International Parks: Rapa Nui, Chile

by Cie McCullough Buschle on May 9, 2012

in Arts and Culture, Outdoors with Kids, Travel Ideas

Rapa Nui is better known to almost everyone by another name. Early settlers called the island Te Pito O Te Henua or Navel of The World. Rapa Nui is the Polynesian name; in Spanish it’s Isla de Pascua, or Easter Island.

Rapa Nui lies in the South Pacific, about halfway between Chile and Tahiti, yet is an official territory of Chile. Although off the beaten path, Rapa Nui is not completely inaccessible. Flights come daily from Santiago, twice weekly from Lima, and weekly from Tahiti. Approximately 5,000 people live permanently on the island, which has many small villages.

There is more to see than the famous Moai; two exceptional sites are the volcanic craters of Rano Kau and Rano Raraku. There are also two beautiful beaches, Anakena and Ovahe, and many locals surf in Hanga Roa harbor. The surrounding islets provide great spots for scuba diving; rental equipment and guided tours are available at some of the local shops. Rapa Nui also hides an extensive cave system, many quite large and deep.

There are three hotel on the island, as well as many guest houses. These guests houses have reasonable rates, and the owners/hosts are extremely helpful and hospitable. Many serve breakfast and some even dinner. Another alternative is to stay in a cabana. Some are modernized, with hot water from solar panels and WiFi and bicycles for the guests; others are set up more like a dorm, but cost only $25 US a night. Almost every accommodation on the island offers free airport pickup.

Hanga Roa and the harbor, Rapa Nui

Hanga Roa and the harbor, Rapa Nui

| Cie McCullough Buschle lives with her dog Einstein and a cat named Burton Guster. She is a lifelong traveler and enjoys researching history through holidays, toys, and everyday objects. Cie is a sculptor and co-owns The Creative Chameleon, a place where kids and adults can create, paint, celebrate, and just have a lot of fun. Sometimes you can find her time traveling back to the Middle Ages as part of the Society for Creative Anachronism.

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