Easter Island (Isla de Pascua) also known by the indigenous name of Rapa Nui is one of the most isolated islands in the Pacific ocean. This island is in fact located over 3,500 km from the Chilean coast and about 4,000 km from the island of Tahiti in French Polynesia. The only inhabited village on the island is the village of Hanga-Roa.
The first European to spot it was the Dutch navigator Jacob Roggeveen, who gave it its current name because it discovered the island on Easter 1722 (April 5, 1722). Subsequently the island was also visited by Spanish ships (1770), by the English explorer James Cook (1774) and by the French explorer La Pérouse (1786).
Easter Island has belonged to Chile since the 19th century. In its “vicinity” (about 400 km) is the uninhabited Chilean island of Sala y Gómez (0.12 sq km), while the closest “inhabited” island, it is the island of Pitcairn which is located about 2,000 km.
The island of Rapa Nui is known worldwide for the famous stone statues that populate it. The Moai, huge volcanic rock statues that are scattered along the coast of the island. On the whole island almost nine hundred have been counted, some of which are up to 10 meters high.
The island which has a triangular shape and is of volcanic origin, is characterized by a barren landscape, without trees. Its coast is rocky with high cliffs and caves. While in the volcanic craters of the interior there are some lakes of volcanic origin.
The highest peak on the island is the Terevaka volcano (507 meters) located in the northern part of Rapa Nui. Two other volcanic cones are located in the east, the Poike volcano, and in the south-west, the Rano Kau volcano.
The main activity of the inhabitants of the island is tourism. This is also thanks to the fact that Easter Island is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Other more marginal activities are breeding and fishing.
FLIGHTS: HOW TO GET TO EASTER ISLAND
International Flights: Getting to Easter Island is a long journey. There are two possible alternatives. Firstly, arriving from Chile and secondly, arriving from French Polynesia.
In both cases, the airline that flies to Easter Island is Lan Chile. 6-7 connections are made per week from Santiago de Chile, while one or two connections per week are guaranteed by Papeete (Tahiti).
The flight time to reach Easter Island, both from Santiago de Chile and from Tahiti (Papeete), is about 5 hours.
Airport: The airport of Easter Island is that of Mataveri (Isla de Pascua Airport, IPC). The airport is located in the southern part of the island near the town of Hanga Roa and is the only entry point for tourists visiting Easter Island.
- Area: 163 sqkm.
- Population: 3,800 (2002 data) (Polynesians (Rapa Nui) 60%, Chilean 39%, Amerindians 1%).
- Capital: Hanga Roa.
- Languages: Official languages are Spanish and Rapa Nui.
- Religion: Christian 100%
- Currency: Peso (CLP).
- Time: -UTC -6 hours (Summer: UTC -5 hours).