St Petersburg, Russia
Easter Island & Atacama Desert, Chile
Feb 3 - 15, 2012
Easter Island Highlights
Easter Island & Northern Chile: Ancient Stone Statues, the Andean Altiplano and the Atacama Dessert
Explore and photograph the mysteries of remote Easter Island (Rapa Nui) and the biodiversity of Northern Chile in one breathtaking trip. From the enigmatic archeological sites of Easter Island to the arid Atacama Dessert and vast Andean Altiplano of Northern Chile, you are bound to capture unforgettable images on this photography workshop.
Located in the South Pacific Ocean, in between Chile and Tahiti, Easter Island is a 64 square mile Polynesian spec of an island formed by an ancient volcanic eruption and best known for its nearly 900 ancient stone statues. Despite being the second driest place in the world next to Antarctica, Northern Chile’s Atacama Dessert’s barren beauty is a goldmine for landscape photography as is the diverse and expansive geography of the Andean Altiplano. All of these dynamic locations will offer you the opportunity to enhance your photography skills all in one workshop.
Easter Island & Atacama Desert, Chile Itinerary
February 8th - Santiago
Arrive in Santiago, Chile (SCL) in the morning of February 8th (Depart the US on February 7th) and transfer from the Airport to the Hotel in Santiago. Santiago is the beautifully situated capitol city of Chile, with the sea to the west and the snowy Andes to the east. We will be staying in this happening, cosmopolitan city but we will take our first adventure early afternoon, to the vineyards for a historical tour of the centenary cellars and a lesson on the winemaking process. Great photos of the grapes. Lunch is included at the vineyard. Overnight at the Plaza el Bosque Hotel.
February 9th - Santiago to Easter Island
Today we transfer at 7:00 am from the hotel in Santiago to the airport for a 5 hour flight to Easter Island. Upon arrival, transfer to the hotel. We will shoot our first sunset at the 7 mois, near our hotel. Overnight at the Iorana Hotel.
February 10th - Easter Island – Anakena the lost culture of Rapa Nui
Early morning departure to photograph and light paint the We will first visit the south coast of the island to see the un-restored Moai (statues): Ahu (ceremonial platform) Vaihu and Ahu Akahanga. Then we proceed to Rano Raraku, the quarry of almost 900 stone statues, 397 of them still lying or standing at the slopes of the extinct volcano and crater lake. After this stop we visit the 15 restored Moais of Ahu Tongariki - the most recent and largest restoration on the island. On the east coast we will explore Ahu Te Pito Kura (weighing 12 tons, it is one of the largest Moai ever carved and moved from the Puna Pau quarry) and the "Navel of the World" – a perfectly round stone said to have magnetic properties. Lastly we visit Anakena, the legendary landing place of Hotu Matua, (the Polynesian founder of the island) with its recovered Ahu Nau Nau and Ahu Ature Huke. One of two sand beaches on the entire island, Anakena is the most Polynesian-looking part of the island, with a tropical grove of coconut palms, white sand beach and a calm blue cove of warm Pacific waters for you to take a dip in! Return to the Iorana Hotel.
February 11th - Easter Island - Ahu Akivi and its 7 Moai
This tour takes you to the restored Ahu Akivi with its 7 Moais each about 4.5 meters tall. Built in the middle of the island these Moais represent the young explorers sent to explore the island before the arrival of Hotu Matu’a. Like most other ahu (platforms), this ceremonial center is oriented astronomically, and the Moai look straight to the sunset during equinoxes. Ahu Akivi is believed to have been originally constructed during the 15th century and was probably one of the first Ahu’s. It was reconstructed in 1972. From here we proceed to the Ana Te Pahu Cave, one of the biggest lava tubes of the island before we visit the un-restored Ahu Tepeu and then the topknot-quarry Puna Pau. Return to the Iorana Hotel.
February 12th - Easter Island - Orongo Ceremonial Village
We will visit the extinct volcano Rano Kau with its distinct geological features and 360 view of the entire island and breathtaking view of the crater lake. Later in the ceremonial stone village of Orongo, with it’s dramatic crate-edge and sea-cliff location, we will see the spectacular petroglyphs related to this culture and the 3 islands situated opposite the coast. Lastly, we will visit the Ahu Vinapu and the Ana Kai Tangata cave. Return to the Iorana Hotel
February 13th - Easter Island-Santiago- to San Pedro de Atacama
Transfer from the hotel to the Mataveri Airport on Easter Island for flight to Santiago and then a connecting flight through Santiago, North to Calama. LA 848 IPC-SCL 0800/1445 and LA 356 SCL-CJC 1815/2020
February 14th - San Pedro de Atacama
The Atacama Desert is the world's second driest region next to Antarctica with a host of unearthly landscape photo opps. We will photograph the spectacular Valle de la Luna (Valley of the Moon) named accordingly for its resemblance to the moons’ surface. Capture dramatic images of the rippling wind-sculpted rock formations and polychromatic dunes at sunset. Overnight Tulor Hotel.
February 15th - Atacama Salt Flat & Altiplanic Lagoons
Start this day with an early morning visit to the small town of Toconao, where you can practice your portrait photography shooting images of the residents who make their living through agriculture and handcrafts made from llama wool, cactus wood, volcanic rock and alpaca wool. In the National Flamingo Reserve, we will visit and photograph the crystallized white salt flats of the Salar de Atacama (salt lake) - one of the biggest salt fields in Chile. The dryness and altitude of the salt field allow an excellent panoramic view of the area. The bottom of the salt field is composed of an enormous lake, which receives water from mountain, rivers and melting snow. The small lagoons that have formed here are home to three types of flamingos living in the area, (the English, the Andean and the Chilean) that we will photograph against this colorful and dramatic landscape. We will stop at Socaire village to acclimatize and photograph the small church of San Bartolomé. In Los Flamencos National Reserve explore the Miscanti and Miñique lagoons of crystalline water and intense blue color surrounded by numerous volcanoes and mountains. Bring your long lens and practice your wildlife photography on the variety of bird species here including: the Chilean flamingo, the small parina, the playero and the horned crane. Return to San Pedro de Atacama. Overnight at Tulor hotel .
February 16th - 2nd Day at the Altiplanic Lagoons.
We will spend one more day at this breathtaking location with its limitless photo opps. Overnight at Tulor hotel
February 17th - Tatio Geysers - Andean Valley
Set out for an early morning sunrise shoot of the unearthly Tatio Geysers surrounded by the soaring Andean peaks. This vast geyser field - with as many as 80 active geothermal features - is the highest geyser field in the world at almost 14,000 feet above sea level. Photograph the steaming geysers against the Andean peaks and deep blue desert sky. Overnight at Tulor hotel
February 18th - San Pedro to Santiago
Departure at 08h00 (approx). Transfer to Machuca village. We visit the village and its lamas. Later, transfer to the Puritama Hot Springs and swim in a nice surrounding. Back in San Pedro de Atacama at 13h00 (approx). Overnight at Tulor hotel. (B, L)
February 19th - Santiago
Making our way back to San Pedro, we will stop to photograph a town. Transfer to the Calama Airport for our flight to Santiago followed by flights back to the US at 10:15pm.
Itinerary is subject to change.
Cost per person $8900 based on double occupancy
Accommodations are based on double occupancy. PQA will try to match you with a roommate if however, a roommate is not available, you will be charged an additional fee.
Limited to 12 participants
We highly recommend that you purchase travel insurance. We have set up a special discounted rate for our questers. Just follow the link below to register.
Mirjam Evers is a New York City based travel photographer who specializes in international environmental portraiture, landscape photography and adventure images. Born and raised in the Netherlands, Evers has photographed in more than 75 countries, including many of the most exotic places in the world. Evers' photographs are indicative of her unique capacity to personally connect with diverse cultures and communities. Her eye for location lighting is highly stylized and works to illustrate and heighten the unique characteristics of each international locale. She is able to transcend cultural and language barriers with an intangible spirit that is conveyed in every image. Evers is available for worldwide assignments, travel essays and editorial work. Her photographs are available for licensing in print and online, exhibitions and fine print sales. Selected Corporate Clients: Nikon, Lowepro, Lensbaby, Epson and Visa. Selected Publications: AFAR, The New York Times, AARP, Outdoor Photographer, PDN, American Photo, Popular Photography, Digital Photo, Departures, MSN Travel.
"She's able to transcend cultural and language barriers with an intangible spirit that comes through in every portrait." -Mark Edward Harris, PC Photo
Quest Leader's website: http://www.mirjamevers.com/
Facts About Easter Island and Northern Chile
Easter Island (Rapa Nui)
Located in the South Pacific Ocean, 2,180 miles west of continental Chile, Easter Island is a 64 square mile Polynesian spec of an island formed by an ancient volcanic eruption and best known for its nearly 900 ancient stone statues called Moai. It is one of the world's most isolated inhabited islands with its nearest inhabited neighbor, Pitcairn Island, located 1,289.35 miles to the west. Its history is captivating and mysterious to this day mainly because of the Moai that were created by the early Rapanui people to represent deified ancestors. The Rapanui were very skilled artisans who carved the statues out of soft volcanic tuff rock and erected them near the ocean settlements so the Moai could watch over their descendants, with their backs toward the spirit world of the sea.
Archaeologists believe that the initial inhabitants arrived between 700–1000, and they journeyed here in canoes or catamarans from the Marquesas Islands of Polynesia. On Easter Sunday, 1722, Dutch navigator Jacob Roggeveen arrived, hence the name Easter Island came about. Over the centuries Easter Island and its inhabitants lived through colonialism, epidemics, food shortages, cannibalism, internal wars and slave raids. By the end of the 1880 a mere 100 people lived on the island with most of it’s natural resources depleted and its cultural knowledge lost. Easter Island was annexed by Chile on September 9, 1888, and the validity of that land grab is still contested by some of the Rapanui to this day. In 1966, Chile declared Easter Island a province and the Rapanui were given Chilean citizenship. Today tourism is the major industry, and although isolated and a bit difficult to reach, thousands visit here to experience for themselves the culture and mystery that is Easter Island.
Northern Chili’s Atacama Desert & Andean Altiplano
Despite being the second driest place in the world next to Antarctica, Northern Chile’s Atacama Dessert’s barren beauty is a goldmine for landscape photography as is the diverse and expansive geography of the Andean Altiplano. The Atacama Desert, located near the tiny oasis village of San Pedro, is brimming with unearthly landscapes including dramatic wind swept sand dunes and expansive salt flats. Despite what appears to be a lifeless crystallized environment, this desert is also home to an oasis of activity including the Laguna Chaxa flamingo breeding site where colorful lagoons are dotted with pink flamingos. Among the vast plains of the Altiplano are salt lakes and steaming geysers all surrounded by the soaring Andean Mountains.
Ethnic Groups: White and white-Amerindian 95%, Amerindian 3%, other 2%
Religions: Roman Catholic 70%, Evangelical 15.1%, Jehovah's Witness 1.1%, other Christian 1%, other 4.6%, none 8.3% (2002 census)
Easter Island The Easter Islanders, who today refer to themselves and to their homeland as Rapa Nui, are the easternmost of some 36 Polynesian peoples whose ancestors discovered and settled the islands of the central and eastern Pacific. They share a common ancestry with other Polynesians, such as the Hawaiians, Tahitians and the New Zealand Maori.
Chile: Spanish (official), Mapudungun, German, English
Easter Island: Spanish is the most commonly spoken language, with Rapanui, an Eastern Polynesian tongue related to Cook Islands Maori, being the mode of daily communication for most Rapanui.
Chile: Chile yields some of the world's finest and most varied seafood, and many of its traditional plates are specialties from the sea. Other traditional foods include: cazuela, a clear broth with rice, potato, corn on the cob, plus a piece of beef or chicken. A summer favorite, the tasty pastel de choclo, mixes chicken, beef, olives and vegetables in a corn casserole. Epanadas are popular snacks throughout the country.
Chileans usually eat four meals a day, beginning with a light breakfast of toast with a well-sugared cup of tea or coffee. Lunch, the day's main meal, is generally served between about 1 and 3 pm, when some businesses shut their doors during these hours. In late afternoon, between about 5 and 7 pm, it is common to take onces (afternoon tea), which usually consists of a sandwich and some kind of dessert or pastry, plus tea or coffee. Dinner is rarely earlier than 9 pm and often runs as late as midnight. These meal times reflect the nature of the Chilean workday; Chileans usually begin work at 9am and finish in the late evening around 8pm after taking the long lunch in early afternoon. It is normal for working people to go to bed after midnight on a regular basis during the week.
Easter Island: Food is Chilean in style, although island foods such as crayfish, tuna (and other fish), sweet potato and taro are common.
Weather & Clothing
The weather during this workshop will span quite a range of temperatures from the humid tropics of Eastern Island, to a southern Californian-like climate in Santiago to the dry desert heat of the Atacama and high altitude chill of the Altiplano. So a variety of clothing is recommended including shorts, t-shirts, a hat and then warmer clothing for the early mornings and nights in the desert and the Altiplano. As we always recommend, lightweight but warm, wicking layers perform well and are the easiest to pack. And always pack a waterproof, wind breaking shell just in case of rain and/or strong winds.
Visit for current weather information: www.weather.com
Santiago: The city enjoys a Mediterranean climate with four well-defined seasons - which are the reverse of those in the Northern Hemisphere. The weather is comparable to that of central and southern California. We will be there in summer, which is from December to February, with hot and dry temperatures ranging from 53 degrees F to 93 degrees F during the day with noticeable cooling down at night.
Easter Island: Winds and ocean currents strongly influence Rapa Nui's subtropical climate. We will be there during one of the hottest months in February where the average temperature is a typically humid 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Although May is the wettest month, tropical downpours can occur during any season.
Northern Chile: December to March is considered summer in San Pedro de Atacama but it can be bitterly cold at night. The climate corresponding to this zone is desert-like in altitude (Altiplano) and with a marked thermo oscillation. Summer temperature: 27ºC by day and 16ºC by night (occasional rains).
Health & Medical
The Altiplano and areas of the Atacama Desert are located at elevations between 8,000 and 15,000 feet. Persons with heart, respiratory or overweight conditions should consult their doctor before enrolling. Although this trip is not strenuous, extended periods at high altitude can be tiring and altitude sickness is a possibility. Prescription medications are available that can lessen the effect of high altitude. On Easter Island there is a small hospital, but travelers should take with them any special medical requirements, as there is no chemist on the island, apart from the hospital dispensary whose supplies depend upon shipments from Chile.
On Easter Island: Most businesses on Rapa Nui accept US cash. Some eateries and stores show prices in both dollars and pesos but use a lower conversion rate, so using pesos saves money. Many residenciales, hotels and tour agencies accept credit cards but they usually charge a commission of 5% to 10% for the service. Regardless, make sure you have a cash reserve on you.
In San Pedro: There is said to be ONE (1) ATM on the western side of the village! So to be safe, bring a stash of cash as backup. Many establishments take plastic, but some prefer cash.
Tipping: It is customary to tip 10% in Chile
Passport & Visa requirements
U.S., Australian, Canadian, and EU citizens require a passport valid for at least six months from date of entry and return ticket for stays of up to 90 days. U.S., Australian, and Canadian citizens are required to pay a reciprocity fee (considered a multiple entry visa) of $132 in cash upon arrival (subject to change without notice due to currency fluctuations or other reasons).
Computer / Digital Acessories