- Four day trip, thee full days on the island, can be extended to allow for more time on this magical island
- March 14 – 18, 2013- Can be taken in conjunction with Chile – Argentina Birds & Wine.
- Price $1550 double occupancy.
- Comfortable accommodation.
- Amazing cultural attractions! Absolutely one of a kind.
- Polynesia like is used to be – no high rises, traditions still strong.
- Safe, friendly.
- Led by Chile’s bird expert Alvaro Jaramillo and one of the island’s top cultural/anthropological guides Josefina Nahoe.
- Five species of Gadfly Petrel (Pterodroma) possible!!! Other seabirds too. Boat trip to circumnavigate nesting islands included.
- does not include Santiago – Easter Island flight.
Download Easter Island – Itinerary 2013
What we saw in 2012: Easter Island 2012 trip results
What was that? Navel of the World? Yes, Rapa Nui or Easter Island is known by the locals as the Navel of the World. Why? Well, it is in the middle of nowhere for one, also even historically the islanders thought their island was unusual. There are plenty of islands in the South Pacific, but nothing comes close to Easter Island – it is absolutely unique! It is the only Polynesian Island where Spanish is spoken for starters, as it is considered a part of Chile. But it is also an island that for many has been steeped in mystery. All around its shores are big giant heads, known as Moai, each representing the soul of an ancestor and set there to defend a family plot of land. But many are also toppled, and the quarry where they were built exists and it appears eerily as if the artisans dropped their tools and just left…with everything remaining frozen in time. What happened? Well, warfare broke out due to their over-extending the natural resources, and their culture was nearly wiped out. Fortunately, Rapa Nui culture remains and it is going strong, and many amazing Moai remain as well, of various periods and forms, as well as some fantastic architectural work. All of that in nearly the most isolated island in the world, astounding!
This is also the land of the Cult of the Bird People, from the later period of the history of the Rapanui. Young men would climb down a steep cliff swim to seabird nesting islands and wait until the “Manutara” laid its egg. This bird, assumed to be the Sooty Tern now, but perhaps was originally the Great Frigatebird, would eventually begin to nest. Once an egg was laid, the first young man to return to the main island with an unbroken egg won the competition for the year. The priest he represented would then become ruler of the island for that year. Well, these seabird nesting islands are still there, and for a long time it was thought that most of the seabirds were gone. Fortunately they are not! Alvaro was involved in research here that showed that populations of many and some new seabirds remain on the islets (known as “Motus”) – read it here. Not only that, now a total of five (perhaps six!) species of Pterodroma petrel are known to nest here; perhaps it is now the most accessible place on earth to see that many Pterodroma in one go!
Most common are the Herald and Kermadec, with lesser numbers of the Phoenix and the newly separated Henderson petrels. Most recently, Murphy’s Petrel has been recorded as a breeder as well, and Black-winged Petrel was observed on our 2012 trip. Add to this Red-tailed and White-tailed tropicbirds, Masked Booby, Grey Noddy, Brown Noddy, Christmas Shearwater and Great Frigatebird and you have a heck of a good bird list for an island that is supposed to “have no birds.” The landbirds are all introduced from the mainland, but it includes the Chilean endemic Chilean Tinamou, which can be relatively easy to see here.
The birds are fantastic, and you can get good looks at them as they are nesting in the area. But this is the icing on the cake, for what is amazing to go and see is the island, its people and amazing culture and history. Even those who are not very spiritual come back in awe; it is truly a magical place. But a real place, and one that draws you. For me, I must admit that on my first trip I did not expect that it was going to live up to its fame. Now, I find that it is among my favorite places in the world, and I long to go back. The island pulls like you would not believe. It is an utterly charming place, with nice people, and it is small enough that you really feel like you get to see the whole place.
You understand why so many people for so many years have been absolutely enchanted by this speck of land rising from the middle of nowhere in the ocean! Come experience it for yourself, either as a stand alone trip or as an add-on to Chile-Argentina Birds & Wine.