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What You Must See on Easter Island and How to Get There

by on 5th August, 2022

Easter Island, one of the world’s most famous tourist attractions, is once again open to visitors.

COVID visiting restrictions have been lifted from this UNESCO World Heritage Site, famed for its towering Moai statues carved centuries ago by Easter Island inhabitants.

People can once again visit the island, real name Rapa Nui, and enjoy the islander’s unique hospitality, culture, and history.

Where Is Easter Island?

Easter Island lies more than 2,000 miles (3,219km) to the west of Chile’s coast and is the most remote inhabited place on earth.

It forms part of the so-called Polynesian Triangle, a region of the Pacific Ocean marked by three island groups at its corners. Hawaii marks the northern point, New Zealand the western tip, and Easter Island the eastern corner.

Easter Island itself is a tiny volcanic triangle. Early Polynesian settlers named it Rapa Nui, meaning ‘Navel of the World.’ Europeans became aware of Rapa Nui on Easter Sunday of 1722 when Dutch Admiral Jacob Roggeveen’s boat landed, birthing its European name.

tongariki-easter-island

What Are The Best Things To See on Easter Island?

The island has a laid-back and tropical feel, one to relax into and enjoy. We recommend a visit of at least four to five days for proper cultural immersion and to include everything you must see on Easter Island.

Over 1,000 Moai stone statues spread throughout Easter Island, some up to nine metres high. The true purpose of these mysterious, monolithic stone statues is still being unravelled today.

Sadly, most of the island’s cultural history was lost after the majority of its population was wiped out in the late 19th century through introduced diseases and the slave trade.

Caves and rocks are also covered with fascinating etched petroglyphs and painted pictographs.

Some unmissable attractions include:

Ahu Tongariki: This is one of the most impressive Moai sites with some of the largest and heaviest examples — one weighs around 86 tonnes!

Rano Raraku: An extinct volcano, Rano Raraku is the quarry where the Moai were sculpted. The crater contains abandoned and half-finished Moai.

Ahu Akivia: These inland Moais are through to represent ancestral leaders and double as a celestial observatory.

Ahu Nau Nau: The Moai statues of this ceremonial site reside in a beautiful beachside location, home to an egg-shaped stone said to be the ‘navel’ of the world.

The island is full of volcanic craters, idyllic beaches and rugged coastlines, which make for great swimming (check with locals for safety) and fantastic photography. Wide-angle lenses are recommended to capture the astonishing sunsets and sunrises afforded by the island’s remoteness in the Pacific Ocean.

Light pollution is almost non-existent on the island. It’s well worth staying up to look at the night sky.

Easter Island receives relatively few visitors. However, its small size of 65 square miles (165 sq. km) can make it feel busy. Most people visit the main sites, and it’s worth remembering that Rapa Nui is only 14 miles long and seven miles wide.

Ranu Raraku Easter Island

 

When Is the Best Time To Go to Easter Island?

Easter Island is a year-round destination, albeit there are distinct seasons. The island is flat, blustery, and exposed, although it has a pleasant temperature most of the time. It has a temperate climate, and it can rain at any time.

June to October are the coolest months, with the warmest weather from December to April.

March to August are the wettest months, with May the rainiest of all, albeit it’s still quite warm in May.

 

January and March are the busiest seasons for visitors, and hotels and flights fill a long way in advance. Therefore, shoulder season months like November, December and April can be great times to visit with better availability.

Early bookers might light to coincide with February’s two-week Tapati Rapa Nui festival, which celebrates Rapanui culture, traditional art, craft, and dancing.

How Do I Get to Easter Island?

Easter Island is accessible by flight or through extended world cruises.

The only flight connecting Easter Island to the mainland is into Chile’s capital city, Santiago. People need to overnight there before catching a flight the next day. There are many excellent city centre and airport hotels from which to choose.

Flights leave Santiago in Chile (airport code SCL) and land at Isla de Pascua (airport code IPC) after a five-hour and twenty-minute journey.

LATAM Airlines, formerly known as LAN Airlines, operate the route. There are currently two to three flights a week, although this frequency may increase. Sign up for their newsletter, and you may find some offers on the route.

International travellers must first get to Chile before heading to Easter Island. We recommend allowing a few days in the capital or exploring the rest of Chile before flying to Easter Island.

From the UK: Fly via Europe or the United States to Santiago, Chile.

Flying from North America: There are several non-stop flights to Santiago from Miami, New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta, or Houston, among others.

Arriving from Australia: LATAM has a non-stop 16-hour flight from Sydney to Santiago. There are further LATAM or Qantas departures that fly via Auckland.

Latam 787 Santiago Airport, Chile

Can I Visit Easter Island on a Budget?

Easter Island on a budget IS possible if you discount the cost of the flights, which can be between USD 600 and 2,000 return.

The first significant expense is accommodation. There are hostels on the island, and some hotels have campsites. You may need to bring your tent, or the hotel may provide one.

The next expense is how to move around the islands. How you see the sites depends on your travel mode, and if you want a guide, any guided trips will be more expensive than doing it yourself. Take a guidebook so you can learn about each site you visit.

You can hire a taxi, walk, or hire bikes. Cycling is relatively gentle on flat terrain, although the wind can add to the effort.

Food is another big wallet basher because supermarkets and restaurants are expensive. People on a tight budget should hire accommodation with cooking facilities and bring all their food from Santiago to save money.

There are some relatively cheap panaderias stocking empanadas, bread, and eggs. You can pick up some reasonably priced street food from stalls called carritos.

restaurant easter island

 

How To Get to Easter Island and Everything You Must See

With Easter Island reopening, it’s time to start dreaming about how to get there and all the attractions you must see on your visit.

You’ll need to fly to Chile’s capital, Santiago, and take another flight to Easter Island. We recommend booking hotels and flights in advance because demand will be high for the few spaces available.

Having flown all that way, why not combine Easter Island with some time on the incredible Chilean mainland, too. Contact us for ideas.

busy beach easter-island

 

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