loading spinner
Online Program

Adventures Online: Easter Island & the Mystery of Rapa Nui

Program No. 24215RJ
Join an archaeologist for an immersive look into the fascinating history of Easter Island and its people, the Rapa Nui, on this online learning adventure, live from Chile!
3 days
Rating (5)
Starts at

Your well-being is our #1 priority

To make your experience as safe as possible, we require all participants to be fully vaccinated. See our Safety Roadmap

Enroll with Confidence

We want your Road Scholar learning adventure to be something to look forward to—not worry about. Learn more

Prefer to enroll or inquire by phone? 800-454-5768
Select your number of enrollees
Price will update based on selection
Prices displayed below are based on per person


Online Program
Accommodation Details

Learn from the comfort of your own home.


Online Program
Accommodation Details

Learn from the comfort of your own home.

At a Glance

Experience the wonders of Easter Island and learn about the fascinating Rapa Nui people with an expert archaeologist to answer all of your questions — all without leaving the comfort of your home! On this online educational adventure live from Chile, join archaeologists as they share their first-hand knowledge and research of this remote island. Go on virtual field trips to learn about the famous moai statues at Rano Raraku, Tongarik, Tepito Kura and Moai Quarry. Learn about Rapa Nui society and the eventual collapse of the old culture, and gain insight into how they have been influenced by the Western world. Take part in Q&A sessions and enjoy an opportunity to share your interest in the history and people of Easter Island with other Road Scholars like you.

Best of all, you’ll…

  • Join Chilean archaeologists for an expert-led look into the lives of the Rapa Nui people and their society.
  • Thrill in virtual field trips to important archaeological sites like Rano Raraku, Tongarik, Tepito Kura and Moai Quarry to see the megalithic development of the original moai.
  • Take a virtual field trip to the unique Birdman Village in Orongo where the Birdman Festival was held until 1835.

General Notes

You’ll enjoy 2-3 hours of daily instruction, discussion and/or field trips, which includes sufficient breaks throughout the program. This online program is through Zoom, an easy-to-use web video service that includes closed captioning. All you need is an Internet connection and your computer. We’ll provide a how-to guide to make sure you’ll have a hassle-free experience. In keeping with our Traditional On-Site programs, ALL ADVENTURES ONLINE MULTI-DAY PROGRAMS (INCLUDING THIS PROGRAM) ARE PRESENTED LIVE; THESE PROGRAMS ARE NOT RECORDED. Please review the daily itinerary for start and end times to ensure you won’t miss a minute of this live experience. All times are listed in the EASTERN time zone. If you live in a different time zone, please adjust your schedule accordingly.
Featured Expert
All Experts
Profile Image
Claudio Cristino Ferrando
Claudio Cristino-Ferrando is an archaeologist and social anthropologist on the faculty of the University of Chile’s Department of Anthropology. He is the director of its Easter Island and Oceania Studies Centre. Since 1976, Claudio’s research has focused on the archaeology of the Pacific and important restoration projects including the famous ceremonial village of Orongo in Rapa Nui. He has previously served as Field Director of the Ahu Tongariki project, the largest ceremonial site in the East Pacific, and as Director of Easter Island’s Anthropological Museum.

Please note: This expert may not be available for every date of this program.

Profile Image of Oscar Oviedo Velasco
Oscar Oviedo Velasco View biography
Oscar Oviedo Velasco is a native Peruvian with over 15 years of experience as a local expert and Group Leader. He has special expertise in the archeology, history and art of Peru and has conducted independent studies on the Viceregal history of Lima and ceramic and textile techniques of Pre-Hispanic Peru. Oscar has participated in various archaeological excavation projects and museum installations and studied photography at the Toulouse Lautrec institute, with concentrations in drone, nature, urban and archaeological photography, as well as photogrammetry.
Profile Image of Patricia Vargas Casanova
Patricia Vargas Casanova View biography
Patricia Vargas Casanova is a senior professor, archaeologist, and social anthropologist on the University of Chile faculty. She moved to Easter Island in 1976 and has conducted the ongoing archaeological survey of the island. In 1979, she co-founded the university’s Easter Island Studies Centre and served as its Director from 1991-2004. She also planned and co-directed the five-year Ahu Tongariki archaeological research and restoration project. An International Fellow of The Explorers Club, Patricia received the Lowell Thomas Award for her work on Easter Island.
Profile Image of Claudio Cristino Ferrando
Claudio Cristino Ferrando View biography
Claudio Cristino-Ferrando is an archaeologist and social anthropologist on the faculty of the University of Chile’s Department of Anthropology. He is the director of its Easter Island and Oceania Studies Centre. Since 1976, Claudio’s research has focused on the archaeology of the Pacific and important restoration projects including the famous ceremonial village of Orongo in Rapa Nui. He has previously served as Field Director of the Ahu Tongariki project, the largest ceremonial site in the East Pacific, and as Director of Easter Island’s Anthropological Museum.
Profile Image of Alex Searle
Alex Searle View biography
Alex Searle was born in Chile and raised in Argentina. He spent his childhood getting to know local cultures, then studied journalism at the University of Chile, followed by post-graduate studies at the University of British Columbia. He later worked as a producer in the news departments of Chilean TV, doing research and producing a successful late night show as well as a wildlife show. He has also worked for years as a naturalist and expedition leader in Polynesia, South America, Antarctica, and Rapa Nui.
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
Easter Island Sketchbook
by Susan A. Sternau
This treasure trove of whimsical watercolor and ink paintings brings Easter Island's mysterious relics to life. Sternau is particularly adept at rendering the mystical moai -- the large stone statues of the ancient Rapa Nui civilization, but she also captures the island's landscape: from its idyllic beaches to dramatic cliffs.
Insight Guide Chile
by Insight Guides
This glossy guide provides a full-color introduction by a team of experts to the land, people, history and attractions of Chile. Brief background essays highlight important topics. With many local and regional maps.
Pacific Journeys
by Peter Hendrie
A striking portfolio of 330 color photographs of the people, nature and landscape of the region, Hendrie's gorgeous book includes images from his many journeys to Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands, to Tahiti and the Marquesas, Tonga, Fiji, Easter Island and Hawaii over the last 20 years.
Easter Island, the Essential Guide
by Kay Sanger
An archaeologist who has worked on Rapa Nui since the 1980s and past president of the Easter Island Foundation, Sanger covers the history, archaeology, people and practicalities of Easter Island in this authoritative guide.
The Statues That Walked, Unraveling the Mystery of Easter Island
by Carl Lipo, Terry Hunt
Drawing on archaeological evidence and their own work, Hunt and Lip challenge Jared Diamond's view of eco-catastrophe in this convincing new history of Rapa Nui.
Easter Island's Silent Sentinels, The Sculpture and Architecture of Rapa Nui
by Kenneth Treister
This richly illustrated survey of the history, culture and art of Easter Island includes the island's vernacular architecture.
The Happy Isles of Oceania
by Paul Theroux
The peripatetic author flies off to Australia and New Zealand with a kayak and ends up exploring much of Melanesia and Polynesia, including Tonga, Fiji and the Marquesas, in this wickedly funny, wide-ranging tale.
On the Road of the Winds
by Patrick Vinton Kirch
An excellent scholarly review of the prehistory and archaeology of Pacific civilizations before European contact.
Easter Island, Island of Enigmas
by John Dos Passos
An amateur archaeologist, novelist Dos Passos mixes travel and observation with the history of exploration of Rapa Nui in this brief, engaging book.
Easter Island
by Jennifer Vanderbes
In this mesmerizing novel, Vanderbes spins parallel stories of two young women on Easter Island, one an archaeologist with a 1913 expedition and the other an American botanist who visits 60 years later.
Island at the End of the World
by Steven Roger Fischer
Fischer's cultural and political history takes in the full sweep of Easter Island from prehistory through civil rights protests of the 1960s.
We, the Navigators, The Ancient Art of Landfinding in the Pacific
by David Lewis
This engaging classic examines how Stone Age Polynesians may have navigated the Pacific. The scholarly volume will appeal to seafarers and modern Pacific travelers.
Kon-Tiki, Across the Pacific by Raft
by Thor Heyerdahl, F. H. Lyon (Translator)
The hugely popular account of a daring 1947 voyage that sailed along the Humboldt and Equatorial currents from Peru to Tahiti. Apart from the sheer adventure, Heyerdahl wanted to show the world that Polynesians could have settled the region. With photographs.
Rapa Nui, Island of Memory
by Georgia Lee
Full of anecdote and incident, Lee's lively memoir of fieldwork on Rapa Nui celebrates the people and life on the island since the 1980s.
Collapse, How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed
by Jared Diamond
Diamond tackles nothing less than the history and fate of civilization in this compelling book in which he offers case studies, present and past, of societies that work and societies that do not, devoting 100 carefully reasoned pages, for example, to the fate of the Norse settlements in Greenland (climatic change, Inuit) and another big section on Easter Island (deforestation, hubris). This revised edition includes a new afterword.
Easter Island Map
A colorful topographic map (1:30,000).
35 Reviews
Sort by
Most Recent
  • Most Recent
  • Most Favorable
  • Least Favorable
5 Average
(5) Review left 3/26/2022

This program offers an unforgettable opportunity to hear from archaeologists who have worked in Rapa Nui for more than 30 years.

(5) Review left 3/17/2022

The Easter Island/Rapa Nui on-line adventure was excellent. Great instructors with vast knowledge of the island, its people, culture, history, geology, archaeology = superb! Wonderful program facilitor. Great "handouts" at the end of the program. It was the next best thing to being there!

(5) Review left 12/16/2021

Excellent program. In depth exploration of Rapa Nui's (Easter Island's) history, how it developed and where it is today. Excellent, highly knowledgeable and engaging presenters. We were lucky enough to have the actual archaeologists on the island as presenters.

(5) Review left 12/15/2021

This is a fascinating program from start to finish. Yes, you will learn a lot about the famous Easter Island statues, but you will learn so much more, both about the history of the people of Easter Island as well as the current population and culture. Top notch instructors, including two archaeologist who have been working on Easter Island for years.

(5) Review left 12/15/2021

After this three day adventure, I feel that I have fully been introduced to Easter Island. Excellent lectures and video field trips add me feel as if I have actually experienced a trip to Easter Island. Highly recommended!

(5) Review left 9/08/2021

Outstanding program! There is so much more to the Rapa Nui people and culture than stone statues (although that part was fascinating). Highly recommend.

(5) Review left 9/06/2021

This was an excellent online program with very knowledgeable presenters. I learned a lot about Easter Island/Rapa Nui - an island I will probably never travel to because of the distance. That said, I would love to visit during their annual festival. Although most travel would be better in-person, this program did work well as an on-line program and I'd encourage others to register when it's offered again.

(5) Review left 7/15/2021

Easter Island is a fascinating and mysterious place that I’ve always wanted to explore. The Road Scholar 3 day zoom program was the next best thing to being there!

(5) Review left 7/15/2021

The Easter Island virtual trip with RS was amazing - such interesting material and great presenters!

(5) Review left 5/20/2021

This is all the information and more that I would want to have presented. Excellent presenters.

(5) Review left 5/20/2021

Excellent program! Chock full of information from people who are experts in study of and living on Easter Island. Most highly recommend

(5) Review left 5/20/2021

Just concluded my 2nd virtual program. This one was on Easter Island. I have always been fascinated by the giant statues and this was a great way to learn more. Road Scholar always has very good knowledgeable instructors and lwaders.

(5) Review left 5/19/2021

I just completed my three day online adventure exploring Easter Island & the Mystery of Rapa Nui. It was a fantastic program. I learned about so many aspects of not only the history and culture of Rapa Nui, but also the Polynesian Triangle. The Moai were breathtaking, even from an online vantage point, and certainly instill the desire to see them in person. This was a great option for adventure during the pandemic and for anyone with limited mobility.

(5) Review left 5/19/2021

I just finished the Easter Island/Rapa Nui program and it was fantastic. Even though we did the program over Zoom it still felt very intimate. The photos and videos shared really gave a feel for the island and locations. Top notch program.

(5) Review left 5/19/2021

Easter Island has always been interesting to me. After this virtual adventure I can't wait to go in person. Would definitely recommend.

(5) Review left 4/17/2021

I have followed archeological work on Easter Island for a few years and was thrilled to take a virtual trip there. The experts, visuals and virtual trips were fantastic. I’m signing up for more virtual trips now that this one was so successful. It’s the best virtual travel I’ve taken during the pandemic by far.

(5) Review left 4/12/2021

I attended the online program about Easter Island and found myself very absorbed in the island's settlement, archeology and current lifestyle. I was expecting the program to be good in any case, and the content exceeded my expectations! I have signed up for another Online adventure as a result of my experience with the Easter Island trip.

(5) Review left 4/09/2021

There is so much more to Rapa Nui then half-buried stone heads. Two different amazing cultures developed on the island. I learned and unlearned so much with the excellent instructors and I hope to be their in 2022.

(5) Review left 4/08/2021

This program was really spectacular! I learned so much about the culture and history of Rapa Nui/Easter Island that I had never heard before. The pictures and videos shown made me feel as if I were there. This is a wonderful way to experience Rapa Nui without the long plane trip!

(5) Review left 4/07/2021

Very interesting presentation by experts!!!

(5) Review left 4/07/2021

Though I've done 5 or 6 "real life" tours with Road Scholar, this is my first multi-day virtual tour. We're on day 3 now, and I've been very impressed with the organization, strict adherence to the schedule, informative and professional slide shows and videos, and, most of all, the very knowledgeable lecturers. This lecture series has given me a great foundation for the in-person trip we hope to take in November of this year (fingers crossed). I hope that Road Scholar continues these types of virtual visits to important destinations around the world. This type of format is valuable, not only to those who will never be able to visit in person, but also to those of us who can use the information to obtain background info before we go.

(5) Review left 4/07/2021

This was wonderful 3 day trip to a place that I have never traveled to. Well worth the time during the day to watch and learn! I give it a 10!!!!

(5) Review left 3/29/2021

I have been attending a number of the on-line trips. Road Scholar is doing a wonderful job on presenting so many different trips just as they do when you can actually travel to the different places. The topics are varied and there is something for everyone. I am finding that since I have not been to many of the places that I chose for on-line participation that they will be a wonderful introduction for when I do actually get to travel again.

(5) Review left 3/28/2021

This program surpassed my expectations. The presentations and presenters were excellent. The leader did an outstanding job keeping us on tract. All individuals were very knowledgeable about the subject matter and enthusiastically answered our questions. I would definitely recommend this program!

(5) Review left 3/27/2021

Covid has kept us from going in person to Rapa Nui. This extremely well run program was the next best thing. Our teachers were the actual archeologists who excavated and restored the Moai, and we almost certainly learned more than we would have on an actual trip. The program over-fulfilled my expectations.

(5) Review left 3/25/2021

I thought that taking a virtual class would satisfy my curiosity about Easter Island, but now I want to go there more than before! Thanks to Oscar, Alex, Paticia and Claudio for making this experience as "real" as possible!

This reviewer did not give a star rating. Review left 3/24/2021

This was a fascinating course featuring an excellent group leader and 3 very knowledgeable, local instructors.

(5) Review left 3/24/2021

What a comprehensive study of Easter Island from its very beginning through current issues and lifestyles. The presenters are so knowledgeable, information organized, great videos. Joyful program.

(5) Review left 3/04/2021

I thoroughly enjoyed the Easter Island -Mystery of Rapa Nui. I purchase a book prior to the program and I was delighted to find out 2 of our presenters had authored the book. The days were organized in a very well thought out way and it was a perfect blend of lectures and field trips.

(5) Review left 3/04/2021

I can now only use the Website from my Kindle likely due to my more secure new computer.

(5) Review left 3/04/2021

Easter Island adventure was fascinating. Our group leader and instructors were passionate and gave us great insights into the history, culture, and current life. Loved the whole experience.

(5) Review left 3/04/2021

Well organized and beautifully presented, this program exceeded my expectations for an online visit to Rapa Nui. Our group leader and the instructors conveyed their truly expert knowledge and passion for the history and the culture. I highly recommend this course to anyone with a curiosity about Easter Island.

(5) Review left 3/04/2021

Next best thing to being there!

(5) Review left 3/03/2021

Fascinating culture and history added to experienced guides and beautiful scenery makes for a very worthwhile virtual experience.

(5) Review left 1/27/2021

Easter Island (Rapa Nui) is a fascinating place, and our instructor Jose Miguel has enormous expertise as an archaeologist who lived and worked on Easter Island. He gave us three great lectures every day, including virtual field trips,with plenty of time for questions and discussions. I highly recommend this online class, and Easter Island is now definitely on my "bucket" list of places to go. Easter Island has more than just famous Moai statues - it has a fascinating culture and history. Many thanks to our excellent team leader Oscar!

Important registration tip:
If you want to attend the live lecture, please do not wait until the last minute to enroll.
If you enroll after a lecture is complete, we’ll send you a recording of the event.