You’ll arrive on Easter Island by air, soaring over the southeastern Pacific Ocean. The island was settled by Polynesians some time after 700 AD, and the Rapa Nui civilization they built was quite advanced. Not only did they carve the 887 Moai heads, but they had a rigidly structured hierarchical society, extensive oral traditions, and a good understanding of maritime navigation.
The Rapa Nui still live on Easter Island, though the island’s population is today a fraction of what it was. You can walk this spectacular island, learning about their culture, past and present, by visiting stone platforms and stone houses, gaze at the petroglyphs and enter caves.
Watch wood carvers fashioning their humanoid statuettes. Live music is popular, and so too are various forms of Polynesian dancing, replete with feathered costumes.
It’s the Moai which are the greatest draw, and the greatest mystery, however. The tallest of these statues is nearly 10metres high, and a number of them weigh in excess of 80 tonnes. Researchers are unsure how they were moved into location, or why many were ultimately toppled.