"Mysteries and moai" Top 5 Page for this destination Easter Island by TheWanderingCamel

Easter Island Travel Guide: 633 reviews and 1,533 photos

So many unanswerable questions ...

... are posed when you visit Easter Island.

So many images haunt your mind when you leave.

Truly one of the world's great mysteries exists here on this tiny speck of land lying thousands of kilometres from anywhere in the vastness of the South Pacific.

Held by many as one of their dream destinations, having the opportunity to spend a few days here was the realization of an almost life-long ambition. How wonderful then that the reality of being there exceeded all expectations ... and only served to increase the sense of wonder and intrigue the island and its extraordinary sculptures had inspired for so many years.

The islanders call themselves, and their island home, Rapa Nui. Polynesians, they are believed to have made the journey to the tiny island -just 23 by 11km - some 800 -1200 years ago. Much of their history is lost but just enough of an oral tradition survives to allow a glimpse into some of the puzzles the island poses... but much more is left unanswered and/or speculative.

Ever since their first sightings by outsiders - Dutch navigator Roggeveen named it Easter Island in honour of the day his ship arrived there in 1722, the island's first contact with Europeans - Rapa Nui's great stone heads have posed one of the world's great mysteries. Called moai by the islanders, they are to be found all over the island ... 887 of them in all. Intended to be set up as cult figures, nearly 300 can be found in or near their final position on the altars known as ahu; the rest are to be found either at the quarry where they were carved directly from the rock face or en route to the ahu.

The figure here is one of the greatest puzzles. The only complete full figure statue (there are only a very few, very damaged, similar ones elsewhere on the island ), he kneels on the side of the volcano from which he was carved, his completely different facial features gazing upwards in seeming supplication. Far below him, dots in the distance, 15 moai stand on the Ahu Tongariki, the largest of all the island's ahu. These figures stand tall and straight, their now-empty eye sockets gazing straight ahead - haughty and aristocratic, and very different from the one here.

But this is only one of the island's mysteries. Time spent here will reveal more. Some questions will be answered but others will take their place. Many pre-conceived ideas will be refuted. The island will prove to offer much more than trophy photos of those monolithic heads as layers of cult and culture are revealed. I hope you'll enjoy this page as I build my impression of this unique place. More importantly - I hope some of you at least get the chance to make the journey for yourself one day.


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  • Last visit to Easter Island: Nov 2006
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (35)

Comments (40)

  • toonsarah's Profile Photo
    Feb 27, 2016 at 8:32 AM

    Just the sort of useful page I expected from you! We're hoping to go to Easter Island later this year and I was in search of a mix of practical info and inspiration, both of which you've provided aplenty! Thanks

  • BruceDunning's Profile Photo
    Nov 18, 2010 at 12:52 PM

    I saw a movie "Rapa Nui" done in 1980's and wanted to learn more about what it is like today. YOu certainly had a surreal visit among the culture with an unknown outcome. The pictures and comments are well prepared.

  • jumpingnorman's Profile Photo
    Jul 18, 2010 at 1:39 PM

    Well, I've seen these pages before and now I booked for Chile, yehey! So doing my research again and hopefully AO Tours is still operating - will try look them up :) Thanks Leyle :))))

  • starship's Profile Photo
    Jun 3, 2010 at 10:09 AM

    Absolutely wonderful page! I need more time to read & study all information here--I most certainly will return soon.

  • Nemorino's Profile Photo
    May 30, 2010 at 12:44 PM

    A lovely page with beautiful photos and texts about this unique and mysterious place! I wonder if they will succeed in re-introducing the native trees, with a gene pool limited to the one last tree. Unusual problems with wild horses & stray dogs, too.

  • sirgaw's Profile Photo
    May 2, 2010 at 8:34 AM

    That wandering camel seems to get almost everywhere. Now how does a camel make it all the way to Easter Island - great pages and thanks for visiting some of mine. Best wishes - David

  • nicolaitan's Profile Photo
    Mar 8, 2010 at 9:55 AM

    really superb coverage of an amazing place about which i learned a great deal. worth every minute of reading - every picture worth a thousand words.

  • unaS's Profile Photo
    Nov 2, 2009 at 3:17 PM

    Am considering this trip next year. Thanks for all of the great tips. Have saved most of them.

  • KiKitC's Profile Photo
    Aug 28, 2009 at 3:36 AM

    I've always wanted to go to Easter Island. I think I just learned more about it from your tips then searching the net. How incredible. I would love to take a compass near the Te Pito o Te Henau and see what happens.

  • Sharrie's Profile Photo
    May 31, 2009 at 7:22 AM

    I wish I had extended it to E.I. when I was in French Polynesia. Didn't plan in advance & had not even time to proceed here. That'd be the easiest gateway for me then! Hopefully, one fine day. Indeed, it's too remote unless one is living in Santiago!

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