Archive for January, 2011

National Geographic Radio, Hear the inside story about Rapa Nui – Easter Island

My interview with Boyd Matson, National Geographic Radio, XM Radio, NPR will be aired the first two weekends in February, depending upon your location.  The Easter Island Program will also be streamed on the National Geographic Website:

and by Feb. 20th, the program will be available on itunes.

The question I’m asked the most is:

Where is Easter Island

In the middle of nowhere, no really, it’s roughly equal distance from Tahiti and Peru and Chile, at 29′ South latitude. That means 2,400 miles from land, in the southern and eastern most area of what’s considered Polynesia.

It’s a long way!

How do you get there?

My trip took 12 hours; an hour to Los Angeles, then 8 hours from LAX to Lima, Peru on LAN.

American, Alaska, Qantas, JAL, Cathy Pacific, British Airways and LAN are all part of the OneWorld Alliance, so pool your miles and upgrade to Business for a lie-down bed and great meals and wine.

Then I had a good night’s sleep in lovely hotel, Libertador (a well known, upscale brand in Peru), and then a full day tour of Lima.

What to do during a lay-over in Lima?

Again, friends asked me if Lima is safe for tourists. That depends upon where you go and how savvy you are. I recommend you hire a guide for the day.  Mountain Lodges of Peru has day guides, and Roberto, our charming, well-educated guide  was excellent.  He showed us all the highlights — Plaza San Martin, San Isidro, Miraflores, Museo Larco — and he saved us time, and ensured our safety. (By the way, Mountain Lodges of Peru’s website is awesome. You’ll want to spend more time in Peru after perusing the site).

 

Thanks to LAN Airlines for sponsoring my visit.

 

 

Questions about Easter Island – Why and How?

Mysteries and only a few answers

Despite it’s isolation in the middle of the South Pacific (roughly equal distance from Tahiti and South America), Easter Island is at the center of a lot of questions.

WHERE DID THE HEADS COME FROM?           HOW WERE THEY TRANSPORTED?

The giant heads were carved our of a dead volcano, which contains over 400 Moai, one reclining statue  is over 60′ long. They were transported down the mountain to the seaside using logs. There are more than 900 heads dotting the islands.

HOW LONG DID IT TAKE TO CARVE THEM?

It is estimated it would have taken six workers 12-15 months to carve and another 90 days to lower the statue down the mountains and transport it to an alter along the coast. It is widely agreed that the statues were mainly built from 1,000 – 1600 AD.

WHAT IS THEIR PURPOSE?

Gina, our 27-year-old guide from Explora, (the a sustainable, luxury lodge),  of Rapa Nuian descent, told us that the statues represent the clan chiefs. After they were carved and erected, they became repositories of supernatural powers. They commemorate the ancestors. Most of them are placed with their backs to the sea, they are the protectors of the people.

WHERE DID THE FIRST PEOPLE COME FROM?

Modern archeologists believe the first islanders traveled from Polynesia, so they weren’t from South America as Thor Heyerdal suggested.

COLLAPSE

Production had stopped by the time Christian missionaries arrived in the 1860’s and the society had collapsed. They had chopped down all the trees to transport the statues; there was no wood to build canoes to fish with. Tribal war broke out; people toppled the clan statues, smashed their eyes, and with dwindling resourced, turned to cannibalism. Read Jarrad Diamond’s book to learn more.

WHAT ELSE IS THERE TO DO ON THE ISLAND?

In addition to exploring the archeological sites, you can bike ride, snorkel, scuba dive, take a surf lesson, fish or relax in your hotel socializing with visitors from around-the-world at the bar, sipping Pisco Sours, a strong cocktail made with Pisco (Peruvian brandy), lemon, cane sugar and egg whites. If you scuba dive you’ll be amazed at the visibility — among the best in the world because the island is isolated from the three major currents in the Pacific. My favorite places to eat were at the Explora Hotel, Au bout du monde, and La Kaleta.

DON’T MISS THE LOCAL DANCERS

My favorite evening out was to see sunset from the Bout de Monde (End of the World in French), and enjoy a fabulous dance troupe, Matato’a (the watchful eye of the warrior), the  famous musical and dance group from Rapa Nui (Easter Island).The dazzling, physically gorgeous dancers sway and shake in routines similar to Tahitian dancing and to Maori war dances.

I saw the sunset, bu

Sunset in Rapa Nui, Easter Island, Chile Watching for the Green Flash

t unfortunately I didn’t see the “Green Flash” on the horizon the second after sunset. Have you seen it?

Night Life at Easter Island – Dance ’til you drop

Recently I went to Easter Island, the most remote and least visited World Heritage Site, home of the giant stone heads and dazzlingly attractive men and curvaceous women. To read more and see the video of the mostly nude men dancing an elegant South Seas swaying and a sexually charged version of the Maori war dance. This is the Matato’a Dance Group and they’ve performed worldwide.

Energy grids, vortex, geometric points on Easter Island

The magnetic rock attracts people worldwide who are searching for spiritual healing and enlightenment. They camp out by it, under the full moon, and receive magnetic vibrations just by holding their hands above the rock.

Why are ancient Megaliths like the moai (stone heads) placed at specific equidistant points?

Why are Positive Energy Vortexes, such as in Easter Island situated where they are?

More questions than answers.

Best Ceviche in the Pacific at 27′ South Latitude

Fresh ceviche is part of the Rapa Nuian diet

Eat, drink and dance on Easter Island

Click here to share in my culinary adventures in Easter Island!

Shorter flights from Peru to Easter Island

How remote is it? Close enough for a several day “add-on” to a trip to Peru

Easter Island, known as Rapa Nui (pronounced Rapa New-ee) is known as of the most remote inhabited island in the world, and a five-star world heritage site.

New direct LAN flights from Peru just made the trip easier and shorter. It’s only a 4 ½ hour flight from Lima. That’s shorter than the flights from the West Coast to Hawaii.

Yes, the flight from LAX to Lima is 8 hours, but if you’re in South America already, a three night side-trip is easier than ever.

The other gateway city is Santiago, Chile, but the new direct flights from Lima cut off several hours.

And if you fly in Business Class you’ll get a flat sleeper chair. Use your One World miles for an upgrade and enjoy the extensive wine list (for an airplane), rack of lamb or salmon.

Where in the world is Easter Island? A Speck in the Pacific Ocean

The coast of Chile and Peru is 2,400 miles and a 5-6 hour flight away and just about as far from Tahiti in the other direction. The nearest inhabited island is Pitcairn, 1,200 miles to the west.(of HMS Bounty and Mutiny fame).

Native Eastern Islanders or Rapa Nuians, called their home the Navel of the World. When you fly for 5-6 hours across the Pacific Ocean at 27′ South Latitude that’s how it feels.

Easter Island is one of the world’s most famous, yet least visited World Heritage Sites.

From Stone Age to Space Age – Easter Island

Until about 40 years ago once a year a Chilean warship visited Easter Island, bringing supplies. Very few tourists visited the island dotted with stone heads.

In 1967 the airport was finished and flights arrived from Tahiti and Santiago, Chile and tourism began.

In the 1970’s the Chilean government made changes: water supplies, electricity, a school and hospital.

Easter Island entered the Space Age in the late ’80’s when NASA extended the airport to accommodate an emergency landing for the US space shuttle.

Airport built by NASA,

etc

Hawaii Adventures – Night Snorkel with the Manta Rays

Snorkeling with the Manta Rays

Night Snorkel with the Manta Rays

Travel Channel says it’s one of the Top 10 things to do in your lifetime

Snorkeling at night to look for Manta Rays is advertised as one of Kona’s most unique adventures, so we signed up. Just before sunset we were outfitted with “shortie” wetsuits and snorkel gear and as the sun dropped over the western horizon we were whisked away from the pier at Keauhou Bay by the Fair Wind Big Island Ocean Guides. A few minutes later the deluxe cabin cruiser arrived at “Manta Village”, an area 25’-deep off the coast, to observe the graceful Rays. After instructions we slipped into the cold, dark water surrounded by more darkness. It is indeed, a unique experience. Mantas are attracted to the area to feed on plankton because floodlights from the back of the boat and small lights from a floating raft light up plankton below. The lights don’t bother the Manta Rays, but allow snorkelers floating on the surface a privileged view of the 4-14’wing span of the graceful Mantas.

Fair Wind Big Island Ocean Guides

www.fair-wind.com 808-322-2788

Photo Credit James L. Wing

Hawaii Lomi Lomi Chocolate Wrap

Blissed-Out with a Chocolate Body Wrap

Lomi Lomi is Hawaiian massage. Practioners of this ancient Polynesian healing technique use not only palms, but also the forearm, fingers, knuckles and elbows. The Hawaiian phrase, Lomi Lomi, means, literally, to rub, knead, massage.

The Sheraton Ho’ola Spa offers open-air massage on private patios where your mind and body will melt into the soundtrack of waves and birdsong. Zen-out with a Chocolate Body Wrap; warm Hershey’s chocolate is brushed all over your body, and a soft Vichy shower completes the decadence.  It sounds other worldly because it is.

Their custom aroma-chroma facial is the latest and greatest treatment out of Switzerland. It too is a “must try.”

Sheraton Keauhou Bay Resort & Ho’ola Spa

www.sheratonkeauhou.com 808-930-4900

Massage as magnificent as the Hawaiian flowers


About Marybeth Bond

Marybeth Bond is the nation’s preeminent expert on women travel. She is the award-winning
author-editor of 11 books.

Marybeth has hiked, cycled, climbed, dived and kayaked her way through more than seventy countries around the world.

She was a featured guest on the Oprah Winfrey Show. Marybeth has appeared on CBS News, CNN, ABC, NBC, National Public Radio and National Geographic Weekend.