering flowers collars to the guest, my hostel didn’t but it was so nice an atmosphere around.
In the morning I ate the most delicious banana for breakfast straight from the garden on my table. I spoke a bit with the hostel owner and got amazed about how intelligent the people from the island are. This guy studied mathematics and is a teacher on the island. Also people there speak several languages, travel a lot and most of them go to Santiago to study in the University. The island in clean, nobody is begging and there are no rich or poor people, everybody has an average house and an average car. People are relaxed and happy and very friendly and caring. Also they don’t lock their cars because there’s no stealing. I felt there as safe as I could be.
At the time I was there , last week of April, the people from Rapa Nui were taking care of the Rapa Nui National Park and somehow they got rid of CONAF which is the chilean forestal corporation. The entrance was free but before my arrival it was around 50$. So this time I was lucky.
I walked up to Orongo and saw the crater of the volcano and the mash inside and also the petroglyphs there and after that I went to a moai site few km far. Went back to the town, ate and met some nice people from the island. We enjoyed together the evening and after that I went to see the sunset at another moai site. I was actually impressed about how many people came there to see the sun going to sleep.
Next day I went to the church with some people from the hostel because they said it’s supposed to be nice and authentic to participate at the sunday mass because there was some singing involved. It sounded interesting but getting there I was amazed with all the people and the songs and mass in their language, in Rapa Nui. Women had flowers in their hair and the priest thanked for participation in at least 5 languages. After the mass finished we met outside some young people singing. The priest blessed them and they asked us to join them at the coast and we went singing in the middle of the street. At one moment I thought they might be singing for money but actually we received juice and they told us we can have lunch with them because they are organising a table with food to share and we can bring whatever we want and spend evening with them and play some instruments if we are in the mood. We listened them singing but after that we took a rented car and went to see more moai sites and then enjoy Anakena, the biggest and almost only beach they have, which is located at the other end of the island. Coming back to town we listened more Rapa Nui music and ate delicious ice cream from a guy who dreams to have a business where people can come to eat icecream and read.
We tried to see the sunrise at Tongariki ( this is the site of 15 moai, the biggest and most famous, restored by japanese) but without much success because the morning was cloudy and grey. And the rest of the day was about making a new tattoo ( actually adding a flower to the fairy I already had). I guess the artist is very appreciated because people were queuing there. But it was rainy (may is the wettest month in the island and it was almost may) and it was a good way of spending the day. After getting the tattoo we went to watch the waves which were very impressive, high and breaking on the rocky coast.
There are also caves you can visit, many moai sites, two quarries and a very interesting museum. I also participated at one of their shows with traditional dancing and I found it to be very nice although I’m not very sure all of it was traditional. My last day there started very early, just to check the sky is clear to decide if I should try again the sunrise at Tongariki. And the sky was so very clear. The owner of the hostel drove me there for half the price of a taxi and waited a lot for me there and also at Ranu Raraku, the quarry where the moai are coming from.
I enjoyed everything about Rapa Nui until the very last moment, just before going to the airport I went to sent postcards and one more time to the beach, to say goodbye and promise I’ll come back.
I met in Rapa Nui the happiest and most relaxed people in my travel, interesting history and saw amazing waves and beautiful landscapes. Downside is that I spent too little time but one day I’ll go back and stay longer for sure. The thing to be aware is that all the moai standing are restored because in Rapa Nui was a civil war between the tribes and all the moai were put down. But this makes it even more interesting.