EXPLORING EASTER ISLAND OVER 4 DAYS AT EXPLORA RAPA NUI
A remote island no less than 3600 kilometres away by plane, a luxury lodge that encourages guests to find connection in the disconnection, a local Rapa Nui guide and a chef on hand three meals a day…. how could things get any better? I’ll be the first to admit that they probably couldn’t.
With 4 days to spend exploring Easter Island at the Explora Rapa Nui lodge, I thought my time would be relaxed and slowish given this island is merely 63 square miles in size. But what it lacks in size, it has certainly made up for by an intriguing and captivating history like no other. It’s true, there’s no other place in the world quite like Easter Island. Nada. Zip. Not even in the slightest.
The Explora Experience
After landing on the island and waiting possibly the longest I had ever waited for my bags in my lifetime, I was eager to get out of the airport and start exploring Easter Island. Eager as I were, I soon collapsed into a 5 hour nap as soon as I hit the mattress in my room at the Explora Rapa Nui lodge. Oh well, I had good intentions.
When I walked out of the airport I was greeted by my local guide, Vai, and the Explora driver. Myself and the other Explora guests were given a traditional Polynesian welcome – an authentic invitation by locals to explore and experience their way of life whilst on the island. We then drove the short 15 minutes to the lodge, checked in, and as previously mentioned, the rest was history for me that afternoon.
In the evening I made my way to the dining room for dinner service – no less than a three course affair with matching Chilean wines. Explora lodges offer guests three meals a day, cooked with fresh local produce by a talented kitchen staff who were more than happy to cater to my dietary requests.
The lodge also features a generous outdoor swimming pool, jacuzzi and short trails around the property – but it’s important to mention early on that Explora getaways aren’t so much about the luxury lodge and extras as they are about the journey – that’s what is really important here.
Exploring Rapa Nui
Explora rates don’t just include your hotel room, transfers, food, alcohol and a few other little perks, but they also include experienced guides to take you out on either 1 full day trek each day or 2 half day treks. In the case of Easter Island, all of the guides are local Rapa Nui guides meaning you have the utmost authentic and informed experience you could imagine – which is undoubtedly exactly what you came here for.
On my first day exploring, I went with my guide Vai and a Mexican family of three to explore the crater of the birdman in the morning and in the afternoon to explore caves and cliffs, finishing with a stunning sunset with champagne and nibbles. Not only is the scenery awe-inspiring, but the history and knowledge the guides possess is that which money can’t buy. It was an incredible experience to stand where the native people stood so many years ago and be able to visualise what life must have been like so many years ago. After day 1, I was convinced it couldn’t get much better.
But it did.
On day 2 (which was actually day 3 but I had slept through the first day of excursions), we made our way to view the famous Moai statues. In the morning we visited the Quarry where the statues were carved out from the volcanic rock and then transported to various locations around the island. In the afternoon we stopped by the famous fifteen Moai and ended the excursion at Anakena beach as the daylight began to fade.
I decided to make use of the facilities at the lodge and relax on my final day – something I happened to notice most guests tend to gravitate towards on their final day with Explora. After all, you’ve earned it! The treks range in difficulty so you can rest assured you will be catered for – and at the Easter Island lodge you will find there are over 20 different guided hikes, bike rides and snorkelling expeditions. Put simply, that time I thought would pass slow seemed to skim past in the blink of an eye and before I knew it my time on the island had ended.
A huge thanks to Explora for inviting me to experience the Rapa Nui lodge and to my guides and the entire staff at Explora Rapa Nui for providing a service unlike any other. This is truly one of those trips of a lifetime to remember for years to come.