This morning was my last on Easter Island, and I had a few errands to run. First I headed to the post office, where I got my passport stamped – this unique stamp is quite a traveller trophy, and something I’ll definitely be showing off! After that, I had to go to the bank to get some money to pay for my hotel. This may sound mundane, but the bank was quite unique, having all the signs in the Rapanui language as well as Spanish. Also, it only operates limited hours so was heaving during my visit.
My final mission of the morning was to pick up a souvenir for myself. However, before making it to the gift shops I got distracted by the superb tropical weather. I more or less retraced my footsteps from the first day, in order to revisit the sights I had previously only seen in the drizzly, overcast weather. Seeing the Moai at Tahai in the bright sunshine was definitely worth doing, and I’ve taken a set of photos to replace the previous overcast ones. It was at this point that I saw my last proper Moai (there is a small one at the airport), so it felt like this mini trip was truly coming to an end. As for my souvenir hunt, I managed to pick up a miniature Moai carved out of some kind of stone, and complete with topknot – highly appropriate I thought.
Santiago International aside, the airports I visit seem to be getting smaller and smaller on this trip, and I think Mataveri Airport may well be the smallest I ever visit. There are no more than ten flights a week, and most days the plane simply arrives from Santiago, refuels, and then heads back with a new set of passengers. The airport can then close its doors for the day! There were two check in desks and no gates; merely a small departure area right by the runway. This area was open air and featured the small Moai I mentioned earlier, which made for a good photo when the inbound flight arrived. Refuelling complete, it was time for me to take a couple of photos from the runway (the volcano is right behind it), board and say goodbye to Easter Island.
Overall, I think four days on the island was the right decision, especially given the cost of everything here, and the fact I am travelling on my own. That said, it would still be great to revisit in the future and check out some of the more minor sights, including those on the second half day tour I mentioned yesterday. These are also some areas you ideally need a guide to escort you around, including venturing down into the Rano Kau crater, sailing out to the islets by Orongo, and walking across the crater at the quarry. In addition, having enough time to allow for good weather during both a sunset and a sunrise at Tahai and Tongariki respectively. Who knows when that visit will be though! Either way, it has been a truly unique experience and I’m glad I made the effort to visit.
As I type this I am on the plane, almost three quarters of the way back to Santiago. I’m heading back to the same hostel I was at before, where Marc is catching up to me tomorrow morning. It will be good to be reunited, and we plan to see Santiago (remember I held off seeing the main sights before) before heading over to Argentina in a couple of days.
Photos of the day: the moai at Tahai but in the sun this time, a close up, and the plane pulling up at the airport.
Here are some tips about Easter Island for anyone planning to go: