Easter Island Solar Eclipse July 11: First in 1,400 Years (Map)
Easter Island Off Chile Will Experience a Solar Eclipse on Sunday July 11 For the First Time in 1,400 Years
Tourists are flocking to the small island off the coast of Chile for the first solar eclipse in that region for over one thousand years. Apparently it will occur during the World Cup final as well.
According to the AFP, about 4,000 visitors are expected to visit the island for the eclipse and there will be four flights landing there on Sunday alone, as opposed to one flight per day normally.
- Easter Island Map (zoom out to see border of Chile)
Easter Island (with the famous large stone heads) is considered the best place in the South Pacific to witness the solar eclipse, which will only last for four minutes and 41 seconds. It will begin in French Polynesia and for the duration of the eclipse a narrow of the South Pacific about 11,000 kilometres long will be completely dark.
Easter Island Governor Pedro Edmunds Paoa told AFP that the island "has the capacity to absorb this number of tourists," saying it is similar to the influx in the austral summer in January.
The government is taking precautions however to preserve their heritage sites, some of which are estimated to be about 3,000 years old. It is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The island is still recovering from the Chile earthquake that struck on February 27, but local authorities want to show tourists that they are still there and that Easter Island is a great place to visit.
"We want to show the world that despite the earthquake, we are still in the tourist circuit," Local Mayor Luz del Carmen Zasso said.