Rapa Nui

May 6, 2011
May 6, 2011 Matt

Rapa Nui

I just got back from an amazing ten day trip to Rapa Nui, that’s Easter Island to most of us. However  Rapa Nui is the Islanders name for this paradise. A tropical island 3700 kms off the coast of Chile or around 4000 kms from Tahiti. It has the badge for being the remotest inhabited place on earth. It’s a volcanic island comprising of three volcanos Poike in the north, around 3 million years old, Rano Kau around 2 million years old and the baby of the bunch Terevaka a sprightly 200,000 years old. Thankfully they are all extinct in the hot lava, big eruptions and hellish hot ash department.













My trip there was to get images for an upcoming book and exhibition. However due to the Conaf people, this may now not happen as certain permits were not purchased by the publishers. However my trip still kicked ass.

I stayed at the dreadful Manavai hotel (NEVER stay here) right near the port, town and local stores. Rapa Nui has one town Hanga Roa and it is pretty quiet. If you want NY, Miami, Paris, London or Amsterdam, then go to those places. This Isle is not an 18-30, Club Med or Costa Brava style trip. It’s history and culture and some amazing Moais

Where the Moais were carved from the mountain and many still remain














Scattered all around the island are aforesaid Moais. These are huge carved statues in the form of the people who lived here hundreds of years ago. They stand on platforms, known as Ahus. These are the burial places of the peoples who once roamed this place. They are pretty damn impressive. The biggest stands at several meters and weighs a lardy 70 tones! How the people of old got them up is one of those Pyramid type mysteries. Locals feel they were either flown by aliens or walked by themselves. I was not gonna voice an opinion here and quietly listened to their view points.
















The best tuna in the world comes from Rapa Nui, in my ten day stay I had a total of 16 ceviches! various styles, but all without exception were fantastic. I had a couple of chicken curries which were pretty good as well.

My first four days there I hooked up with a pretty cool Canadian who was an avid traveller (and ceviche fan) He helped me carry cameras, lenses and tripods around the volcanos,caves, lava flows, palm trees,beaches Moais and Ahus. Once he left I hired a guide for several days. Hugo by name. He was born and raised on Rapa Nui and knew all the sites, all the people and also the best restaurant on the island a Japanese place where a superb sushi could be had.The owner a Chilean called Francisco basically ran it by himself. There are only four tables and he serves, cooks, manages and probably washes up as well. An incredibly chilled out geezer, something a restaurant chef rarely is.

The thing that got me as a photographer was the light! WOW COW it’s good. Maybe April/May as autumn months helps a bit, but I got some great skies, sunsets, clouds, storms and windy conditions. All helping me to get the images here and on the travel section of my site.












Enjoy these images and if you get the chance go to Rapa Nui. Cheapest flights are direct from Santiago in Chile, and only the superb LanChile fly there. It’s a five hour flight and costs around $600 US return, depending on the season. Wettest month is May and hottest are January February. Languages are Rapa Nui and Spanish, though French and English are widely understood. Chilean pesos or Yankee dollar work well. Fish is the main food and I cannot stop raving about the ceviche.














It was actually my second time on Rapa Nui and for sure won’t be my last.










































These images are subject to copyright, and I have actually received a fair amount of money recently through chasing people who have used images without payment or consent. Better to pay a fee upfront than a fine down the line

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British photographer, living in Chile. Working mainly in the drink industry. Just finished work on third book of wine photos and planning next project

Comments (19)

  1. Wow Matt! Just Wow!
    Of course it’s no surprise that your work is great, but as you said, the light and skies are amazing!!
    Hope the book gig gets worked out…

  2. Matt

    Hi Margaret,
    You will love it there, an anthropologists dream for sure. Are you still going this month?

  3. Matt

    Gracias Alfonso y Tachi, to get praise from two great artists such as yourselves is very rewarding

  4. Mate, what a trip !

    I am glad you got the Island Vibe from inside to outside.

    Best shot for me, the one I mentioned before, the clouds & palmtress , runner up , the moais and the bunch of people beside, is not an amazing looking place !!!

    All the best


  5. Hey Buddy…..great spot to blog eh? You rock with the fotos…but we already knew that. We miss you here on the island….that’s the upshot. And by the way….the hotel never looked so good as it does in your fotos. Maybe you have shed an all-new light onto a really old scene…….hope to have you and your family back here….and soon. PS…I was at Francisco Kotaro’s last night for Mother’s Day sushi…..you’re right….it’s the best sushi all around. Not bad for a sleepy town, eh? WE love you Matt!

  6. Matt

    Cheers David, was an amazing place.
    Kimba, I will be back as soon as I get some time. Fell in love with the place for sure, you guys are the coolest. get yourselves running things! You know what I mean.

  7. OMG that light! Everybody should get married here. I’m actually surprise more people don’t do destination weddings there. It’s beautiful.

    Your pics of the island are stunning.

  8. Matt

    Cheers Solinski.

    You would have an amazing time shooting a wedding here Kyle. I hope you get a gig soon. With your T/S lens you would get some crazy images

  9. being here, I can see the great experience you had. Great photos man. Soon will publish our photos with a great AndesWines copyrights ….you see…I am learning from you man! Just an amatuer photographer my self! cheers! Max M

  10. A wonderful series of images which remind me how much I would like to return to Rapa Nui/Isla de Pascua/Easter Island. I visited there many years back, and from what you say, it sounds like it hasn’t changed much, as far as the solitariness of the place is concerned. Muchos saludos, Andrew.

  11. Matt

    Many thanks Andrew. I hope you get to go again. I am off for my third trip in late December. Going to have a new years there with my family. Should be good. Am hoping to go fishing for tuna.

  12. I know I already commented once, but I just followed Leslie’s link here and looking at the photos again make me feel like another comment is necessary. Holy stunning photos of a ridiculously beautiful place. 18072 is beyond gorgeous.

  13. Matt

    Thanks Kyle. That photo 18072 was pure luck. I was down on coast near Hanga Roa, when I saw this guy swimming and diving in off this solitary rock. I hand held my Phase One with a 120mm lens. I was waiting for him to dive. Suddenly he opened up his arms to the last rays of the sun before it set. I got about 4 shots in before he dived and swam to shore. Three of the shots were unfocused and this one was right on the money.
    The next day I showed this photo to my guide, Hugo. Hugo smiled and said “This is my brother”

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