When you book a trip you never know what you are going to meet, if you like the place, if you respect it? your expectations, if your money saved for a year will be well spent, so follow the advice of a guide book, scroll through the images to see the places but until you reach your destination you will not have the slightest idea where you will end up , do you have very high expectations, the desire to see something unimaginable and disappointment? the last thing you want.
For Easter Island (a common name throughout the world but for the inhabitants the name of the island? Rapa Nui) the sensation? was to book a long trip to a non-existent place, towards the unknown, the fantasy of visiting a place seen in a strange documentary with many questions and no answers. Giant heads, a Moai people, legends and tales, 20 hours of flight to reach it, 3 days, but where are we going?! We book?!?
But then you arrive in Chile and the first step? been done, you find yourself at the airport at the gate to Hanga Roa (the only city on the island) and at least you are certain that the place exists, that there are other people like you who will board that flight to that place. remote island in the Pacific ocean and from that moment? all a discovery.
The Latam company, the only company that flies from Santiago de Chile to Hanga Roa, takes 5 hours of flight (remember that there is another time zone from Chile to the island of 2 hours).
Just before landing the first thought of all travelers? to be able to see from the window a gigantic head from above, wrong thought! But you are greeted by immense green meadows, a cloudy sky as if to deliberately create further mystery on the island and that desire to discover everything there is. in that strip of land among the most? isolated to the world.
The Mataveri airport? rather small and just before the exit you must absolutely stop at the information point to buy tickets to be able to visit the park with the various sites, about 50 dollars each (find out which sites you can visit several times and those where instead it is allowed to enter only once).
Backpack on and off!
In the parking lot the guy from the cabanas is waiting for us where we decided to stay overnight for two nights and he greets us with a wonderful necklace of fresh flowers that seems almost fake (thank goodness, it was a claim that Samuele had for this trip and I was worried that the his wish!).
Does it take us straight to the city center? where are we? launched? on a landscape for which we were not prepared: the famous giant heads, the Moai, l? in front of us, everywhere around us, all posing waiting to be admired, photographed (but never touched, strict rules of the island, do not break them!) and? so that you realize that you are in another world and that you like that world and? real!
Our Cabanas Torkerau? a simple wooden house surrounded by greenery, with friendly staff, wagging dogs, a good breakfast and an extensive view of the green hills where time seems to have stopped for a while. it is located near the museum where you can visit it for free. Fortunately, they rent cars on site so we can move around easily also why? the only way to visit the island? right there the car! There are no other tourist means or many taxis and turning around we will discover that on the island there are no? nothing of all that you can? see in a city: there are no big factories, tall and gray buildings, there? Absolute ban on building McDonald's or Starbucks or any multinational, no hotels that block the view of the ocean, everything? remained as it once was, with their wooden houses, small local craft shops (there is no made in China only made in Rapa Nui), watermelon stalls at every corner of the street and all around the view of green meadows with their wild horses. The weather in these 3 days? been forgiving, sun and temperatures more? high in the afternoon while the wind? almost always present given the position in the middle of the ocean, so? it was useless to look at the weather forecast, pu? vary within a few hours, our luck? been the absence of rain.
After the visit to the first sites and the millions of photographs with the Moai, our first lunch? in an ocean view restaurant? La Kaleta? where we could not order only and exclusively fish! In front of us the view of the sea, small waves moved by a light breeze, behind the restaurant the fishing boats returning with fresh fish, we could not have asked for better. The prices on the island are certainly higher. high, live exclusively on tourism for? the portions are always abundant so you can? easily order a dish and divide it and then it's really worth tasting everything, isn't it? nothing imported or frozen, Rapa Nui? perhaps the best place in terms of quality? of the food I have ever eaten.
We spend the afternoon discovering the city? until enjoying a fantastic sunset. In archaeological sites? It is strictly forbidden to approach, touch, deface and take away any object, the Rangers control the whole park and there are high fines for those who do not respect? their laws. Also won't you see a city anywhere else? so clean!
Watermelon dinner from the terrace of our room and to bed early! What? ends our first day.
The second day starts at dawn with our guide from the agency? Easterislandtravel? who picks us up with a pickup from our accommodation to head towards the archaeological site pi? desired and photographed by a traveler, Ahu Tongariki with its 15 imposing statues, and? from there that we will see the dawn pi? beautiful of our life, with the rays of the sun that illuminate the Moai until they shine. The whole island? an archaeological park but in 3 days you can visit all of them and the agency allows us to visit at least three in one morning. Is it possible to visit with a guide? book well in advance online, unfortunately there are no guides in Italian,? it was impossible to find one in the whole island, you can have a guide in English or Spanish.
After full of stories, myths and tales about the first population of the island, about how the gigantic heads were built and why, we set off for lunch at? The Moana? where even here you are not disappointed! We continue the day with a visit to the artisan market and a walk to the wonderful Anakena beach where the kiosks with fresh fruit will welcome you.
The beauty of Rapa Nui? what can you? wander aimlessly, without looking at the clock, isn't there? the risk of getting lost or bored, you will always find something to admire and photograph, a kiosk where to have an aperitif overlooking the sea, a wild horse walking in the meadows, an inhabitant who greets you with a smile and a Moai who always watches over you to you.
Third day with the visit of the last sites. A site that there? was particularly impressed? The monumental village of Orongo with a gigantic spectacular volcanic crater and a legend waiting to be discovered. At the end of our journey can not? never miss the desperate search for the perfect souvenir to take home! But the time when you are happy always passes too quickly and the plane to Santiago awaits us ..
The owners of the cabanas say goodbye with a necklace of shells collected on the beach and so on. our journey ends in a land as mysterious as it is distant that surpasses all imagination. We didn't get the answers we hoped for, we don't know how the ancient Moai managed to move hundreds of tons heads up and down? for the island but we prefer that all of us? remains a mystery why? ? this is what drives travelers to visit Rapa Nui at least once in their lifetime!
Will our journey continue? in Chile, from Santiago to Valparaiso along the Pan-American road to Pucon and from there? ? a whole other story!