The mystery of Easter Island (Isla de Pascua) and its indigenous inhabitants, the Rapanui, has intrigued travelers and archaeologists for many years. Where did these ancient people come from? How did they transport almost 1,000 giant statues from the quarry to their platforms? What cataclysmic event caused them to overthrow all they had erected with so much effort? And most important, what does it all mean?
With the opening of Mataveri airport in 1967, Easter Island became more easily accessible, and many visitors now take the opportunity to pause and ponder the largest and most awesome collection of prehistoric monuments in the Pacific. This is one of the most evocative places you will ever visit.
(On this site we follow the convention of spelling the island name Rapa Nui and its people and their language Rapanui.)
Easter Island lies in the eastern South Pacific Ocean, due south of Salt Lake City, Utah, and due east of Brisbane, Australia.
In winter, the island shares the "Mountain Time Zone" with Denver and Calgary, GMT minus seven hours. In summer, clocks are moved forward two hours.
The Pacific's largest body of archaeological sites is here, an unforgettable World Heritage Site. The island itself is rugged and beautiful, and the people helpful.
The Chilean carrier LAN flies here from Santiago, Lima, and Papeete.
Half of the island's 5,000 inhabitants are Polynesian. Today they are citizens of Chile.