I’ll be honest – I’d wanted to go to Easter Island ever since I read Jared Diamond’s book Collapse about how the Easter Islanders went from being a complex civilization of thousands of individuals who produced those amazing iconic statues, the moai, to a dwindling group of stragglers by the time the first Westerner, Dutchman Jacob Roggeveen, first stumbled upon the island in 1722.
With Valparaiso just 60 miles to the west, a Santiago to Valparaiso day trip is easily done. There are many things to do in Valparaiso, Chile (or “Valpo”, as it’s known to its friends) that could warrant a longer stay, but we only had one day before we had to fly off to Easter Island, and one day is long enough to imbibe the artful vibe of this lovely seaside town.
Machu Picchu… just a whisper of its name brings to mind an ancient lost city in the mountainous jungle that slept for centuries under vine cover, waiting patiently to be rediscovered. Indiana Jones, eat your heart out! It seems only befitting that this archaeological treasure trove be approached in the traditional way, on foot via the Inca Trail – a 4-day trek at altitude through steep terrain, where you feel just like the ancient Incas must have felt when they finally broke through the jungle after such a long walk to find a shining city on a hill.