Visiting the Easter Islands

 In Go exploring, South America

Easter Island, a tiny Chilean island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. It is the most remote inhabited island in the world! The island is best known for the funny looking stone statues called Moai.

The island is shrouded in mystery, as the origins of the Moai are still under debate to this day. Easter island was discovered on Easter 1722, and thus it received its name.

These Moai were created by the early Rapa Nui people, most of them are now in the protected Rapa Nui National Park. The whole island is a Unesco World Heritage Site. You need to purchase a ticket (80USD) to enter the sights and the park. Best to purchase it upon arrival at the airport.

3-DAY ITINERARY

Day One

From Mihinoa camping you can walk up to the Orongo crater. The walk is very scenic, and reasonably well indicated on the maps.me application it should take about one hour.

Once you get to the crater, walk left and walk all the way to the edge. The walk should take about 45 minutes and offers stunning views. The crater is the main location for the conservation of the islands native flora.  The only downside you need to walk back the same way in order to get to the remains of the ancient village on the other end of the crater.

Orongo Crater

End of the evening by having a picnic dinner at sunset point (Ahu Vai Uri).  Make sure to get there early to ensure you get the best location for your sunset pictures, it gets very crowded.

The walk was beautiful, if a little hot. Personally, I am not a huge fan of ruins so the village was not entirely my cup of tea. This is one of the locations on your entrance ticket that you can only visit once!

After walking back to the camping, you can go and explore the local village Hanga Roa. The island offers a cool service, where you can get your passport stamped at the post office. It will cost you about 100 CLP.

Sunset at Ahu Vai Uri
Stamped Passport

Day Two

Time to see the north of the Island. Walk downtown to Hanga Roa and catch a transport to the north of the Island (Anakena beach). The transport to and back will cost you 7000 CLP.

Anakena is a beautiful beach, and aside from the weekend, is much more tranquil than the beaches on the south of the Island. Perfect to chill out and read a book!

Anakena Beach

Also there are 4 very well preserved Moai on this part of the Island. They are even still wearing there typical red “hats”. We were there around midday; the sun was right up high in the sky which made capturing the Moai on picture a little difficult.

The Moai at Anakena beach

This part of the island has many interesting other sights within walking distance of Anakena beach. Various smaller sights and singular Moai are sprawled across the Northern coast.

Day Three: Rent a Car

Rent a car the day before, pick it up at 19.00 so you have it available for you bright and early to drive to catch the sunrise at Ahu Tonjariki or sunset point.

This is the largest display of Moai still standing, we counted about 15 Maoi. All with different expressions and sizes. There is plenty of parking, and the spot is large enough so there is no need to get there super early.

I am not an early riser in general, but this was really worth getting up for. During the summer months, the sun rises behind the Maoi and colours the sky a beautiful array of reds and oranges. We were there in April on a cloudy morning, so no fantastic sunrise pictures here.

Tip: Stay until the sun rises, everybody leaves and you have the whole site to yourself. You can explore the Moai and have plenty of time for fantastic pictures.

We had the sight all to ourselves! Picture @ Cordula Aemuller

Next up, you hope back into the car and head over to Rano Raraky or the query where the Moai were originally made. The site is part of your national park ticket and can only be visited once, so take advantage of your visit.

It’s absolutely amazing, you see many Maoi sprawled across the hill in various half-finished states.

Moai in various stages of creation

The hats of the Maoi were not made in the same spot, they were created in a different query which you can also visit. This query (Puna Pau) is a lot smaller in size and far less impressive though.

On your way home you can swing by the site of Ahu Akivi and check out the 7 standing Maoi.

Picture: Cordula Aemuller

The views on today’s drive are absolutely stunning. From wild horses, to luscious green fields and bright blue skies.

Horses roaming around freely

Practical

Getting there:

Fly out of Santiago with LATAM airlines. The flight takes about 5.5 hours and can cost anywhere from 350 USD to 1000 USD.

Where to stay:

Camping Mihinoa: They have dorm rooms or you can stay at a tent. I stayed in the dorm for about 25USD a night.

What to eat:

All food needs to be flown in to the island, which makes restaurants very expensive. The cheapest option is to bring your own food and cook in the camping site.
Go to the local market in Santiago and stock up on fruit and veggies. LATAM airlines allows you to take an extra bag with you so you can take it with you without extra charge.

Watch out:

You can fly fruit and vegetable into the Easter Island but you cannot take food out! Make sure to eat everything before hopping back onto the plane to Chile.

Total Cost price:

  • Hotel 25 USD a night
  • Entrance fee to the park 80 USD
  • Flight 350 USD
  • Transport to Anakena from Mihinoa: 7000 CLP
  • Car rental (price per car) 40.500 CLP
Things to know:

Internet is very spotty all over the island

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