The Mystery of the Easter Island Heads

Easter Island also called Rapa Nui reflects a mysterious history that has absolutely no written proof. It is known that a group of Polynesians somehow navigated to this tiny speck of land amid the great pacific ocean, some 2000 miles from the coast of Chile.

The Mystery of Easter Island
The Mystery of Easter Island

The Polynesian dwellers of this island carved 900 statues with a distinct structure consisting of head and torso. These mysterious statues of Easter Island are popularly known as Moai which are scattered around the whole of Rapa Nui Island.

Interestingly, the visitors are left wondering how the Rapa Nuis’ managed to move the Moais around the island as they weigh 14 tons and are as high as 13 feet!

Sunrise in Easter Island
Sunrise in Rapa Nui

How to get there?

Because of its location, the travelers must have appropriate information and plans while traveling to Easter Island. There are three ways to travel to Easter Islands which are given below.

Currently, there are only Latam Airlines that fly to Easter Island. There is a daily flight to Rapa Nui Island from the Airport at Santiago in Chile. It is the most accessible point to Rapa Nui.

Time Taken: 5 hours and 40 minutes (subject to variations in the wind)

In addition, there are two flights a week that fly from Papeete Airport to Rapa Nui Island which takes 5 hours and 20 minutes.

If you wish to retain the essence of traveling to an island, you can book a yacht or sailboat. Some main anchorage sites are Bay of Hanga Roa and Hotuiti on the beach of Anakena.

Also, you can travel to Rapa Nui Island via the Chilean Navy. However, there is a navy quota on this option.

A very luxurious and exclusive way of traveling to Rapa Nui Island is by cruise. If you are going for a cheaper option, then Oceania Cruises are good to go. It connects Papeete and Lima on a journey of 17 nights.

Also, you can travel via Ponant Company that leaves Papeete and completes the journey to Easter island in 13 nights.

Easter Island’s Towering Stone Heads

Heads of buried moais standing on a mountain in Easter Island photo via DepositPhotos
Heads of buried moais standing on a mountain in Rapa Nui photo via DepositPhotos

Easter Island’s towering stone heads, also called Moais, are monolithic statues that are believed to be constructed by the people of Rapa Nui. Most of them are head-torso figures which are known to be at least 500 years old.

The size and weight of these towering statues ranging from 13 to 69 feet and weighing 13 to 270 tonnes. They seem to represent some ancestral inheritance reflecting the powers of spirituality and politics.

UNESCO World Heritage Site

A fully excavated Easter Island head. Photo: courtesy the Easter Island Statue Project.
A fully excavated Easter Island head. Photo: courtesy the Easter Island Statue Project.

Easter Island was designated as the UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995 due to its unique cultural phenomenon.

  • It is estimated that there are 900 statues along with more than 300 ceremonial platforms. Also, there are structures reflecting on various activities such as agriculture, funeral, housing, etc.
  • The Moais are constructed from yellow-brown lava and basalt which were then lowered down in the previously dug holes.
  • Orongo is a village that is known for its ceremonial nature. The housing and productive structures situated here attract great importance and interest.

Interesting Fact about Easter Island

A Guide to Easter Island in Chile
A Guide to Easter Island in Chile
  • Rapa Nui is one of the most remote inhabited islands in the world.
  • The Moais were built by the Rapa Nui people to honor the Chieftain and important people with a belief that their spirits will look over the island forever and bring good fortune for it.
  • The name “Easter Island” was given by the island’s first recorded European visitor, the Dutch explorer Jacob Roggeveen, who encountered it on Easter Sunday (5 April) in 1722, while searching for “Davis Land”.
  • In 2011, a large moai statue was excavated from the ground. During the same excavation program, some larger moai were found to have complex dorsal petroglyphs, revealed by deep excavation of the torso.

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