The Final Update

Trip Start Jan 19, 2011
1
7
Trip End Apr 15, 2011


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Flag of Chile  , Easter Island,
Tuesday, April 12, 2011

As April began, we hopped on a plane and flew 3,700km west to Easter Island, aka. Isla de Pascua, aka. Rapa Nui. This 24km-long Polynesian island reminded me of Hawaii, but uncommercialized, little-populated, and not over-developed! This was the final UNESCO World Heritage Site that we would visit on this trip! :) 

 Upon arriving at the airport, we met Maret and ended up caming in her backyard for our entire 8-day stay on the island.We spent our evenings watching the sun set behind the Moai, specifically Ahu Tahai. 

 Early on, we visited the local museum, where we learned that the only recovered evidence that the Moai (statues) had eyes made of coral. The display in the museum was originally found burried by sand along the beach.

 Next, we took part in a guided tour of the island and saw: toppled Moai that have not been restored; the Birthplace of the Moai: Rano Raraku, where the Moai were initially carved from volcanic rock; Moai burried along the volcano-side. 

 There are 398 Moai found all across the island. The Moai were carved to represent and honor a Chief's ancestors. 

 Our english-speaking guide, Estevan, described at one point that an early Moai that looks similar to other polynesian islands, but does not yet show the particular traits of the Rapa Nui Moai. 

 The site of much work and restoration effort: Ahu Tongariki. 

 Anakena Beach - one of two beaches on the island, which was the landing site of Hotu Matu'a, the Chief of the first polynesians to settle the island. 

 One evening, we saw a fushion new-age / tradational Rapa Nui dance show. 

 We took horses to the highest point on the Island. It was a beautiful, calm, sunny day; our "guides" lead the way up the extinct volcano... The Summit of Maunga Terevaka.

 Exploring Ana Kakenga (Cave of 2 Windows)... an old lava tube that shoots out onto the rugged coast. The entrance to Ana Te Pahu (the Banana Caves). 

 Ahu Akivi... The only Moai that face the sea (instead of inland). 

 The rental car was used to visit Orongo Ceremonial Village, where we looked at petroglyphs. 

 Our final day on the island was spent watching the sun rise at Ahu Tongariki and then enjoying Ovahe Beach... all to ourselves...
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