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Easter Island: volcanoes and huge statues

Easter Island (Isla de Pascua) also known as Rapa Nui is one of the most isolated islands in the Pacific Ocean, in fact it is more than 3,500 km from the Chilean coast and about 4,000 km from the island of Tahiti in French Polynesia. Only town inhabited in the island is the village of Hanga-Roa.

The first European to sight it was the Dutch navigator Jacob Roggeveen, who gave it its present name because he discovered the island on Easter Day 1722 (April 5, 1722), later the island was also visited by Spanish ships (1770), by the English explorer James Cook (1774) and by the French explorer La Perouse (1786).

Easter Island belongs to Chile from the nineteenth century, in its vicinity (approximately 400 km) lies the uninhabited island of Sala y Gomez also Chilean possession (0.12 sq km), while the nearest inhabited island, is the island of Pitcairn, which is approximately 2,000 km.

Easter Island is known worldwide for its famous stone statues that populate it, the Moai, huge statues of volcanic rock which are scattered along the coast of the island, they were counted four hundred some of them high up to 10 meters.

The island has a triangular shape and is of volcanic origin, is characterized by a landscape of barren, treeless, with a rocky coast with high cliffs and caves, while in the volcanic craters in the interior there are several lakes of volcanic origin.

The highest volcano is the Terevaka (507 meters) located in the north, two other volcanic cones are to the east, the Poike, and south-west, the Rano Kau.

The main activity of the inhabitants of the island is tourism, thanks to the fact that Easter Island is part of UNESCO World Heritage sites, other activities are farming and fishing.


International Flights: Getting to Easter Island is a long journey, there are two possible alternatives, arriving from Chile or from French Polynesia. Tahiti (Papeete), in French Polynesia, is easily reached by flights from Paris, the United States, Australia, New Caledonia and New Zealand.

In both cases, the airline operating flights to Easter Island is the Lan Chile, 6-7 connections are made per week from Santiago de Chile, or two connections a week from Papeete (Tahiti).

The flight time to reach Easter Island, both from Santiago de Chile and Tahiti (Papeete), is about 5 hours.

Airport: The airport of Easter Island is Mataveri Airport (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).

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