The sky was on fire with purples and pinks and just the right amount of clouds: it was our last night on Easter Island and we were giddy that we finally had a good sunset. As we busily snapped our photos with silhouettes of moai in the foreground, a woman approached us.
She seemed a bit worried and told us in Spanish that there had been a terremoto, an earthquake, near mainland Chile with a magnitude over 8.0 and that a tsunami warning was issued for Easter Island.
She said she’d just received the warning on her phone and that we should get to higher ground immediately. We nodded and said ok, but as we looked around at all the other people she had told, no one seemed to be concerned or moving from their spots.
We went about our business for the next half an hour or so until the colors disappeared from the sky. As we were leaving the sunset spot a cop car pulled up to where we were sitting, and several others could be seen in the distance.
Easter Island is one of the smallest islands I have ever stayed on, and definitely the smallest I've ever driven on. At about 10 miles at its widest point, you can drive around the island in a full loop in just over an hour with a few quick stops.
Prior to our Easter Island visit, we were quite torn about renting a car. We read many stories online about some of the difficulties that other travelers faced, and were not even sure it would be necessary considering how tiny the island really is. Once we realized that there is no public transportation on the island, and a rental doesn't cost that much more than a round-trip taxi doing an island loop, picking up a car for half our stay was a logical choice.
But even with our eagerness to get out and explore Easter Island, we did have to consider those difficulties we've read about online time and time again. Luckily for you, we think they're quite overblown.
During our six days exploring this tiny and mysterious island I took a little under 1,400 photos.
This may seem excessive to many, and low to others, but having the gorgeous moai statues (the “heads of Easter Island”) as the subject of your photography makes it incredibly easy to take as many shots as possible.
Armed with a rental car from our friends at Insular Rent a Car, we spent three of our days driving in Easter Island and processing many of the best shots in my favorite style – HDR.