Otherwise known as Isla de Pascua (Easter Island), this remote archeological site has long been at the top of my list of places to see.
Due to its remoteness this was one of the last islands on Earth to be colonized by humans – archaeologists believe the first polynesian tribes arrived here no earlier than 700 – 800 A.D.
By the time Europeans arrived in the 18th century the civilization had already begun to decline, having exhausted most of the island’s natural resources. And of course, the Europeans wasted little time enslaving most of the remaining population and/or giving them smallpox, so little was learned about their unique culture.
Today, Rapa Nui is a modern yet sleepy little island, with decent roads, a few restaurants and a still-developing tourist industry. The most notable remnants of the ancient civilization are the famous moai – massive stone carvings which most likely represented important ancestors.
There are few hotels on the island – we opted to stay at Cabañas Pikera Uri, a family run B&B / horse ranch on the outskirts of town, otherwise known as Pantu’s house.
When our flight arrived, Pantu was waiting for us (with flower leis) to drive us from the airport to his house, where we enjoyed a tasty welcome drink of fresh pineapple juice.
Our room was clean, spacious and comfortable, the setting was beautiful and serene – we couldn’t have asked for a better home base for exploring the island.
Every morning started with a very tasty breakfast featuring amazing fruits and juices. Well, it actually started with the crowing of one of the roosters that prowl the grounds.
Danielle & I loved the amazing sunsets that could be seen nearby.
And they found a playmate – Pantu’s young daughter Tau.
I think my favorite thing was the serenity – Rapa Nui was much quieter than I expected. No massive throngs of tourists clogging up all the sites like at Machu Picchu. None of the pushy street vendors that were all over the Caribbean.
That was a welcome change.