How to get to Easter Island
Easter Island flights
Because of its remote and isolated location, the most common way to get to Easter Island is by plane. Currently Lan (Latam Airlines) is the only airline that has scheduled flights to Rapa Nui. It connects the island with a daily flight from the Airport Arturo Merino Benítez in Santiago de Chile (SCL), although in high season these frequencies can vary a little, being this the most important and accessible point of connection. The duration of the flight from Santiago de Chile to Easter Island is about 5 hours and 40 minutes on the way and somewhat less, 4 hours and 45 minutes on the return due to the influence of the wind.
There are also a couple of flights a week to / from Papeete Airport (PPT) in Tahiti, which is the main access to the other islands of Polynesia. In this case the outward journey is slightly shorter with a duration from Papeete of 5 hours and 20 minutes and surpassing the 6 hours on the return flight due to the wind against.
A few years ago Lan opened a new route with direct flight from Lima (Peru) but after a few months of operation, it stopped working and for the moment it is not known if they will reopen it. For travelers from Europe, this route was shorter than calling in Santiago. Finally, some charter flights and private planes arriving from different destinations also arrive on the island.<
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The value of tickets to Easter Island from Santiago de Chile, economy or tourist class varies according to the dates, but tickets can be found from US $ 350 in low season, reserving several weeks or months in advance. If purchased in high season or shortly before traveling can reach a price of up to $ 1000. Business or executive prices range from US $ 800 to more than US $ 3000 in the period of greatest demand.
It is necessary to be attentive to the offers that LAN occasionally publish to foment the internal tourism inside Chile. They usually last a few days but you can get tickets at very convenient prices.
Easter Island Airport
Mataveri International Airport in Easter Island, inaugurated in 1967, is considered the most remote in the world, since the nearest air terminal is Mangareva, in French Polynesia, which is 2603 kilometers away but has no direct connection to it. At the moment it only operates with Santiago de Chile Airport, which is located at a distance of 3759 km and with the airport of Papeete (Tahiti) located 4254 km.
Mataveri Airport is the main entry point for the approximately 70,000 tourists who travel to Easter Island every year to admire its archaeological sites and other attractions. The airport terminal is very small and has a boarding lounge, a cafeteria, which serves light dishes and all kinds of drinks, several stalls selling typical crafts and souvenirs of the island, kiosks belonging to various types of accommodations and a luggage storage area.
There is also a kiosk belonging to the Conaf where tickets can be purchased to access the Rapa Nui National Park, which is usually open at the times when flights arrive. The other two outlets are located in Orongo and Rano Raraku.
On arrival, there may be taxis waiting, but their use is not very common, since most of the accommodations have a pick-up service for their guests, who are greeted with a necklace of flowers as a welcome symbol. Passengers requiring special assistance or wheelchairs must coordinate services with the airline or travel agency.
At the exit of the terminal, there is an unpaved ground reserved for vehicles, which can access without restrictions to the airport and parking there free of charge.
Travelling to Easter Island by boat
Some travelers retain the romantic idea of traveling to Easter Island by boat, as do the protagonists of the old movie “The suns of Easter Island”, who embark on a freighter from the port of Valparaiso to experience a mystical experience. Reaching Rapa Nui by surfing the waves as their first settlers made, it is possible, but for the moment is a type of trip reserved only a few.
The first and most adventurous option is to sail aboard a private yacht or sailboat across the ocean. The main anchorage site is located in the bay of Hanga Roa, since it is protected from the winds that blow from the east and southeast. You can also anchor in Hotuiti in front of the Ahu Tongariki, on the beach of Anakena, perfect place to jump into the water and enjoy a swim and in the Vinapu sector. Depending on the intensity, the direction of the wind and the state of the sea, it will be necessary to change places.
At 20 miles from Easter Island you can communicate with “Pascua Radio” (Maritime Authority) on channel 16 (VHF). Served 24 hours a day. Sailboats with a draft of up to 2 meters can enter the small port of Hanga Piko. The entrance is very dangerous, it is obligatory to enter with a pilot on board and know the maneuver very well. It should be noted that the maritime authorities can not authorize the ship to be left without any personnel on board, as there have been recent cases of accidents caused by ignorance of the particular conditions of the island.
The second option is to travel aboard the Aquiles ship belonging to the Chilean Navy. It is a multipurpose ship that travels to Antarctica, Easter Island and other isolated areas to perform military, logistic and scientific work. The boat usually departs twice a year from Valparaiso to Easter Island with a duration of seven days, as it stops at Robinson Crusoe Island in the Juan Fernández archipelago. The price is quite cheaper than airfare (around 120,000 Chilean pesos) but it is mandatory to return in the same boat, which limits the stay on the island to a few days, or present a closed plane return ticket .
The quotas are very limited, so first of all the navy personnel and their families have priority, followed by the residents on the island and lastly the tourists. Prior authorization must be obtained from the Chilean Navy by postal mail, indicating the reason for the trip (address: Plaza Sotomayor, 592 Naval Mail No. 3, Valparaíso, Chile) or request information to the telephones (+56 32) 250 6354 or (+56 32 ) 250 6884.
Cruises to Easter Island
The last and most exclusive way to arrive by boat to Easter Island is in one of the cruises that include the island in its itineraries by the South Pacific and the so-called Vuelta al Mundo. The most economical option is the Oceania Cruises company that connects Papeete (Tahiti) with Lima (Peru) in a trip of 17 nights starting at US $ 2800. Another interesting proposal starting at US $ 3800 is the Ponant company, which, on a 13-night trip, leaves Papeete and arrives at Easter Island, where it remains for 3 days, enough time to visit its most important landmarks.
The rest of the cruises extend to more than 20 days and depart from the port of Valparaiso to Sydney making a stopover in Hanga Roa. The elegant Queen Mary2 of the Cunard company and the ships of Costa Cruceros offer this route starting at US $ 3500 per person.
Finally, for those who have the time and money to spare, there are ships that go around the world with sailings that exceed 3 months in length. Among them is the Queen Victoria of Cunard that departs from Southampton and the ships of Costa Cruceros departing from Marseille or Barcelona. The ticket price, in such cases, amounts to more than US $ 20,000 per person.