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   Easter Island
 


Easter Island (Isla de Pascua) is one of the most fascinating islands in the world and certainly one of the most remote. Located in the middle of the South Pacific, the nearest major gateway is Santiago de Chile (flying time 5 hours 30 minutes).

Easter Island is undoubtedly the main archeological destination in Chile. There are nearly 1,000 MOAIS (statues) spread throughout the island: by number and size, they are the most important megalithic monuments in Polynesia. Only a small percentage have been restored and are now standing on their original platforms or AHU. Others are just lying along the coast as they were left when destroyed by internal tribal island wars.

Almost 400 moais are found in the area of the Rano Raraku volcano, many of them not finished and still attached to the bedrock. The tallest statue here measures 21 m (71 ft) in length. The statues remain an enigma for scientists and archaeologists alike and their origin is the subject of continuing investigation, as indeed is the origin of the Rapa Nui culture and the events surrounding its collapse. The Rongorongo Tablets, which include part of the history of the island and of the King Hotu Matua, are as yet undeciphered.

The sub-tropical climate of the island means it can be visited all year round and allows many other activities to complement your visit. You can sunbathe and swim at the quiet and idyllic beach at Anakena, which has warm emerald waters and white sands. The palm trees and the backdrop of the moais (Nau Nau Ahu) provide the perfect setting to relax and enjoy a day on the beach. Horse-riding is another way of exploring the island and can be arranged at your hotel or pension at a very reasonable price.

In February the islanders celebrate a colourful and very interesting festival called TAPATI. During 2 weeks they revive the ancestral traditions of their Polynesian forefathers and there are reed-boat races and wrestling, swimming, singing and dancing competitions.

 

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