Rapa Nui, known more commonly as Easter Island, is one of the most secluded destinations in the world. Since the Dutch arrived on Easter Sunday in 1722, the mysteries of this otherworldly oasis have fascinated curious travelers from all over the world. Most intriguing are the massive stone statues, or moai, scattered all over the island. Their mystery may never be solved for sure, but they are a huge part of this remote island's appeal. Chile may now lay claim to Easter Island, but this tiny land holds tight to its Polynesian origins. From the prevalence of both the Spanish and Rapa Nui languages to the popularity of ceviche and underground-cooked bundles of meat, the unique heritage of this island is a kaleidoscope of cultures worth exploring.


01Hike to the Top of an Extinct Volcano

All three volcanos on the island are extinct and open to hikers, each with its reasons for being worthy of a summit. The Poike is the oldest volcano with access to several caverns where ancient rituals were performed. Terevaka is the largest, and a hike to its highest point provides 360-degree views of the entire island. The most popular hike is at the Rapa Nui National Park, where the volcano Rano Kau overlooks the seacliffs to the ocean. The crater at the top of the volcano has its own microclimate, which means that unique flora and fauna call this area their home. The ruined ceremonial village of Orongo is also closeby and offers a rare glimpse into the lives of the prehistoric Rapa Nui people.

Female Appreciating the Breathtaking View of Rano Kau Crater Lake from Orongo Ceremonial Village lovelypeace / Getty Images