One of the most remote inhabited islands in the world, set 3,700 kilometers off Chile’s coast, Easter Island (or Rapa Nui, as its Polynesian residents have called their home since long before the first European visitors anchored here on Easter Sunday, 1722) is legendary for its towering stone moai. These stones dot a dramatic World Heritage–listed landscape of extinct volcanoes, wild meadows, and rock-strewn hills that drape down to the Pacific surf. Today, fewer than 6,000 people call the island home, though tens of thousands more visit annually.
Places of note: Check in to Explora Rapa Nui, whose striking curvilinear buildings and oval motifs are a nod to vernacular designs. LEED-certified, the lodge’s 30 pine-and-stone rooms don’t have Wi-Fi, TVs, or minibars, but they do have plenty of style, not to mention expansive ocean and grassland views. Explore the hundreds of enigmatic statues carved between the 10th and 16th centuries on the island. Rano Raraku is one of the most popular sites, boasting the largest number of statues, while Ahu Te Pito Kura hosts the largest moai, called Paro, which stands 10 meters high and weighing 82 tons. Scuba diving and horse riding are among the many other outdoor pursuits on offer.
When to visit: Visit between December to March.
How to get there: LAN Airlines operates daily flights from Santiago de Chile to Easter Island and once a week from Tahiti.