Easter Island, Chile
On Easter Island, you can look mystery in the eye. The island, locally known as Rapa Nui, is famous for its hundreds of massive stone heads and torsos, or moai. Their precise significance, as well as the sheer number of statues, continues to inspire wonder even today. In addition to the standing statues, hundreds more remain in the quarry where they were carved, or sit broken and abandoned along paths where they likely fell during transport. How their creators transported the carved stones, which average 14 tons each, is another of the island's mysteries. The statues are keeping mum, so visitors content themselves with simple awe.
Easter Island, about five-and-a-half hours by plane from Santiago, Chile, is among the most remote inhabited islands in the world. Tour operators run multiday trips to the island, often as part of larger South America trips. Independent travel is another option, and local guides can enrich the experience.