Discovering Rapa Nui
By Paulina Sánchez |
From Polynesian dances and megalithic heads to diving across subaquatic lava landscapes… the only thing missing in Easter Island is you.
TRAVEL TO EASTER ISLAND
They call it “The World’s Navel” because its inhabitants believed it was the spiritual center of all the Polynesia. This island found in the Pacific Ocean is the farthest location from the continental territory, but despite this and that, curiously, only one airline is allowed to travel there, it attracts thousands of tourists every year.
The natives of Easter Island or Rapa Nui still keep their ancient traditions. Apart from that, the island harbors impressive archaeological sites made up, particularly, by over 900 Moai –megalithic heads that represent the spirits of the local culture’s ancestors. What’s more, this destination has beautiful natural settings that are ideal for practicing sports. Among them, the most popular are aquatic sports, especially because underwater visibility reaches up to 60 meters in length. Therefore, DINKtravelers recommends swimming at the white sand beaches of Anakena, or snorkeling at Playa de Ovahe with its reddish sand. Likewise, you can go diving at Mike Rapu, where you’ll find a magnificent submarine topography with caves, cliffs and lava platforms. Lava under the sea? Yes, in fact, geographically, the island was created thanks to the eruption of three volcanoes: the Poike, the Rano Kau and the Maunga Terevaka.
Speaking of volcanoes, if you like land sports, you can go horseback riding or trekking at the Rano Kau volcano hills where you’ll find a 3.3 km trail.
NATURAL AND CULTURAL HERITAGE OF EASTER ISLAND
Even though the Dutch adventurer Jacob Roggenberg who, by the way, confused the Moai with giants after spotting them from his ship, didn’t discover Rapa Nui until 1722, the island was inhabited since the sixth century. Hundreds of years later, its natural and archaeological treasures convinced the UNESCO to declare it World Heritage in 1995.
THINGS TO DO IN RAPA NUI
Our main recommendations for your next trip to the island include visiting: the Tahai Archaeological Complex, one of the best-restored groups of ceremonial altars (Ahu) on site. Also, don’t miss Ahu Pito Kura where you’ll find the biggest Moai head as well as the exact spot that defines the Navel of the World. Lastly, Ahu Akivi is home to seven 4-meters-tall Moai that face the ocean –something rare because they usually face inland. And best of all, you can do all this any time of the year since it has a privileged weather that varies from 14ºC (57ºF) in August to 20ºC (68ºF) in February.
TAPATI RAPA NUI FESTIVAL
Tapati Rapa Nui is held during the last week of January and the first week of February. It’s the most important celebration on the island and it includes different cultural manifestations like Polynesian dances, craftworks and gastronomy. But don’t forget to make you lodging and flight reservations at least three months in advance.