After booking our rather expensive flights for our ‘once in a lifetime’ trip to Easter Island, I struggled to find practical information online for budget travellers like us. Thanks to a few blog posts we found some details, but if you haven’t got lots of money to spend when you’re there hopefully this might help you if you are taking the trip!
Tips and ideas:
✔Buy your park ticket in Chilean pesos not Dollars. You don’t need to buy them straight away off the plane as there is a ticket office near the airport located next to the Botanical Gardens, at the start of the walking trail up to Rano Kau volcano crater.
$60 US =£40
$30,000 CLP = £28
You do need the tickets as the island is a National Park, however you only have to produce your ticket to visit O’Rongo village and Rano Raraku quarry. The ticket is stamped and you can only visit these sites once.
✔There is a Banco Estado and a very pretty Santander Bank on the island with ATM’s, they can exchange US$ for you, remember to take your passport with you though!
✔Everything we had read prior to visiting had said how expensive eating was on the island, understandable as they have to import all their food apart from fish, beef and some vegetables grown on the island. We saw plenty of people with taped up cool boxes being put onto the plane, as LAN luggage allowance is a generous 2 x 23kg per person.
So eating on a budget was a bit worrying, especial as we like to eat! However there are lots of options.
Empanadas are large in size on Easter Island about £2 – £4 dependent on the filling, they are sufficient for lunch or supper. The ones we bought on the seafront were huge and we shared these for lunch.
Cans of pop and bottles of water are £1, the water in the taps is potable. Local Escudo beers are also £1.
Dinners with wine will be expensive £40 – £60 but there are plenty of cheaper eats – we liked ‘Club Sandwich’ on the main street Atamu Te Kena for massive sandwiches, burgers and hotdogs from £2 – £6 each.
Some restaurants offer £5 dinners but these are mainly available for lunchtimes.
We found the Panaderias have tasty bread rolls, which we bought to take on our day picnics.
If you plan to day hike and if you have space in your luggage, it’s worth taking some trail mix, snack bars etc with you. Shops have limited supplies of these types of food and choices.
✔Most tourists organise minibus tours with guides but this wasn’t an option for us due to cost. But there are plenty of taxis to take you around the island, cost is $2000 CLP from one side of Hanga Roa town to the other. Budget to hire a car or hire a bike if you’re fit, so you can visit Anakena Beach and Rano Raraku quarry which is a good 12 miles from town.
We hired a Jimmy Jeep for a day costing £40, it was great to explore the island beyond where our feet couldn’t take us and we did lots of walking when there!
✔A fun thing to do is to visit the Post Office near the Fire Station to get your passport stamped with the Rapa Nui Moai. I loved seeing the letters sent by children from around the world to the Easter Bunny!
✔Be aware that some of the 300 friendly dogs will just join you on your walks, sit with you while watching sunset at Tahia and generally just hang out with you. Don’t worry about them following you though. If they stray too far, they know their territory limits and will be chased away by other dogs – who then come for a walk with you!
✔The LAN flights run daily. Going out we were delayed by 2 hours and returning by 4hrs. We were glad we didn’t have any connecting flights booked on our return to Santiago that evening as we landed at 2am. Public buses into Santiago centre stop running at midnight but luckily we had booked an overnight hotel near the airport with free shuttle bus. The following day we took the free shuttle back to the airport then took the TurBus for €1600 CLP straight to the Alameda Bus Terminal for our next bus journey north. Worth thinking about if you have any ongoing connections!
Read here for more about our Rapa Nui highlights.
£1GBP = €1000 Chilean pesos