Rapa Nui – A Long Way From Anywhere


I am on Rapa Nui – or Easter Island, as it is known to most of the world. I arrived yesterday afternoon, after flying 3700km across the Pacific Ocean from Santiago. Depending how you define it, I am at the most isolated, inhabited place on earth – the nearest inhabited land mass to Rapa Nui is Pitcairn Island, over 2000km away.

The contrast between The Sacred Valley and Santiago was stark; but the contrast between Santiago and Rapa Nui is even more so. When I left the tranquility of Peru and returned to Chile, I was still in South America and the backdrop of the Andes didn’t change. But here, I am in Polynesia and the backdrop is now the Pacific Ocean. It might be part of Chile, but beyond sharing the same flag it couldn’t be more different.

imageArriving here is a incongruous experience. The island is little more than a rock on the middle of the ocean – 25km by 15km in size – with only one small town on its west coast. The airport is situated, literally, on the edge of the town: it took me 15 minutes to walk to the waterfront. And the airport building is nothing more than a few check-in desks and a small hall to collect your luggage. Yet we arrived is a major airliner, which parked up beside the runway and disgorged it’s passengers on to the tarmac, who then casually walked over to the arrivals hall taking photos as they went. It just didn’t feel right.

I am camped on the edge of the town overlooking the ocean. There is a constant, deep rumbling soundtrack of ocean waves braking on the rocky shore just 50 metres from the campsite. This morning we have awoken to heavy skies and rain showers. But I am in no rush to explore the island and its famous ‘maois’ – the huge, carved stone heads that sit on the coastlines looking out over the ocean. I am here for the next 10 days, and right now I am savouring the peace and solitude – and the absence of my daily commute on the Santiago metro.

4 Comments on Rapa Nui – A Long Way From Anywhere

  1. Pitch you old boy – now i really am jealous. is there a wave you can surf there? Keep the despatches coming my friend – best wishes from back here and I hope its not too long before we see each other again. Dave

    • Plenty of waves, Relphy, and surfers too. Shame I still haven’t got round to learning to surf yet!! (Might be a project for Peru in the coming months.)

      • I guess the one place there will be waves is on an island surrounded by 2000 miles of ocean on each side! Fantastic – yes you should definitely give it a go when you are in Peru or Chile. Then you can brave the waves in north Devon – that’s if you ever make it back to the UK of course…. take it easy my friend, Dave

  2. Mick Aston // 06/10/2013 at 4:15 am // Reply

    Frocky, great report brother, I will steer a few of the gang onto it, Black Ops Boyd etc. I note you said ‘we’ in the article – is that you and your webbing? Sounds like a great diversion from the continent. mick

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