One of the most isolated places on Earth, Easter Island, also known as Rapa Nui to its natives, has a mystical and magnetic pull.
The most fascinating of its legend is the tall figures carved out of volcanic rock called 'moai.' Even though the 'moai' are the main attraction, they are not the only factors that make Easter Island a top destination to add to your bucket list. Here are some reasons.
The myth, the mystery
This tiny speck of land in the South Pacific is believed to have been formed by a series of massive volcanic eruptions. And the first settlements here date back to the 4th century AD. Polynesians are said to have landed in double-hulled canoes and started villages here. But anthropologists and scientists are still confused about how the people here built the 'moai' and transported them across the island. The theory of them being transported by aliens have now been debunked. But still, a lot of mystery surrounds the island.
What not to miss
The 'moai': These tall statues with long unsmiling faces, hawk-like noses and brooding brows are like the sentinels watching over the land. You find them all over the tiny island. There are over 800 of them on the island which has earned it Unesco World Heritage Site status. The weather and the lighting will play a lot of impact on how the statues appear to you.
Rano Kau to the southwestern side of the island has a crater lake which is one the source of fresh water here. This lake is located about 100 meters above sea level.
Rano Raraku to the northeast is the quarry for the hard tuff (compressed volcanic ash) from which the moai were cut. A visit here will definitely take you back in time. And to the southeastern slope of the mountain is the unique moai of Tukuturi, a statue which has a full body squatting on its heels, its forearms and hands resting on its thighs.
Anakena: The shores of Anakena is where the ancient Polynesians are said to have landed first. It is the dream destinations for those who love the beach. This picture postcard perfect beach is home to Ahu Nau Nau, a series of seven moai - some wearing topknots.
Maunga Terevaka is the island's highest point and is accessible only on foot or on horseback. And the view from here is just spectacular.
How to reach Easter Island
LAN airlines flies daily to Easter Island from Santiago, Chile.