Select Page

Easter Island



24 hours


of the world



Zuzka Greizinger


I’m a stewardess, but I used to be an editor for a magazine, so I always have had my head in the clouds. In addition, I’ve always been attracted by the heights and distances and so I came up with a great idea – I could explore the world as a flight attendant! 🙂



“In the middle of the Pacific Ocean, in a region where no one ever passes, there is a mysterious and isolated island; there is no land in the vicinity and, for more than eight hundred leagues in all directions, empty and moving vastness surrounds it. It is planted with tall, monstrous statues, the work of some now vanished race, and its past remains an enigma.”

If you have ever heard about Easter Island, I bet it was regarding the mystery around massive statues buried in the ground. Let’s be clear. Over eight hundred statues all over the tiny island where population most likely never exceeded couple of thousands! So who carved them? What purpose do they have? Why they are all looking up to sky? How could people thousand years ago with very simple tools transport and erect such massive statues? Where first settlers come from? How did they find such a remote place somewhere in the middle of Pacific? This island always raises lots of questions, arguments and theories but not really satisfying answers so far. I always wanted to visit this island as I’m uncontrolledly attracted to mysteries and unknown but if you think visiting this island helps me to find some answers… you’re wrong. I actually have one more question for you: Do you believe in aliens? 🙂


Never revealed mystery

My blog post could start like all the other stories… Once upon the time, far far away… Actually the furthest and most isolated place I’ve ever been to. And I’m not the only traveller who thinks like this. Let’s look into diaries of famous explorers:

“There exists in the midst of the Great Ocean, in a region where nobody goes, a mysterious and isolated island.”  
The French seafarer Pierre Loti in 19th century

“The island is planted with monstrous great statues, the work of I don’t know what race, today degenerated or vanished; its great remains an enigma.” 
The Dutch explorer Jacob Roggeveen in 1722

“We could hardly conceive how these islanders, wholly unacquainted with any mechanical power, could raise such stupendous figures.” 
The British mariner Capt. James Cook in 1774

And nowadays we aren’t any smarter! Nearly 1000 statues, some almost 30 feet tall and weighing as much as 80 tons, are still an enigma. The more we learnt about this most remote populated island from archeologists and researchers, the more intriguing it becomes… Any attempts to unravel that history have produced many interpretations but Easter Island remains one of the biggest unsolved mysteries of the world. It should be listed as 8th wonder of the world, right? 🙂
Technically about statues

In native language of islanders, Easter Island – like the people and the language – is called Rapa Nui. Platforms are called Ahu, and the statues that sit on them Moai (pronounced mo-eye). Using basalt stone picks, the Easter Island Moai were carved from the solidified volcanic ash of Rano Raraku volcano. They are all monolithic, the carvings are created in one piece of an average weight of 20 tons! Once completed, the statues were then moved from the quarry to their intended site and erected on an Ahu platform. Many Moai are still standing on the slopes of Rano Raraku volcano. These statues were still under construction waiting to be finished… Maybe therefore their bodies are still buried in the ground… But what stopped the process all of sudden?

Rongorongo and aliens

As I already mentioned, there are two main varieties of statues of Easter Island: single Moai mysteriously buried with only head and shoulders appearing and then the ones standing on the platforms. But all have something in common: They all are facing the village and they have their gaze set above the horizon. With their eyes starring at the stars they seem like they are looking for their ancestors homeland. That’s also the reason why theory about aliens is so popular. Another reason is old Rongorongo tablet discovered on Easter Island with mysterious system of glyphs that appears to be writing! Numerous attempts at decipherment have been made, none successfully. Till now none of these glyphs can be read. Civilization of Easter Island originally known as Rapa Nui is almost lost. Few pure Rapa Nui people who left have confirmed they have lost the original meaning of their own culture and so lost are their secrets… But here is one preserved mythology… 

Rapa Nui mythology

Rapa Nui mythology tells how the first settlers arrived on the island. According to the legend, they came from an island called Hiva. The location of Hiva is not known for certain but it is thought likely that it was somewhere in the Marquesas Islands, some 3200 km away. According to some versions Hiva was sunk beneath the sea after a natural disaster, possibly a volcanic eruption. It could have been this that drove a folk leader Hotu Matu’a into making the arduous journey to Rapa Nui and pioneer a new life for his people. But it was a priest called Hau-Maka who had a dream which he then told to Hotu Matu’a. In that dream Hau-Maka had flown out over the sea and discovered an island called Te Pito which means “the center of the earth”. Oral tradition states that Hotu Matu’a and his people landed at Anakena beach in double hulled canoes similar to what Polynesian use this day. Rapa Nui mythology also tells that once two different ethnic groups lived together on the island. One tribe of people called “long-ears” (they had higher status) and a tribe of people called “short-ears” (workers). It was the “long-ears” people who brought the stone-carving skills to Rapa Nui. In other versions the “long-ears” were already on the island when Hotu Matu’a arrived… But who were they? 


So where the first settlers came from?

Why this island got name after Easter? Archeologists can’t even agree on where original islanders come from. Are they Polynesians or South American or from stars? Over the past few decades, archeologists have assembled evidence that the first settlers came from another Polynesian island, but they can’t agree on which one. And how they ever found such a remote place, whether by design or accident, is yet another unresolved question. Some argue that the navigators of the first millennium could have never plotted a course over such distances without modern instruments. Other contend that the early Polynesians were among the world’s most skilled seafarers. New supernova in the ancient skies may have pointed the way. But did the voyagers know the island was even there? For that, science has no answer. Apart from oral tradition, there is no historical record before the first European ships arrived. And over the next 150 years, with visits by European and American sailors, French traders, Peruvian slave raiders and Chilean imperialists, Rapa Nui people were almost all destroyed. By 1877 there were only 110 natives left on the island to tell us their stories..

Sweet potato theory

But there is one more theory that native inhabitants were actually not Polynesian but South American origin, mostly due to sweet potato mystery… Sweet potatoes originate in South America but were also found on Rapa Nui. There are the theories that they were washed off the South American landmass by heavy storms and floated to the islands where they took root, but there are also those which see this as evidence of contact between South American and Polynesian cultures. Polynesians definitely had better navigational and boat building skills but the distance between Eastern Island and South American continent is too big. Were they equipped so well that they were able to make return journeys bringing back parts of American culture with them? Or there was a greater civilization than we know which could have connected all these mysterious places like Easter Island, Machu Picchu or Bolivian Tiwanaku? (more about it in next posts) 

Theoretical preparation is done, let’s go to practical information!

How to get there

Easter Island officially belongs to Chile even though it has very less in common with latin culture (apart from sweet potatoes) and it takes 6 hours by a plane from Chile to reach the island! Of course, nowadays local islanders are of Chilean origin as real Rapa Nui people almost vanished. There is only one way how to get to Easter Island – by Latam Airlines from Santiago de Chile. There are only 2-3 flights per day going there and coming back and they all gets full easily. Due to very remote location of the island count with triple prices for food and accommodation than you are used to anywhere else in the world. 

When to go

Easter Island enjoys a sub-tropical climate, and is therefore a year-round destination. Temperatures in summer months (Dec-Mar) rarely exceed 30 °C (86 °F), while in winter they never drop below 15 °C (60 °F). The island receives 45 inch of rain per year and it can rain throughout the year, although the weather season tends to be from May until September. UV Rays are strongest in this part of the world anytime of the year, so be prepared. Me and my travel buddy are choosing for traveling the end of November when the sun is working for us with the late sunset (around 9 pm) and early sunrise (7 am), which means more daylight for pictures, less time for sleep.

How much time you need to explore the island – rent a car or not?

All Easter Island is very tiny, it has only around 160 sq km. If you are fit and have more days for it you can explore it all even on bicycle but I would recommend a scooter or ATV. Car is necessary only if you mind some short rain showers which may surprise anytime of the day, anytime of the year. There are several rentals around the main and only town of the island called Hanga Roa. It’s very close to the airport and prices hover between $20 – $30 for a scooter per day which is less than you pay for your pasta. Prices are pretty similar around the island for food and bike/scooter rentals so no real need to shop around. For renting two scooters you may pay exactly same price as for one car. There is no public transportation, so if you don’t have driving license, or at least driving buddy like me, you can book the tour for around $40 per day. But we all know, exploring the places on our own is always better. And how much time you need for it? With scooter or car you can make it within 2 days. Me and my travel buddy are arriving to island at Midday and our plan is to leave back to Chile next day with the same flight, so we have exactly 24 hours!

Ticket or no ticket?

The entrance fee to the Rapa Nui National Park is $80 or 54.000 Chilean pesos for all non-Chilean visitors. Ticket is valid for your entire stay up to 10 days and you can buy it at Hanga Roa or at the airport. Many of Moai statues are easily accessed even without the tickets, like the statues at Anakena beach or Ahu Tahai (the only statue that still has eyes) at Hanga Roa. But if you want to have a closer look, you will need a ticket. At Rano Raraku they really check the tickets as all the area is enclosed but this is the only place you can come really close to the statues – something you don’t want to miss! 

Easter Island in 24 hours

We booked the private bungalow in Hanga Roa on called Cabanas Vaiora for $70 per night. And when we landed at the smallest airport I have ever seen, a driver from the accommodation is already waiting there for us with a car and flower chains. We don’t want to waste the time, so straight after the check-in we are going to rent one scooter for both. Equipped with the tickets, map and instructions from a friendly lady who lent us a bike we are ready for exploring. Our trip starts at beautiful volcano crater at Orongo, then we are heading north to the Anakena beach stopping at every statue of Moai we come across on our way. Just right before the beach we will get wet by unexpected short thunderstorm. And then we are getting dry on the beach, swimming in the Pacific Ocean for the first time in my life and admiring huge statues standing on the platform showing the ocean their backs. On the way back we will get small accident…

From a bad experience to funny story

Right couple of minutes away from our final stop of the day – at Ahu Tahai were we were told is the best sunset view and the only Moai with eyes – we got flat tire! Bill is leaving me behind as he doesn’t want to give a scooter more weight than necessary but I don’t walk on road alone for too long. Soon some local guy on scooter will stop to help and drive me to the town. A few minutes later Bill with flat tire reaches the place. Lady from the rental company is prepared. We have to pay for the flat tire but she gave us ATV instead without any extra charges so we can catch the sunset at Ahu Tahai. But guess what… We will make it on time but at wrong place! There is one fake statue made for tourists (the real once are massive and you can’t touch them) which will confuse us. And the real Ahu Tahai is standing just couple of minutes walk from us! When we realize our mistake, sun is already below the horizon. We are a bit upset but I know for sure that this bad experience will turn to funny story with time. And therefore we travel, right? To turn to storytellers…

Sunrise at Ahu Tongariki

Simple dinner at the restaurant near our accommodation, some sleep and waking-up before the sunrise around 6 am. Thanks god for annoying rooster at our place! We don’t want to miss this experience just because were are lazy to wake-up. Like Ahu Tahai for the sunset, Ahu Tongariki is very popular for the sunrise. Lots of visitors come here with their cameras to watch the sun rising up behind the Moai statues. And so do us. It’s something you must see and not only because of the pictures…

Fascinating Rano Raraku and Good bye Ester island!

The next stop is the one I am truly most fascinated about. Rano Raraku park. Most of the Moai statues are standing on the platforms and you can’t really get closer, but these guys are those half buried in the ground so you can get a way closer look. Park opens at 9 am so we have time for some breakfast before we go for walk among big heads. And then just returning our ATV, check out and six-hour-long flight back to Chile. But there will be another post about it…


People would say, it is a city of Pablo Escobar. But it is much more than that! It is a city of eternal spring for a pleasant weather all year long. It’s a city of green heigh hills, winding roads and passionate Colombian women.

Uyuni salt flats

Three days without any connection to civilization. Three days of being dirty, stinky but sooo happy! Three days across the landscapes which take your breath away, and not only due to altitude of 4000 m.a.s.l.! Shortly, this is our trip to Bolivia about!


Ornate Spanish colonial architecture dripping with tropical flowers, the Palenqueras and Caribbean vibes are just a few reasons Cartagena de Indias is one of the most photographed cities in Colombia.

Zuzka Greizinger


I’m a stewardess, but I used to be an editor for a magazine, so I always have had my head in the clouds. In addition, I’ve always been attracted by the heights and distances and so I came up with a great idea – I could explore the world as a flight attendant! 🙂