Easter Island Planning & Packing Tips

The Mutt and the Moai at Tongariki

A trip to Easter Island is the trip of a lifetime. A trip to Easter Island is long and expensive.

But if you are one of the 50,000 or so people who make this trek every year, you will be well rewarded for your efforts. Don’t shortchange yourself on time, and don’t put off doing it. I should have bumped it to the top of my to-do list a long time ago. I really loved this incredibly special place.

Planning this journey would have been easier if I had more information. So my aim is to arm would-be travelers with as much practical information as possible.

Four days on the ground allowed us to hit most of the major sights but we could easily have used another day or two. Because there is so much to see around the island, we didn’t have a chance to spend any time exploring Hanga Roa, the one and only town on Easter Island.

Parroquia Santa Cruz de Hanga Roa

Yes, we did tours as well as ventured out on our own, trying to soak in life lived on Isla de Pascua. But, we didn’t get to the little museum. We missed going to the Rapa Nui version of a Sunday service in the Catholic Church. We missed hiking to the inside of the volcano at the quarry.

That said, the longer you stay the more you pay. So, if the only way to make the trip work is for four days on the ground, even not enough time is better than never getting there. I say go for it.

Packing List

A flashlight or two per person. We brought three and used all of them. A good flashlight app for a smart phone would also work as long as the phone is charged. Shining light on both the floor and the ceiling of dark caves kept us from simultaneously slipping on the wet floor and banging our heads on low hanging stalactites.

High SPF sunblock. The sun is brutal even with 25 mph winds.

Aloe or some other sunburn remedy when you fry. My sunburn forced me to spend $17 on a spray can of aloe that I could have bought in the States for less than half the price.

A hat with a wide brim and a strap for under the chin.  Otherwise, kiss your hat goodbye because the wind is strong and constant.

Good walking shoes – closed toed shoes are best but the Brits we were touring with were wearing flip-flops so I guess it’s possible to get away with anything. I brought a pair of hiking boots that looked more like sneakers. They had the perfect grip for climbing up the steep ancient stairs and down into below ground caves.  Sandals are fine around town.

Snacks are extremely helpful – I bought a bag of a Trader Joe’s cashews in individually wrapped servings. I took a chance bringing them not knowing if customs would allow them into the country. But, I declared them and the customs officer waved me through. If in doubt, declare it. It’s better to be honest and have it confiscated than to get caught trying to sneak something.

The cashews turned out to be lifesavers because once we left town, the only place to get food is at Anakena Beach on the far end of the island. The day we went there was the only day we had lunch and we didn’t get there until after 3:00 pm. The nuts kept us going.

We bought eight bottles of water inside security at the Lima airport, paid for with American dollars but we could have used a credit card instead. There’s no need to worry about having local currency at the airport in Lima.  $100 flew out of our wallets in just a few hours without ever touching a Peruvian Nuevo Sol.

Even with those eight bottles of water, we still bought several more at one of the little grocery stores near our hotel. Large bottles were around $7 and smaller were $3.50 – $4 US.  Edith, the owner of our hotel, insisted that the water is safe to drink and we could refill our bottles. I read it is rich in minerals and didn’t want to chance getting sick since we had so little time but if you have a strong stomach, this might be a place to save a little cash.

Bring enough underwear, socks and clothes.  You will be filthy from hiking, climbing in caves and driving on dusty dirt roads and will definitely want clean clothes.

Besides rain, a travel umbrella can be used to block the sun.

Extra glasses can be handy.  Mike broke his frames and I had to MacGuyver them together because he couldn’t see to do it himself. Okay, truth be told, I broke them. But I contend that it was Mike’s fault because he laid them on the bed and I didn’t see them. I rolled on them and smashed them. In an effort to fix them, I snapped off one of the thingies that goes over the ear. There. I’ve admitted my part in the broken glasses episode now let’s move on.

Deet turned out not to be necessary for our trip. I’m not sure if it’s because we were there at the end of summer/beginning of fall or that the mosquito population had been eradicated. I had easy-to-carry wipes ready if we needed them but I wouldn’t worry about it if I were to go back.

A damp washcloth would have been nice a couple of times.  Same goes for baby wipes for cleaning up after climbing in and out of the caves.

While I’m on the wipe bandwagon, I always carry a travel pack of disinfectant wipes in my carry-on bag to wipe off all surfaces that I might come in contact with on the plane. The tray table, armrests, light switches, air vent, window, everything gets a swipe. This little cleaning ritual helps to ensure that I arrive at my destination healthy. It sucks to be sick on vacation and I do anything I can to prevent it on any trip.

On Easter Island, plan on no TV, radio, phone or clocks in the rooms at Hotel Taura’a or Hanga Roa Eco. I’m going to guess that this is the norm on the island. A clock might be helpful especially if you have an early flight out. Our phone stayed on airplane mode the whole time we were there but even when it connected to WiFi it never seemed to sync with island time

The Two Tripods

For better picture-taking or video recording bring a tripod.  I brought two. One was a cheapie – $15 from Target.  It doubled as a walking stick. But I should have used the other one. The heavier tripod stood up better to the constant wind. Unfortunately I didn’t break out the bigger one until the second to last day.

Photo opportunities are everywhere. Bring more memory cards for your camera than you think you will need. I took at least 1500 pictures plus a couple of hours of HD video. I brought two high-speed 32GB cards for video and one 8GB for still pictures and had plenty of memory to spare. Our iPhones were great to have along when we just wanted a quick shot of something or when it was difficult to pull out the camera while squished into a van full of travelers.

Belkin Mini Surge Protector

Chilean electricity is 220 volts. The plugs have two round prongs. For charging electronics including camera batteries, cell phones, tablets, etc., my best buy was a Belkin Travel Mini Surge Protector. It’s rated for 110 or 220 volts. It has 3 outlets and a couple of USB outlets. Because it is 3-pronged, I needed a plug adapter that would accommodate the ground prong and fit a standard Easter Island wall outlet.

Ground Plug Adapter

I also brought a USB charger that allowed us to theoretically charge two iPhones and two iPads at the same time. It acted weird when I had all four things plugged in but two or three at a time worked okay.

The Pareos

I have a black floral pareo that a friend got for me in Hawaii.  Basically it’s a long, wide piece of fabric.  It works as a pillow or blanket on the plane; a cover up; a shawl; or a turban.  Find things like this that can do double-duty.  There are many beautiful pareos available on the island that are imported from Tahiti. Of course I had to buy a new, light-colored one for about $30 US.  It has many uses at home too.  Mine slips into my purse when I go to the movies in case a theater or restaurant is freezing cold.

Don’t pay too much attention to weather forecasts.  While we were there, the forecast said there was a 100% chance of rain every day.  It rained once while we were out exploring but just for a few minutes and one other time during the night.

You are most likely flying LAN airlines.  Check and recheck your flights all along the route as well as at home during a two-week period prior to leaving.  They have a habit of canceling flights and changing times without notifying ticketed passengers, even though they require contact info when you book. We heard several angry horror stories.

Because I don’t like to wear shorts on flights, I brought a pair of pants specifically for the flight home. My clothes were disgustingly filthy after every day of exploring so I didn’t wear anything twice unless I was forced to. I had plenty of shorts but it would have been nice to have one more pair of pants to cover my sunburned legs.

Budget

Someone asked me how much money to budget. It’s so hard to answer that question for someone else because there are so many variables such as time on the ground, level of comfort, food preferences, etc. They wanted to know if they needed $2,000 per person.  That might be in the ballpark, depending on what you pay for flights.

Summer is the most expensive season (December – March) and the week they have the Tapati Rapa Nui Festival – usually in February – is supposed to be the most crowded and most expensive of the year. I have not been there for Tapati so I don’t have first hand experience on how expensive it gets.

Hanga Roa Eco Village and Spa

Excluding airfare, during shoulder season, I would figure $150 a night per room for an average hotel room.

From my research, this seems to be an average. Are there less expensive hotels? Yes. Camping might be an option. There was a campground across from the entrance to the Hanga Roa Eco Village. I didn’t have time to research those options while we were there. Maybe there are better hotel deals to be had if you wing it and find something last-minute.

On the other end of the spectrum, I would stay at the Hanga Roa Eco Village & Spa in heartbeat if I could afford it. It’s new, gorgeous and in town giving easy access to restaurants, shows and shopping. The Hanga Roa Eco Village & Spa will set you back around $600 a night.

The über expensive Explora was around $1500 a night when I checked. That price tag includes all tours and food but I heard from several people that neither is exceptional. A couple of fellow travelers went one evening (we were supposed to join the tour but our timing didn’t mesh) and they were impressed with the resort, the food and the entertainment the night they went. They were there touring as travel agents. They did not stay there and did not pay $1500 for that night.

From everything we heard, I can’t say that I would stay at the Explora unless they offered it for a deeply discounted rate. It’s about 5 miles (8 km) out of town. It seems like guests are a captive audience and sealed off from the local experience. If that’s your thing, the package includes all sightseeing and food.

Reserving and paying for a hotel room was interesting. I was told I needed to send a cash deposit equal to one night’s stay. My first thought was, “How the heck am I going to do that?”  My second thought was, “I’m not sending cash to a foreign country.” As it turned out, they also took credit cards so I sent a letter of authorization for them to charge one day to my card. And then I waited. And waited. And waited. No charge came through on the card. For two and half months! My guess is that if we didn’t show up, our card would have been charged.

Ticket booth on the left.

We spent $165 each on 3 tours plus $50 apiece for tickets to the quarry and Orongo. Taking tours made it easier to backtrack to sites when we had our own car instead of having to navigate dirt roads blindly. We saved $10 by buying our park tickets at the airport before we went through customs. My best advice is to have one person buy the tickets while the rest of your party waits in line for customs and immigration or else you will end up at the back of the line like we did.

Shrimp Empanada at Anakena Beach

Plan on spending about $100 a day for food for two. And that’s only because we skipped lunch most days and breakfast was included at our hotel. Meals, lunch or dinner were never less than $50 for two in town. Entrees with a soda at the empanada stands at Anakena Beach were under $10 each.

For less expensive food, it’s possible to buy fruit and other edibles at the markets in Hanga Roa. We had a refrigerator in our room but I’m not sure if we could have cooked anything in the hotel’s kitchen. Plus, after a long day of touring, we just wanted to go someplace and be waited on. To go all that way and not take advantage of the local flavor seems wrong.

But that’s just me. And if the only way to go is to camp and cook, do it. It’s a spectacular, magical island.

We paid $80 to rent a car for a day, plus we put in $20 for the half tank of gas that we burned in 24 hours. It was arranged through our hotel. I’m pretty sure it was just some local’s personal car. We never signed a contract, showed a driver’s license, proof of insurance or anything. It was all done on trust. We left the car unlocked at the airport with the key under the mat. They trusted us to fill it with gas before we left. I imagine rental agencies probably require paperwork but going through your hotel might be less official.

Keep in mind, that once you leave town, if you have car trouble, you could be stuck until someone comes by, so give the car a once-over before you leave Hanga Roa to make sure it’s going to make it back. And drive slowly on the dirt roads. I can’t imagine the hassle it would be if you got a flat tire, let alone break an axle.

If you fly through Santiago instead of Lima you’ll pay approximately $140 per person  Chilean “reciprocity fee” for Americans. There’s no need to fly that far south when you can go through Lima and avoid the fee. But sometimes the best laid plans don’t pan out. I know of a woman who was booked on a flight from Miami to Lima then on to Easter Island but at the airport LAN re-routed her through Santiago requiring her to unexpectedly pay the reciprocity fee.

Knowing that things out of your control can happen, budget accordingly.

Finally, you must have money for a few souvenirs because you will never have the chance to buy this junk again!  In that mindset, we spent about $300 on junk that we love!

To Do

The Orongo Road

You’ll need to allow a lot of time for driving the dirt roads. Especially if they haven’t been graded lately. They can be really slow to snake through as you can see in my videos. The roads are not well-marked so that was another advantage to going on a tour – getting the lay of the land before we struck out on our own.

Biking is an option but you really need to be fit to maneuver the roads. We saw a few hard bodies huffing and puffing their way up the rutted dirt road to Orongo.

Be prepared for stray dogs, horses and cows wandering the island. We were told that none of the animals are really strays. It’s an island so the owners just let them roam freely because they can’t really go too far on an island that’s roughly fourteen miles long by six miles wide.

The horses and cows are more of a concern for drivers. There were several times when we saw them walk in front of moving cars and buses. Best to keep the speeds down so you don’t get into any accidents.

We didn’t pet any of the dogs but never felt threatened by them. All that we encountered seemed well fed and non-aggressive. Just curious pups who love to bark most of the night.

When the dogs finally settle down, the roosters pick up the tune. Light sleepers should bring earplugs or save the ones from your LAN goodie bag. The crowing starts well before sunrise. Our hotel did not have air conditioning so we slept with the windows open. I don’t remember being anywhere that was air-conditioned meaning that the canine and cock-a-doodle-do cacophony could keep you awake.

Maori Tupuna Show

One night we went to the Maori Tupuna show ($20 US each). It’s around the corner from the cemetery. I usually roll my eyes at these kinds of touristy things but surprisingly, the music was really good. The downside is that we didn’t understand the story or anything that was going on. But incredibly athletic, hot bodies with good music made it interesting.

Someone else went to a show closer to our hotel (I don’t remember the name) and they really enjoyed it. I originally planned to go to Te Ra’ai, the one that is supposed to be an interactive experience with an authentic dinner. For us, it didn’t work out. It gets great reviews. Unlike Maori Tupuna, it seems like Te Ra’ai does a better job of explaining what is going on but it’s five times the price, costing $100 US per person including dinner.

As for the church service, I asked out host, Edith if I needed a skirt and was told that shorts are just fine. It felt a bit disrespectful but the island is very casual. We never made it to a service so I can’t give any other advice.

Here is one of the largest crowds we found.

One thing that you should know is that you are probably not going to come across many crowds. We were there at the tail end of their busy season and I think the largest “crowd” we saw anywhere was maybe 30 or 40 people. Even those crowds at Orongo and Rano Raraku were so spread out that it just wasn’t a factor. The tour buses we saw are not what you imagine – they are more like small shuttle buses that car rental agencies use at airports. I can’t imagine large buses being able to maneuver the giant ruts on the dirt roads.

Which brings me to my next note for your consideration. You come for the moai but don’t miss the caves. They are fascinating.  We loved crawling down there. But if you are traveling on your own, I would try to time those so that there are other tourists around in case you get into trouble. Cave floors can be slippery and it wouldn’t be good to be there by yourself and break an ankle or smack your head on a low hanging stalactite. Our guides recommended that we not go into the caves after it rained because it would be really wet down there. The rock is very porous making it very slick.

We didn’t go in the water at all. No swimming, no diving, no boating. I don’t remember seeing anyone in the water while we were there. Even if we wanted to, we simply didn’t have time to even touch the water so I can’t guide you there at all.

Of all the sights we saw, I absolutely loved Rano Raraku, the quarry. Each moai had its own personality and its own story. Some are standing upright. Some are still attached to the mountain. There are the broken moai and the facedown moai. My favorite is the tilted guy with the quizzical look. But knowing that these heads have bodies below ground made them all the more enticing.

On the other side of the island I think the extinct volcano Rano Kau is magnificent. The greens, browns and greys juxtaposed against the blue Pacific Ocean with the wind blowing is an experience not to be missed. On the far edge are the spectacular petroglyphs. Just five people are allowed on the viewing stand at a time. Truly awesome in the original sense of the word.

But I was most fascinated with the nearly one thousand moai strewn around the island that have not been resurrected on their ahus. I just can’t get over the moai that are still face down. I can’t help but wonder what happened when the rival clans came to push over another clan’s moai. Surely this was not something that someone could sneak in and do quietly.

I arrived with a packed itinerary in my head, but the island works on its own time. At first I was a bit put off that I couldn’t follow my plan. As time went on, I found that I enjoyed letting go of my control-freakishness and was happy with whatever happened.

There were so many favorite things on Easter Island. It’s hard to choose just one. This is a truly amazing place not to be missed.

About Journeys By Jill

I have spent most of my adult life working in and around TV, film & radio production. As an avid traveler, I have a goal to visit at least 100 countries using the Century Traveler's Club Country List. At the moment, I have 54 to go. My favorite form of travel is to get off the beaten path and discover weird & wonderful attractions. Basically, I wing it. I'd love for you to come along for the ride.
This entry was posted in Airlines, Chile, Easter Island, Restaurants, Shopping, Sightseeing, South America, Travel, Travel Tips, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

25 Responses to Easter Island Planning & Packing Tips

  1. lidipiri says:

    I love how informative you are!! Better than a lot of travel guides.

  2. P. Joe says:

    Very informative travel report – an exciting read!
    I’d like to ask what you think about these travel tips as well – would you recommend them?:
    http://www.easterislandtraveling.com/travel-tips/

    • I agree with most of their tips although when we were there, the ticket for Orongo and Rano Raruku (the Quarry) was only good for one visit. It clearly states this on the ticket even though I had read everywhere that it was good for 5 days. We did get into the quarry a 2nd time on our tickets. It was one hour before closing time and only one other person was there. We told the gatekeepers that we had been on a tour the 1st time and they let us in but we were fully prepared to have to buy a new ticket.

      As for the company, I don’t have any experience with them so I cannot give you any useful feedback.

      The way I chose our hotel and guide was by researching reviews on TripAdvisor.com. One of the reasons I go into so much detail in my blog posts is because specific information such as costs was hard to find. People would say something was expensive (or not) but I had no idea what they considered expensive. I wanted to make it easier so others would have an idea of what to expect. Of course everyone travels differently. What we spent is probably middle of the road but I’m sure you can do it for less money and I know you can spend a boatload more if you want.

      We speak some Spanish but almost everyone we met spoke English and wanted to practice their English (as happens in most places in the world, even when we want to practice their native language!) Language was never a problem except for the show we saw. It was in Rapa Nui and we didn’t understand anything.

      Easter Island is magical! Are you planning a trip soon? I am happy to answer any questions you might have.

      • Tony says:

        We are visiting Easter Island August 17 – 19. What will the weather be like and what clothing should we take?

        • Hi Tony,

          We were there in March so it was the end on summer. You are going during their winter so I suspect it will be cooler. I checked a few website and it looks like it will probably be in the mid to upper 60’s F while you are there.

          I would bring layers so you are prepared for anything. And I would bring them in a backpack when you head out in the morning. Most likely, you will be gone all day exploring. The constant wind also comes into play so it could be chillier at higher elevations like the quarry, Orongo or any of the ahus by the water. A hat that ties under the chin, such as a Tilley Hat will keep the beating sun or rain off your head. It has to tie or it will be blown off in the wind.

          Sunscreen is a must even on a cloudy day. And some kind of sunburn relief might come in handy as supplies are limited and expensive as I learned the hard way.

          Bring good, sturdy walking shoes. Most places have dirt trails but if you go in the caves, depending on which ones you visit, you could be shimmying down some tight dirt entrances. Your clothes will get dirty so bring an extra outfit to save so you have something clean for the long flight home. You’ll be happy you did.

          Make sure you bring a good flashlight or two. You are going just after a new moon so it’s going to be really dark at night. And pack snacks you can take with every day. We never came back to town for lunch. My individual serving bags of cashews saved us. So did the bottles of water we bought in the airport before we boarded our last flight to Easter Island. I think we bought about 8 bottles. They were so much cheaper on the mainland and we got them inside security so there wasn’t a problem.

          Have a great trip! Don’t hesitate if you have any other questions. I’m happy to help.

          Jill

      • James Loh says:

        HI Jill,
        I am planning on a trip to Easter island on 27-20 April 2016.
        i just want to know can we bring in 8 bottle water into the check in luaggage ?

        • Hi James,

          You should be able to check the water in your luggage. I would check with your airline(s) to be sure. We bought water in the airport in Lima when we changed planes. We were already behind security so it wasn’t a problem. We bought it just before we boarded the plane to Easter Island so we didn’t have to drag it around with us until the last minute.

          Congratulations on your trip! That little island calls to me. I’d love to see it again.

          Best,
          Jill

  3. Andreas says:

    Nice review! I’m going there in mid October. What do you think about going there in that particular month?
    I also plan to rent a car. Do you know about the road conditions? Any specific rules about parking in Hanga Roa and around the island? Is safety a big concern there (theft, accident, money/passport keeping)?
    Really can’t wait for this adventure!

    • Hi Andreas,

      I’m so excited for you! I’m having a hard time topping this trip. That tiny island calls to me.

      We were there at the end of March, their end of summer, beginning of fall. You will be there in their spring which I’m sure will be great. It’s a tropical island in the middle of the Pacific so there is a pretty constant breeze that kept the temperature quite nice the whole time we were there – in the 70s & 80s. The sun was brutal so make sure you bring a hat with a strap so it doesn’t blow away, sunscreen and a sunburn remedy just in case. As I found it, those remedies are hard to find and very expensive.

      To get an idea of the road conditions, watch the videos “Rano Kau Volcano Road” and “Easter Island Cowboy” on this post https://journeysbyjill.com/2012/04/21/driving-easter-island-day-3/

      The Rano Kau Road video will give you a good idea of road conditions you might encounter.if the dirt road by the volcano has been recently graded, it will be a smoother ride. If not, you’ll be zig-zagging across the road to avoid the bumps. That’s typical on all of the dirt roads. In town the streets a cobblestone and there’s a pretty good, paved road that goes almost to Anakena Beach.

      Besides inconsistent road conditions, the biggest danger is all of the animals roaming freely. Cow, horses and dogs are a big hazard and they will run in front of cars so you can’t speed.

      While we didn’t spend much time in Hanga Roa, we never had a problem parking. I don’t remember seeing any parking meters and it was pretty laid back.

      I don’t know how you are traveling but we used normal safety precautions that we would use anywhere, like not leaving valuables out in the open at the hotel. No need to tempt anyone. I have a neck pouch and that’s where I always keep my passport when I travel so it was always with me.

      We brought about $800 in pesos and $600US and came home with some US cash. We tried to pay as much as possible in pesos so we didn’t each up too many foreign exchange charges on our credit card. My blog posts have prices for just about everything so you should be able to get an idea of the island prices.

      As far as accidents go, we didn’t have any problems, but we were careful. Our car was rented from a friend of the hotel owner so there was no paperwork. We left it unlocked with the keys in it at the airport so I don’t know what we would have done if there was a problem. They trusted us to leave it with a full tank of gas and we did. It’s a small island and everybody knows each other and many are related. There’s not much crime except for domestic violence and petty theft.

      The other possible accidents are slipping on slippery rocks in the caves so make sure you bring sturdy shoes. I had some “hiking boots” that looked like sneakers and had sole that was a bit sticky so it gripped the rocks fairly well. The terrain is rugged so good shoes are a must.

      How long are you staying? Do you know where you are staying? Whatever you do it is going to be a memorable trip. I’m happy to help in any way possible.

      Can I come with you? 🙂

      • Andreas says:

        Lol you’re invited if you want to, I’m sure you’ll be the best guide there 🙂
        I will be staying at Cabanas Christophe (got it for ~USD300 for 3 nights). I booked the hotel from Oct 11-14. The drawback is that I will arrive at the island on late Oct 11, so basically I only have 2 full days to explore the island. I read a lot of reviews saying exploring th island on your own seems to be the best idea when you only have couple days. So I’m renting the car from the hotel. I actually checked your driving videos and it looks adventorous!
        I’m super thrilled and doing all the research about the island these days, eventhough the trip is far away in October 😛

        • If I only had 2 days, I would get a guide or tour for one day that would take you to some of the more remote sites. You can easily find the Rano Kau Volcano, Orongo, the Quarry, Tongariki and Anakena Beach on your own. Some of the other ahus and the caves are off unmarked dirt roads and can be easily missed. Just something you might want to consider because you have such a short amount of time. But in two days, you might only have time to see those sites so that might work out just fine. 🙂

      • Andreas says:

        By the way, do you have any issues with mosquitoes?

      • Andreas says:

        Regarding the parking things, for example, if we visit some of the moais or the quarry, which is off the town, are we allowed to stop and park the car on the road side? Or is there a specific parking spot nearby those sites?
        I’m interested to go to the Ahu Vai Mata, but when I checked the map, it seems like there’s no road that leads to there. I think the only option would be park the car and start doing some hiking to reach the site. So I was wondering if it’s okay to stop the car and leave it there on the road while I’m going on foot.

        • There are parking areas near all of the sites we stopped at. We drove up past Anakena Beach along the shore towards where trailhead for Ahu Vai Mata is and it seemed like people were parking along the road. It’s a very relaxed island so I wouldn’t worry about it. I’m sure your hotel owner will be able to guide you. Make sure to bring snacks. Besides the empanada stands at Anakena Beach, there is NOTHING outside of Hanga Roa. The packets of cashews I brought saved us. If I were to do it again I would stock up with a bit more food and LOTS of water.

  4. My favorite part of Easter Island is the amazing graveyard right next to the ocean! The fact that the tumbs mix Rapa Nui and Christian symbology just makes it better!

    • I loved the pops of color in the cemetery against the green grass and the blue ocean! But I have to say my favorite part is all of the face down Moai. I just can’t wrap my head around how they knocked them over. It’s not like they could sneak into a village and push them over quietly.

  5. Sobeyda says:

    Hi Jill, this blog is a gold mine! Thank you for all of the advise and tips 🙂 My fiance and I are in the process of planning this amazing trip from 8/29-9/1 (two full days and a half). The tour prices you mention here are cheaper than the ones we have seen online. Did you purchase these on site? Also, since we have a shorter time than you had (we are flying in from Santiago, Chile as my fiance will be working there the week before) what would you recommend us to do in terms of sight seeing? Finally, we are looking into getting rooms through airbnb. Have you heard of anyone doing airbnb in EI and if it is safe? Some places are listed for as little as $60/night.

    Thank you,
    Sobe

    • Hi Sobe,

      I am so excited for you and your fiancé! Two and a half days are better than none. Easter Island is the highlight of my travels so far!

      We went in March 2012, which was the beginning of fall. You are going in the spring and two years later so that might be one reason you are seeing different prices. Also, yes, we booked everything except the hotel once we got there.

      Normally, I like to wing it when I travel having done research for a basic understanding of what’s available. But in this case we booked our room at the Hotel Taura’a before we left. It was a bit frustrating because I had a hard time understanding how to book it. I think there was discussion of a cash deposit (which was something I couldn’t wrap my head around) or emailing someone my credit card number.

      It was a leap of faith but sent Edith our credit card info with the understanding that she would charge a deposit to my card. She never ran the card until we left.

      That was my first lesson on how things work in island time. If you are an A-type planner like I can be at times, you might be frustrated that things are not working as you planned or you’re not getting answers you need but if you allow yourself to let go and go with the flow you will be much happier.

      I didn’t use airbnb while we were there and haven’t heard of anyone using it.. If airbnb is a possibility I would jump at it. But I think you should ask a lot of questions and look at as many pictures as possible. Make sure that $60 a night is not per person. But even if it is per person, it would be a really good deal.

      I don’t think you’d want to be too far out of town. Remember that it’s really dark at night because of the lack of light pollution. It could be hard to find your way especially if you are walking. Plus there are horses, cows, dogs, and chickens running freely. Flashlights barely cut through the inky darkness if there is no moon like when we were there.

      One thing to consider about being in a house is that you will only sleep there. I guarantee you will be gone all day and evening. But breakfast probably won’t be included as it is in a hotel and it’s very expensive in the little markets

      As far as safety goes, it seems like everyone knows everyone so there isn’t much crime against tourists. Tourism is their biggest industry so people will rent you their cars or their houses. The people we met seemed genuinely happy to help us enjoy our stay. The big crime problem there seems to be domestic abuse.

      The must dos are the quarry – Rano Raraku, Orongo to see the petroglyphs with a stop at the magnificent Rano Kau volcano crater, Tongariki and one of the ahus where the moai are face down. Anakena Beach is also a good choice. Anakena, Tongariki and the quarry are all on the far side of the island but pretty easy to get to on the paved road. Orongo and Rano Kau are above the airport on a long dirt road. The caves were also really interesting. The Rapa Nui show was okay. I’m happy we did it. I liked the music but because it was in Spanish and Rapa Nui we didn’t understand what was happening.

      Get up and watch a sunrise at Tongariki (with everyone else) or like we did by mistake at Anakena on the north side of the island. While we didn’t see the sun rise behind the ahu, standing in the dark alone surrounded by animals was one of the most memorable experiences I have ever had!

      Plan on one dinner at Kotaro Japanese restaurant (by the airport) and we loved dining on the deck overlooking the cemetery at Restaurant Manuia. The ceviche was sensational.

      If you have any other questions, don’t hesitate to ask! Also, while you are in Santiago, you might want to slip away to the coast. We did a one-night layover on a different trip. You can read about that here and learn from our mistakes! http://wp.me/p11QO4-kf

      Have a wonderful trip!

      • Sobeyda says:

        Thank you Jill for your detailed response and suggestions! We will definitively check out if we can get a tour for at least for one day while we are there 🙂 I’m very excited for the trip and very happy to have stumbled upon your blog. It will very useful for our planning!

        Sobe

    • Hi Sobe, how was your trip?

      • Sobeyda says:

        Hi Jill!

        The trip was great! We booked our stay with airbnb near Tahai. It was wonderful to have a view of the ocean as well as having the Tahai Moai’s only a short walk away. We rented a car for all 3 days and I think this was the best choice for us as we wanted to take our time and enjoy our time by ourselves. I was surprised at the fact that a lot of our sightseeing seemed very intimate as no other tourists were around. My favorite part was sunrise at Tongariki and exploring the caves. This was truly an amazing trip! Thank you for all your advice Jill 😀

  6. We booked our tours through the Edith at the Hotel Taura’a but she and her husband Bill also own a tour company. One of our guides was China – she was vice-president of the tourism board (I think) and owns Restaurant Manuia near the cemetery. A tour on the first day will help you get the lay of the land. They will also be able to find you a car to rent or anything else you need for your remaining day and a half.

    A fun fact – I just saw Edith as the “realtor” on a recent episode of House Hunters International on Easter Island. And China was on Globe Trekker’s swing through Pacific Islands – Easter Island episode. It was so much fun to see them both!

  7. Sally O. says:

    Thank you for the very informative and interesting information. We are off to EI In early December, 2015. We are looking forward to enjoying it as much as you did. I plan to take as many if not more pictures than you. You have been most helpful. Thanks again.

  8. Sally, I’m happy to help. Have a wonderful trip.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s