Easter this year brings to mind many things including tropical destinations like Easter Island. Chile claims two islands, Easter and Robinson Crusoe, as options to destination travelers seeking experiences for nature lovers, adventurers, snorkelers and scuba divers, as well as cultural diversity interested people. Comparing both islands you’ll find several similarities, but mostly differences. Each island boasts a unique presence in the Pacific Ocean.
In addition to unique histories, both islands offer incredible cuisines, sites to behold, and require a plane ride from the mainland. Starting with discovery, the islands offer quite different experiences for visitors. Dutch explorer Jacob Roggeween arrived on Easter Sunday in 1722 which explains the naming by Western cultures. Of course, the Chilean government laid claim to Easter Island in 1888. Approximately 4,000 people live on Easter Island now.
Novelist Daniel Defoe inadvertently named the island Robinson Crusoe when his story about the 18th century Englishman Alejandro Selkirk became popular. Selkirk survived as a castoff by his captain after a disagreement at sea. Upon Selkirk’s return to civilization four years later, Defoe captured the imaginations of readers with a vivid story based on Selkirk’s unfortunate experience. Although well-known, the island is sparsely populated and the only island of the Juan Fernandez Archipelago with inhabitants.
If you want to claim that you’ve been to one of the most remote places in the world, go to Easter Island. While you’re there, you should probably see some volcanoes, after all they are inactive so it is a good time. Do some caving; there’s plenty of caves and the island is home to one of the longest on earth. Since you’re going to be sitting in the Pacific Ocean, take a camera to shoot some of your best work on panoramic vistas. Maybe you should consider upgrading your equipment before going to either of these two islands.
Don’t even consider leaving the island without your photos of Moais, the 26 foot stone statues built by ancient Polynesians to worship their ancestors. Pick one of the more than 600 to choose from and admire these tributes to a culture far different than what we have in the United States. Guided tours by local residents should make you feel very present in the wonders of the distant Pacific Island.
Although not my sports, the surfing and scuba diving around the islands is supposedly excellent. I’ll trust your judgment on those adventures.
My preference leans towards living culture. For example, festivals and craftsmen showing off their skills intrigues me enough to try local foods, buy new garments, and watch intently as people dance, speak, and perform whatever they choose. If given the opportunity, my tours usually include local flora and fauna.
Robinson Crusoe Island hosts 213 native plants, 137 exclusive to the island from centuries of evolution in order to survive successfully after transplantation via air, water, and birds. If you prefer, enjoy beautiful visibility and biodiversity as a scuba diver. Local marine life includes Juan Fernandez lobsters, black urchins, morenas, star fish, brecas, pampanitos, scorpion fish and groupers. Two-haired sea lions call out to me!
Travelers looking to enjoy nature, seeking some adventures, snorkelers and scuba divers, and last but certainly not least, culture lovers will find the islands along the mainland of Chile fascinating and perfect for a visit. As soon as I get enough travel companions to go with me, I’m off to Easter Island!