THE HEADS OF EASTER ISLAND
Most people are familiar with Stonehenge, and I've told you about the Senegambian stone circles... want to see even more exciting stone statues on a beautiful remote island that doesn't just have great beaches but also rich history going back centuries? Then Rapa Nui should make the top of your list of places to go next. You might even catch yourself saying, "Dumb dumb, you bring me gum gum?"
Suppose you've been to the American Museum of Natural History or have seen Night at the Museum with Ben Stiller. In that case, you'll already be familiar with the iconic towering, foreboding faces of the moai that have stood perched on Easter Island for about eight hundred years. The small island, which features nearly a thousand statues, was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995. It tells one of Chilean history's most interesting stories.
It's One Of The Most Remote Places On Earth
Just because the island is remote doesn't mean it's hard to get to. If Hotu Matu'a came to Easter Island with his captain centuries ago in a two-person canoe, it should be easy enough for modern inventions like speedboats and planes to get you there. Two tribes lived on the island, having settled the island anywhere between 300 to 1200 AD. Anakena appears to be the area of the island where the first settlers set up their village.
The moai were carved in their image from 32-feet high stones around the time of the first settlers. They are tall, short, skinny, and fat- but they all embody both the Polynesian culture and the Chilean nationality. They all come from the same volcanic tuff from the island's youngest volcano, Terevaka, which forms most of the island. They all honor specific ancestors to this day and continue to sit on their shrines called ahu.
Today, the islanders' population has dwindled to 5,000, but that doesn't mean the culture has died out. The community still has ancient festivals like the Tapati Festival, during which islanders celebrate their culture with activities like spear throwing, tobogganing, dancing, and body painting. There's also the typical festival highlights like the parades and the delicious food. There's even the ceremonial crowning of the Tapati queen.
Along with the moai, Easter Island offers tons of historical, cultural, and natural attractions. There are the cave drawings found on the Ana Kai Tangata cave walls, the local traditional food, and the island's three volcanos and beaches. The only thing you need to do is decide which to explore first, and you know who can take care of all the rest.