Easter Island is the home of the Rapa Nui people who arrived from Polynesia. The closest neighbor is 1200 miles away. Today the population is about 8,000 permanent residents. Rapa Nui or not, every resident is a Chilean citizen. There is no crime on the island; everyone knows everyone. I had not expected the island to look so much like the English countryside. It is green, green, and more green, with pastures and horses that wander about. Horses show up in the most unexpected places, such as walking into town from my hotel.
The weather is tropical with rain and sun daily. The temperature does not vary much – between 65 and 75. Hibiscus are abundant with blooms the size of my head.
I spent one afternoon at a sandy beach surrounded by tall trees, picnic tables, fire pits for grilling and more horses. Lots of dogs as well. The dogs never bark or are poorly behaved. They are quite sedentary. There is no litter in town or out in the countryside.
My Rapa Nui guide lives now in Tahiti but flies to Easter Island Monday and works through Friday working as a tour guide. Tourism is the island’s only business and there are 200,000 tourists a year. Matu (his name) wears his wife’s necklace instead of a wedding ring. Very handsome.
I came to the Island during the annual festival, Tapati. The festival is a celebration of the history of the island people. There were underwater spearing contests and boat races, among other activities. I enjoyed watching the rehearsals for the singing and dancing. Here is a video, which may or may not come through.