Easter Island, one of the world’s remotest inhabited islands lies in the south eastern Pacific Ocean. The island is a special territory of Chile. The Easter Island 887 iconic moai statues were made by the Rapanui people. Currently the Rapanui National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and also serves as an example of how not to over-exploit/abuse national treasures.
The subtropical maritime climate of Easter Island means low temperatures in July/August (18 °C) and high in February (maximum 28 °C due to cooling winds), with April the rainiest month and no cyclones or hurricanes.
Easter and the nearby Islands (Motu Nui and Motu Iti) are the exposed summits of a 2km high volcanic mountain that formed about 750 000 years ago and is resting on the sea bed. However, it’s been at least 100 000 years since the last eruption. The three freshwater crater lakes (Rano Kau, Raraku and Aroi) by the 507 metre high summit of the Terevaka volcano are lovely to visit. The other two volcanoes, Poike and Rano Kau which together with Terevaka contribute to Easter Island’s triangular shape, are also worth hiking up to.
Most of the moai statues were carved out of solidified volcanic ash from a single location at Rano Raraku using basalt toki, a type of strong volcanic stone chisel. It is estimated that each statue, which represented the head of a lineage, took a team of 4-6 native people about a year to complete.
Petroglyphs (pictures carved into rock) used as totems, territorial markers or for commemorative purposes are common in Polynesia. Typical Easter Island themes include Makemake (the main god of the Tangata manu – Birdman cult) and sea turtles.
Wild horses can be seen at various locations on Easter Island. Land caves, some of which feature in local Rapa Nui myths and legends, are numerous. They are thought to have been used as fortifications due to their narrow entrances and tight crawl spaces.
Posted : Wednesday, January 4th, 2012 at 11:00
As well as writing about travel, Karen Bryan offers tips on saving money, frugal living and how to live well on less, on her site Help Me To Save