We were recently asked to pick the most exotic place we’ve ever been. That, I thought, was kind of tough. I immediately scanned the globe in my brain and went from the Amazon to Cambodia to Egypt to Tibet and beyond. But probably the place that stands out as the most exotic is Easter Island which is the most remote inhabited island in the world.
You can only fly to Easter Island from Chile or Tahiti. We went from Tahiti. In case you're not familiar with it, Easter Island, known to the natives as Rapa Nui, is the home of the Moai statues, those tall monolithic roughly hewn human figures that have been a mystery for a thousand years. No one is sure why they were made or how they got them from the mountain quarry to the coastline miles away where they were placed on pedestals. There are hundreds of these statues all over the island and you can literally walk right up to them and touch them. There is a quarry full of Moai that were never completed that is eery and looks like a Moai graveyard.
We were there on New Year's Eve and stayed in a cabin right on the coast with a view of the Pacific Ocean and the island's only city, Hanga Roa, which is small and quaint.
We rang in the New Year with a bottle of champaign while watching fireworks over Hanga Roa from the patio of our cabin. The next day, New Year's Day, we rented a scooter and set out to explore the island. There isn't a spot on the island that doesn't have a view of the beautiful Pacific Ocean. We drove along the rugged, stark coastline and stopped along the way to examine some Moia up close or just watched the waves hit the rocky shore.
An almost treacherous ride up to the summit of the island's inactive volcano gave us our best view. We could look down into the now-quiet crater that was responsible for giving birth to this tiny island. Near the crater are the ruins of a major Rapa Nui village where you can walk amongst what is left of their homes. We visited ancient caves where the natives left paintings and other artifacts. But mostly we just enjoyed exploring this tropical island that few people in the world have ever seen. There were no crowds anywhere and it was almost like we were the only people left on earth. It was one of our favorite, best days ever.