Easter Island has been on my bucket list of destinations for some time so it was a real treat for me to finally get the opportunity to go. It was definitely interesting to see and if anyone has a chance, they should really think about going.
Getting there is quite the challenge. You either have to fly in from Santiago on the daily flight or the weekly flight from Tahiti. I went the Santiago route and the process was very simple. The only confusing part is to know that once you leave customs, you need to find your way to the domestic terminal which isn’t the most clearly marked route through the airport. From there, it’s a 5 hour flight straight to the island.
As soon as you get to island, you’ll have the chance to buy your park ticket right at the airport. The fee is either $80 USD or $54,000 CLP. This is cash only (as far as I could tell) and if you’re paying with USD, the bills need to be pristine. Absolutely no tears, wrinkles, etc. People’s bills were being refused at the counter so if you want to purchase your ticket, I would suggest going to the ATM in Santiago before arrival. The ticket is good for 9 days BUT only good for 1 entry per site. Basically, when you visit a site, a person will be in a tollbooth and they’ll stamp your ticket to indicate that you’ve visited. Although you really won’t need more than an hour at any one site, if you think you might want to stay longer for photos or whatever, you may want to plan around those days to give you the most amount of time.
Once on the island, you’ll pretty much be reliant on walking to get around. Yes there are taxis but pretty much everything is about a 10-15 min walk from “downtown” Hanga Roa. To get to the other major sites, you can either go via taxi, tour group, drive, or bicycle.
The cost is what you’d expect considering everything is tourism driven. I was able to find a fantastic bakery that sold all different types of empenadas (for about $2300 CLP each) which were delicious but not a sit down restaurant. If you’re looking for that sort of dining, expect to pay a lot more (more in the $15,000 – $20,000 CLP/person range).
I’ll provide some tips on how to get around EI tomorrow but thought I’d share a general overview of the island. No, it isn’t cheap to get there especially since LATAM has a monopoly on the route. Once there, hotels are locally run so you won’t find too much in savings from one property to another. There are campsites, hostels, and AirBNB options available if you’re interested though. I spent a total of 3.5 days there total and it was more than enough time for me personally. Unless you really want to go hiking to get to the more remote areas of the island, a few days is probably enough time for you as well.