Easter Island’s famous stone figure monuments draw thousands of visitors interested in the culture of the Polynesian people every year. Now part of Chile, the UNESCO world heritage site of Easter Island offers an eco-friendly tourist destination for all ages.
The mysterious moai statues were carved into head and torso figures, but no one is quite sure of the reason why. Many speculate it was to honor ancient chiefs and ancestors, but as little written history remains, this is simly a well-educated guess. The inhabitants’ fascination for the statues, unfortunately, bought about their own demise as forests were depleted in order to extract the rock to construct the figures.
Easter Island is incredibly isolated from South America, and the nearest island lies approximately 1,100 miles away. Because of this isolation, the Rapa Nui inhabitants were able to develop their distinctive culture in relative peace. Over the years they built more than 900 moai statues all over the island, 400 of which remain today in varying stages of completion. These figures are unique, different from all other Polynesian and South American sculptures uncovered over the years.
The island was initially thought to be inhabited between 800AD and 1200 AD although no one knows where this population came from or why they settled on the island. What is known, however, is that when the Europeans landed, they found a barren land because of the severe erosion and very few remaining inhabitants.
The beauty of the island has much to offer to visitors: snorkeling, diving, surfing, horse riding or hiking as well as an exploration of the remaining statues scattered on the island.
Easter Island can be reached from Santiago, Chile and is a wonderful mystical and relaxing tourist destination. It may be added on to our Chile-Bolivia-Peru tour for a diverse and complete personalized tour. Contact Perú InsideOut for more details on this captivating island.