Road Trip Around Easter Island
The sun unwraps the dark sky speckled with stars every morning to reveal the gifts which Easter Island has in store for its guests — and yet, the island is hesitant in revealing all of its secrets.
Road Trip Around Easter Island
The legendary Moai statues is typically the first image which comes to mind when mentioning the very name Easter Island — which is also known as Rapa Nui in Polynesian and Isla de Pascua in Spanish…
…but there is more to this magical island. For example, did you know that you can visit the actual “factory” of where these enormous statues of solid rock were created, with some of them still unfinished?
You can also visit the area where their “hats” were created as well.
I rented a vehicle and took a road trip on the rough rutted roads around Easter Island to find out more of what it has in store. Several things are for certain: I will need to pay $80.00 in United States dollars just for admission into the areas of the national park; the nearest traffic light is thousands of miles away; not a location of a multinational restaurant or lodging company will be found; and I will never have once had to shift the manual transmission of the vehicle into fifth gear.
Having your own temporary dog as a companion on Easter Island is not a matter of if; but when. I had a pack of as many as four dogs accompany me as I walked by them. They will protect their adopted humans from such scourges as the wild horses which freely roam the island. They may also urinate on one of the tires of your vehicle — ahem. They may just be hanging around only in the hopes of scoring that ultimate jackpot of a tasty snack; or they perhaps simply enjoy the companionship. I can tell you, though — they did not touch me or get in my way; and they were not annoying in the least. These dogs can stay with you as long as you allow them the opportunity.
Meanwhile, the wild horses typically either stay or gallop together; and they usually leave people alone — although they can occasionally get violent with each other. They have been known to block a road; so drive at a safe speed — just in case…
…and with all of the dogs, horses and cows roaming freely around the island — which is comprised entirely of dark volcanic rocks — watching where you walk becomes all that more important.
Fresh tuna and assorted varieties of ceviche is usually on the menu at many restaurants in Hanga Roa, which is the capital city — and only town — on Easter Island; and is located near the southwestern tip of the island. Most of the lodging options is located in this area as well — ranging from hostel to hotel but mostly cabañas and bungalows.
Look closely and you will also find windows to ancient history: petroglyphs, which dot the island. Some of them can tell a story all of their own, all literally etched in stone — or, more accurately, volcanic rock.
Similar to Iceland, Easter Island offers a surprising number of varying landscapes despite its relatively tiny footprint on our planet. The Pacific Ocean surrounding the island boldly adorns some of the bluest water I have ever seen.
Another set of Moai statues is not all which awaits visitors beyond this grove of palm trees, as one of two sandy beaches on the northeastern shore of the island lure you to braving the cold waters of the Pacific Ocean.
Two enormous volcanic craters are situated at nearly opposite ends of Easter Island — and both are quite different and worth visiting.
The overall landscape of much of Easter Island is a dichotomy of either boring flatter land or strikingly stunning sloped hills and sheer cliffs.
I know — you might want to look up at the sky in disbelief; but at the end of the day, the sun gives one last gift before disappearing beyond the horizon of the ocean to the delight of onlookers, hoping to catch a view of the orange rays slicing between the Moai statues, unimpeded by the quick yet torrential localized rainstorms.
“But Brian — you wrote articles on only almost one of eleven days of your trip to Iceland last year; and you have so many more past trip reports and reviews which you have yet to write. What are you doing?!?”
Yes, you would be right — but I have to keep traveling, and Easter Island just happens to be one of the places which I visited earlier this month.
I will write articles about my experience on the island, which is a part of Chile; but I also intend to finish my articles pertaining to Iceland and other areas around the world to which I have traveled over the years…
All photographs ©2019 by Brian Cohen.