South Pacific

Easter Island's ancient history: Exploring the mysteries

Easter Island's ancient history: Exploring the mysteries

by Betsy Herbert

I've always been fascinated by the mysteries of Easter Island (also known as Rapa Nui), which lies in the Pacific Ocean 2,400 miles west of Chile's mainland. One of the most remote populated islands in the world, Easter Island's nearest inhabited island, Pitcairn, lies 1,289 miles to its east.

Some of the remaining questions about Easter Island's ancient past include: How did people first get here? Why and how did they build the enormous stone figures that Easter Island is famous for, how did the island become a wasteland, and why did the population of Easter Island crash between 1500 and 1700 CE?

Easter Island, a province of Chile, is now relatively easy to visit. My flight from Tahiti took five hours. Easter Island was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995. Most of the island now lies within the Rapa Nui National Park, and there are plenty of accommodations in the main city of Hanga Roa.

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Moorea: A writer's respite in the South Pacific

Moorea: A writer's respite in the South Pacific

by Betsy Herbert

In month nine of my yearlong trip around the world, it was time for a break. I took a 5-hour flight from Auckland, New Zealand to Papeete, Tahiti and then took the ferry to the island of Moorea. After an hour long ferry ride, I hopped on a public bus in Moorea that took me directly to my hotel. The buses run with the ferry schedule, so it's really easy, and it cost me only $2.00.

My beach bungalow at the laid-back Kaveka Hotel was an idyllic retreat with “Bali Hai” views of Cooks Bay and the coral reef that separates it from the Pacific Ocean. Since I was here during the off season, things were quiet and there were very few other guests at the hotel.

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