Visiting Easter Island is a special experience. It deserves a place amid the Seven Wonders of the World, surpassing Christ the Redeemer and arguably others
We examine the island’s history and explain some of the most interesting Easter Island facts. This remote Pacific island is not only beautiful but full of mystery
First thing’s first, Easter Island is far. Very, very far.
In fact, it is one of the most remote communities in the world. Its closest inhabited neighbour is Pitcairn, 2,000km (1,200mi) to the west while the nearest continental land lies in Chile at a distance of 3,700km (2,300mi). In short, it’s not a short hop.
And so the question one must ask is: are the Easter Island statues worth the slog? Are these great hunks of rock worth the expense of a long voyage?
After two months of continuous travel, we decided to take a few days of downtime in Santiago. We had spent no more than two nights in any one place as we raced to get to Patagonia before winter and as a result were feeling pretty fried and in desperate need of some comfort – especially after the challenges of Bolivia. With this in mind we decided to rent a super-modern self-catering apartment in central Santiago for a few days.
Seasoned travellers are a special breed. They can pack a backpack in 60 seconds flat, get a great night’s sleep on an airport floor and use nasty commode with all the nonchalance of a Tory politician slashing public funds. They can also devolve into interminable bores (“When I was in Kenya…” ad infinitum), rush through countries just to tick boxes and fall prey to lazy complacency. At Atlas & Boots, we share stories and advice read by over 50,000 people each month but that’s not to say we don’t make travel mistakes from time to time. Here’s what we’ve done wrong on our trip so far.
The Atacama desert is the driest place on Earth and possibly the world’s oldest desert. We take a 30km bike ride across its dramatic landscape
Our journey to Atacama was far more complicated than expected. Up to that point, the border crossings on our journey had been relatively straightforward so we were surprised there was no direct route from Uyuni in Bolivia to Atacama in Chile.
Instead of taking a bus, we had to book a $50 USD transfer, spend a night in a room that was almost exactly like a prison cell, take the transfer to the border, pay another $20 to enter the national park and then take another transfer on the other side. All in all, a journey that can be done in nine hours took about 24 hours instead.
In Bolivia, I tried without victory to convince Peter to let me do the Death Road bike ride from La Paz. It’s not normally the sort of thing for which I’d ask permission, but given that he taught me to ride a bike and saw me fall off it in Bora Bora, ride into a wall in Tahiti and very nearly crack my head open in The Galápagos, I thought it best to check if he thought I could handle the Death Road, renowned for claiming 200-300 lives every year (see #15 below).