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What was it like to travel to Easter Island?

What was it like to travel to Easter Island?


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Reviewing the question "How did people travel to remote islands like Easter Island?, @dotancohen has a few additional questions:

  • How long did they sail?
  • How could they row for so long (exhaustion)?
  • How many rowers (crew) were on board?
  • How big were the canoes?
  • How could they have room for enough supplies (food and water)?

Latitude: S 27.14295
Longitude: W 109.42414

If that doesn’t make much sense to you, it’s located in the mid-Pacific Ocean. Many of the Pacific Islands are very remote, but I find this region of the world one of the most fascinating to visit. Even small islands are inhabited, and Easter Island is no different. Despite being located at the eastern edge of the Polynesian Triangle and a whopping 3,526 km from the nearest continental mass (the coast of Chile)—making it one of the most isolated human settlements in the world—people do live on Easter Island these days.


Easter Island

This remote volcanic island has intrigued generations of scholars. Famed for its monolithic statues, Easter Island is shrouded in mystery. Its population&mdashonce sizable&mdashcollapsed.

&ldquoThe clearest example of a society that destroyed itself by overexploiting its own resources,&rdquo is how University of California Los Angeles geographer Jared Diamond once described it. But the island&rsquos history may not be as clear-cut as Diamond suggests. While scientists agree that broad-scale deforestation occurred here at some point, the verdict is still out on what exactly caused the downfall of the Rapanui people.

Scholars do agree on one thing: the island once looked very different than it does today. Called Rapa Nui by its original inhabitants, it takes its English name from the day Europeans arrived: April 5, 1722&mdashEaster Sunday. Dutch navigator Jacob Roggeveen reported a few thousand people living there at the time. He described this island, more than 3,000 kilometers (2,000 miles) west of South America, as &ldquoexceedingly fruitful, producing bananas, potatoes, sugar-cane of remarkable thickness.&rdquo

Unbeknownst to Roggeveen, the indigenous population he encountered was just a fraction of its former size. Scholars estimate that between 15,000 to 20,000 people lived on Rapa Nui at the peak of its habitation. A thick cover of palm trees once shaded its hills, which are now fringed by low-lying vegetation.

On July 29, 2015, the Operational Land Imager (OLI) on Landsat 8 captured this image of the island. The extinct Terevaka volcano dominates the landscape, which also includes Poike and Rano Kau volcanoes and a number of smaller volcanic features such as lava tubes. Tufts of clouds pepper the sky overhead and a thick white outline along the island&rsquos southern edge indicates strong waves crashing against its shores. The Poike Peninsula, which juts out to the east, appears orange in places, a result of erosion exposing the brightly colored volcanic soil. The largest stand of trees, a eucalyptus plantation, was planted by people. Authorities hope reforestation efforts will help protect the island against the scouring wind.

About 5,000 people live on Easter Island today, and thousands of tourists come to see the anthropomorphic &ldquomoai&rdquo statues each year. Amid strain from a rising population, the island faces challenges ahead. It has no sewer system and continues to draw on a limited freshwater supply.


Things to Do on Rapa Nui

Rapa Nui National Park

Rapa Nui National Park is spread across the island and contains the most important archaeological sites and restorations. Rano Raraku is the volcanic crater from which the moai were formed. Here, you&rsquoll find the widest range of moai in various sizes and stages of completion &mdash many overgrown or toppled over. The construction site was abruptly abandoned centuries ago.

Nearby, Ahu Tongariki has the most standing moai. Fifteen are lined up in formation and tower over admirers below, many there to witness the sun rise behind them.

Ahu Tongariki has more moai than any other ahu.

With swaying palms and a white sand beach, Anakena is the one spot on the island that resembles elsewhere in the South Pacific.

Walking distance from the main town of Hanga Roa, the moai of Ahu Tahai overlook a grassy field large enough to comfortably host seemingly every tourist on the island at sunset.

No better spot to catch sunset than Ahu Tahai.

Head to Orongo to see the eerie bog deep inside the Rano Kau crater and the views beyond, to the Pacific Ocean. But stick around and explore the national park site that tells the story of the so-called Birdman cult that enraptured the Rapa Nui people.

The crater of Rano Kau and nearby Orongo, the main site of the fascinating &ldquoBird Man&rdquo cult.

Elsewhere on the island, you&rsquoll find plenty more archaeological sites and moai &mdash nearly 1,000 of them were created.

Eat the Ceviche

Most goods are shipped to Rapa Nui from far away, which normally means higher prices and lower quality. The obvious exception is seafood, and Rapa Nui does that right.

Ceviche is a popular favorite, and the locals head to Makona for the best combination of quality and value. Note that the entrada, or appetizer, portion is almost as big as the main course and costs less than half the price. Wash it down with delicious (but pricey) Mahina beer, Rapa Nui&rsquos very own microbrew.


Ahu Tongariki

A short drive away and you will arrive at Ahu Tongariki, which is the most photogenic of the statue sites. &ldquoAhu&rdquo are village burial sites defined by a large flat stone platform with a seaward vertical wall. You will notice that the statues here all have their backs to the sea they&rsquore all facing inland.

Why? Well, let&rsquos answer the first question:

Moai at Ahu Tongariki

So who put the Easter Island statues here?

It is believe that it was the Rapa Nui people, Polynesians who sailed here from other pacific islands that put the Easter Island statues there. Although other theories suggest that they could have arrived from South America.

The colonization of Easter Island began around 1000AD, although dates differ from archaeological evidence versus radio carbon dating.

What purpose do the statues of Easter island Have?

Archaeologists suggest that the statues were a representation of the Polynesian people&rsquos ancestors. The Moai statues face away from the sea and towards the villages, by way of watching over the people.

Easter Island Heads Tongariki

So here at Ahu Tongariki these Moai look over a flat village site. But not all Moai face inland, and we&rsquoll get to an example of this later on our journey around Rapa Nui.


What was it like to travel to Easter Island? - History

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  • You do NOT have to get tested before leaving the United States, unless your destination requires it.
  • You do NOT have to self-quarantine after you arrive in the United States.

Before travel:

  • Make sure you understand and follow all airline and destination requirements related to travel, testing, masking, or quarantine, which may differ from U.S. requirements. If you do not follow your destination&rsquos requirements, you may be denied entry and may be required to return to the United States.

During travel:

    on planes, buses, trains, and other forms of public transportation traveling into, within, or out of the United States and while indoors at U.S. transportation hubs such as airports and stations. Travelers are not required to wear a mask in outdoor areas of a conveyance (like a ferry or top deck of a bus).
  • Travelers should follow recommendations or requirements in Easter Island, including mask wearing and social distancing.

Before you travel to the United States by air

All air passengers coming to the United States, including U.S. citizens and fully vaccinated people, are required to have a negative COVID-19 test result no more than 3 days before travel or documentation of recovery from COVID-19 in the past 3 months before they board a flight to the United States.

After Travel

  • You should get tested with a viral test 3-5 days after travel
  • Self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms isolate and get tested if you develop symptoms.
  • Follow all state and local recommendations or requirements.

Do NOT travel if were exposed to COVID-19, you are sick, you test positive for COVID-19, or you are waiting for results of a COVID-19 test. Learn when it is safe for you to travel. Don&rsquot travel with someone who is sick.

Travel Recommendations for Unvaccinated Travelers

If you are not fully vaccinated and must travel, take the following steps:

Before travel:

During travel:

    on planes, buses, trains, and other forms of public transportation traveling into, within, or out of the United States and while indoors at U.S. transportation hubs such as airports and stations. Travelers are not required to wear a mask in outdoor areas of a conveyance (like on a ferry or the top deck of a bus). CDC recommends that travelers who are not fully vaccinated continue to wear a mask and maintain physical distance when traveling.
  • Avoid crowds and stay at least 6 feet/2 meters (about 2 arm lengths) from anyone who did not travel with you. It's important to do this everywhere&mdashboth indoors and outdoors. often or use hand sanitizer (with at least 60% alcohol).

Before you travel to the United States by air

All air passengers coming to the United States, including U.S. citizens and fully vaccinated people, are required to have a negative COVID-19 test result no more than 3 days before travel or documentation of recovery from COVID-19 in the past 3 months before they board a flight to the United States.

After you travel:

    with a viral test 3-5 days after travel AND stay home and self-quarantine for a full 7 days after travel.
    • Even if you test negative, stay home and self-quarantine for the full 7 days.
    • If your test is positive, isolate yourself to protect others from getting infected.
    • If you don&rsquot get tested, stay home and self-quarantine for 10 days after travel.

    Do NOT travel if were exposed to COVID-19, you are sick, you test positive for COVID-19, or you are waiting for results of a COVID-19 test. Learn when it is safe for you to travel. Don&rsquot travel with someone who is sick.

    Information for people who recently recovered from COVID-19

    If you recovered from a documented COVID-19 infection within the last 3 months, follow all requirements and recommendations for fully vaccinated travelers except you do NOT need to get a test 3-5 days after travel unless you are symptomatic. People can continue to test positive for up to 3 months after diagnosis and not be infectious to others.

    More Considerations

    If traveling by air, check if your airline requires any health information, test results, or other documents. Check with your destination's Office of Foreign Affairs or Ministry of Health or the US Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs, Country Information page for details about entry requirements and restrictions for arriving travelers. Follow any entry requirements or restrictions at your destination which might include testing, quarantine, and providing contact information. If you do not follow your destination's requirements, you may be denied entry and required to return to the United States. If you test positive on arrival, you might be required to isolate. You might be prevented from returning to the United States as scheduled.

    If you get sick, you might need medical care. Plan ahead and learn more about Getting Health Care During Travel. You might not be permitted to return to the United States until you can end isolation. If you are exposed to someone with COVID-19 during travel, you might be quarantined and not be permitted to return to the United States until your quarantine is lifted.

    Clinician Information

    Clinicians should obtain a detailed travel history for patients with symptoms of COVID-19 infection. If you suspect that a traveler has COVID-19, see Information for Healthcare Professionals about Coronavirus (COVID-19) for information on evaluating, reporting, clinical care guidance, and infection control.


    From Easter Island, a Pianist Emerges

    Mahani Teave, 38 and likely the only professional classical performer from the remote island, has released her first album.

    From her home, halfway up the highest hill on Rapa Nui, Mahani Teave was describing the power of nature there to overwhelm.

    “On one side, I have an almost 180-degree view of the ocean,” she said in a recent interview. “A big fog is coming in from the hill on the other side.”

    The profusion of stars gives the black of the sky a seemingly “papier-mâché texture,” she said. When the sounds of crickets cease, profound silence completes “a stunning experience for the senses.”

    Teave, 38, learned to appreciate such stirring encounters while growing up on Rapa Nui — also known as Easter Island, the name imposed by European interlopers in 1722. From there, one of the remotest inhabited islands on the planet, this pianist went on to earn a place on the international concert stage. But rather than press on with a career of incessant touring, and quite possibly the only professional classical performer to emerge from Rapa Nui to date, she decided to return and establish the first music school on the small island nearly a decade ago.

    But she hasn’t stopped playing. Teave’s debut album, “Rapa Nui Odyssey,” was recently released on the British label Rubicon Classics. The recording project inspired “Song of Rapa Nui,” a new documentary streaming on Amazon Prime, directed by the Emmy Award-winning producer and filmmaker John Forsen and narrated by Audra McDonald.

    It was at Teave’s island school that the Seattle-based musician, rare string instrument collector and arts patron David Fulton had a chance encounter with her as part of a world cruise with his wife in the spring of 2018.

    “After we had visited the moai” — the monolithic statues of revered ancestors that symbolize Rapa Nui — “we were taken to the school to hear a performance,” Fulton said. “The kids had flowers in their hair and used the back porch of the school as a stage.”

    Then Teave began playing on a wobbly upright piano. “It was so moving and unexpected, even surreal,” Fulton said. “She played a serious program. I thought: This is not a good pianist this is one of the world’s greatest pianists.”

    Fulton was shocked to discover that Teave had never released a recording. He invited her to Seattle to put down some of her favorite repertoire at Benaroya Hall, engaging the Grammy Award-winning engineer Dmitriy Lipay, who works with the Seattle Symphony and the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

    Lipay recalls that he was concerned about whether there would be sufficient studio time for the challenging program Teave had conceived — Bach, Liszt, Handel, Scriabin, Chopin and Rachmaninoff — with a musician who had never before recorded in the studio. “With Mahani we were in for a big surprise,” he said. “The recording process with her was very similar to the golden years, when artists were willing and able to give a complete performance in one take.”

    Forsen, with whom Fulton had collaborated on four previous films, was asked to tape the recording sessions. As they learned more of Teave’s story, they realized it merited a full documentary.

    Teave’s first exposure to the classical repertory came from an itinerant ballet teacher, and for years her favorite work was “The Nutcracker,” which she listened to incessantly on a cassette, practicing her steps at home.

    “There were no classical radio stations on the island when I was a little girl,” she said. “Nobody even knew about classical music, except for tidbits they might catch from some movie.”

    When a retired violinist later settled temporarily on the island, bringing along a piano, Teave became fascinated by the instrument and persuaded the woman to give her lessons. Teave also wrote to the Chilean pianist Roberto Bravo, pleading with him to visit Rapa Nui. He did, and invited her to make her public debut she was 9. On his advice, Teave’s mother, an American who had settled on the island and married a native of Rapa Nui, took her daughter to Valdivia, in the south of Chile, to study at the conservatory.

    She went on to teachers in Cleveland and Berlin, a city where she felt especially at home and which became her base for almost four years.

    “There’s a respect there for history, for lessons learned, that’s very much like being on the island,” she said.

    Her decision to return to Rapa Nui after launching a potentially stellar career was part of a slow process. Teave said she felt she had devoted “the right amount of time” to each stage of her formation up to that point — “like a musical phrasing.”

    “A little door opened and I decided to go through it because nobody else will,” she added. “I realized we need a school, and I am the tool of this universe to do what has to be done at this moment.”

    With Enrique Icka, a construction engineer with a parallel career performing traditional music who sings on one of the album’s tracks, Teave founded a school for music and the arts. They named it Toki, the Rapa Nui word for “tool” — the same word that denotes the objects used to carve the mysterious moai statues.

    “It’s a very symbolic word,” she said, “because we believe the present carves the future.”

    That vision extends to social concerns and the environment. Toki is self-sustainable, using rainwater collectors and solar panels. The building was constructed from recycled tires and the glass and plastic bottles left behind by hordes of tourists. Teave conceives of it as a kind of reversal of the traditional pattern of colonialist exploitation. She believes the school — and Rapa Nui, which has already been hit by the effects of climate change — can be a model for the outside world, showing the urgency of taking action on environmental issues.

    Normally about 100 students, from 2-year-olds to teenagers, study each year, enrolled in classes in both traditional Polynesian and Western classical music that meet after regular school hours. The classes were free until 2018, funded mostly through philanthropy, with supplements from Chilean government grants the Fundación Mar Adentro and the island’s cultural corporation. During the pandemic, the student body has dwindled to 60. Rapa Nui has been especially hard hit because of its reliance on tourism — the chief engine, along with farming, of the island’s economy. But even before 2020, a general lack of opportunities has led to high rates of alcoholism, drug abuse and domestic violence.

    “If the children want to be musicians, they get the possibility to study here and later continue off the island when they are old enough,” she said. “But the others who will not pursue music as a career learn values that come just with learning an instrument. I see it as a tremendously necessary element, especially in a community which is as vulnerable as ours.”

    Given the ills that historically have come from the West, did people on the island greet Teave’s interest with suspicion? “Quite the opposite,” she said. “Because of the history, everything which is brought in from outside is always looked on with great skepticism. But when it’s born from the community, it’s accepted wholeheartedly. I performed two concerts before we ever started the school, and the people were moved and so grateful.”

    Teave said she would like to travel a bit more to concertize. But whenever she leaves the island, Rapa Nui remains a part of her music.

    “All of these experiences are in my playing and the pieces that have accompanied my life,” she said. “Always.”


    The Mystery of Easter Island

    Hundreds of years ago, a small group of Polynesians rowed their wooden outrigger canoes across vast stretches of open sea, navigating by the evening stars and the day's ocean swells. When and why these people left their native land remains a mystery. But what is clear is that they made a small, uninhabited island with rolling hills and a lush carpet of palm trees their new home, eventually naming their 63 square miles of paradise Rapa Nui—now popularly known as Easter Island.

    On this outpost nearly 2,300 miles west of South America and 1,100 miles from the nearest island, the newcomers chiseled away at volcanic stone, carving moai, monolithic statues built to honor their ancestors. They moved the mammoth blocks of stone—on average 13 feet tall and 14 tons—to different ceremonial structures around the island, a feat that required several days and many men.

    Eventually the giant palms that the Rapanui depended on dwindled. Many trees had been cut down to make room for agriculture others had been burned for fire and used to transport statues across the island. The treeless terrain eroded nutrient-rich soil, and, with little wood to use for daily activities, the people turned to grass. "You have to be pretty desperate to take to burning grass," says John Flenley, who with Paul Bahn co-authored The Enigmas of Easter Island. By the time Dutch explorers—the first Europeans to reach the remote island—arrived on Easter day in 1722, the land was nearly barren.

    Although these events are generally accepted by scientists, the date of the Polynesians' arrival on the island and why their civilization ultimately collapsed is still being debated. Many experts maintain that the settlers landed around 800 A.D. They believe the culture thrived for hundreds of years, breaking up into settlements and living off the fruitful land. According to this theory, the population grew to several thousand, freeing some of the labor force to work on the moai. But as the trees disappeared and people began to starve, warfare broke out among the tribes.

    In his book Collapse, Jared Diamond refers to the Rapanui's environmental degradation as "ecocide" and points to the civilization's demise as a model of what can happen if human appetites go unchecked.

    But new findings by archaeologist Terry Hunt of the University of Hawai'i may indicate a different version of events. In 2000, Hunt, archaeologist Carl Lipo of California State University, Long Beach, and their students began excavations at Anakena, a white sandy beach on the island's northern shore. The researchers believed Anakena would have been an attractive area for the Rapanui to land, and therefore may be one of the earliest settlement sites. In the top several layers of their excavation pit, the researchers found clear evidence of human presence: charcoal, tools—even bones, some of which had come from rats. Underneath they found soil that seemed absent of human contact. This point of first human interaction, they figured, would tell them when the first Rapanui had arrived on the island.

    Hunt sent the samples from the dig to a lab for radiocarbon dating, expecting to receive a date around 800 A.D., in keeping with what other archaeologists had found. Instead, the samples dated to 1200 A.D. This would mean the Rapanui arrived four centuries later than expected. The deforestation would have happened much faster than originally assumed, and the human impact on the environment was fast and immediate.

    Hunt suspected that humans alone could not destroy the forests this quickly. In the sand's layers, he found a potential culprit—a plethora of rat bones. Scientists have long known that when humans colonized the island, so too did the Polynesian rat, having hitched a ride either as stowaways or sources of food. However they got to Easter Island, the rodents found an unlimited food supply in the lush palm trees, believes Hunt, who bases this assertion on an abundance of rat-gnawed palm seeds.

    Two statues sit on the slopes of the Rano Raraku statue quarry. Nearly half of Easter Island's statues remain near this area. (Terry L. Hunt) Hanga Roa Village is one of Easter Island's main settlements. (Terry L. Hunt) The moai at Ahu Tongariki form the island's largest ceremonial platform. A tidal wave in 1960 sent 15 of these statues inland. Some 30 years later, archaeologists finally restored the site. (Terry L. Hunt) Students with the University of Hawai'i Rapa Nui Archaeological Field School inspect the stratification at Anakena Beach in 2005. (Terry L. Hunt) Petroglyphs still remain at the Orongo Ceremonial Village. (Terry L. Hunt) Polynesians chiseled the moai (above, on the lower slopes of the Rano Raraku statue quarry) out of volcanic rock. Carved in honor of ancestors, the statues stood on average 13 feet tall and weighed 14 tons. (Terry L. Hunt) At Anakena Beach, several moai, perched on a four-foot tall stone wall called an "ahu," stand with their back to the sea. (Terry L. Hunt) Participants in the University of Hawai'i Rapa Nui Archaeological Field School fly a kite at Anakena Beach. The moai of Ahu Nau Nau provide the backdrop. (Terry L. Hunt)

    Under these conditions, he says, "Rats would reach a population of a few million within a couple of years." From there, time would take its toll. "Rats would have an initial impact, eating all of the seeds. With no new regeneration, as the trees die, deforestation can proceed slowly," he says, adding that people cutting down trees and burning them would have only added to the process. Eventually, the degeneration of trees, according to his theory, led to the downfall of the rats and eventually of the humans. The demise of the island, says Hunt, "was a synergy of impacts. But I think it is more rat than we think."

    Hunt's findings caused a stir among Easter Island scientists. John Flenley, a pollen analyst at New Zealand's University of Massey, accepts that the numerous rats would have some impact on the island. "Whether they could have deforested the place," he says, "I'm not sure."

    Flenley has taken core samples from several lakebeds formed in the island's volcanic craters. In these cores, he has found evidence of charcoal. "Certainly there was burning going on. Sometimes there was a lot of charcoal," he says. "I'm inclined to think that the people burning the vegetation was more destructive [than the rats]."

    Adding to the civilization's demise, European explorers brought with them Western diseases like syphilis and smallpox. "I think that the collapse happened shortly before European discovery of the island," Flenley says. "But it could be that the collapse was more of a general affair than we think, and the Europeans had an effect on finishing it off."

    Flenley, who initially surveyed Easter Island in 1977, was one of the first scientists to analyze the island's pollen—a key indicator of foresting. The island's volcanic craters, which once housed small lakes, were ideal sites for his research. "The sediment was undisturbed. Each layer was put down on top of the layer before," says Flenley, referring to core samples from one crater's lakebeds. "It's like a history book. You just have to learn to read the pages." The samples showed an abundance of pollen, indicating that the island had once been heavily forested. The pollen rate then dropped off dramatically. "When I dated the deforestation at that site, it came starting at about 800 A.D. and finishing at this particular site as early as 1000 A.D.," a finding in line with other radiocarbon dates on the island. Since this was one of the first settlement sites, Flenley says, it makes sense that deforestation would have occurred even earlier than it did on other parts of the island.

    This crater, Flenley believes, would have been one of the only sources of freshwater on the island, and therefore one of the first places the Polynesians would have settled. "It wasn't only a site of freshwater, it was also a very sheltered crater," he says. "It would have been possible to grow tropical crops." Anakena, the beach where Hunt did his research, would have been a good place to keep their canoes and to go fishing, but not a good place to live. Hunt, Flenley says, "has definitely shown a minimum age for people being there, but the actual arrival of people could have been somewhat earlier."

    Other scientists who work on the island also remain skeptical of Hunt's later colonization date of 1200 A.D. Jo Anne Van Tilburg, founder of the Easter Island Statue Project and a scientist at the University of California, Los Angeles, is one of the island's leading archaeologists and has studied the moai for nearly 30 years. "It's not logical that they were constructing megalithic sites within a few years of arrival on the island," she says. Van Tilburg and her colleagues have surveyed all 887 of the island's statues. "By 1200 A.D., they were certainly building platforms," she says referring to the stone walls on which the islanders perched the moai, "and others have described crop intensification at about the same time. It's hard for me to be convinced that his series of excavations can overturn all of this information."

    Despite these questions, Hunt remains confident in his findings. Many scientists, he says, "get a date, tell a story, invest a lot in it, and then don't want to give it up. They had a very good environmental message."

    Hunt, Lipo, and their students continue to do excavation work on the island. They have recently moved on from Anakena to do work on the northwest coast. They also plan to date the earliest rat-gnawed seeds. "We keep getting a little more evidence," says Hunt, who has published his findings in Science. "Everything looks very consistent."

    Scientists may never find a conclusive answer to when the Polynesians colonized the island and why the civilization collapsed so quickly. Whether an invasive species of rodent or humans devastated the environment, Easter Island remains a cautionary tale for the world.


    What was it like to travel to Easter Island? - History

    This close to Easter, I thought it only appropriate to write about an island named after the holiday – Easter Island. Well, at least the western name is. The native name for the island is Rapa Nui. But did you know why the western name is “Easter Island”? Because the first recorded visit by a European was on Easter Sunday in 1722, almost 300 years ago. The Dutch explorer Jacob Roggeveen was the first European to name the island and called it Paasch-Eyland, which is old Dutch for “Easter Island”. Over time the island’s official Spanish name became Isla de Pascua (Isle of Easter).

    Easter Island is famous for primarily two things. The first is the fact that it’s probably the most remote inhabited island in the world. Located in the middle of the South Pacific Ocean, it is over 1000 miles from the nearest inhabited land. It was originally populated by Polynesian people, but it’s not exactly clear when. Estimated dates of the original settlement range from the year 300 CE to 1200 CE. It’s almost a miracle that these Polynesians happened upon this tiny island (only a little over 60 square miles) – they had to travel in canoes or catamarans over open ocean for nearly 1600 miles from the Gambier Islands or someplace even further away, and be lucky enough to find this island.

    But find it they did and built a thriving civilization of an estimated 15,000 people or so at the height of their era, in the tenth to sixteenth centuries. But by the time Europeans arrived in the 1700’s, the island’s vegetation had drastically changed and the population had already declined to an estimated 3,000. Subsequent issues with slave raiding and European-introduced epidemics of smallpox and tuberculosis almost decimated the native population, with the all-time low recorded in 1877 of only 111 native inhabitants. The Rapa Nui native population has recovered somewhat since that time, and there are around 2000 or so currently living on the island, together with another 1500 or so Chileans of European or mixed descent.

    And the island is much easier to reach today than it was when the Polynesians found it, since there are regular flights from either Santiago, Chile to the east or from Tahiti to the west. Though you should be prepared – the flights are long and expensive. The primary industry on the island is now tourism, and there are hotels, restaurants and discos, so it’s not completely the desolate island you often see on TV documentaries, though it’s also definitely not a “luxury” resort type place.

    By the 1860’s almost all of the moai had been toppled, presumably in battles among clans. Some 50 or so have been re-erected around the coastline in modern times, and provide the primary tourist attraction on the island, and some of the best photo opportunities. But even more fascinating is a visit to Rano Raraku, the stone quarry where almost all of these moai were originally carved. Here you can see hundreds of moai, some that had been completely carved but not yet moved out of the quarry to be erected elsewhere, and others in varying stages of completion surrounded by the stone hand chisels that were used to carve them.

    When the moai carving era ended on Easter Island (though it is not known why), it was succeeded by what is referred to as the Birdman culture. The touristic benefit of this change is that the caves on Easter Island are filled with petroglyphs of the Birdman. Any visit to Easter Island should include a visit to the stone village of Orongo where you can see many of these petroglyphs.

    And what to do on Easter Island when you are not admiring the petroglyphs or trying to guess how the ancient Rapa Nui people moved and erected the giant moai? There are two beautiful white sand beaches where you can relax and take a swim. And in the evenings you can sample traditional foods and enjoy some exhibitions of traditional dancing. So, no, this is not an island with a million things to do. But it is an island rich in history and mystique, so it’s well worth a visit.

    Note: no promotional consideration was provided or paid for this article.

    Content copyright © 2021 by Laura Hartney. All rights reserved.
    This content was written by Laura Hartney. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Malika Bowling for details.


    Tourism on Easter Island

    Since the expansion of the airport landing stretch in Easter Island, there is also a subsequent rise in tourism in Rapa Nui National Park. Since 2012, Rapa Nui receives an average visit of 70,000 each year! And yet, the tourism industry continues to see up to 20% growth each year. The tourism industry is, therefore, the biggest source of economy for the island.

    The locals who live on the island live a modest lifestyle. The power in Hanga Roa is generated using diesel engines. The access to power is cut once a week (for two hours or more at a time) for maintenance or failure issues. The internet access in the island is also very limited.


    Watch the video: Ridiculous Flight to a Ridiculous Place: EASTER ISLAND (May 2022).


Comments:

  1. Ame

    Thank you, the post is truly sensibly written and to the point, there is something to learn.

  2. Reyes

    Has casually come on a forum and has seen this theme. I can help you council.

  3. Harun

    Bravo, you were visited with simply excellent idea



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