Easter Island, Chile, the world's most isolated but inhabited island, is an archeologist's paradise, with different types of rock structures and rock art. The main tourist attractions are all centered around iconic statues, artifacts, stone formations and carvings. The island, almost 1,300 miles from any other point of civilization, is also home to three large volcanoes.
Easter Island is best known for its collection of almost 900 stone statues, referred to as moai. These are believed to have been built by the natives to honor a head of a family when he passed away, but this is conjecture, as the history of the area is unclear. Many are mounted on stone walls and ledges known as ahu. These stone statues are, for the most part, not the complete bodies -- most are just the head or torso. The moai are in many locations around the island, including museums, coastal areas, quarries, alongside roads and on private property.
Navel of the World
The Easter Island area is known as the "Navel of the World," but there is also a specific area which bears the same name. It is a large round stone on the northern part of the island near Te Pito Kuro, surrounded by four smaller stones in a bench-like rock formation. There are many theories as to where the round stone originated, and it has become a popular tourist attraction, as visitors will place their hands on the large round stone to feel the aura of the island. A moai weighing almost 80 tons is located in this same area.
Not quite as obvious as the moai and the ahu, Easter Island is also home to a wealth of rock carvings and designs known as petroglyphs. These detailed drawings are depictions of everyday life, family status and religious meaning. Visitors can find them almost everywhere on the island, even on lava rock.
Rano Raraku, a volcanic crater on the eastern side of the island, is a fascinating place for hiking and exploration. This area is where all the moai on the island were made and transported from. Half-completed, half-buried moai of varied sizes are scattered over the entire crater. Rano Faraku is on the eastern side of the island's largest volcano, Maunga Terevaka.
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