If you’ve ever dreamt of getting away from it all, really far away, you might have imagined yourself living on an island somewhere. Situated 3,700 km off the coast of Chile, Easter Island is one of the most remote inhabited islands in the world. The name refers to the arrival of Dutch explorers on Easter Sunday, 1722. It is more correctly known as Rapa Nui, it’s Polynesian name.
Rapa Nui is part of Chile, and you can reach it by a five-hour commercial flight from Santiago. Or you could take a 35-day ocean voyage from New Zealand on the tall ship Soren Larsen if you timed it right. The ship makes the journey only once a year. With a population of only a little more than 5,000 people, it would be hard to get away with much. The biggest dangers are stray dogs, falling coconuts and food poisoning. But the big question is, aside from famous and amazing giant stone heads, what would await you in this remote Polynesian paradise?
Tourism is Rapa Nui’s economic lifeblood, and there are not many jobs beyond that. In fact, there are not many jobs at all for non-natives. The island’s extreme isolation makes it a compelling destination for anyone who really wants to ditch the hustle and bustle of modern European life, but realistically, you won’t be employed there. It is an amazing place to spend some weeks, but if you want to spend time there regularly, you would need to settle in Chile and take a lot of holidays on Rapa Nui.
Polynesian Paradise for the More Adventurous
The climate of Rapa Nui is subtropical. Temperatures stay mainly between 18 and 27 degrees, and being an island, it can be wet and windy. The landscape is rugged and rocky, so venturing off trails and roads is risky. But you can cover a lot of ground and enjoy some amazing sights without going off the roads or trails. Most of the beaches are rocky, but you can find a couple of fantastic spots for swimming and surfing. This is also an amazing place for diving because the water is so clear. Touring with a guide is the best way to see all of the amazing spots tucked away on this unique and unforgettable island.
The famous giant stone heads are now as the Moai, and they are an unforgettable sight. Don’t miss the chance to see the one on the ocean floor! Star gazing this far from city lights is other worldly. Internet access is iffy, and as the island relies on generators electricity can go out for a few hours here and there. The culture is Polynesian with some Chilean influence. You can get by fine with Spanish, but more and more natives are embracing their own language so expect to hear that spoken around you.
Rapa Nui isn’t really a place you can realistically move to, but it is the definition of splendid isolation. It’s your every deserted island fantasy, but with a warm local culture and new food and music to try.