The mystical Easter Island in Chile, with its iconic Moai statues, is a must-visit. This is understandable when you consider there are almost 900 of these symbolic stone figures - all scattered across this ancient and isolated Eden - which were carved between 1250 and 1500 CE by the Rapu Nui people. We say figures because many of the bodies of these “Easter Island Heads” are submerged underground.
It's difficult to see all these massive megaliths during your trip to Easter Island, but the legendary Ahu Tongariki is a good place to start. This is the largest ceremonial structure ever built on Easter Island and features 15 painstakingly restored Moai standing ceremoniously in a row. Other notable areas include Rano Raraku Quarry - a site that supplied the stone for about 95% of the statues - and the iconic Ahu Akivi.
Another must-see is the ceremonial home of the cult that succeeded the Moai. Located on the southwestern coast of the Island, Orongo is an important ceremonial village that's tied to the Birdman cult. Exploring these ruins will reveal ancient stone dwellings and intricately-designed petroglyphs.
Just a half-hour drive away from Orongo is the pristinely preserved Anakena Beach. One of the few sandy beaches on the island, its lovely turquoise waters are fringed by palm trees and perfect for snorkeling. Down below, you might spot Numerous whitebar surgeonfish, blue-striped, orange tamarins and a few Easter Island butterflyfish; the latter is endemic.