Easter Island - Tourist Information

Easter Island also known as “Rapa Nui” or “Isla de Pascua” is a mysterious open air museum with massive stone unturned (Moai) dotting the shore around the island. Officially the Island is a territory of Chile and one of the worlds most isolated places, located on a triangle of volcanic rock in the South Pacific over 2,000 kilometers from the nearest population centres of Tahiti and Chile.

The island is famous among the planet’s most sacred sites, famous for its giant stone busts, built centuries before, they signify the history of this dramatic rise and collapse of an isolated Polynesian culture.

Early settlers called the island “Te Pito O Te Henua” (Navel of The World). Locally today it is called Rapa Nui.

There’s been much confusion and controversy as to the origin of the Easter Islanders. Some believe Peruvians constructed the figurines, some believe the Island is a slice of a continent that was lost. DNA has shown that Polynesians were the earliest settlers coming around 400 AD in the west in massive ships. This is seen as remarkable since Easter Island is such a great distance from other land. Legend has it they were searching for other land as their very own island has been swallowed by the ocean.

The island was a paradise and the islanders prospered – archaeological evidence shows that the island was covered with a variety of various trees, including the largest palm tree species on the planet. The sailors used the wood and bark to get cloth, rope, and canoes. Birds were abundant and supplied food. all inclusive chile was mild and the water provided an abundance of oysters and fish.

Their faith developed using its centerpiece the giant moai, or heads, which are the island’s most distinctive feature now. The moai, are scattered around the island and allegedly depicted their ancestors. This was probably considered a blessing or a watchful eye over each small village. The ruins of the Rano Raraku crater, the stone quarry where hundreds of moai sit now, show how these characters were important. The birdman culture (as seen from the petroglyphs) was clearly the islanders’ fascination with their ability to travel to remote lands.

Along with the figurines, petroglyphs (rock carvings), conventional wood carvings, tapa (barkcloth), crafts, tattooing, string figures, dance and songs, the islanders possessed the Rongorongo script, the only written language in Oceania. As time moved on confidence in their faith was dropped since arguments broke out. This can be reflected in the ruins of the moai statues that were intentionally elicited by human hands.

At its summit the island had more than 10,000 population, straining the capability of it’s ecosystem. Because of this lush palm forests were destroyed for agriculture along with the massive statues, and resources became more scarce. The once thriving advanced social society descended into a bloody civil war, and seemingly cannibalism since they ran from food resources. The islanders ripped down the figurines, which today have been erected by archaeological attempts.

Through contact with western culture, slavery and disease the island inhabitants by around 1800 had dropped to approximately 110. Around 1888 following the annexation of Chile the population climbed to more than 2,000. Despite the Chilean presence there’s still a powerful Polynesian identity.

Accessibility is from Chile and Tahiti, tourism around the island is run by the Rapanui themselves. There are lots of package tours and various hotels and guesthouses around the Island. There are opportunities to remain in a private residence, a excellent way to have the island and culture.

There are a series of ongoing excavations, preservation and conservation projects.All but among the 22 standing statues in Rano Raraku Quarry interior have been subjected through unscientific and undocumented digging.

The Easter Island Statue Project (EISP) has a 20 year history of an archaeological survey, the objective of which is the creation of a complete, complete, island-wide monolithic and portable statue inventory and the compilation of an historic picture record for every.

In 1982 the EISP group started a 5 year Easter Island Statue Project, mapping the interior of Rano Raraku, the volcanic quarry from which 95 percent of those figurines were created. Over 1 million statues were documented throughout the Whole island and created the world’s largest archaeological record

Rano Raraku, a volcanic crater on the island’s eastern plain, was the origin of the sideromelane (basaltic) by which 95% of those statues were carved. This source is irrefutable as there are 397 in situ statues, of which 141 at a variety of phases of completion have been implicated by EISP from the inside quarries.