Sunday, September 30, 2012

Rapa Nui

"In the middle of the Great Ocean, in a region where no one ever passes, there is a mysterious and isolated island; there is no land in the vicinity and, for more than eight hundred leagues in all directions, empty and moving vastness surrounds it. It is planted with tall, monstrous statues, the work of some now vanished race, and it past remains an enigma."
- Pierre Loti

Playa Anakena: white sand beach with some Moais

We spent a week of our September holidays in Isla de Pascua, Rapa Nui or Easter Island. It was a great retreat and we learnt some amazing things about the history of this tough, little island.

Rapa Nui is an isolated volcanic island located in the heart of the South Pacific, halfway between Tahiti and South America. Its first inhabitants were Polynesians who settled there in about 700AD, and whose belief systems led to the carving of the stone statues for which the island is now so famous.

A Moai (stone statue) atop an Ahu (burial moud) in the town of Hanga Roa (only town on the island)

We explored the island by foot, jeep and scooter and we came across archaeological caves, petroglyphs, quarries, Moai, ceremonial villages, ruins, and more. We also saw beaches, turtles, wild horses and volcanes. It was truly spectacular! We followed the Sendero Te Ara O Te Ao up the crater to the ceremonial village of Orongo with its boat-shaped houses and view of the islands.

Rano Kau crater 

A boat-shaped house in Orongo

We had a fantastic holiday and we really enjoyed getting to know this unusual part of the world. Iorana!

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