Easter Island is a microcosm of planet earth. When the resources were depleted and war broke out in the 16th century, the population collapsed. While relying on mainland Chile for decades, the Rapa Nui are increasingly learning to be self-sustainable. For the first time in the island’s history, they have begun to export products: papayas and beer.
Know your Local Seafood & Where to Eat It:
Kana Kana: A white fish similar to Turbot. Eat kana kana as sashimi at Marau Bar Fusion.
Kahi: Big Eye tuna. Eat in an Empanada at Ahi-ahi, one of the food carts on Policarpo Toro street beside the playing field, with pebre sauce.
Toreno: Yellow tail tuna. The best preparation is the coconut milk ceviche at Haka Honu.
Rape Rape: A local lobster. Try it in a Tahitian vanilla sauce at La Kaleta, a contemporary Pacific Rim restaurant near the fishing boat dock.
Know the Island Brew: In 2010, Easter Island began selling its first beer, Mahina, available as a Pale Ale (4.8%) and a Stout (6.8%). Both are 100% natural and follow a double fermentation process. On a side note, the company ispartially owned by one time underwater diving champion, Mike Rapu. Most restaurants carry the beer, though to mingle with local crowd, head to Topatangi Pub on Avenida Atamu Tekena, where local folkloric groups occasionally perform before a DJ takes over.
Stay Green: There’s the new Hanga Roa Eco-Village & Spa, an all-green property modeled after the Orongo ceremonial complex on the Rano Kau crater, which will be returned to the Rapa Nui after a period of years. Also, there’s the spaceship like Explora is the first Latin American hotel with an LEED certification. The less expensive Cabañas Morerava on the other hand, has four solar powered cottages designed by a Santiago based architect for maximum natural light and ventilation and to have a as little impact on the environment as possible. Each sleeps up to six and loaner mountain bikes are used to get to town and back.
GETTING TO EASTER ISLAND
Hanga Roa, Easter Island’s Mataveri International Airport in Hanga Roa is served only by Chile based LAN Airlines, though the island can now be reached by air from Lima, Peru, which will shave off about 6 hours or more of travel time for North American travelers (previously all flights came from either Tahiti or Santiago, Chile).
Writer and photographer Nicholas Gill is the editor/publisher of New World Review. He lives in Lima, Peru and Brooklyn, New York. His work has appeared in publications such as the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, CondeNast Traveler, National Geographic Traveler, Afar, and Penthouse. Visit his personal website (nicholas-gill.com) for more information.