Easter Island is an extraordinary and intriguing place to travel. Located between Tahiti and Chile, the island is one of the most isolated places on earth and is best known for giant stone monoliths known as Moai, that dot the coastline (as you can see in the pictures). These structures facing the sea were carved by the island's indigenous inhabitants, called Rapa Nui, who are said to be Polynesians who emigrated from the Marquesas Islands or Mangareva dating back to 300 A.D.
Unfortunately, approximately 10,000 years ago the island’s population exceeded the capabilities of its ecosystem and there was social destruction – including cannibalism. In this destruction, most of the Moai were torn down, and in fact the ones that are displayed on the island at the present time are thanks to efforts by archeologists. Tourists can also see indigenous petroglyphs (rock carvings), as well as traditional wood carvings, tapa (barkcloth) crafts, tattooing, string figures, dance and music.
Besides the fascinating, rich culture of the island, visitors can also enjoy common vacation activities including scuba diving (where one can see caves, walls, and unique coral and fish), surfing (most commonly at Caleta Hanga Roa and Ahu Tahai) as well as hiking. Horseback riding is also very common on the island and relatively inexpensive.
Finally, a really interesting tourist event seems to be Tapati Rapa Nui, which is a carnival that runs in late January. The event features tons of fun activities, such as traditional dancing, horse and canoe races, traditional dancing, body painting, statue carving and shell-necklace-stringing competitions. If this sounds fun to you, LanChile Airlines can ensure that you get to the island during the high season courtesy of Boeing 767 flights from Tahiti and Santiago, Chile (and there are direct flights to Santiago from major U.S. cities such as Los Angeles, Miami, and New York). Consult the island’s homepage for more information about this very interesting destination!