Easter Island – Isla de Pascua – Rapa Nui

Getting to Easter Island takes 2 days and it is not so much about the time change that makes it 2 days.

easter.island.sunset.all

Easter Island is 2 hours behind Chile and Chile is one hour ahead of Peru.

There is only one airline that services Easter Island – LAN. It is a a nice airline but the connections are strange.

Arriving onto the island reminds us of Hawaii, thought the airport is much smaller and is an outdoor one.

All flights seem to arrive and leave around the lunch time frame – 11 – 2 pm.

We are met by our tour guides for the week with a flower necklace, similar to a lai.

There is only one town on the island – Hanga Roi and it is situated on the west side right on the water.  Here on the island even though spanish is spoken, the “h” is pronounced whereas in spanish it is silent.  The children are also taught the native language too.  Children are able to go to school to the end of high school then they have to go to the mainland.

History

Rapa Nui is made of 75 volcanic cones, which are now all considered dead.

The name Easter Island was given to the Island in 1722 by the dutch sailor Jacob Roggenween who discovered the island on Easter.easter.island.carved.rock

The natives call the island Te Pito O Te Henua or “the navel of the world”.

The Polynesian name is Rapa Nui. When the spanish dominated the island it was called San Carlos Island. James Cook, the english explorer, refers to it in his tales as San Carlos.

Of course, there are many theories on who the first inhabitants were. One theory states that around the 5th century small Polynesian boats navigating to the east arrived at Easter Island.

Another theory says they emerged from South America, due to the similarity of Andean structures. The advocate for this theory is Thor Heyerdhal who travelled by the Kon-Tiki (built by craftsmen of Lake Titicaca) from South America to Polynesia. The only issue are the ruins on Rapa Nui that are similar in construction to Saqsaywuaman – dated 200 years older than Saqsaywuaman.

Another theory led by Humboldt Current based on the existence of sweet potato and pumpkin believes the first settlers came from Peru and Northern Chile.maori.painted

There is a legend stating that the inhabitants are descendants of Kon-Tiki, a priest and sun-god that fled the Coquimbo Valley to the Pacific.

Another legend, the one that is told to visitors and is celebrated, believes that during the 15th century King Hotu Matua cam from Polynesia to settle the island. The stone monuments and sculptures were built during this time.

 

To be continued……

 

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