Considered the most remote/isolated inhabited island in the world, we feel the 5 to 6 hour (2300 mile) flight from Santiago to Rapa Nui to be well worth the effort. Among the most iconic UNESCO World Heritage Sites anywhere, Easter Island was originally settled by Polynesian navigators in approximately A.D 300. The “Easter” Island name was actually coined by Dutch explorers in 1722.
Notable for the island’s 887 massive “moai” stone statues, the many unique hiking activities make a visit here exhilarating both physically and spiritually. The moai were quarried and skillfully carved out of porous volcanic rock around A.D 1400 – 1650 in order to serve as sacred ancestral totems. When hiking in some of the more remote areas, you will see no other human being and enjoy blissful silence and solitude.
Our favorite Easter Island Hikes
Rano Kau and Orongo (2 hours)
Known as the largest volcanic crater of Easter Island, this natural wonder possesses its own microclimate where figs and vines prosper, yielding lush and spectacular colors of the earth. Orongo is the prime archaeological site within Rano Kau, an ancient ceremonial village sitting on a narrow strip between the Rano Kau crater and a cliff that dives 300 meters into the Pacific Ocean. Enjoy a spectacular view while immersing yourself in an ancient civilization.
Anakena to Hanga Roa (5 to 6 hours)
Anakena beach is one of the only beaches on Easter Island that boasts idyllic white sands. With the Pacific Ocean and coconut trees as its backdrop, this true paradise is complemented with several maoi statues as a glaring reminder of its ancient history. From there, you will trek along the northwest coast (void of roads) passing Easter Island’s impressive ruins to Hanga Roa, which is regarded as the most outstanding coastal walk in the South Pacific (!)
Rano Raraku and Tongariki (5 hours)
A staggering 397 maoi statues can be seen at the quarry of Rano Raraku, a truly mystical sight where you will see these carved stones in various stages of completion. Access to this other-worldly site is highly regulated for the sake of preservation. While one can marvel in this place for an entire day, it is suggested that you hike down the Ahu Tongariki trail to witness 15 magnificent statues along with the yet to be deciphered petroglyphs.
Explora Rapa Nui (RL)
Set on a hillside overlooking the Pacific, the Eco-friendly 30-room Explora Rapa Nui is the only quality luxury accommodation in Easter Island. The lodge carries the noteworthy LEED certification (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design). Designed in a somewhat spartan minimalist style, all rooms enjoy ocean views featuring pine and wood paneled walls and earth-tone concrete floors. The baths come with hydromassage soaking tubs and separate rainfall showers – very nice after an afternoon hike! Other amenities include a bar, a restaurant with a seafood-oriented locally sourced menu, a nice size pool, and a spa with a sauna and jacuzzi. A big plus at Explora is its expert, multi-lingual local guides. The guides offer over 20 different hiking/biking exploration opportunities. Enjoy this pristine place!