At the southeastern tip of the Polynesian triangle lies windswept Easter Island, one of the most remote spots on the planet. Surrounded by an endless ocean as blue as the sky and located 2,300 miles west of Santiago, Chile, this tiny dot of land is sixty square miles of rocky grasslands, extinct volcanic cones, and steep ocean cliffs. Called Rapa Nui by the Polynesian people who live here, this island is a unique open-air archaeological museum. Nearly a thousand immense stone statues gaze with brooding eyes over the gently rolling hills, hundreds of perplexing petroglyphs stand out from rock surfaces, and colorful cave paintings depict brightly painted birds in flight.
We have timed this tour to include the wonderful Tapati Festival, a celebration of the Rapa Nui culture. Each day will dawn with new and exciting contests of strength and skill, while evenings will bring the mesmerizing melodies of Polynesian music as grass skirted dancers perform beneath the stars. It is a time of revelry and feasts, and of honoring the past with performances of cat’s cradle, the hypnotic chant used to hand down the island’s history from generation to generation.
Join Far Horizons and only 13 others on this 12-day Easter Island tour, that includes three days in Chile’s capital, Santiago, where we will visit the Natural History Museum and Pre-Columbian Art Museum as well as the stunning coastal city of Viña del Mar.
Sidsel Millerström received her PhD from the University of California, Berkeley in Polynesian archaeology. She is a specialist on archaeological art and architecture and has worked on excavations all over Polynesia including Easter Island, Fiji, the Marquesas, and Tahiti. Since 1984, Dr. Millerstrom has worked on all six presently inhabited islands in the Marquesas during which she discovered and recorded numerous tikis, carvings of human figures, and more that 7,000 ancient petroglyphs. Up to this time no systematic survey had been conducted in the Marquesas, an archipelago which, in prehistory, was connected culturally with Easter Island. She excavated cave sites on Easter Island and worked with Dr. Georgia Lee documenting the petroglyphs and sculptures on the island. A specialist on rock art, Dr. Millerström’s work has appeared in various scholarly and popular journals.