Rent a Car
Touring Easter Island by car is one of the most common and simple choices. It’s virtually impossible to get lost and in the hotels, car rental shops or stores, you can get a map to serve as a guide in your daily choosing of routes.
In fact, there’s only one main road on the island that runs in a circle. Although, it’s usually referred to as two roads. On one side there’s the part of the road that crosses the island through the middle, going from Hanga Roa to Anakena. This section is just over 16 kilometers long, and it’s paved and in excellent condition. It was the first road constructed on the island in 1996, when it the airport runway was expanded.
The second part of the road also leads to Anakena, but by the southern coastal path. This road is in very good condition until Ahu Tongariki and the detour to Rano Raraku. The part that stretches from this point to the beach is in bad shape, but is still perfectly passable.
There are also many dirt paths by which you can get to many of the archeological sites. They can be somewhat difficult to go through if it has rained a lot.
In general, there is usually never much traffic. Not in Hanga Roa, and even less in the roads or paths; so it’s an easy and pleasant drive. No one on the island is usually in any hurry to get some place, so the “big city pace” doesn’t exist here.
Car rental tips
The main car rental agencies are Insular (tel. 32-210 0480) and Oceanic (tel. 32-210 0985). They are located one in front of the other in the middle of the main street, Atamu Tekena. But there are several other businesses, and many of the hotels rent cars directly or handle the rent so that their customers don’t have to go searching. Prices are around $60 USD per day. There is also the possibility of renting bikes, vespas (scooters), ATVs (quads) and larger vehicles for groups.
On Easter Island, you drive on the right lane. The car rental agencies always make sure to ask for a driver’s license, and it’s important that you always have it with you. An important detail to note is that there is no insurance company on the island, so no car is insured. In case of damage, the customer will need to cover expenses.
However, there are usually no problems and the cars that are commonly rented are 4×4, so that touring the island is easy. The only possible risk is presented by the horses that roam freely everywhere, can be unpredictable, and cross the road at the least expected moments. So, it’s better to drive slowly when there are horses nearby, especially at night; because the trails have no lighting.