Easter Island TimeTime on Easter Island
Famed for the huge sculptures of stones, named mai, cut out of vulcanic rocks over 1,300 years ago - they have the same mystic magnetization that emanates from Stonehenge in Britain. Those huge guards of gravel are standing above the island and apparently protect its people. This small, almost uniform island is full of people.
Finally the island was'discovered' by the Dutch on Easter Sunday 1722 and after hundreds of years of enslavement and extermination it is now a part of Chile and the local civilization returns. Inhabitants are less than 4,500 and are broadly split into two groups: the indigenous Rape Nui and those who have abandoned the metropolitan lifestyles of places like Santiago and decided to return to their origins on this tranquil mountain range.
Civilization' s only bag is a small city named Hanga Roa. It is only in February that Raffa Nui feels a little full. It is the time of the Tapati Rafa Nui, a two-week long celebration that features a sensational range of folk songs, dances, culture and sport activities around the island and is the most beloved event in the island's yearly tourism calender.
The island had an unparalleled stream of spectators two years ago who came together to observe a very uncommon sunset, an occurrence that had not occurred on the island since 591 A.D. - before the first Mosaic sculptures were made. Admittedly, the sun darkness is an individual case, but the number of people who visit the Rapa Nui every year is constantly growing.
The Explora (+56 2 395 2801) was the first of the new contemporary properties on the island. This may not be the least expensive accommodation you have booked, prices begin at Dhs8,500 per night for a three-day minimal accommodation, but it will certainly be the most remarkable.
Explora's itineraries are probably the best way to explore the island, as this avoids possible headaches if you try to make an arrangement on your way home. You will also be escorted by a local Rapa Nui tourist guides, who are equipped with endless experience of the island and its past and can provide answers to any question you may have.
Convenient hiking boots are indispensable, as the routes comprise a range of daily walks around the island's stunning sight. Among the most important are the Rano Kau craters - the biggest of the three volcanos that made up Rapa Nui and almost a nile away with a freshwater pond in the middle whose grass-covered hillsides are dotted with centuries of deserted mai; the Ahu Tongariki - the biggest of all mai plattforms, each known as Ahu, with 15 gigantic sculptures that were restau red after a 1960 sunami; and the Ahu Tongariki;
The Ahu Nau Nau on the scenic shore of Anakena - where four of the seven renovated sculptures wear so-called pukao top knots or headgear, giving the huge, austere sculptures even more grandeur. In addition to the organized hotel events, a variety of other events are offered.
Most of the island is only reachable on foot and a small number of cabs run through the roads of Hanga Roa at noon. The Mike Rapu Diving Centre, whose owners are something of a famous person on the island, is one of the most well known.
He is not only one of the most accomplished and highly regarded local businessman but for several years he also set the Latin America Freediving Records. Explora is not the largest on the island, it was eclipsed by another new building on the rock with a view of the city and a coastal strip where the sea bounces dramatically against the crags.
Hangaroa Eco Village & Spa (+56 2 957 0300) is more of an independent residential area than a traditional hospital. The facility, which was also LEED certified, was finished at the end of last year, and the tourism association stresses that a large part of the power used comes from wind turbine and sun collectors, that the entire kitchen of the hotels is made of native materials and that the locals make up most of the work.
They have a great passion for their island and their inheritance. Te Ra'ai in the restaurant Etnico Rapa Nui (+56 32 255 1460) is one of the best. There are more than 100 different kinds of seafood on the cuisine. Also try to prevent a Sunday in your stay, this is the local people's own Sunday; there will be no guided visits on that date and nothing will be open.
Arriving from the UAE is not an easy task, it is after all the most isolated island in the world and with stops it takes over 35hrs. Whichever itinerary you choose, the main town is the Chilean capitol Santiago, and from here it is possible to get a plane to the town.