Easter Island Tips 👏
- The island is very wild, with a lot of free chickens, dogs and horses.
- 100£/day/person is a decent budget if you want to make the most of your stay (dinner 20£, activity 40£, hotel 20£, scooter 20£).
- There’s a pass to visit all the attractions for 80$. Buy it at the airport since it’s easier. It’s also available to buy close to the Cruz Verde pharmacy in the centre (Atamu Tekena Street).
- The first langage is spanish 🇪🇸, but most people understand english 🇬🇧.
- Two intense or three more relaxed days are enough to visit the whole island.
- Hangi Roa is only one village with hotels and shops.
- If you’re an early bird, go and see the sunrise at Tongariki.
We spent 580£ in 4 days, which means 145£/day, and that was perfect. The banks to withdraw without extra-fees are (full list):
- You can rent a scooter/car/quad/bike easily. There’s no famous rental agencies but all the shops and hotels offers this service.
- Make sure to arrange an airport pick up and drop off up-front with your hotel.
- Doing the tour of the island in scooter take around 5 hours, including stops.
- Visit the island is very easy and do not requires a guide.
- Touristic sites close early, around 6PM, so start your day early.
- Netflix: Perfect for rainy days.
- XCurrency: Offline and up-to-date currency rates.
- TravelSpend: Log and budget your expenses day by day.
- Maps.me: Free offline map of the world, including trail paths.
- FourSquare: Perfect to find the best restaurants in a very easy way.
- AirBnB and Booking.com: The best to find cheap accommodations.
- There’s plenty of restaurant at the main village. Opening times are normal and prices are slightly above mainland. You can count around 15000CLP for a delicious tuna ceviche in a good restaurant.
- There is a lot of small supermarkets on the island. Prices are a bit more than usual (1000CLP for two local beers at the liquor store).
- You can find cheap empanadas to take away, which is handy if you plan to do a picnic (3000CLP for a massive one with meat).
If you come from UK as we do, you can use your own sim card with Three for data roaming at no extra-cost, since it’s a go roam destination. We didn’t investigated the local sim situation.
It’s very important to fill the form online before arriving on the island. Usually, the staff at your origin airport will ask you if you did it, and help you if not. Pay a visit at https://ingresorapanui.interior.gob.cl, fill the informations for each passengers and you’ll be fine.
On arrival, they’ll check your luggages for organic substances (fruits, cheese, meat…) since the island have a delicate eco-system. Be sure to not carry anything like that with you to avoid troubles or fines.
The first thing to check while searching for an hotel is if it’s approved by the tourism government, called SERNATUR. If you look on Booking.com, you should be fine but double check on the official website before booking or at least check the reviews.
We spent our three nights at Petero Atamu Hostal. A bit far from the centre (15 minutes walk), but with everything you need at your disposition. We rented a scooter for 20000CLP/day (quad/car also possible), and booked our day trip on horse with them for 45000CLP/person.
The room was basic, but spacious and clean. They also had common areas and kitchen, free breakfast, and free airport pick-up/drop-off. If you don’t know where to go it’s a good option for around 50£/night.
Most of the tourists are from Chile and speaks Spanish, but all the signs are also translated in English. Everyone comes to see the touristic sites, go to the beach and surf.
There’s not really luxury tourism on this island, unlike French Polynesia.
Packing List 📦
- Beach gear (towel, swimwear, flip-flops…)
- Rain jacket
- Foldable towel
- Moskito repellent
- Re-usable water bottle
- Warm clothes for the evening
- Hikking shoes and trouser
- Most of the sites are dated between 800AC and 1200AC.
- The locals care a lot about their heritage, so make sure to respect the rules (stay on path, no touch…).
- It’s part of Chile, so you’ll pass the chilean immigration on arrival. If you carry on your journey back to Santiago, the second leg will be a internal flight.
- The heads statues, or just heads, are called Moai.
- The island real name is Rapa Nui, and is called Easter Island because it has been discover on Easter day. Naming skills on fire.
The island by scooter 🛴
We started our day early and left the hotel at 10AM, since a lot of sites close early. We first went to the city to buy empanadas for picnic. There’s one place located in front of the SERNATUR office which opens early and do big meat empanadas for very cheap.
We then started our drive on the coast up to Tongariki. It’s a very scenic road where we felt alone, and helped us to appreciate the wilderness of the island. We stopped in many places to enjoy the view and do some nice pictures of the landscape.
Our first serious stop was at Rano Raraku site, which is where the Moais where built. You can enter only one time with your ticket, so take your time while visiting. It’s very impressive, and you can see Moais un-finished, broken or half buried. It took us around 1h30 pictures included to visit the whole site. Make sure to go at the far end, on the left when you look at the mountain. You’ll see a tiny path, which after 15 minutes walk, lead to a very scenic big volcanic crater right behind.
We then carried our heads-tour to Tongariki. Same deal here, you can enter only once. It’s way faster to see, but probably one of the most impressive. You’ll find 15, I think, Moais looking at you, on a platform in front of the sea. Crazy if you’re into heads. The biggest one is around 4 meters height.
Tired after all those visits, we hopped back on our super scooter and went north up to Anakena Beach, the only beach of the island. Very pleasant area, where we did the bath, and found a forest of coconut trees with a white sand beach. Ok, not as cool as polynesian beach, but still cooler that most of the Europe’s ones. It was the perfect spot to get lunch. We ate our delicious and sun-warmed empanadas, but there’s also a restaurant in case you forgot your food. Be aware that it is not cheap, we paid 12000CLP for two coffees and a bottle of water.
Post-food and nap, we hopped back on our scooter and rode to Hangi Roa, direction Orongo. We did some extra stops on the way but nothing really outstanding, also we wanted to arrive in there before closing time at 19:30. A bit before reaching the site, at the top of the mountain, there’s a giant crater with water at the bottom and view on the sea. We were there at the end of the day so the lighting was awesome to take stunning pictures. Our favourite view spot was called Rano Kau. We then visited Orongo in 30 minutes and learnt about the scary myth of the bird man.
Later, we headed back to the town and stopped by the Rapa Nui Museum in the center, to learn a bit more the history of the island, to after finish at the Anu Tahai, containing the last Moai with eyes on.
The island by horse 🏇
The next day, we booked a 5 hours horse-riding tour with our hotel (you can still book it even if not staying at the hotel). We both never practiced horse-riding, but that was fine, besides the aches and multiple sunburn (bring solar cream).
We started the day at 10AM, where we got picked up at our hotel. The lady and the man were both very friendly locals, living in the complete wild in the middle of the island. We jumped in their car up to their home on a very bumpy road, for about 30 minutes and then hopped on our fellow horses, and made our way to the Terevaka Peak in 45 minutes. Once at the peak, we saw all the island, like 100%. We enjoyed a well deserved break, both for us and the horses, and took some pictures of the spectacular view.
We then made our way back to the sea level, stopping by three different caves. The first one was very wide, but very long. We walked for 6 minutes in the total darkness, until we saw a bit of light, which happened to be a tiny hole in the rock, allowing some light to pass and a tree to grow!
The second one was by far the most exciting, impossible to find without a guide. It was another tiny hole, in the middle of nowhere. The guide didn’t came on this one, so she gave us the light, and we went inside by ourselves. It was very narrow at the top (like 70cm diameter), but after that got wider, and we started to see the light and heard some noises. After few meters, we realized we were in a cliff in front of a very wavy sea, somewhere around 20 meters high, super spectacular. The last cave we visited was bigger with some ruins inside, but less impressive than the second one.
After those caves expeditions, we rode our horses back to their home, passing by very scenic areas, and other Moais sites. Upon arrival, they brought us back to our hotel and we started to feel the worst aches we ever had.
- Tataku Cave: Good food, average price, nice view for the sunset.
- Te Moana: On the beach, delicious tuna tartare with avocado for 16000CLP.
- BBC Easter Island Mysteries: Interesting to learn about the origins of the island.
Overall Experience 🤓
Easter island is one the bucket list of everyone and for a good reason. The landscapes are insane, the wilderness is fantastic, and the ruins are in a very well state. Initially, we planned to get there only for the heads, but while visiting, we realized this island have way more to offer. The sites are all very well conserved and impressive, but to be fair, not as enigmatic as people would like you to believe it. We both think two or three full days on the island is enough, specially if like us you like history, ruins and stuff, but for a bit.
Hope this was helpful, you can leave comments if you need extra informations or if you have any questions or suggestions! You can checkout our summary video below built with 1 second a day, including our trip to French Polynesia.
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