6 days from £2025pp plus international flights.
Easter Island, or Rapa Nui as the islanders call it, is one of the most iconic destinations in the world, and must be on almost everyone's wish list. If you're visiting Chile you should spare the time to fly over to Easter Island. At a 5 hour flight from Santiago it's not a short hop, but its remote location is one of the main causes of its unique history and culture, which has led to it being designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
You'll catch your first glimpse from the plane, which serves to whet your appetite. On landing you are welcomed by a local representative and driven to the hotel of your choice, Explora Rapa Nui or Hangaroa Eco Village and Spa, both of which are near the airport and the capital, Hanga Roa. You are here for five nights, so have ample time to explore the island, choosing between the various tours offered by the hotel and led by local Rapa Nui guides, whose insights add to your overall enjoyment and understanding. You're free to spend as much time as you wish relaxing at the hotel, too.
First on the list has the be the moai (the stone figures). There are lots to choose between but arguably the most impressive site is Ahu Tongariki, with no fewer than 15 moai standing on the ceremonial shrine, gazing not out to sea but inland towards the village, as though to protect its inhabitants. There are many other moai scattered across the island, most near the coast and facing inland, some intact and others incomplete or toppled, and you'll be able to find your personal favourite. There has been much speculation about these gigantic statues and their enigmatic expressions, but no-one truly knows their meaning. What is undeniable is their powerful presence, in part due to their sheer scale, and the awe they inspire in all who observe them.
There's more to Easter Island than the moai. There are 3 large volcanoes which, as well as providing the raw material for the construction of the maoi, are impressive sights in their own right; especially at the culmination of a trek to the rim to gaze down into the crater. Cycling is another popular way to explore and there are a number of possible routes that lead to caves, cliff-top views and archaeological sites. A boat trip provides a more leisurely option, as you sit back and admire the coastline and islets, while a lazy beach day is always an option.
By the end of the holiday you'll have a much better understanding of Rapa Nui in all its aspects and will feel privileged to have been a guest on this, one of the most remote locations on Earth.
Today you fly from Santiago, the capital of Chile, to Easter Island in the Pacific Ocean. The flight takes 5 hours, which demonstrates how remote this island is. On arrival you are met and driven to your hotel, either Explora Rapa Nui or Hangaroa Eco Village and Spa as you prefer. Settle in, this is your home for the next 5 nights. Most flights arrive by lunchtime, so you have the afternoon free to relax at the hotel, maybe enjoying a swim in the pool or meeting other guests over a refreshing drink in the bar. You can also spend time considering the range of excursions and activities available, working out how to plan the days ahead.
After breakfast you can set out on your first excursion. You are certain to want to see the famous moai, the huge statues with their oversize heads gazing enigmatically into the distance. There are plenty to see, almost 1,000 in total, in varying states of completion and differing sizes. They were carved by the distant ancestors of the current Rapa Nui people, who arrived from Polynesia. They were placed between the ocean and a village, possibly as guardians. Their varying features suggest they were likenesses to specific individuals. No amount of analysis can detract from the air of mystery that pervades them, and they are sure to evoke admiration, wonder and awe. You have the benefit of a local guide as you explore your chosen sites, and can opt for a half or full day out, as you prefer. Breakfast
Trekking is a good way to explore Easter Island, or Rapa Nui as it's also known. Follow a guide as you hike to volcanic craters, cliffs and beaches, enjoying the varied scenery, learning about life on the island past and present from your guide. If you've selected a morning excursion you can enjoy lunch back at the hotel or at a local restaurant and then set out on another trip this afternoon. Cycling is another popular option, and a good way to visit a number of sites in limited time, taking in archeaological sites and caves. You might just catch a beautiful sunset at Tahai, among the ahus (shrines) and moai. Breakfast
If you fancy a change of pace today you can head to the coast to enjoy some relaxed downtime. Two of the most popular beaches are Ovahe and Anakena, both of which are close to the capital, Hanga Roa and your hotel. Go swimming and snorkelling in the sea whose waters remain at a constant warm temperature pretty much year round. Chill out and admire the ocean views. Your hotel offers boat trips too, allowing you to view the island from a different perspective. Breakfast
It's your final day on Rapa Nui. If you've not already done so, you should visit Ahu Tongariki, where a group of 15 moai form the largest ceremonial centre on the island and one of the most frequently photographed. You are lucky to be witnessing this site, as it was severely damaged by a tsunami in 1960 and subsequently painstakingly reconstructed by a team of archeaologists and engineers from around the world, and remains one of the most important sites for the Rapa Nui people today. There are also a number of petroglyphs here, figures engraved on the rock, among which turtles can be recognised. You might like to round off your Easter Island holiday with dinner at the hotel tonight, accompanied by some fine Chilean wine. Breakfast
After breakfast it's time to pack your bags in readiness for the transfer to the airport where you board the flight back to Santiago. Enjoy some final aerial views of Easter Island before sitting back to enjoy the flight. This itinerary ends on arrival at Santiago airport from where you continue your onward travels or fly home. Breakfast
Guide price from (pp sharing): £2025 (ex. international flights)
Price notes: 2019 prices based on 2 sharing: Hangaroa from £2025 per person; Explora from £2870 1st Mar to 30th Apr 2019, from £3240 until Feb 2019.
5 nights twin share accommodation on Easter Island at either Explora Rapa Nui or Hangaroa Eco Village and Spa; return airport to hotel transfers on Easter Island; daily excursions offered by the hotel; meals listed as included.
International and domestic flights and taxes; travel insurance; visas; vaccinations; meals not listed as included; drinks; optional activities; personal expenditure; tips
This holiday starts and ends in Santiago. We can book the return international flights for you along with the domestic flights needed to get out to Easter Island.
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Time: GMT -4 hours
Flight time: There are direct flights from London Heathrow to Santiago, which operate 4 times a week and take 14 hours 40 minutes. The Chilean airline, LATAM, flies via Madrid.
Language: The official language is Spanish. but other local languages are also spoken. English is spoken quite widely.
Visas: Visas are not currently required for British passport holders staying for up to 90 days, who are issued with a ‘Tarjeta de Turismo-Tourist Card’ on arrival. You must retain this and present it to immigration on departure.
Health: Generally none is compulsory but we recommend the following: hepatitis A and B, typhoid, diphtheria, meningitis, tetanus, rabies and polio. There is no malaria in Chile. A yellow fever certificate is required if you are coming from an infected area.