Easter Island's Tapati Festival is a mix of carnival type activities, sports, theatrical presentations and homage to the island, also known as Rapa Nui.
Celebrated annually during summer, the festival covers several weeks at the end of January and into February. At this time, the island receives thousands of visitors who flood the hotels and other lodging places. Some islanders rent out their homes for the duration.
The island sporting competitions are based on ancient sports, such as sliding down a cliff on a banana tree in haka pei competition. The person who stays on the log longest wins. Another popular event includes swimming, oaring across the lake at Rano Raraku in a reed tortora raft and then racing around the lake balancing banana bunches over the shoulders.
Dance competitions for all ages, parades with floats and costumed figures, and the crowning of the queen of the festival are highlights of the celebrations.
The festival began to celebrate the 1963 passing of Ley Pascua, allowing the residents of Isla de Pascua, or Easter Island, to vote in the Chilean presidential elections.
The festival activities expanded to include the celebration of Rapa Nui heritage with feasts, music, dance and fireworks.
If you want to attend the Tapati festival, make your reseervations far in advance.