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A Complete Travel Guide – Wild Junket Adventure Travel Blog

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A Complete Travel Guide – Wild Junket Adventure Travel Blog

Last Updated on August 23, 2022 by Nellie Huang

Easter Island is a place that has captivated my imagination since I was a little girl — and I’m thrilled to finally get here. Standing in isolation in the Pacific Ocean, Easter Island is one of the world’s most remote places. It took me two whole days and three flights to get here, but it was well worth every single second of the long journey.

Rapa Nui, as it’s known among natives, is made world famous by the mystery surrounding its array of 1000 giant stone figures that date back many centuries. Dotted all over the island, the stone statues, known as moai, measure as tall as 21 m. Archaeologists from around the world have flocked here since the 1940s to solve the mystery, but some bits of the puzzle still remain unknown today.

Many travelers, including myself, are drawn here by the mystery of the moai. But we soon find that there’s a lot more to Easter Island beyond its history. The unique mix of Polynesian culture and Chilean influence, and the remote location of the island, have resulted in a place that’s unlike anywhere else in the world. I have completely fallen for the island and can safely say it’s now one of my favorite places in the world.

A Complete Travel Guide – Wild Junket Adventure Travel Blog

How to Visit Easter Island

Where is Easter Island?

Located in the Pacific Ocean, Easter Island is at the southeasternmost point of the Polynesian triangle. Its closest neighbor, Pitcairn island, is 1200 miles (1900km) away, while its motherland Chile is 2300 miles (3700 km) away. It is one of the most remote places in the world and getting there is part of the adventure.

Even though Rapa Nui is a territory of Chile, its people hold on tightly to their Polynesian culture. The blend of Chilean and Polynesian culture is a really interesting and unique one. If it wasn’t for the Spanish language that’s commonly spoken here, you would think you were somewhere in Tonga, Hawaii or Fiji.

Most people visit Easter Island as part of their Chile itinerary  since most flights to the island leave from Santiago, Chile. If you have two weeks in Chile, definitely try to squeeze in some time for Easter Island!

visit easter island - map of rapa nuiWikimedia image by Eric Gaba

Language and People of Easter Island

The current population of Easter Island is around 5000 and the main language spoken is Spanish. Rapa Nui natives also speak the Rapa Nui language, but it is slowly diminishing as the language is losing its importance. The Rapa Nui language shares some similar words to the indigenous languages spoken in Tahiti and New Zealand.

Thankfully, many natives are working hard to preserve their traditions. Stories about their ancestors are passed down through oral tradition, in the form of folk songs and dance. Each February, they hold a major cultural festival called Tapati Rapa Nui Festival to celebrate Rapa Nui traditions. People get dressed in traditional costumes and perform rituals or ancient sports that their ancestors would have participated in centuries ago.

Over one-third of the people living on Easter Island are Chileans who migrated to there to work in tourism. Chileans and Rapa Nui natives get along well and inter-marriages have resulted in a mixed culture. As tourism is the pillar of the economy on Easter Island, most people here speak English as well.

visit easter island - rapa nui people

Brief History of Easter Island

Despite its extremely remote location, the island has been inhabited for around 1500 years and has a rich and intriguing history. Tradition holds that the first people arrived from the Marquesa Islands around 300-400 A.D. The first king of Rapa Nui was Hoto Matu’a, who landed at Anakena beach. He was worshipped by his followers like a God.

Between 900-1200 A.D, the islanders built giant stone statues known as moai to worship their deity-like kings. Over 1000 moai were erected on the island and ancestral worship became their religion and way of life. The moai were built on stone platforms known as ahu, and villagers lived facing the moai and the ocean.

Much have been known about why they built the moai and how they made them, but the biggest mystery remains: why are the statues where they are and how were such big stone statues transported from the quarry on the hills to various spots all over the island?

visit easter island - sunrise

How Easter Island Got its Name

Easter Island got its present name when the first-recorded European, Jacob Roggeveen from Netherlands, landed here on Easter Sunday in 1722. Many other Europeans arrived thereafter, including James Cook, and thus began the downfall of the island.

Nobody knows the exact reason that caused their population to be almost decimated, but experts think it’s a combination of civil war, climate change and rapid deforestation during the time of moai construction. Most of the moai were knocked out of their place and many destroyed during the civil war, but they have since been carefully restored.

Eventually, Easter Island was annexed by Chile on 9 September 1888, and the government of Chile signed a treaty with the Rapa Nui people which still stands today. 

visit easter island - tongariki

Is It Easter Island or Rapa Nui?

The first name Easter Island received was “Kahukahu o Hera.” They were shouted out by the first explorers to King Hotu Matu’a to let him know that the island wasn’t suitable for vegetables because of the fast and easy growth of grass and weeds. 

They said: “E haho e! Kainga kino, kahukahu o hera mai te unu, mai te vere, mai te”. This translates to mean, “Ahoy, you out there on the sea! It’s bad earth, weeds grow where you pull them up, weeds where you uproot them, and there are more than enough weeds.” 

The name Rapa Nui (Big Rapa) came later. There’s another Polynesian island named Rapa Iti (Little Rapa) and when people came to the island and saw the similarity, they named it after their island. Today, the world knows it as Easter Island, even though locals call it Rapa Nui. 

visit easter island - polynesian names

Easter Island Today

Since 2007, Easter Island has been administered as a territoria especial (special territory) by Chile. The island retains a certain amount of autonomy, while being financially supported by the mainland.

Recent years have seen a lot of changes to how Easter Island is administered. Rapa Nui National Park is co-managed by the National Forestry Corporation (CONAF) and the island’s authorities. The national park covers 40% of the island and it’s now a UNESCO World Heritage Site

Only Rapa Nui natives are hired to work in the national park. Land that doesn’t belong to the national park can only be owned by Rapa Nui people. 

visit easter island - tongariki from afar

How to Get to Easter Island

Due to its remote location, getting to Easter Island is not easy or cheap. Only one airline (LATAM Airlines) flies to Easter Island. They fly three times daily from Santiago (Chile) to Easter Island in high season and twice daily in low season. There is also one weekly flight from Pape’ete (Tahiti) to Easter Island. Be aware that flights are regularly delayed due to high winds, which means you may find yourself stranded in Santiago or on the island.

In order to control tourism numbers, flights to Easter Island for foreigners are incredibly expensive. Prices are around US$1000 or more for the return flight from Santiago to Easter Island. The journey takes 5 hours each way. However, there is a way around it. I’m not asking you to cheat, but hear me out.

Chileans actually pay a fraction of the price (around $300 return) that foreigners pay. To get the Chilean price, what you can do is get a VPN or use LATAM’s Chile website. The system is smart enough not accept any credit cards from outside Chile. Their website didn’t accept my card, but it did hold my reservation for 48 hours. I then called the LATAM office to pay. When I gave them my credit card number, the price increased but it still turned out cheaper than otherwise, at just $550 return.

Search for Flights here!

easter island travel - latam airline at the airport

How to Get Around Easter Island

The island is rather small but there is no public transport anywhere. Most people book day tours to learn more about the story behind the moai from a guide. It can make a big difference when you have a knowledgable Rapa Nui guide. I traveled with Easter Island Travel and learned a lot from my local guide who was informative, fun and engaging.

Another way to see the archaeological sites is to rent a car. I did that on my third day, after going for two day tours. There are many car rental companies in the city centre and most have 4WDs — I booked mine at Insular Rent-a-Car and paid 45,000 CLP ($68) to rent a Suzuki Jimny for 24hours.

You can also rent a quad that costs around the same, at 40,000 CLP ($60) for the smallest model. It goes slower but can be more fun. There are also motorcycles or scooters as well as bicycles that you can rent. I was pretty determined to rent a bicycle until I saw how hilly the island was.

visit easter island - jeep

When to Visit Easter Island

The most popular time to visit Easter Island is during the first two weeks of February when the annual Tapati Rapa Nui festival takes place. This festival is possibly the best chance to experience and learn about Rapa Nui culture. On the penultimate day of the festival, all of the participants and families parade through the streets of Hanga Roa. Everyone is dressed in traditional Polynesian wear, dancing to upbeat music. 

However, this is the most expensive and busiest time of the year to visit Easter Island. Prices for flights and accommodation skyrocket during those two weeks. Visitor numbers shoot up during this time too, so don’t expect to have the place to yourself. Also many restaurants and shops shut down as locals all flock to attend the festival.

Otherwise, the best time to visit Easter Island is during the low season, which are from April to June and September to November. Weather is balmy and pleasant, flights are much cheaper and there are less tourists.

visit easter island - rapa nui locals in traditional dress

How Much Time to Visit Easter Island?

Forming a triangle 14 miles long by seven miles wide, the island has an area of 63 square miles (163 square km). It takes less than an hour to drive from one end of the island to the other. Around 40% of the island is a national park chocked full of archaeological sites, with almost 1000 moai on display. You can see all of the sites in three days if you pack them in.

I stayed on Easter Island for four days and found it sufficient, though I was so captivated by Rapa Nui that I wished I could stay longer. Here’s my suggested itinerary — for more details of each site, scroll down to ‘things to do on Easter Island’.

easter island travel - a moai at rano raraku

Day 1: Take the Northern Circuit

  • Visit Orongo village and learn about the ‘birdman’ religion
  • Walk around the Rano Kau volcanic crater 
  • Feast on panoramic views at Puna Pau
  • Visit the only moai that face the ocean, Ahu Akivi
  • Chill out on Anakena beach

Day 2: Do the Southern Circuit

  • Start at Vinapu
  • Learn how the Rapa Nui used to live at Hanga Te’e
  • Hike around the quarry Rano Rarauku
  • See sunset at Tahai

Day 3: Explore Hanga Roa

  • Catch sunrise at Tongariki
  • Climb to the highest peak of Easter Island, Tere Vaka
  • Wander around the town of Hanga Roa
  • Visit the museum
  • Watch a Rapa Nui traditional dance

Day 4: Go Diving or Horseback Riding

  • Go scuba diving or snorkeling
  • Take a boat trip to the islet of Moto Nui
  • Or horseback riding
  • Or sign up for a stargazing tour

visit easter island - anakena moai

National Park Rules

When you land on Easter Island, make sure to purchase a national park ticket which costs 54,000 CLP ($80) for foreigners. You can buy it at the airport’s terminal building before baggage claim. If you forget to do this, you can still purchase it at the tourism office in Hanga Roa (next to the soccer field by the seafront).

The entrance ticket allows entry to all the archaeological sites for 10 days. You can visit all the sites as many times as you want EXCEPT for the quarry Rano Raraku and Orongo village (only once). Both of these special sites are must-see places as they are of historical significance. But they are extremely popular, thus the control.

The authorities are rather strict — make sure to keep your ticket in a safe spot as you have to show it at every site. If you lose it, you’ll have to go back to Hanga Roa and buy a new ticket. All of the sites (except for Tongariki which is popular for sunrise) open only at 9.30am.

visit easter island - puna pau

To preserve Easter Island’s heritage, there are a few simple rules that must be respected:

  • Do not touch any archaeological remains.
  • Do not stand on the platforms or ahu.
  • No driving outside of the marked trails.
  • No camping is allowed within the National Park.
  • Respect all signs and markings on the sites.

The breach of any of these rules is subject to heavy penalties. Most recently a Finnish tourist was fined $17,000 US for touching a moai and breaking its earlobe as a souvenir. The archaeological sites are protected by law because they are deteriorating at a fast pace and tourist activities accelerate the process. 

visit easter island - national park rules

Day Tours on Easter Island

Day tours are a great way to learn more about the history of the island and dig deeper into the mystery surrounding the moai. There is no info at the archaeological sites and even Lonely Planet offers very limited explanation in their book. Prices for a day tour start from US$90 and last from 9.30am – 4pm.

I booked two day tours with Easter Island Travel: one was Journey of Legends which covered the northern coast of the island, and the other was Megaliths covering the southern coast. I would recommend doing the tours in that order, as Megaliths will show you the more epic sites (and like they say, save the best for the last!).

Both my guides were excellent. They were very interesting, fun and engaging and their storytelling skills were brilliant! One of them was a Rapanui-Chilean mix and she gave some very interesting insights from both cultures.

visit easter island - day trip with Benjamin from Easter island travel

Driving Around Easter Island

If you are planning to rent a car, I would recommend renting it in the afternoon so that you can drive to see the sunset at Ahu Tahai and get up early the next morning to drive to Ahu Tongariki for the sunrise. That was what I did, and both sunrise and sunset were spectacular and definitely worth the effort.

Strangely it’s not possible to get car insurance on Easter Island. That means you’re responsible for any damage that you make on the vehicle. Also, most cars on the island are manual cars, so get yourself familiar with driving a stick! Note that the speed limit on most roads on Easter Island is 50km/hour and in town it’s 30km/hour. Many the roads have potholes and there are lots of dogs and horses on the side of the road, so be careful when you’re driving.

Driving on Rapa Nui is relatively easy. There are very few roads and it’s hard to get lost.The roads on Easter Island don’t have street names (except in the heart of town) so it can be difficult to find places and hotels. Most locals know where everyone lives, so you can simply ask for directions.

visit easter island - roads on rapa nui

Hiking on Easter Island

Most archaeological sites are easily accessed from the carparks and there are marked trails that weave their way around the sites. Just keep to the trails and you will be fine. You don’t need to have a certain level of fitness to visit the sites. 

For those who want to go hiking, you’ll be happy to know there are quite a few hikes you can do around the island. Hiking around Easter Island is fairly easy as the hills are not too high and there are marked trails everywhere.  It’s not necessary to hire a guide if you want to go hiking. 

visit easter island - hiking trails

The most popular trekking options are recuperation zones which cannot be accessed with any kind of vehicle:

  • Terevaka, the highest point of the island, stands at 1676 feet (511m) above sea level. Hiking up to the highest point is an easy 1.5h hike. It offers 360 degree views of the entire Easter Island. You can also get there with a horseback riding operator as well.
  • Rano Kau can be easily reached by foot from Hanga Roa. It takes around 2 hours on foot each way. When you reach the volcanic crater, just take the path on the east side of the crater to see some scenery not accessible by vehicles. 
  • North-West coast is a hiking route that takes approximately 5-7 hours and requires some planning and preparations ahead. Most people start from the main beach Anakena and move along the coast all the way back to Hanga Roa. While there are several archaeological sites, not many are of great interest. Among them is a cave filled with petroglyphs.
  • Poike is an isolated northeaster peninsula with high cliffs falling away to the ocean below. Some of it is now used as a cattle station. It takes around 1.5h to climb to the top. Along the way, you might see some interesting details including the infamous “cave of the virgin”.

visit easter island - terevaka

Things to Do on Easter Island

Anyone who’s heard of Easter Island would have seen images of the iconic Tongariki, with 15 giant moai standing in a row. But Easter Island is a lot more than just that. With over 1000 moai spread all around the island, the national park is an open-air museum that you can explore at your own pace and time. Here are just some of the most interesting sites that are worth visiting:

1. Visit Sebastian Englert Anthropological Museum

Start your trip with a visit to this museum in Hanga Roa — it makes an excellent introduction to Rapa Nui and the moai. There are very detailed and well-written explanations on the history of the island, as well as interesting archaeological items like a rare female moai and different kinds of tools used to carve the moai. Plus, the museum is free to visit. It’s located next to Ahu Tahai, and just a 10-minute walk from the centre of Hanga Roa.

visit easter island - museum in hanga roa

2. Hike around Rano Raraku

This is my favorite archaeological site on Easter Island and one of the two sites that you can only visit once with your park ticket. It is home to 397 moai, which is quite an incredible sight to see all on one hill.

Known as the quarry, Rano Raraku is a volcano where most of the moai on Easter Island were cut. The islanders would carve each statue into the slopes (horizontally), with the statue still attached to its mother stone. When they were done, they would then remove the last bit of stone and then slide the statue down the hill.

There are a few trails that weave their way around the southern slope and up to the top of the volcano. You’ll be wandering among plenty of statues, each of them in a different stage of progress. Here’s where you’ll also find the biggest statue on the island (still attached to the mother stone) that measures 21 m tall.

visit easter island - rano raraku

3. Catch Sunrise at Tongariki

You’ll recognize this site from the iconic image of Easter Island that appears on every postcard and article. Ahu Tongariki is the biggest ahu ever built, with 15 imposing statues standing guard over the coastline.

Scattered among the surrounding field are several pukao, topknots that some moai adorn on their heads. The ancient Polynesians used to wear their hair in a bun (both men and women) on the top of their hair — it’s still a tradition that continues today.

This is the best spot on the island to see sunrise and it’s hugely popular with tourists. During my visit in March, the sunrise was at 7.30am. We got there 30 minutes early and the place was already packed. Most people were respectful and kept to the invisible boundary line where everyone lined up their cameras. Once in a while, I still got a photo of one or two thick-skinned people and their selfie sticks.

How to Visit Easter Island: A Complete Travel Guide

4. See Sunset at Tahai

For the best sunset, head to Ahu Tahai, just a 10-minute walk from Hanga Roa town. Again, it’s a popular site but there is plenty of green space for everyone to sit and watch the sky light up in all kinds of vermillion rays.

There are three ahu platforms: the main Ahu Tahai is in the middle, with a solitary moai. This is the oldest moai on the island, built around 900 A.D. On its left are five moai of different shapes and sizes, and on its right is the only moai on the island restored with coral eyeballs.

Placing eyeballs with corals on the moai was the last and most important stage of the process. They believed that once the eyes were placed on the moai, it became a living face of the god.

visit easter island - sunset at tahai

5. Chill Out at Anakena Beach

Anakena is one of the very few white-sand beaches on Easter Island, which has mainly black rocky coastlines. This beautiful spot is known as the birthplace of Rapa Nui culture as this was where the first king Hoto Matu’a landed.

He settled down at this very exact spot with his entourage and his first child was born right here (you’ll find a wooden carving depicting his wife giving birth at the entrance).Other explorers such as Thor Heyerdahl and James Cook also landed here on Anakena.

Besides the alluring palm trees and beautiful beach, you’ll also find two ahu platforms here. Ahu Nau Nau is made up of seven moai built on a unique ahu that spots similarities with Inca architecture. Some experts say to prove that ancient Polynesians made contact with the Incas.

visit easter island - anakena

visit easter island - anakena beach

6. Walk around the Volcano Crater, Rano Kau

Standing tall at the southwestern end of the island is a volcano crater called Rano Kau. Geographically, this site has one of the most dramatic landscapes in the South Pacific. Perched at 980 feet (300m) above, the crater’s rim is almost perfectly circular, with steep jagged slopes that drop vertically into the crater lake, and the Pacific Ocean on one edge.

The crater lake below is a green house of endemic biodiversity, home to some unique and truly special plant life amidst its totora reeds. Locals often climb down the slopes to frolic in the crater lake, but it’s forbidden for visitors to enter these days due to safety concerns.

visit easter island - rano kau

7. Visit Orongo Ceremonial Village

Built onto the side of the slopes surrounding Rano Kau is an important archaeological site known as Orongo. This was a ceremonial village and main gathering point for the islanders when they started worshipping the birds in the 18th century. The village has excellent info about the ‘birdman’ religion that Rapa Nui natives followed after the moai-building days.

They used to hold an annual competition where the strongest men in the community would compete to see who could nab the first eggs of the birds that migrated here each year. The winner would then become the next king. From Orongo, you’ll get a spectacular view of the little islet of Moto Nui where the annual birdman competition was held. 

visit easter island - moto nui islet

8. Wander around the town of Hanga Roa

Hanga Roa is the only town on the whole island i.e. all the museums, shops and restaurants are concentrated here. Don’t expect a vibrant lively town  you are after all on a remote island of 5000+ people! That said, it’s got a nice Polynesian beach town feel to it and it’s small enough to walk everywhere. Streets are lined with tiki bars, restaurants and souvenir shops.

I recommend checking out the Mercado Artesanal that has all the artwork and souvenirs under one roof. Right across the road from there is the Catholic Church of Rapa Nui, with interesting Polynesian architecture. Another place worth visiting is Arte Manaroas, a modern art gallery run by local artist Oscar Cuevas. I had a great conversation with him and it was very interesting getting to know Rapa Nui through him. And don’t forget to get a special Easter Island passport stamp from the tourist office next to the soccer field — it’s free!

visit easter island - artisanal market

9. Catch a Rapa Nui Traditional Show

In the evening, don’t miss the traditional Rapa Nui dance shows! I was a bit skeptical at first and wondered if the show would be as commercialized as the ones I’ve seen in Hawaii. But after catching the show at Ballet Kari Kari, I was really impressed by the energy of the dancers and the authenticity of the shows. There are three different entertainment venues in Hanga Roa that showcase the traditional dance: Ballet Kari Kari (the oldest establishment) holds its shows on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays; Vai Te Mihi holds the shows on Mondays, Wednesdays and Sundays.

Be sure to book your tickets either by email or through your hotel one day in advance. Prices for the 1-hour show are standard, at 10,000 CLP or US$15. For the dance and dinner included, the price is 27,000 CLP or $40 per person. 

visit easter island - kari kari dance

Where to Stay on Easter Island

Hanga Roa is the only town on Easter Island, so all the hotels and lodges are concentrated in the area. You’ll also find restaurants, shops, supermarkets and car rental companies in town. Accommodation on Easter Island is pricey and quality of accommodation isn’t great, so make sure to scout around. Most accommodations offer free airport transfers, so be sure to check with your hostel/hotel and provide them with your flight details.

High-end: Explora Rapa Nui

For those looking to splurge, this is the best hotel on the island. It offers high quality accommodation and stylish design, plus an outstanding location in the green hills 5 miles outside of Hanga Roa. It’s not cheap, but the fantastic panoramas throughout the property and all-inclusive features make it worth every penny. In fact, rates include all transportation, meals, beverages and over 20 free excursions around Easter Island. Check the latest rates.

High-end: Hotel Hangaroa Eco Village & Spa

This upscale option is located on the oceanfront, within a 15-minute walk or a 5-minute drive from Hanga Roa town. The modern hotel has very tastefully designed rooms and features spa facilities, a huge outdoor swimming pool and a restaurant overlooking the ocean. It’s an excellent fusion of luxury and rustic design. If I were on my honeymoon, this would be the place I’d stay! However, there has been controversy surrounding the land on which the hotel has been built. Apparently a Rapa Nui native had sold the land to the hotel which is against the law, and many people are protesting against it right in front of the hotel. Check the latest rates.

Midrange: Rangi Moana

I stayed at this comfortable family-run lodge with individual cabanas that have been newly built. It’s very well priced, especially for solo travelers as you pay for just half the price of a cabana rather than the full price. The big green spaces, swimming pool and large family cottages make it a great place for families. The owners are very friendly and welcoming. Airport transfers are included. It’s around a 20-minute walk from Hanga Roa, or a $4 taxi ride away. Check the latest rates.

visit easter island - rangi moana

Midrange: Hostal Pukao

Another well-priced option is Hostal Pukao which is blessed with lots of green spaces and lush surroundings. There are lots of vibrant colors all about the property and modern and comfortable furnishings. They have great reviews, especially for their excellent breakfast. They also charge solo travelers half the price of a room instead of the full price. But the hostal is located close to Puna Pau, which is a 15-minute drive outside of Hanga Roa. That said, it’s a great spot to base yourself if you want to hike all over the hills surrounding Puna Pau. Check out the latest rates.

Budget: Camping Mihinoa

Located right across the road from the beach, this campsite is possibly the best option for budget travelers because of its waterfront location. There are options of staying in tents or their bungalow rooms. There are shared bathroom facilities as well as three big kitchens where you can cook your own meals and hang out with other travelers. It’s about a 15-minute walk from town but the location is pretty good considering you are sleeping in front of the sea. Be aware that this campsite gets booked up very quickly, so you’ll need to make reservations well in advance. Check the latest rates.

Budget: Hostal Marari

For those on a budget, this comfortable hostal is a great choice as it’s affordable and located in Hanga Roa but close to the airport. The family-run guesthouse feels more like a homestay and the owners are very warm and welcoming. They often invite guests to join the family for dinner and drinks, so if you’re looking to socialise and learn more about the locals’ way of life, this is the place to go. Check the latest rates.

Search for More Hostels on Easter Island

visit easter island - hotel manavai

Where to Eat on Easter Island

Food on Easter Island is a fusion of Polynesian ingredients and Chilean flavors. You get mainly fish like tuna, mahi mahi, and swordfish, as well as seafood like lobster, shrimp and a native lobster known as rape rape. They also eat a lot of crops that are grown on the island such as sweet potatoes, taro, yams, plantain, and sugarcane. 

The most traditional Rapa Nui dish is the Umu Rapa Nui or Easter Island curanto, which is cooked in a hole in the ground with firewood and red-hot stones, the same way it was made hundreds of years ago. The hot stones are covered with plantain leaves. Then, meat, chicken, and fish is placed on the leaves and covered again with more leaves and stones. Te Ra’ai is the only restaurant where you can try this traditional preparation.

There are quite a few good beachfront restaurants in Hanga Roa to choose from, and many of them have excellent sunset views. A restaurant meal on Easter Island is expensive though, expect to spend around 15000 – 28000 CLP for a meal with drinks.

visit easter island - seafood ceviche

Recommended Restaurants in Hanga Roa

Tataku Vave — This was recommended by my guide and it turned out to be my favorite place to eat at on the island! It’s secretly tucked away from the tourist trail and serves up huge portions of fresh ceviche and fish at a beachfront location great for sunsets. There are also fresh rape rapa lobsters and shrimps on the menu, plus refreshing cocktails.

Hani-Hani — Hip and trendy, this welcoming beachfront restaurant has an excellent menu and live music right by the sea. They’ve got a very refreshing Polynesian fusion menu, with an array of sushi rolls and pizzas to choose from. The cocktail list is also impressive — don’t miss the in-house special pisco!

Te Moai Sunset — It’s lauded as the best restaurant in town for sunset as it is located right next to Ahu Tahai. This high-end gourmet restaurant is where you’d want to go for your last meal in town!

Tumu Vida Sana — This is one of the cheaper joints in town, with affordable sandwiches, fajitas and great beer (try the Michelada which is beer with lemonade served in frosty mugs rimmed with salt and chilli). Great atmosphere too!

Hai Tonga — Another bar with beach vibes and swings, located close to the seafront. Its breakfast menu is particularly good and you can also find local artisan beer here.

visit easter island - tataku veva

Cost of Travel on Easter Island

Besides the airfare, accommodation and food prices can make Easter Island an expensive destination. As the island is so remote, almost everything needs to be imported and thus products that are not from the island are expensive.

Before your trip to Easter Island, I recommend buying food on mainland Chile to bring with you. I brought some muesli bars, salami and cheese for my breakfast and picnic lunches. I couldn’t resist eating out at the restaurants for dinners to treat myself. 

Bring plenty of Chilean pesos in cash as not many places accept credit cards. There are two ATMs on the island but it’s worth stocking up. Easter Island is very very safe so you shouldn’t worry about bringing cash onto the island.

Here is a breakdown of my expenses as a solo traveler during my 4-day trip to Easter Island (NOT including airfare):

Expenses in USD

  • Accommodation: $240
  • National park entrance: $80
  • Day tours: $90 + 90
  • Car rental: $68
  • Gas/petrol: $10
  • Traditional dance: $15
  • Food: $80

TOTAL: $613

easter island travel - food truck

Why Visit Easter Island?

Easter Island is a terrific destination to visit, and the islanders have done a great job in limiting the number of visitors and protecting their sacred historical sites. The geographic landscapes, remote location in the Pacific and unique blend of Chilean-Polynesian culture all contribute to make Rapa Nui a place that’s one of its kind. For those who make that extra effort to visit Easter Island, this special place does not disappoint.

visit easter island - moai at anakena

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