Blogs from Easter Island, Chile, South America


South America » Chile » Easter Island » Hanga Roa February 9th 2023

A note from Merry Jo: As children we see things that leave an impact on us for life. Our imaginations can run wild after seeing a photograph or hearing a story. How we process that information depends on our creative side and the imagery created with our minds. I remember very distinctly sitting on the floor of the den in my childhood home five decades ago looking at multiple National Geographic magazines. One that stood out featured photos of the carved stones on Rapa Nui often referred to as Easter Island. I knew someday I would arrive in this mysterious land that is isolated from the world. To get there you fly to Santiago, Chile and then fly 2200 miles (5 hours) over the ocean to this remote island. As I walked down the airplane staircase ... read more
Standing Tall
Amazing Maoi statues
15 Moai Statues

South America » Chile » Easter Island September 24th 2019

Our next destination was what bucket lists were made of. We were excitedly waiting to depart at the Santiago International Airport. We checked in and dumped our food supply box at about 0300 that morning before going through security. Our flight left a few hours later, on board a 787 Dreamliner, operated by Latam Airlines, who had a monopoly on this route. For five hours we flew east, as I tried watching some movies. Our journey took us to the enigmatic island of Rapa Nui, or more famously known to the outside world as Easter Island. The island is tiny with a land mass of only 163 square kilometers. It is considered the most isolated inhabited island in the world, basically making it the middle of nowhere. It is estimated that around 1200 AD, Polynesian settlers ... read more
Ranu Raraku
Wild Horse

South America » Chile » Easter Island February 18th 2019

It’s our final day on Easter Island and our first nice day. Until now, our time here had combined the worst weather of our trip with the worst accommodation; outside has been wet and windy and miserable while inside has been damp and mouldy and miserable. But today the sun is shining and we ‘borrow’ (£50) the landlady’s jeep for an outing. We’re doing the south-east circuit (basically, the runway runs almost the width of the island and the road circles the island in a figure 8 around the runway). Our circuit consists of: Ana Kai Tanga (a cave with petroglyphs), Rano Kau (a crater containing a reed covered lake), Orongo (a ceremonial village), Vinapu (some fallen Moai), Puna Pau (a quarry where Moai topknots were carved), Ahu Akivi (7 Moai facing the sea) and Ana ... read more
Ana Kai Tanga
Ana Kai Tanga
Rano Kau

South America » Chile » Easter Island » Hanga Roa February 17th 2019

We wake up to to find out that the old man’s father has died. It’s not unexpected, but still sad news. Outside it’s still raining. It’s as if the heavens have decided to join the old man in his tears. We opt for a quiet day with a walk along the coast. We walk 8 miles in total, stopping first at the museum to learn about the history of the island and its Moais then on to Ana Kakenga; a cave in a lava tube with two ‘windows’ overlooking the ocean. The entrance is tiny. I may be descended from a long line of miners, but I don’t do enclosed spaces so the old man goes in while I stay on the surface. On the way back, it finally stops raining and we catch our first ... read more
Cruise ship 5th plinth
Cruise ship waiting off graveyard

South America » Chile » Easter Island February 16th 2019

We had a good night’s sleep, waking briefly at midnight for the firework display. Easter Island is very expensive because almost everything (apart from fish and chicken) is imported from thousands of miles away. But they certainly didn’t skimp on the fireworks. At 6.45 the resident cockerels decide it’s dawn. Today that’s fine because we haven’t adjusted to the time zone. Tomorrow, however I will probably hatch plans to murder cockerels. We plan to hire the hostel car to follow the ‘north east circuit’. This takes the island’s only paved road past various archaeological sites, finishing at a beach. The weather forecast is hideous but tomorrow a cruise ship is due at this tiny island with minimal infrastructure, so we are torn between a storm and hordes of entitled pensioners. We opt for the storm and ... read more
Fallen Moai

South America » Chile » Easter Island » Hanga Roa December 18th 2018

M - Easter Island really is a long way from anywhere … Easter Island is one of those places neither of us ever dreamed we would visit. As young kids we both had seen the pictures of the Moai Statues looking out to sea that the island is famous for. Never did either of us ever think we would visit the island of Rapa Nui as it is known locally. Getting to Easter Island - we knew it was a long, long way away, a big thanks to friends Robin and Adam for convincing us earlier this year that it really was worth the trip! Some mention of great Pisco Sours I believe? I don’t think it really hit either of us just how far out into the Pacific Ocean this island actually is until we ... read more
Sunset at the harbor
Sunset near the harbor
Arrived at last

South America » Chile » Easter Island September 27th 2018

Despite my high hopes, the weather has not cleared enough for us to explore Oranga so I do not get to see the volcano and the launch point for the Easter Island egg hunt. We have a last wander around town exploring as far as the cemetery in the drizzle. All through the town, along the shore line yiu can see moai and other remains. In some places these have been rebuilt and a couple seem to be new, presumably for the benefit of us tourists. The cemetery is quite large and very colourful. Many of the plots have quite unique headstones and things representing the person within. There are even some small Moai type statues. There are lots of flowers everywhere and I get the feeling that people visit often, not just once a year. ... read more
Replica of Moai
Hanga Roa streetart
Hanga Roa - Birdman?

South America » Chile » Easter Island September 26th 2018

We are the only ones on the minibus this morning as we set out for our half day tour of Orongo and the volcano Rano Kau which is close to Hanga Roa. It is pretty obvious why as we approach the summit. There is a total whiteout and the wind is fierce. We shuttle into the information centre and our guide gives us a really good run down on the site and it’s significance but there is no way we can go exploring. This southern tip of the island became the focal point for the Makemake or birdman culture that supreceded the building of the Moai. Every year in spring, the representatives of leaders of each ‘tribe’ would race from here across to the neighbouring small islands and the first to bring back an egg of ... read more
Hanga Roa cathedral
Red pukao at quarry
7 Moai at Ahu Akivi

South America » Chile » Easter Island September 25th 2018

Rapa Nui is nothing like the rest of South America, it is Pacifica. The people, language, plants, buildings, roads, food, weather - well, everything - are much more like being in Fiji, Vanuatu or even New Zealand than Chile or Peru. The weather is, unfortunatel, rather grey but the temperature is pleasant. We join our tour minibus at ‘about 9’ which is really 9:40 so we know we are on island time and head off the explore this amazing place and of course the renown statues. The countryside begind Hanga Roa rapidly becomes unpopulated except for cattle and horses. The coast is rocky and rugged, no golden beaches for sunbathing here. The road is a bit the same. This is not good farmland, just low grasses with few trees stretching from the coast to the distant, ... read more
Tongariki -with people for a sense of scale
Rano Rakaku - the quarry
Rano Raraku with Tongriki in background

South America » Chile » Easter Island September 24th 2018

I try to get a couple of photos of the prison this morning but it looks all quiet in the rising sun despite the very heavy police presence outside while we were having breakfast. Our taxi ride is much quicker than we expected, given it is rush hour on Monday morning and the whole checkin process is painless. The little lounge is really comfortable and even worth a photo. We hang out with ElShia and her Nanna, who we have all adopted. By coincidence we are all wearing our (almost) matching ‘baby’ lama cardigans that we bought in Puno on our way home from dinner. At 40 sol each (about 20NZD) I doubt they are the genuine article but they are soft and warm. We fly to Santiago and navigate customs, find the check-in, almost get ... read more
La Paz Airport
The llama girls at La Paz airport - with Elyse and Marion (Nanna)

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