Meet the Moai of Easter Island
Rows of these mysterious giant stone heads, gazing out to sea, inspire travelers to venture to this remote, magical island in the South Pacific.
On my descent, I came across the largest moai yet, an unfinished mass still resting on its back. Had El Gigante ever been chiseled free and erected, it would have stood as tall as a seven-story building. Looking at an ancient relic equal in size to a skyscraper brought me to a place I hadn't anticipated. All of a sudden, I couldn't wait to return to my congested, noisy world back home.
Lan Chile provides the only air link; it's a 10.5-hour flight from New York to Santiago, Chile, and from there it's five hours to Easter Island. Expect to spend about $1,800 round trip from the U.S. (lan.com).
When to Go
The island's summer, December through April, is ideal, with highs around 80.
What to Pack
A windbreaker—it's gusty year-round—walking shoes, and sunblock. It's also worth bringing any over-the-counter medications you might need—resources here are limited.
Where to Stay
Vai Moana, a low-key hotel with 18 rooms set in bungalows (vai-moana.cl, $102, including breakfast and transport to and from the airport).
IN YOUR WORDS
"I always said when I turned 40, I'd be on Easter Island, just me and the moai. It was my dream, and it lived up to expectations. I found the island mysterious and very magical." —Christine Hobart, Vero Beach, Fla.