We have a hunch that we’re not the only ones who had Easter Island on our bucket lists. If you decide to make the trek to this remote island, here are some tips that will make your visit easier.
You have a couple options for getting around the island. You can pay to go with a tour company. Or, you can rent a vehicle for 24 hours (car, four-wheeler, scooter, motorcycle, push-pedal bike).
- Push-pedal bikes are obviously the cheapest option (8,000 or $12 USD), but since we aren’t experienced bikers and the roads aren’t always paved, we quickly vetoed this option.
- Scooters and motorcycles were also out of the question for us, since you need a special motorcycle license to rent those.
- Manual cars were really cheap (30,000 or $ 45 USD) and seemed to be the most popular option, but unfortunately for us, we’re limited to Automatic, which cost 60-70,000 ($90-105 USD).
- We opted for an ATV (50,000 or $76 USD), which we loved (except when it rained).
Don’t forget your drivers license!!
Regardless of if you do a guided tour or not, we recommend you explore on your own at least one day during your visit. It’s a blast and you’ll likely get some attractions all to yourself.
Contrary to a lot of what I read on the internet, it does pay to shop around from store to store before renting a car or bike with a certain company to find the best price. The prices actually varied quite a bit ($10-15) when we checked out a few different stores on the main street (Atamu Tekena).
If you’re going to rent, we suggest renting in the afternoon for a couple reasons. First, the sun sets very late on the island, so even if you rent at 1pm, you’ll have a solid 6 hours of sunlight. Second, exploring the island is pretty exhausting. Third, the rental period is 24 hours long and so you will have the next morning to explore some more after getting a good nights sleep.
While it’s okay to bring in non-perishable items to Easter Island, don’t pack any fruits, veggies or nuts, as they likely won’t make it past customs, unless you bring them from mainland Chile.
Groceries aren’t nearly as expensive as we expected, except for the fresh produce (fruits & vegetables). In fact, Rarotonga in the Cook Islands was much more expensive for things like bread and eggs.
The “fast food” restaurants are extremely reasonable in Easter Island. Here are some of our favorites:
Club Sandwich: a large and loaded hot dog (Pete’s favorite) from here only sets you back $3.
Ahi Ahi (and the other 2 restaurants by the soccer field): hot dogs are about $3.50.
Chez Ramon: our AirBnb hosts recommend this place to us, but unfortunately they were closed the day we tried to go. Apparently they have cheap, tasty food!
Essential Info & General Advice
Language: Spanish. Despite this being a very touristy place, we found quite a language barrier. It would be very helpful for you to learn a few key phrases:
- La cuenta, por favor. – The check, please.
- Quanto costa? – How much does this cost?
- Muchas gracis. – Thank you very much.
Currency: Chilean peso (CLP): 1 USD = 656 CLP. There are ATMs in Hanga Roa.
National Park Ticket Fee: 54,000 pesos per person (about $80 USD) – in cash only. Purchase from the airport or from the CONAF office at Mataveri. You have to pay this one-time fee to visit the archaeological sites on the island within 7 days. You can only visit Rano Raraku (the quarry, our favorite site) and Orongo once each. They check your ticket at random sites, so carry it with you at all times.
Visa: U.S. citizens don’t need a visa, only a flight ticket proving you’ll leave the island in 90 days.
Vaccines: None are mandatory, but Hep A and Tetanus are recommended.
Weather: The sun is insanely strong. Pack sunscreen. Wear sunscreen. Apply often. Even when it’s cloudy and raining and late in the afternoon. On that note, pack a raincoat and shoes you won’t mind getting muddy.
Ideal length of stay: 5 days. This would give you some buffer days in case you’re faced with torrential downpour (which, it seems, is very common). If you can’t stay that long, at least stay 3 nights to see all the main archaeological sites.
Any questions about traveling to Easter Island?