rapa nui

Easter Island, also known as Rapa Nui among natives, or Isla de Pascua in Spanish, is one of the most remote places on Earth, known for its huge stone statues called Moai, and an UNESCO world heritage site. The minute moving to South America was even a topic of discussion around our home, I started researching Chile as much as possible. It was a country I knew very little about and had never visited prior to our move. Easter Island was one of the first places I cam across and I was so intrigued. It quickly moved to the top of my travel bucket list! And let me tell you… visiting the island was EVEN better than what I had imagined or expected! You are literally in the middle of the Pacific Ocean with nothing around for thousands of miles! Although it isn’t easy or cheap to arrive to this unique destination, it is definitely worth it!

WHERE WE STAYED

explora

Location and lay out are important to note for this beautiful stay… this countryside hotel is about a 5 minute drive from the town. They offer 9 rooms built within larger houses where guests can share common spaces including a living room, dining room, and kitchen. Each house or bungalow has wrap around porches and outdoor space for you to enjoy. During our stay, we ended up with an entire bungalow to ourselves which we really enjoyed. If traveling with family or friends, this would be a really fun place to stay! Tours and excursions are not included but are available so just ask and you shall receive!

If you’ve read my travel guides for other destinations in Chile like the Atacama Desert or Torres Del Paine in Patagonia, then you might already be familiar with this hotel chain… Explora is your spot when it comes to a luxury all-inclusive stay with world class service. It can’t be beat!

other recommendations

hotels

hotel hare uta

nayara hangaroa

This hotel and spa is located minutes on foot from the center of town, has ocean views, and flexible options so you can choose the type of experience you book…. We chose to enjoy the 'full experience’ during our stay and loved our group guided tours. But if a private tour is more your style or if you prefer to explore the island on your own, then you can do that! Check our their site to read all about their programs in more detail.  

WHERE WE ate

kotaro bistro

This is a great spot to visit before or after watching sunset at Ahu Tahai and walkable from the center of town.

This Japanese restaurant is a MUST. A good friend had told us about it otherwise I don’t think we would have come across this gem. The food is great but the unique and quirky experience is even better. Read the chef’s blog and you’ll get an idea of what we mean by quirky.  

la kaleta

tataku vave

te moana

restaurants

te moai sunset

other recommendations

haka honu

neptune island

pea restobar

poevara restaurant

kaloa restaurant

This two level restaurant and lounge is at Hangaroa Eco Village & Spa, one of our hotel picks. We loved the food and cocktails (juice for me since I was pregnant) and the minimalist, romantic vibe. This is probably your only “fine dining” option on the island.

Hanga Roa is the only town on the island so that is where you’ll find all of your rental car agencies, markets, restaurants, shops, etc. When it comes to eating on the island, expect super casual beachfront restaurants, all the seafood, and a taste of Polynesian fusion and Chilean inspired dishes. 

WHERE WE ATE

Hanga Roa is the only town on the island so that is where you’ll find all of your rental car agencies, markets, restaurants, shops, etc. When it comes to eating on the island, expect super casual beachfront restaurants, all the seafood, and a taste of Polynesian fusion and Chilean inspired dishes. 

This is a great spot to visit before or after watching sunset at Ahu Tahai and walkable from the center of town.

la kaleta

tataku vave

te moana

other recommendations

restaurants

te moai sunset

haka honu

This Japanese restaurant is a MUST. A good friend had told us about it otherwise I don’t think we would have come across this gem. The food is great but the unique and quirky experience is even better. Read the chef’s blog and you’ll get an idea of what we mean by quirky.  

kotaro bistro

This two level restaurant and lounge is at Hangaroa Eco Village & Spa, one of our hotel picks. We loved the food and cocktails (juice for me since I was pregnant) and the minimalist, romantic vibe. This is probably your only “fine dining” option on the island.

kaloa restaurant

neptune island

pea restobar

poevara restaurant

HOW TO GET THERE

This tiny remote island and territory of Chile is in the Pacific Ocean, part of the Polynesian triangle with Hawaii to the north and New Zealand to the southwest, about 3500km/2290miles west of Chile. Fly from Santiago (SCL) to Mataveri International Airport (IPC). The only other flight route to Easter Island is from Tahiti so if you’re planning a trip to the Polynesian islands, that would be an option to consider. From Santiago or Tahiti, it is about a 5-6 hour flight to and from. 



travel

rent a car

You can drive from one end of the island to the other in 20 minutes and it’s so fun to go explore on your own! There’s one main road that circles the island which makes it’s nearly impossible to get lost. We recommend you book in advance as cars are limited. It’s also important to note that they are mostly all manual (hope you know how to drive stick) and rental insurance isn’t an option so drive responsibly and keep an eye out for all the dogs and horses that freely roam the island. 


excursions

AHU TONGARIKI

visit the moai's

rano kau + orongo

Hike or take a guided tour of Rano Kau, the largest volcanic crater on the island. Orongo, is the archeological site and ceremonial stone village that sits on the western side of the volcano along the edge of the crater wall. It is also home to the “birdman cult” and competitions… I’m not a big history buff but learning about this birdman era from our guide was fascinating and the views were insane! This is a must do! 

anakena beach

There’s nearly 1,000 of these gigantic stone statues all over the island.. here are three sites you shouldn’t miss but try to see as many as you can! 

It's the largest platform on the island with 15 Moai over the coastline and the best spot to catch sunrise.

AHU Tahai

This is the one you want to be at for sunset. Grab a drink before or after at the nearby restaurant, Te Moai Sunset.

AHU akivi

These seven Moai are the only statues that face towards the sea and set inland rather than on the coastal edge. Ahu Aviki is one of the most important platforms on the island.

I highly recommend taking a guided tour… otherwise, you’re just looking at stone statues and missing the opportunity to hear the stories and history behind them! It’s fascinating and I promise the experience will be 10x more memorable! 

There are a few beaches on the island but this is the main one. The calm and turquoise waters, coral white sand, coconut palm grove, and Moai’s set behind make for a perfect day. There’s also a couple beach hut cafes you can wander over to and grab a bite or drink!  

caves

Take a hike and explore the caves! Don’t enter unaccompanied and have a flashlight… we used our phones which worked just fine.

rapa nu traditional show

Get immersed in the culture and catch a traditional dance show and dinner… we missed this but wish we would have gone to one! 

ALL THE WATER SPORTS… SCUBA DIVING, SNORKELING, BOATING, FISHING, SURFING… 

other recommendations

ALL THE LAND SPORTS… HIKING, BIKING, HORSEBACK RIDING…

how to get there

This tiny remote island and territory of Chile is in the Pacific Ocean, part of the Polynesian triangle with Hawaii to the north and New Zealand to the southwest, about 3500km/2290miles west of Chile. Fly from Santiago (SCL) to Mataveri International Airport (IPC). The only other flight route to Easter Island is from Tahiti so if you’re planning a trip to the Polynesian islands, that would be an option to consider. From Santiago or Tahiti, it is about a 5-6 hour flight to and from. 

travel

rent a car

You can drive from one end of the island to the other in 20 minutes and it’s so fun to go explore on your own! There’s one main road that circles the island which makes it’s nearly impossible to get lost. We recommend you book in advance as cars are limited. It’s also important to note that they are mostly all manual (hope you know how to drive stick) and rental insurance isn’t an option so drive responsibly and keep an eye out for all the dogs and horses that freely roam the island. 

Ahu Tongariki - it’s the largest platform on the island with 15 moai over the coastline and the best spot to catch sunrise.  

Ahu Tahai - this is the one you want to be at for sunset. Grab a drink before or after at the nearby restaurant, Te Moai Sunset.  

Ahu Akivi - these seven moai are the only statues that face towards the sea and set inland rather than on the coastal edge. Ahu Aviki is one of the most important platforms on the island. 

excursions

visit the moai's

There’s nearly 1,000 of these gigantic stone statues all over the island.. here are three sites you shouldn’t miss but try to see as many as you can! 

rano kau + orongo

Hike or take a guided tour of Rano Kau, the largest volcanic crater on the island. Orongo, is the archeological site and ceremonial stone village that sits on the western side of the volcano along the edge of the crater wall. It is also home to the “birdman cult” and competitions… I’m not a big history buff but learning about this birdman era from our guide was fascinating and the views were insane! This is a must do! 

anakena beach

There are a few beaches on the island but this is the main one. The calm and turquoise waters, coral white sand, coconut palm grove, and Moai’s set behind make for a perfect day. There’s also a couple beach hut cafes you can wander over to and grab a bite or drink!  

other recommendations

All the water sports… scuba diving, snorkeling, boating, fishing, surfing… 

All the land sports… hiking, biking, horseback riding…

I highly recommend taking a guided tour… otherwise, you’re just looking at stone statues and missing the opportunity to hear the stories and history behind them! It’s fascinating and I promise the experience will be 10x more memorable! 

caves

Take a hike and explore the caves! Don’t enter unaccompanied and have a flashlight… we used our phones which worked just fine.

rapa nui traditional show

Get immersed in the culture and catch a traditional dance show and dinner… we missed this but wish we would have gone to one! 

weather + when to go

Easter Island is a great year round destination with an annual average temperature of 21C/70F. December through March is peak of summer/high season. February is the warmest month with an average temperature of 24C/75F and also the busiest with the Tapati Festival the first two weeks of the month. April through November is low season, August being the coldest month with an average temperate of 18.5C/65F.

info

important details

Although the island is a territory of Chile, it is not a domestic flight from Santiago. They treat it as an international flight meaning get to the airport early! We didn’t know any better and completely missed our flight and had to rebook the entire trip.  

On the island, get your passport stamped at the local post office. 

Buy your national park ticket when you arrive on the island. Can be purchased at the airport and at the CONAF office. $80USD for adults, $40USD to children, and free if under the age of 7. 

Currency: Chilean Pesos / CLP 

Language: Spanish, Rapa Nui, and English by most people who work in tourism on the island .

Internet signal limited throughout the island.



weather + when to go

Easter Island is a great year round destination with an annual average temperature of 21C/70F. December through March is peak of summer/high season. February is the warmest month with an average temperature of 24C/75F and also the busiest with the Tapati Festival the first two weeks of the month. April through November is low season, August being the coldest month with an average temperate of 18.5C/65F.

info

important details

Although the island is a territory of Chile, it is not a domestic flight from Santiago. They treat it as an international flight meaning get to the airport early! We didn’t know any better and completely missed our flight and had to rebook the entire trip.  

On the island, get your passport stamped at the local post office. 

Buy your national park ticket when you arrive on the island. Can be purchased at the airport and at the CONAF office. $80USD for adults, $40USD to children, and free if under the age of 7. 

Currency: Chilean Pesos / CLP 

Language: Spanish, Rapa Nui, and English by most people who work in tourism on the island .

Internet signal limited throughout the island.

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