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Home & Away with Robert Walshe

Holiday Hotspot – Easter Island - Chile

One of the most isolated islands on the planet, Easter Island sits 3,550km west of the South American mainland. It was first settled by Polynesian people who arrived by canoe as part of a great wave of Pacific colonisation. From the moment you step off the plane, life becomes idyllic here. The weather is balmy, the air fresh and Pacific Island-sweet and the atmosphere grabs you immediately. Rapa Nui, as the natives have called this place since long before a Dutch ship sighted

n Easter Island Maoi.

it on Easter Sunday, 1722, is about the size of Staten Island, but the thousands of miles that separate it from the next human settlement magnify it many times over. The giant stone “moai” (statues) scattered around Easter Island are even more impressive than they first appear. Hidden from view, the heads are attached to bodies that extend underground. The east of the island is where the majority of the” moai “ were produced, carved directly from volcanic ash. The  stat-

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ues which can weigh over 80 tonnes – were then transported though island folklore suggests they were able to “walk”, to their ahus  (platforms). East of Rano Raraku, right on the coast, is the dramatic Ahu Tongariki, a 200mlong  ahu  upon which 15 colossal moai are lined up – the largest number of Easter Island statues ever erected on a single platform. In 2007, the Explora chain known for other eco-luxe  hotels in Chile’s  Atacama Desert and Patagonia -  opened  Explora Rapa Nui  eight miles outside of Hanga Roa. The minimalist design, stylish and generous presentation, and total respect for the spirit of the location is impressive winning architect José Cruz Ovalle an international award. The Explora philosophy is based on in-depth exploration of remote locations in South America teamed with “essential” luxury. Each lodge offers a number of “explorations”, either half or full-day, enabling guests to get out and

see the absolute best of their surroundings. They encourage you to leave your life behind, embrace the unknown and seize opportunities in a bid to enhance your experience. Rates at Explora Rapa Nui are all inclusive and include the entrance fee to Rapa Nui National Park, home to the island’s iconic statues. The gastronomy experience here is exceptional and n Explora Rapa Nu the Chilean wine is i Signature sh ot. perfectly paired. To visit Rapa Nui you need to fly to Santiago via an Gardiner in 2000, Mantis is international flight. From San- committed to the spirit of tiago, travelers must take a conservation and restora5-hour flight to Easter Island. tion, and each property is You can also arrive to Easter sensitive to its surroundings Island flying from Tahiti (Pa- in respect of the building, peete). On arrival Explora environment and local comstaff will greet and transfer munity. Each of the diverse, travelers to the property. handpicked properties repMantis a family run collection resents the finest example of award winning, privately of its kind and celebrates owned, five star properties the culture, gastronomy, arlocated across all seven con- chitecture and nature of the tinents work extensively with locations in which they are Explora properties in South found. Whilst every property America is unique, being part of the Officially founded by entre- collection ensures that the preneur and hotelier Adrian

quality of the facilities, service and overall experience is consistently 5 star and guests can always expect personal, friendly service. There’s something magical about Rapa- Nui- Go if you can! Robert Walshe is a travel broadcaster with Q Radio Network and Travel Editor for River Media newspaper titles across the island of Ireland.

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