jeff's career break

Isla de Pascua/Easter Island – Day One

Written By: jeff

Posted On: May 30th, 2010

Career break rtw on Easter Island

Moai statues on Easter Island

The day finally came.  It was time to head off to Easter Island – one of the world’s most mysterious and revered places on earth.  It is also one of its most remote.  It is approximately halfway between Chile and Tahiti.  So, it’s not the kind of place that you just happen upon.

I’ve always wanted to travel here.  So, when I made plans to go to Chile I knew I had to figure out how to get here.  I wasn’t sure if I would come now or come later in the year from Buenos Aires.

I walked into a travel agent last week with the intent of making plans for this weekend.  The choices were to go to Easter Island or check out the south of Chile – Patagonia.  Both were good options.  To make a long story short, the travel agent and I never even bothered researching Patagonia.  So, for $1034, I got a round trip ticket, 3 nights lodging, shuttle transfers and 3 excursions – 1 full day and 2 half days.  It seemed like a good deal so I jumped on it (Excursions cost about $100, flight was about $490 and the rest was for the hotel).

Career break, rtw blog on Easter Island

Outside Hanga Roa on Easter Island

The day started early.  The shuttle was late but picked me up at about 5:45AM this morning.  The flight was scheduled for 8:30 and we finally left around 9:30.  It’s South America and everything goes at it’s own pace.  As we were waiting for the flight to board, I got THE call.  The airline called me up to the counter to give me an upgrade.  The flight is 5 hours and I was thrilled.  I lost my status on American (partner of LAN Chile) so I’m not sure why I got it.  But, I don’t care – I sat in 2D.

The flight over was non-eventful.  The airline’s service was great by business/first standards.  My seat was supposed to go flat, but it wasn’t working.  I can hear the gasps of horror out there in the blogosphere.  Please do not send flowers or cards.  I will figure out a way to pick up the pieces on my own.

I arrived in Easter Island, got my bag and took my shuttle to my hotel, Taha Tai.  I was greeted with a glass of yummy papaya juice and my bags were quickly taken to the room while I checked in.  It’s a modest place as most of the hotels are here on the island.  But, I don’t care.  I’m not here for the hotel stay.  I did have another stroke of good luck.  My room had two beds and the one across the hall only had one.  For some reason, the retired couple across the hall wanted 2 beds.  We had both just checked in so we swapped.  I walked in to find that I was now the proud guest of an ocean-front room.  I was definitely meant to be here in Easter Island.

Career Break rtw blog on Easter Island

Easter Island Moai

The weather was a little balmier and warmer than Santiago so I changed into shorts and a t-shirt, grabbed my camera and started exploring on foot.  Oh, I also applied the insect repellent.  According to a government brochure we received when coming off the plane today, the Easter Islands have been infested with mosquitos that carry dengue fever.  I’m not really sure what it means to have dengue fever.  But, I do know that I don’t want it.  Anyway…

It didn’t take long before I saw my first moai (the proper name for the stone heads on Easter Island).  I didn’t realize that they are sprinkled throughout the island. I fully expected not to see any today.  I walked a little further and there were more.  The other surprise of the island for me was seeing that this is a proper tropical island.  I had this impression that the island was somewhat barren.  But, it look like I could be in Hawaii or some central american island.  It’s lush with rolling hills and flowers everywhere.

I stopped off for lunch at this little place I found on the side of the road.  I had a fish soup that was excellent with veggies, potatoes and cilantro.  It came with some bread and I had a couple of beers to go with it.  Escudo is the local brew and it’s very good. After finishing up, I got back on the road.

I was taken by how quiet the island is.  I walked through “the center” and there was no hustle and no bustle.  The divers were making there way back in.  And, there were a few surfers out.  But, other than that, there wasn’t too much going on.  It was beautiful.  I really felt that I was in one of the most remote parts of the world. And, all I felt was peace.

I stumbled upon this dirt road (as most roads seem to be here) which led me through a residential neighborhood.  I took a turn which led me back towards the beach. When I reached the end, I turned to my right and I saw one of the most beautiful sights on the island.  I was at the place where the moai are lined up with their backs to the ocean.  Tomorrow I will find out what the official name is.  I walked over and was overwhelmed.  It was incredible to be finally where these giants stood.  While close, it wasn’t a spiritual experience.  It was just awe-inspiring.

Career break rtw blog on Easter Island

Easter Island Moai at sunset

After taking several dozen pictures, I continued on the road to head back to the hotel.  I wanted to be back in time for sunset.  I’m staying on the west side of the island and with an ocean view, the pictures of the sunset were bound to be stunning.  Unfortunately, there was too much cloud cover and the sun set without fanfare.  But, I will try again tomorrow and head over to the moai to really nail the pics.

I sat on my “porch” with a beer watching the sunset.  The couple I traded rooms with came by and we hit it off and talked for a good long while.  They are a retired couple from England and have a passion for travel.  They apparently were in Portugal last week, got home and back on a plane to the Easter Islands via Santiago.  It looks like we are on the same excursions around the islands so I’ll have some folks to hang out with.

I’m heading out now to a little show about the local customs and dances.  It sounds like it will be like a luau without the food.  We’ll see how it is.

Originally published April 21, 2007

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3 Responses to “Isla de Pascua/Easter Island – Day One”

  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by BriefcasetoBackpack, Jeff Jung. Jeff Jung said: The Sunday Read. Easter Island Day 1 from Jeff´s #CareerBreak #Travel Blog #rtw #rtwsoon #rtwnow [...]

  2. Cam says:

    Great that you were able to experience such a cool place! It’s one of our fav’s islands on the planet

  3. jeff says:

    Thanks Cam. Mine too.

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