My Easter Island Trip Report

Easter Island

My Easter Island Trip Report

Easter Island is known for the strange statues that dot the landscape and the vast mystery surrounding how they were made and moved and why they were toppled over.

But for the uninitiated, that’s literally the extent of the layperson’s knowledge of the land known as Rapa Nui by the residents of the most remote island in the world.

What makes this mystical island even more special is discovering it through the eyes of Rapa Nui Travel, a local tour company which was arranged by Ecotours Chile Private Tours. We hit the ground running our first day when a rep came to our hostel to give us a schedule of events for our two half day tours and one full day tour that we had booked.

Each Easter Island tour was made special by the two guides that had an obvious affection for their work. We were picked up from our hostel on time every day and never ran behind schedule. Our complete and absolute comfort took precedence and their thorough knowledge of the island’s history was evident.

easter

Both of our guides (Frieder, a German native and Tongariki (sp) a 6th generation Rapa Nui) were kind, affable, intelligent and took the greatest pleasure in sharing their vast knowledge with us. There was no question too silly to ask because you always felt that they eagerly anticipated each one of them. With few exceptions, we pretty much covered the entire Island. Just driving through the various sectors was an exercise in tranquility.

I have been on enough guided tours to know how it feels to be shuttled around and treated like cattle. I was able to enjoy this experience more because I never felt rushed or hurried. I was allowed to take in all of the beauty surrounding me and created lifelong memories as a result.

We stayed at the Vaianni Guesthouse, one of the local hostels on the island. To be perfectly honest, it was somewhat disappointing. We weren’t expecting to be in the lap of luxury but there were several issues that we found while staying there:

Negatives:
1. Poor in-room internet connection, great dining room reception but we had to go outside to the patio to plug our laptops into the extension cord. I think some investment needs to be made there in the future.
2. The in-room electrical receptacle kept crackling, so we had to be careful that we didn’t start a fire.
3. The beds were stiff and uncomfortable.
4. Water kept dripping in the shared shower.
5. The toilet seat wasn’t properly attached, which can be a nightmare when shared.
6. The time allotted for kitchen usage was very limited during the day.
7. One couple came by to check in but was ignored by the housekeeper when they knocked on the now locked door. She had locked the door just 10 minutes earlier, so someone was there, after 10 minutes or so, they gave up and left. Naturally, she deserved to have some alone time and had obviously settled in for the night. But less than an hour later, she was back in the kitchen entertaining other guests (friends?).
8. We noticed that no one answered the phone after 6 pm either. My concern would be for guests arriving late like the other couple and not being able to check into their rooms. There would be no one to answer the door, nor the phone, so you would essentially be out of luck.
9. If you are looking for a little peace and quiet, Vaianni is the wrong place. It is a hostel after all and is busy during all hours of the day and night. It can be quite loud at times due to rowdy and inconsiderate guests or even loud neighbors.
10. They have a rooster who has no sense of timing because he crows every hour on the hour. After a while, you eventually become immune to it.

Pluses:
1. Overall, the rest of the staff is very cordial.
2. They are very willing to give you tour info and general info about the island and how to get around it.
3. The breakfast was exceptional. We were served unlimited coffee, papaya or guava juice, bread, cheese, lunch meat slices jam, butter, crepes, orange slices, cream cheese, apple, pear, tomato, banana and kiwi slices and half grapefruits on any given day.
4. They provided ground transportation to and from the airport for free.
5. Their room rates are exceptional when compared to other hotels or hostels. You do get value for your money.
6. The grounds are kept very clean and the gardens are a tropical delight.
7. The dining room is set up to encourage conversation between the guests, which is a really nice thing when you are traveling alone.

Easter Island Tips:
1. While it is easy to rent a car or dirt bike, use a tour company to get the best overview of what the island has to offer.
2. The Island survives on tourist dollars. Some vendors will accept USD in addition to Chilean pesos, but be careful some vendors may be a little fast and loose with the conversion rate.
3. Be aware that horses and cows are allowed to freely roam the land, they are usually left to their own devices.
4. Most of the roads are unpaved.
5. Main Street consists of 5-6 city blocks. Everything is very centrally located and compact.
6. The cost of living is very expensive here due to the remoteness of the island and the logistics involved in getting supplies there.
7. If you plan to cook while you are here (and I would advise you to since restaurants are not cheap) be sure to visit the meat market since the meats are fresh and very reasonable considering where you are.
8. Be sure to stop by the post office (there is only one) to have your passport stamped with the Easter Island stamp before you leave. Mail postcards back home with Easter Island postage stamps too.
9. Effective 2012, The National Forestry Corporation of Chile (CONAF) has announced an increase to the entry fee for the Rapa Nui National Park on Easter Island to US$63 for adults and US$13 for children under 12 years of age. You can buy a discounted pass at the Arrivals section of the IPC airport.

Comments

comments

Renee King
aviewtoathrill@gmail.com
11 Comments
  • Terri
    Posted at 14:30h, 23 August Reply

    What an interesting place! Was it as remote as it looked or was it teeming with other travelers? Great tips!
    Terri recently posted…Buenos Aires: To Live or To Travel?My Profile

    • Renee King
      Posted at 14:54h, 23 August Reply

      It was very remote. However, I tried not to include other people in our group because I didn’t have a release from them. There’s been a lot of talk about that on FB.

  • Audrey
    Posted at 23:07h, 04 September Reply

    I usually like exploring places on my own, but I agree with you that sometimes tours are the best option. It sounds like there is a lot to Easter Island and I wouldn’t want to miss out on some neat parts because I wanted to go at it solo. 🙂
    Audrey recently posted…The EngRish Edition: Happy VirusMy Profile

  • Nomadic Translator
    Posted at 11:02h, 09 October Reply

    Omg, my dream trip! <3 like Audrey, I love to travel independently, but the fact that a 6th-generation Rapa Nui was one of the leaders of your tour is amazing. What an experience! I will definitely save this tour company for when I finally make this dream trip a reality.

    Love to all the photos and pros/cons. It really helps put everything into perspective, preventing one from coming with false expectations.

    Now on to seeing all your photos 😀

    – Maria Alexandra
    the Nomadic Translator @LatinAbroad
    Nomadic Translator recently posted…Best beaches near Rome — and how to get there (photo essay)My Profile

    • Keith Jones
      Posted at 06:29h, 23 October Reply

      Hi, I really like Easter Island when I went there too.
      The people were very friendly and I came back with good quality souvenirs and t-shirts.One of the best things was a re-enactment of the first polynesian landings which was on the beach in front of the statues – at night by blazing torches – it was all very exciting and all the participants were in traditional dress.
      Its a great place to visit and you really need to rent a car to see it all.
      Surprisingly there are very few trees on the island but it should be on everyone’s MUST VISIT list – but you have to go via Chile or on a round the world trip by air.
      Keith
      Keith Jones recently posted…Commuting by Bike easilyMy Profile

      • Renee King
        Posted at 19:03h, 28 October Reply

        Yes, it was pretty much deforested when trees were used to move statues around the island. Thanks for adding your thoughts…good to hear from someone else who has had the pleasure of visiting there.

  • Jkeating
    Posted at 12:38h, 23 October Reply

    Wow what an amazing experience you had! There are very few places on Earth that appear so untouched as this one does. We are always looking for extraordinary and exotic places to visit and this one appears to be the very one we have been looking for. The list of negatives and explanatory positives give us a good heads up on what to expect. There is nothing worse than being surprised, especially if it is not pleasantly, when you are making a trip so far away. Thanks for your information, it is highly appreciated. I am sure we will love our visit as much as you did yours!

    • Renee King
      Posted at 14:16h, 23 October Reply

      It truly is a sight to behold….have a wonderful time!!

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  • Joshua Tilghman
    Posted at 20:39h, 26 March Reply

    Incredible! I have always wanted to visit this place ever since seeing the movie Rapi nui.
    Joshua Tilghman recently posted…The Transfiguration of JesusMy Profile

  • Konrad Braun
    Posted at 13:26h, 29 July Reply

    That picture looks peaceful. I grew up in Bolivia but never yet been to Chile. Hopefully next year – at least that is the plan 🙂
    Konrad Braun recently posted…Four Island Tour in KrabiMy Profile

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