Chile South America Travel

Easter Island: A Place of Many Names and Mysteries


Rano Kau Crater Lake

Rapa Nui (Easter Island or Isla de Pascua in Spanish) is one of those places you come to be entrenched in mystery, simplicity and kindness.

We first arrived to a blustery afternoon serenaded by local music and leis. We were greeted at the airport by our friendly host Maria and drove 20 meters before reaching Hotel Marari. We consumed a delicious serving of ceviche and a guava smoothie. Then we set off to explore the coastal moai (famous statues) by foot. We saw one after another, all of the various shapes, sizes and styles, and each more ambiguous than the next.

The following day we explored the island with our rental car and I practiced driving manually. We visited Rano Raraku on the East corner of the Island, which flaunted a volcanic crater lake and housed countless Moai. There we saw the quarry and the tools that were used to carve the giant figures.

In the afternoon we headed to Rano Kau (a stunningly unique crater lake) via a scenic coastal road making several stops for photos with more Moai. Along the way we stumbled upon Anakena a quaint beach, housing several Maoi and petroglyphs. There, fate introduced us to our refreshingly generous new friend Julio. Later we wandered through the ruins of the ritualistic city Orongo. The ruins overlooked Rano Kau a lake surrounded by solidified lava and an opening that looks like a giant took a bite out of it, exposing an epic view of the turquoise ocean. We finished the day off with a nightcap at a beachside restaurant overlooking Tahai (more moai) under a well-defined rainbow.

On our third day, we explored every hidden gem the island had to offer, guided by Julio. We visited Maunga Terevaka, a 3-hour hike that took us to the highest point on the island. The size of the island was all put into perspective at the top with unforgettable panoramic views and 50mph winds. Then we switched gears and familiarized ourselves with what the island hides under the surface as we crawled through several caves. The best cave ended with two different openings on a cliff with a steep drop off into the ocean.

We finalized our visit with a viewing of Rapa Nui, a movie directed by Kevin Costner about the ancient civilization’s demise.

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Logistical Tips for Booking Your Trip
Booking Flights
I typically use Skyscanner to book my flights because it allows you to search through websites and airlines worldwide all in one convenient search engine. You can also get price alerts for flights you’re interested in.Compare prices on flights with Skyscanner.
Booking Accommodation
I always book my hostels through Hostelworld. If I’m not staying in a hostel, then I book an AirBnB.
Travel Insurance
I always travel with insurance, because I know all too well how many things can go wrong while traveling (and sometimes even beforehand). Travel insurance protects you against certain cancellations, theft, medical emergencies, and more. I have been using World Nomads for the last seven years, and they haven’t disappointed me yet.
Other Travel Resources
Check out my Travel Resources Page to see the best companies, apps, jobs and other resources I use when traveling on a tight budget.

Anna French

Anna is an optimist with pessimistic tendencies who enjoys making a short story long, her coffee black, and watching Friends re-runs. These days you can catch her in her natural habitats wandering through forest roads in her van, hiking to a waterfall or glacial lake, and learning about off-grid living the hard way.

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