Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Easter Island Rapa Nui, a story for the movies...

Let’s go back 45 years ago… My Grandmother, mi Abuelita Juana (my moms’ mom) she is originally from Chile. She migrated to Argentina when my Grandfather Luis was working building underground tunnels for electricity back in the 60’s in my hometown Lujan, in Buenos Aires Argentina. Their story ends tragically when my Grandpa dies while working in the tunnels that same year they moved to Argentina
which it was going to be just temporary. My Mom was only a few months old :(. My Abuelita with 2 children just becoming a widow stayed in Argentina instead of going back to Chile where she had all her family… Her story told me that back in those days they were very old school families, my Grandpa’s wealthy family wanted to be close to the girls (my mom and Aunty) but not in the normal way, they were offering my Grandma money and lands in exchange for her daughters. So my Grandma stayed in Argentina where she knew she was going to be safer and nobody will come and take her daughters away from her. I know, like my tittle says, this is for the movies. So on that same tragic year, Chile experienced one of the biggest earthquakes in South America.

Photo: My Grandma Juana at the Airport in 1950's.

My Grandma’s family lost their homes and also got separated trying to survive and starting all over again.
My Grandma left in Chile her mom, her youngest sister and a brother. My Great Uncle Domingo moved later on to Argentina to help my Grandma as she was all alone with two kids, but later on after writing back and forward letters with her sister ( my Great Aunty Irma) and her mom, they completely lost contact with each others…
45 years passed by, and after numerous attempts to find out where in Chile they were living, we even contacted the Chile Embassy in Argentina but we didn’t have good luck.

   Photo: Left, my Godmother/Aunt Angelica, my mom Veronica and my Grandma Juana in 1960's.

In 2016 while I was living in Maui, Hawaii at the beginning of this year I started looking who could be my second cousin on facebook. There was one men with the same last name so I reached him out and sent him a message telling him I was looking for my Grandma’s sister Irma. 6 months passed by and I got a reply: he confirmed who he was and sent me photos of myself with my brother when we were babies (those were letters and photos my Grandma sent back then. You could all imagine how emotional this was for me and calling my Grandma that I have found her sister. Where she has been and is living now is in Easter Island. 
This is where I think Life is so “funny” and how certain things you carry yourself in your genetics: of all the places in the world, I ended up living in Hawaii in the middle of the Pacific Ocean and I have always had within myself this love for the Polynesia, right? Now look how connected I was with my Aunty Irma that she lives south of the Pacific Ocean, and her children and husband are born and raised in Rapa Nui (Easter Island) and are Polynesians as well.
This story even fascinates me because it is for the movies…
Now, 2017 we started planning the “meeting”, we had to take my Grandma to meet with her long lost sister after all this 45 years without seeing each others.
And so it started, I went to Argentina, my usual visit I do every year, and in September of this year, we flew.

The emotions and excitement were a bit overwhelming... Here I was being part of the most amazing and one of the most emotional experiences of my Life. I felt so proud to be sharing this life experience with my 81 year old Grandma. (I know she does not look 80 y/o at all). Can you imagine not seeing or talking to your sibling for 45 years?
The reunion was so beautiful, meaningful and unforgettable, seeing my Grandma so happy and getting to know my Great Aunty was and is so so special.

   Photo: Great Aunty Irma and my Grandma Juana overflowing with joy.

Easter Island is very special and they do not accept just anyone, meaning you have to have a permit if you are going on vacation. In our case since we have direct family we did not have to issue any permit. It is such a remote and particular Island that there are only flights twice a day and only from Santiago de Chile. It is outrageously pricey, to give you an idea: it’s 3 times cheaper to go roundtrip to Europe, an airline ticket roundtrip can cost between $1200 and $1600 dollars per person.
Now what is there to see and explore? Of course I made my homework before going and made sure that besides spending every second with my Rapa Nui family, that we had some time to visit the whole Island, and so we did. So here it is a list of all the things you do not want to miss:
  • Ahu Tonariki (watch the sunrise)
  • Hanga Roa (downtown)
  • Ana Kai Tanagata (cave)
  • Rano Kau (crater in Orongo).
  • Anakena (Beach)
  • Tepito Kura (Moai’s)
  • Ranu Raraku (18km from Hanga Roa).
  • Akahanga.
The best advice is to get a map and also buy tickets (approx. $80 dollars each) that will allow you the entrance to all the parks. Without them you can not enter, and you do want to get them and be able to explore the whole Island. Here it is a Map you can print and mark the places you do not want to miss:

Also I recommend you that you do rent a car, It is cheaper than renting a motorcycle every day. 
Now what to expect from Easter Island? While I was there, I did not want to miss anything I was experiencing, so I grabbed my pen and made another list of all the things that were so unusual to me, so this is what you should expect when visiting Easter Island: 
There are only two cable channels and the connection was pretty bad, so I would recommend you to bring a book, since the internet connection is the slowest it will make you throw your phone into the Ocean. With this said, this is the perfect vacation to be 100 percent connected with nature and do your best meditations and take a moment or more to appreciate your Life and how bless you are to be in this exact moment.
Also in the whole Island there are no magazines or newspaper, at least in our cabin there weren't a single again, the objective is to be disconnected from the other side of the World, and live the present. This is how the Rapa Nui people live.
You are going to be breathing the purest oxygen and you are going to jump into the purest ocean water; the sound of the wind will speak to you and the stars at night are the closest your fingers could ever touch and wave at the sky.
The supermarket, more like a grocery store (a mini one) is very little and limited, but there are more fresh vegetables and fruits options and a very little processed food available. The food is so fresh it will be the most tasteful and delicious food you have ever eaten.
Bring your own electronic and charging devices as there is no electronic shop... Traffic? traffic would be the horses and cows running wild and free in the middle o the road or at the infinite green grass over the valley.
Lastly, there are only 4000 habitants and most of them are natives to this Island. Easter Island to me is the mini Hawaii of South America, just bluer, deeper water and a more sweet salty ocean.
When it comes to where to stay? There are only a few hotels and they are all 5 stars luxury hotels, the rest are cabins fully equipped and there is complimentary breakfast and internet. Runs like a hotel with the expiation that are cabins.


After setting ourselves up, we went to have lunch and explore the Hanga Roa town. We also ate a fresh catch: Tuna with a very delicious ceviche. Everything you are going to eat is the most pure, fresh and organic food.
Hanga Roa:

To get from the cabins to town, we had to drive. We parked downtown Hanga Roa and from there we explore all around walking. Also riding a bike can be a great idea, so keep that in mind 😉.

This is one of my favorite views from Hanga Roa:

 Our next adventure with my Mom was Ana Kai Tanagata, it is a cave that in times of war between the Islanders, they used to hide in one of this caves underground with an amazing view to the Pacific Ocean... I am blown away that a human can fit in it, there is literally a tiny hole in the ground the entrance to the cave... We did this adventure by walking from downtown all the way to the cave.

Getting into the cave was quite the adventure!!! Make sure you bring a headlamp or use your phone light, as getting in there is completely peach black.
The next day while spending a lot of quality time with my Rapa Nui family and getting to know them (the most magic part of this trip), the family of my Great uncle who is a Polynesian native to Rapa Nui, took us to a common family gathering which we could call it like a barbecue where lunch was the fresh catch of the day and some unique receipes and desserts from the Island. This was truly a beautiful experience and it gave me goosebumps meeting other uncles and aunties who did not speak spanish at all, only the Rapa Nui, Polynesian language. 

Our next destination is the most famous beach in Rapa Nui: Anakena (Beach) please expect the most white sandy beach full of palm trees and the famous Moai's sculptures. This was one of my favorite beaches ever!!!

We went back a few times to this beautiful playa!!! If you are planning to spend half of a day in Anakena, on your way back to town you can also make a stop and go see Ahu Tonariki, which iss the largest ahu on Easter Island. Its moais were toppled during the island's civil wars, and in the twentieth century the ahu was swept inland by a tsunami. It has since been restored and has fifteen moai, including one that weighs eighty-six tonnes, the heaviest ever erected on the island (Wikipedia) ; It is also the most breathtaking spot and very famous touristic place to go watch the sunrise, this is where the 15 Moais are. It can get very crowded so one of the best times is sunrise as well.
Ahu Tonariki:

After exploring Ahu Tongariki, we headed to Ranu Raraku which is a few miles close from the 15 Moais.
Ranu Raraku is a volcanic crater that is all surrounded by Moais and a lot of history... You will get a panoramic view of the whole Island so be ready to bring some comfy shoes to hike all the way up to the Crater.

We visited as well the Te pito te Kura also knows as the "The Navel of the world" which is according to legend, the large central stone was brought to the island by King Hotu Matua with the first settlers around a.d. 450, and that it emits mana (spiritual power) to those who sit on the small rocks and place their hands on this magnetic rock. 
Tepito Kura

Another super fun activity to do in Rapa Nui is scuba diving or snorkeling... there are a few local tours and people who will train you on how to scuba dive. Here it is when I noticed how the ocean water is so much saltier than in Hawaii.

Thank you so much for reading my story and I hope this Blog post finds you useful when planning your trip to Easter Island...
This was such a meaningful, special and unique trip that I got to share with my Mom and Grandma. It made me more humble than I already am, made me realize how little we need in Life, to valorate everything we have and to learn to live each day more simply. My Aunty has been mentioned the Queen of Rapa nui this year, the whole Island voted for her as she represents the personality of the Island, a woman full of kindness who treats and welcomes people with such a sweet, warm kindness and is always happy full of Love and compassion. 
I couldn't be more proud to be part of her family and a lot of times while I was there I had to pinch myself because I was overwhelmed with all the history and beauty this Magic island has.

I am planning to go visit her and also bring her with me to Argentina, as she has one more niece to meet.
Mahalo for reading!!! 💗


No comments

Post a Comment

About Me

My photo
I am a Fashion Stylist, Fashion and Travel Blogger, a Voyageur. Born and raised in the Paris of Latin America: Buenos Aires, Argentina. From Maui, Hawaii, USA. Currently living in Seattle, WA. I am the fashion designer and buyer for Iorana: A RTW collection for the feminine, sophisticated, outstanding global woman. Follow me on Instagram: @pollyonvoyage Visit my website at: ♥
Blogger Template Created by pipdig