Spirit of Discovery on Rapa Nui

Written on Monday, April 3, 2023 by

We touched down on Easter Island with no idea what to expect. We knew of the infamous head statues and that was about it. After the five-and-a-half-hour flight from Santiago we truly were in the middle of nowhere, which is more specifically one of the most isolated islands in the South Pacific. Although the island is now part of Chile, it’s history and people reflect its location in the pacific. We were welcomed with leis in the airport (which is a rustic shed) and joined some other Explora guests in the van taking us to our accommodation for our stay on the island.

We stayed at the Explora Rapa Nui an experience in itself. The stunning hotel is built into the land, almost all walls are curved as it winds around the coast, respecting the natural beauty of the island, blending into the landscape quietly. The interior also features local materials like wood and stone creating a calming atmosphere. Walking into the spacious foyer with the fire roaring is heaven after a long journey or hike. The restaurant is the perfect place to end the day as you enjoy sumptuous yet light food – perfect for an active holiday – paired with Chilean wines. Explora does a superb job at providing a paired back luxury, focusing on the incredible inclusions and adventures of the island, while ensuring you have absolutely everything you need including amazing guides and cuisine.

The property is all inclusive, the term may bring to mind resorts in South East Asia, or the Caribbean, however there is another kind of all inclusive, one I’ve had the opportunity to sample in Patagonia and also here in Easter Island. The Explora properties include all your meals and drinks, however you won’t find a buffet here, their meals are all a la carte and prepared by top chefs who redesign the menu every day. Most importantly all your excursions are also included, this is really what you come to this island for. To get the most out of it, you need a guide to see the natural wonders this unique place has to offer. On your own there is no way you would get as much out of your visit here. Having expert guidance on the flora and fauna, landscape, culture, and history of this enchanting island gave us a truly well-rounded experience. Explora offers more than 30 different excursions, including hikes, snorkeling, bike rides, and diving in both the must-see locations as well as the hidden gems where it will only be you and a few fellow explorers from the hotel.

A must do is visiting the quarry at Rano Raraku, this is the main area the native people carved volcanic stone to create the famous statues Easter Island is synonymous with, known as ‘Moai’. Most of the Moai remain here in the quarry, while others made it to their final destinations in other areas of the island.

The other excursions we chose were climbing up to the rim of the massive Rano Kau crater, hiking up a volcano for 360 degree views of the island, walking through caves shaped by lava flows, visiting ancient Rapa Nui settlements, and hiking through fishing coves and archeological sites before reaching the crystal clear waters and palm trees of Ovahe beach.

On one day, our guides said we were going somewhere else for lunch, instead of driving back to the lodge after our morning walk. We pulled up on the edge of the island at a rocky area leading into the ocean and saw 4 umbrellas set up with tables and chairs on a relatively flat part of rock. Two of the amazing chefs from Explora were cooking fresh fish on the rocks for our lunch while another team member made us drinks. It was spectacular. Sitting there resting our legs after a long hike, looking out at the ocean, with beautiful food, and our small group of morning hikers with the place to ourselves was heaven. Apart from the flat area suitable for tables and chairs this particular rocky outcrop had its own water feature, a few massive rocks sticking up out of the water that meant as a wave came in it would hit the rocks and shoot up into the air then cascade down. You could not have designed it better.

The quality and inclusions of a stay at Explora Rapa Nui made our experience of Easter Island. The value of the guides added so much depth to our visit.

Visiting Rapa Nui really felt magical, it’s so rare to visit a place mostly untouched since its native community’s high point during the 1200 to 1500’s. A must visit for anyone looking for a unique outdoor adventure.


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