Tourist Tuesday – Easter Island limits visitors

It’s a five-hour flight to Chile’s Easter Island (Rapa Nui) from the nation’s capital of Santiago.
Mysterious, hard-to-get-to and isolated, the volcanic island in Polynesia automatically makes it a dream destination for intrepid travelers who long to get off the beaten path.
The island is famous around the world for its iconic moai — enormous paleolithic structures in the shape of human heads. Rapa Nui National Park was added to the UNESCO World Heritage Site list in 1995.
But now, the island is one of many destinations around the world trying to balance popularity with preservation.
A new initiative both limiting the number of people who can visit the island as well as length of stay for said visitors has changed the accessibility factor further.
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9 thoughts on “Tourist Tuesday – Easter Island limits visitors

  1. Keep collecting these “limited tourist” articles… showing wide spread problems, the damage done and the solutions being implemented and/or suggested. Sometimes a large amount of “information” needs to be presented before the “powers that be” can see past their nose… or pocket book. “What? You mean there’s more than one way to do things?”

  2. This is a new idea that I am introducing originating with my mystery map maker: > Require parking permits (available online) from the county to park anywhere in Big Sur. Free to residents OF Big Sur, discounted to Monterey County residents. Funds used from permits to hire enforcement, and then funds from tickets used for improvements. If we can’t turn it into a toll road, we can limit those who park anywhere from Rio Rd to the County Line. Wanna drive it? No problem. Wanna park? You gotta pay. > > I am informed that agencies are ready to talk about limiting visitors. A reservation system is back on the table.

    The money charged for the permits would pay for enforcement. Even if only $5, the $$ collected would fund daylight parking monitors (local employment) at all the worst spots – Bixby, McWay, and a rover for north and south. Would also need a roving patrol for Nacimiento. Might add this element after funding starts coming in from permits and enforcement. Only need to cover daylight hours. Make tickets worthwhile to fund improvements and/or more enforcement – say $250/per. For rentals, it attaches to the rental, so companies will have a big incentive to collect from their renters…After a year (?Maybe less?) the word would be out, parking would be way down with people not stopping for that selfie.

    “Pave paradise and turn into a parking lot…” Wanna turn Big Sur into a parking lot? Charge for it.

  3. Kate – I would hate to see permits, fees and fines; it will ruin the experience of visiting Big Sur. Better to beef up law enforcement presence on the road to curb problem visitors. Parking permits are not the solution for Hwy 1. Most people driving Hwy 1 just pull over to take pictures or enjoy the view and don’t linger anyway. Keep it simple.

  4. Good idea – enforcement is key of course. Glad they are “talking” about it…cuz it ain’t gonna go away.
    And now guess what’s playing in my head…lol

  5. Gail, have you traveled down here this summer? It is a nightmare of people pulling over, stopping in the middle of the road, parking IN the roads, blocking traffic, etc. The problem is there is ONE CHP and ONE MCSO for 72 miles, and they get caught in this traffic nightmare, too. If there WERE enforcement, yes, but there isn’t, and no one seems to have the funds to hire some. We have to create the funds. This is one way to create funds. The “experience of visiting Big Sur” has been ruined already. I challenge you to drive to Big Sur on a weekend, before Labor Day, or on Labor Day, if you want. You will see. The “experience” has already been ruined and the environment is paying the cost. People climbing down the cliffs for the perfect Instagram shot have completely denuded these hills, and cliffs, and the “experience.” We need to reclaim that experience.

  6. Gail? You live in Big Sur? I’m not trying to be rude but there have been MANY posts with pictures that show all kinds of stupid. Smart phones does not equal smart people.
    Check out the “loving Big Sur to death” section to the right… and this is from 2016. Check out more currents posts and you can see it is only getting worse. Inertia …Without action, it will continue in that direction.
    Just like the song…
    “Don’t it always seem to go
    That you don’t know what you’ve got til its gone
    They paved paradise
    And put up a parking lot
    They took all the trees
    And put ’em in a tree museum
    And they charged the people
    A dollar and a half to seem ’em”

    Trust me – it will cost your grandkids more than a dollar and a half…

  7. Yes, something has to be done, and whatever it is, someone – maybe many someones will bitch and moan about it. Get ready, because I am going to start pushing for change, and with some people it won’t be appreciated.

    One thing Gail misses is that all those people who stop for selfies and then just move on through use our bathrooms, or the side of the road, but don’t spend anything, and that results in no money to hire enforcement, but money spent to clean bathrooms or roadsides.

    I appreciate your support. I think we also need to start asking what solutions they suggest to a problem that is out of control. Mother Nature is going to take us for a ride this winter, because we are not taking care of her. She is in self-defense mode, here, and elsewhere.

  8. No parking or building west side of highway one, all your human trash is obnoxious.
    Fat cars, Fat houses, Fat people, use your feet and stop filling your holes with garbage, all your holes, stop filling them with garbage.
    Stopping, standing, sitting and resting with nature should not be a crime, all the excessive man made garbage should be a crime, the world is addicted to man made.
    But keep making and selling those hats, mugs, tshirts, stickers, ect… all advertising were here and its OK to junk up home.

  9. Great article and comments! I firmly believe that a toll road is the solution—- locals bypass free, providing an information gateway while raising funds for enforcement, and the building of a couple of bathroom facilities.
    I’m very hopeful that our next Governor can be persuaded to “ make it happen” as it will also ideally be a component of wildfire prevention via education.

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