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Rapa Nui Notes 1#2 1986



The "world's most isolated inhabited island" is rapidly changing. Since our previous visit, only 6 months ago, we can see many new and different things, strange faces, and a quickening pace. The evident current prosperity is the result of the runway extension, which has provided jobs for many Rapanui, although most workers were brought in from Chile along with the heavy machinery. However, unless additional public works projects are initiated, the good times won't last.

The hoped-for breakwater and harbor are still somewhere in the future, due to a lack of funds. And, at this point in time, tourism is down despite the fact that the island now boasts 5 hotels and 29 residenciales, which range, for a single with meals, from $20. to $116 per day. The island's population now numbers 2500 people; some are with the runway project and thus are temporary. Horses, which numbered about 5000 in 1965-70, are down today to only 200 to 300.