Planning the perfect Easter Island adventure can seem overwhelming at first look. There is so much mystery and unknown surrounding elusive Easter Island itself that it’s no wonder these same feelings can seep in when planning Easter Island travel. Visiting one of the most remote inhabited islands in the world naturally has its complexities but also has many rewards for those willing to make the journey. Knowmad Adventures, a boutique South America travel company, is dedicated to helping our travelers uncover unique destinations such as Easter Island. Our award-winning trip specialists have the insider knowledge and tips to help you plan your perfect Easter Island adventure.
Easter Island, or “Rapa Nui” as it’s known locally in the native tongue, is one of the most remote and unique destinations on the planet. Here you’ll find Polynesian culture, dramatic Pacific coastline, wild horses roaming verdant hills, and the magnificent & mysterious Moai. Yes, you’re in Chile but if you didn’t know any better you may think you’re in Tahiti or even Hawaii. The landscapes, culture and archaeological sites are all distinct from the rest of the country, which gives it its own allure. Easter Island is a bucket list item for some and a favorite destination for many. No matter what is drawing you to this incredible island, these are the essentials to know when planning your perfect Easter Island adventure.
Planning A Custom Trip to Easter Island
When is the best time to travel to Easter Island?
The first consideration when planning the perfect Easter Island adventure is when to go. While many other destinations in Chile are more seasonal, like southern Patagonia, Easter Island is truly a year-round destination. Easter Island has a warm tropical climate throughout the year with temperatures hovering in the 70s and 80s F and sporadic rainfall and winds. October through March are generally considered high season when the weather is warmer & drier overall. Also, it’s important to know the Tapati festival is held for 10 days every February when Rapa Nui culture is on full display. This is an interesting time to be there if you are more drawn to the culture and ancestral traditions of the island than the archaeological sites, since Easter Island can get quite crowded this time of year and has a different vibe entirely.
How long should I stay on Easter Island?
Most travelers stay on Easter Island for three to five nights. The minimum recommended stay is three nights and that is typically enough time to see the iconic archaeological sites, especially if taking the afternoon flight back to Santiago. For those who enjoy a slower pace and may want some down time and/or see some more off-the-beaten sites, staying a fourth night is recommended. It’s quite a long flight to get here so no need to rush it! Easter Island is often part of a longer trip to Chile and combined with destinations such as Torres del Paine National Park and Central Chile, the Atacama Desert in the far north, and/or the wine region.
How do I get to Easter Island?
Now that you’ve honed in on when you’ll travel and for how long, you’ll need to know how to get there. Easter Island is only connected by commercial flights from Santiago on mainland Chile or from Tahiti in French Polynesia. Flights from Santiago operate daily with LATAM Airlines, with one to two frequencies per day. These flights typically depart Santiago at 6:30am and/or 9:30am and return to Santiago at 11:55am and/or 2:55pm. It’s a direct flight of approximately 5 hours and Santiago is 2 hours ahead of Easter Island. These schedules pretty much always require travelers to overnight in Santiago city before and after their stay on Easter Island. Especially if taking the earlier flight there or later flight back from Easter Island, overnighting at the Holiday Inn Santiago airport across from the terminal is super convenient in these cases to avoid transfers in and out of the city. Also, given the limited number of frequencies, Easter Island flights tend to sell out several months in advance so it’s recommended to book seats at least 6 months ahead of travel.
If you’re interested in crafting a custom trip to Easter Island and Chile, reach out to our Trip Specialists at 612-315-2894 or click the button above to begin planning today!
Where should I stay on Easter Island?
Easter Island luxury accommodations are not plentiful but there are a few solid options for the luxury traveler. In general, it’s a more experiential destination but you’ll certainly find some nice places to rest your head. The best accommodations really depend on your particular travel style, interests and budget. Some things to consider are: how active you are, how close to Hanga Roa town you prefer to be, what kind of amenities you are looking for, your budget, and if you prefer a private guide or are open to small group explorations.
There are two main approaches to exploring Easter Island, and each has its pros and cons depending on what you seek.
- Lodge-based Option: In this approach, you will stay at the high-end inclusive adventure lodge Explora Rapa Nui where all your meals & small group explorations are included. The lodge is located about a 20 minute drive from the town of Hanga Roa so has a more remote location with ocean & volcano views. The excursions are in small groups of maximum 8 guests per guide. Explora offers a few options each day so there is some flexibility depending on weather, how you’re feeling or how active you’d like to be. Typically you can explore the archaeological sites either overland by vehicle or by foot or bicycle (or boat). At the end of the day, you’ll enjoy great fresh meals, comfortable accommodations, and amenities like an outdoor pool and spa. This option is great for more active travelers who want the best accommodations on Easter Island and don’t mind, or even prefer, group excursions.
- Bed & Breakfast Hotel Option, with private guide: A great alternative to the lodge-based concept is staying at a hotel closer to town and arranging excursions with a private guide from there. In general, these accommodations tend to be a bit more basic 3-star hotels but there are a few higher-end options like Hanga Roa Eco-Village & Spa and Hare Noi Hotel. Having a private guide means all excursions and activities will be customized to your interests and you can have some flexibility in the pace of your day and experience. Staying at a hotel closer to town gives you an opportunity to take in more of the local culture and have some independence in the evenings with dining at local restaurants. Only breakfast will be included at your hotel and lunch is often included on the full-day excursions but dinners are at leisure. This approach is typically more cost-effective for those with more limited budgets too.
What is there to do on Easter Island?
Easter Island is an ideal destination for those with an interest in ancient cultures, history and archaeology. While there are some opportunities to get your blood flowing, especially if staying at Explora Rapa Nui, the island is relatively flat so you shouldn’t expect any serious hiking (some great walks for sure but not huge climbs). The main attraction is undoubtedly the mysterious Moai statues and most of your time will be spent visiting the various Moai platforms and learning about the myths, stories and theories about the production, movement and purpose of these incredible monoliths. Rano Kau crater, the Rano Raraku quarry and the Orongo ceremonial village are all must sees. There are also interesting caves with petroglyphs, gorgeous cliffs and coastline, and an untouched north coast only accessible by hiking or horseback riding. Being an island, Rapa Nui also has some beautiful white-sand beaches such as Anakena Beach, though they are more scenic than fit for hours of sunbathing. Water sports like snorkeling and scuba diving are also possible here but are weather dependent due to the winds.
Easter Island is one of Chile’s great highlights, and is unique and special in every way. Knowmad’s award-winning trip specialists can help you navigate decisions throughout your Easter Island trip planning to ensure your adventure best aligns with your personal travel style and interests. If you have any questions we can help answer, or if you’d like to discuss planning your own adventure to Easter Island, give one of our Trip Specialists a call today at at 612-315-2894, or fill out the short form above to begin planning your personalized Easter Island itinerary.
Hasta pronto, Jena
Jena is a Trip Specialist at Knowmad Adventures, a company dedicated to creating unique, private and custom trips in South America. Studying abroad in Spain during college ignited her love affair with the Spanish language and Latin culture. This only grew as she lived in Quito, Ecuador for four years, explored countless regions of South America, and began her career in the travel industry. She is endlessly inspired and humbled by the people and places of South America.