Easter Island has 3 names. Easter Island (its English name), Rapa Nui (its Polynesian name) and Isla de Pascua (Its Spanish name) but was first named Te Pito O Te Henua. The name Easter Island came from a Dutch explorer who first discovered the island on Easter Sunday in 1722. It sits out in the middle of the South Pacific Ocean but belongs to Chile although it sits around 2200 miles away from the South American continent. Its nearest neighbor is another small and isolated island known as Pitcairn Island. Pitcairn Island is home to 100 inhabitants and sits 1300 miles from Easter Island. This makes it one of the most isolated islands in the world. It’s famous for its enormous carved head statues – how the local Polynesian tribes who lived here built and moved them along with their meaning still remains a mystery today but it’s the biggest tourist attraction on the island.
There are hundreds of head statues found all over Easter Island located at different sites. How they were built and moved as well as their meaning is still an unsolved mystery today and not much is known about the Polynesian tribes who occupied the island. Most of the statues face inland while the seven head carvings found at the Ahu Akivi site all face out to sea. These carvings are enormous and the mystery associated with them adds to its appeal.
Easter Island isn’t exactly renowned for its beaches but there are a few stunning beaches to visit. A 10 minute taxi ride from the only town will take you to the northeast corner of Easter Island where you can visit the most popular beach – Rapa Nui is Anakena Beach. You will even find a few head statues on the beach here. There are a few other great beaches found close by such Pea Beach and Ovahe Beach.
Hiking is a great way to enjoy the beauty of Easter Island and luckily there are quite a few incredible hiking trails here. The three best hiking trails here are the Terevaka trail, the North Coast trail and the Rano Kau trail. These trails will take you to volcanoes, along dirt roads and even through forests. It’s probably the best way to experience all the beauty of this spectacular island.
Not many people know this but Easter Island is one of the best surfing destinations in the world. The waves here can cater to beginners and even professionals. Papa Beach offers small waves which are perfect for beginners and the waves at Hava Beach are considerably bigger and more suited for those with experience. Surfing at Hava is very treacherous because of the large waves crashing into sharp rock formations lying in shallow water so if you’re going to surf here make sure to bring a friend with. Surfing in one of the worlds most isolated destinations can be truly exhilarating.
Easter Island enjoys a very tropical climate all year round but the occasional arctic winds and rain can keep temperatures chilly during some periods of the year. May sees the most rain but rainfall can happen at anytime of year and is very unpredictable. The tourist season is between the months of January to March and it’s best to avoid this time of year as it can be hard to find accommodation and the prices are at its highest. April to December is an ideal time to visit as there are far less crowds and you can enjoy having most of the island to yourself.
Easter Island Hiking Trails: Get information on the 3 best hiking trails on Easter Island.
Easter Island Mysteries: Read about a team of archeologists who are trying to solve the mystery surrounding the stone statues.
UNESCO World Heritage: Find out more about Easter Island’s World Heritage status at the National Geographic website.