When anyone thinks about Easter Island, the first thought revolves around the 887 giant statues called “Moai” – which are spread all over the island. However, only few people know about the actual meaning and history behind these impressive stone heads.
Most likely, ancient Polynesian people settled on the island between 700 and 1100 CE. Without knowing they would make such a culturally interesting history, and become famous to tourists across the world thousands of years afterwards, they began making these giant statues. These statues were carved using solidified volcanic ash from the Rano Raraku volcano. While the purpose of these statues still remains somewhat of a mystery, people have theorized that they were a symbol of unity between all the people that lived on the island, and that they were used to honor important people that had passed away. Although the statues look similar, they all have unique characteristics – used to keep the look of the person that the statue was made to honor.
Still, it’s unclear how the Moai Statues were made, and how 14 ton statues were moved across the island, but many scientists believe that a “miro manga erua”, a y-shaped sledge with cross pieces was used, or potentially, a simple solution of strong ropes and many people – moved the statues all across the island. Also, it was discovered that many of the “heads” are actually full bodies, with the rest of the body buried underground!
Also, its interesting to note, that the island actually rose out of a massive volcano over ten thousand feet from the Pacific Ocean floor.
Besides the famous stone figures, there are many other fascinating reasons that this island is so attractive to visit. When you visit the Easter Island, you get to understand the true nature of the Rapa Nui people, and take part in their traditional dances,music, and their famous body paintings.
Creating an unique and thriving culture of Rapa Nui, coupled with a lot of myths and legends, there is good reason Easter Island has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
If you would like to check out some of the most beautiful coral reefs in the world on Easter Island, check out this diving tour here!
Getting to Easter Island is not too difficult. LATAM Airlines provides flights from Santiago, Chile or Papeete, Tahiti. There is a good chance you can catch a cheaper ticket from Chile. The best time of year to make your own unforgettable travel experience to the Easter Island is January-March, since this is summer and high season in the southern hemisphere. Even in winter, it’s worth the trip, still having temperatures between 22 and 14°C, and also having the advantage of missing any summer crowds. Being on the Island, you can discover the most famous areas by renting a car, bike, motorcycle – or just go for an exciting guided tour about the culture and its amazing landmarks.
If you traveling in Latin American or the Easter Island, download the TheBesty app to book the best tours and activities, discover fun things to do, and find the guaranteed lowest prices on hotel bookings – all in Latin America.