Isla de Pascua
It’s one thing to book plane tickets and plan a trip to one of the most isolated places on Earth, and quite another to actually set foot there. This past weekend, in the midst of exams and papers, a friend and I flew to Isla de Pascua, also known as Easter Island or Rapa Nui. We spent four incredible days exploring the island, seeing the sites, and hanging out with our fair share of stray dogs, cats, cows, and horses. To be honest, I still can’t believe I was there, that the pictures on my camera were taken with my own hands. The tropical flora and fauna were a welcome break from the concrete and smog of Santiago, as were the occasional downpours that ensured we never completely dried off; my watch still has some condensation inside.
Easter Island is a Chilean territory that is part of Polynesia, forming a triangle with New Zealand and Hawaii. Located about 2,200 miles from mainland Chile the island is remote, accessible only by flights from Santiago or Tahiti, or by boat. If you’re a student and want to travel to Easter Island the first hurdle is definitely the location and price of reaching the island. The isolation also means that most products must be shipped to the island, so certain foods are very pricey. However, I absolutely recommend making the trip, it was beyond worthwhile and truly the experience of a lifetime. You can also save quite a bit of money by bringing fruit and other food from Santiago, which you’re allowed to do! We also saved money by staying in a room in the house of a woman who lives on the island, which wasn’t the cheapest option (that would have been renting a tent) but made our experience so much better. Our host greeted us at the airport with flower leis, gave us a tour of the town, and drove us to and from the airport, all the while telling us about the island.
While the island is relatively small, there are also a ton of sites to see and things to do. In our few days we biked around the entire island, saw nearly all of the ruins, visited the museum, met loads of nice people, went scuba diving/snorkeling, saw a cultural ballet, and tried tuna empanadas (SO good!!). The primary attraction on the island is definitely the moai, ancient statues that were made to honor past kings and other important people of status on the island. There are nearly 800 of them scattered around the island; the smallest moai is about five feet tall and the largest erected moai is about 246 feet tall.
One thing to be weary of is the weather. The sun is naturally very strong, and rain frequently starts and stops throughout the day, with sudden downpours being relatively common. However, thanks to the sea breeze the temperature wasn’t too hot even though we went in the beginning of summer. Overall, my trip to Easter Island was truly incredible, and a great last taste of summer before I fly home in less than a week.
Click on the pictures to scroll through the slideshow!