HAPPY EASTER ISLAND
Rapa Nui, which can be translated as Navel of the World, is the native name for the Easter Island. This is how the indigenous people call their home, the world’s most remote of inhabited islands situated in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.
The name Easter Island was given to this land by the Europeans in 1722 simply because their ships arrived there on the Easter Sunday. Yet the colonizers were not the first people who reached this small island with the area of less than 165 square kilometers. It’s estimated that the first settlers came in their canoes from Polynesia in the years between 700 to 1200 CE. Nowadays, Rapa Nui has only a few thousands permanent inhabitants who are direct descendants of those brave explorers.
Today, Rapa Nui belongs to Chile and it’s probably the most chilled-out territory of this country. It is so small (1/3 the size of Warsaw) that the majority of places are a walking or a short horse-ride distance from each other. Before we went there we wondered how the life looks like on this island famous all around the world from its moai statues. Well, it turned out that it’s very normal and it seems happy.
Being one of the key tourist destinations in Chile, Rapa Nui has quite a lot to offer to visitors. Biking, trekking, horse riding, surfing, fitness or spa are among the most popular ones. From the cultural experiences I recommend the traditional Rapa Nui dance show (Vai Te Mihi) in Hanga Roa, which is a professional performance done by experienced dancers. To our surprise, there is even a cinema showing only one movie every day and that is, of course, Rapa Nui (1994) directed by Kevin Costner. The movie is not an Oscar-winning type of production but it’s kind of fun to watch it there.
For us the Easter Island was a place where we took a longer break. After three months of travelling South America quite intensely we decided to ‘settle down’ for almost two weeks in one place and use the time for relaxation. We slept a lot (I slept more than 30 hours during the first two days!); we went to a paradise beach to get some sun; we tried surfing for the first time (Łukasz stood up on the board on his 5th or 6th wave!); we went to the cinema to see the only movie they played; we wrote and sent postcards… Moreover, as our camping was on the western side of the island, we also watched beautiful sunsets every day. During those perfect two weeks there was only one thing that made our stay a bit off. It was an oceanic storm that came with rain that lasted for 15 hours and a wind so strong that it was blowing your head off. Our heads remained on their places and we were fine but this ‘breeze’ almost tore our tent into pieces.
Apart from doing nothing we did quite a lot of things while on Rapa Nui. We, of course, visited the island and learnt the history of mysterious moai statues about which I’ll write in the next posts.