Sleeping with Giants

Now you can explore Easter Island's famed stone statues in style

As the country begins to reopen, we'll keep publishing news to help you navigate the state of travel today (like whether travel insurance covers the coronavirus), as well as stories about places for you to put on your bucket list once it's safe to start going more far-flung.

LUXURY HAS FINALLY LANDED on one of the earth's most isolated spots. With the recent introduction of Casas Rapa Nui, on Easter Island—a 64-square-mile volcanic speck midway between Chile and Tahiti in the South Pacific—visitors can finally enjoy this outpost in upscale digs. Run by Explora, well known for its beautiful lodges in Chile's Torres del Paine National Park and the Atacama Desert, Casas Rapa Nui uses the same winning formula of adventure by day (Easter Island guests explore hundreds of the 15-ton moai statues that the island is famous for) and pisco sours and plush down comforters by night.

The lodge has nine spacious rooms with rattan-and-wood furnishings, and its dining room and adjacent bar serve up fresh-caught swordfish and tuna accompanied by ever flowing Chilean wine. But all this ambience is just a stopgap: By 2007, Explora will have completed a 30-room lodge with a wellness area, swimming pool, and terrace restaurant offering South Pacific views. The real reason to go, of course, is to investigate the stone monoliths and the vanished culture that built them. Explora organizes a dozen guided excursions, like trekking along cliffs honeycombed with abandoned dwellings and caves, biking the trails hugging the island's southern coast, and swimming at the sandy beach where Captain James Cook once waded ashore. After a few days of soaking up the island's mysterious vibe, when your tattooed local guide tells you that his ancestors levitated the statues with nothing but mana (Polynesian magic), you just might believe it.

The best time to go is during the carnival atmosphere of the Tapati Rapa Nui Festival, which this year runs February 2 to 18. LAN Airlines (866-435-9526, flies round-trip to Easter Island from Santiago for about $700. Three to seven nights at Casas Rapa Nui from $1,230 per person, all-inclusive based on double occupancy; 011-56-2-2066060,

Our mission to inspire readers to get outside has never been more critical. In recent years, Outside Online has reported on groundbreaking research linking time in nature to improved mental and physical health, and we’ve kept you informed about the unprecedented threats to America’s public lands. Our rigorous coverage helps spark important debates about wellness and travel and adventure, and it provides readers an accessible gateway to new outdoor passions. Time outside is essential—and we can help you make the most of it. Making a financial contribution to Outside Online only takes a few minutes and will ensure we can continue supplying the trailblazing, informative journalism that readers like you depend on. We hope you’ll support us. Thank you.
Contribute to Outside
From Outside Magazine, Jan 2006
Filed To: Tahiti
Lead Photo: PhotoDisc
More Travel