With their enigmatic stone heads captivating the imagination, the moai have been a symbol of unexplainable wonders from a bygone age. It’s one of those type of places that conjures up memories of books you read as a kid and for most people, a place they’d love to visit, but are not sure how to get there.
Easter Island is one of the most isolated islands in the world and when you look at it on the map, there’s really not much surrounding it in the Pacific Ocean. So how can you visit? In this guide, we’ll cover the latest updates for how to get to Easter Island.
Read more about Chile
- Torres del Paine Travel Guide
- 6 Day Atacama Desert Itinerary
- 10 Day Torres del Paine Patagonia Itinerary
- The Ultimate Patagonia Packing List
- Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Do The W Trek
How to find the best travel deals?
- Hotels – With Genius tier, you can save 10-15% on Easter Island properties on Booking.com. We stayed at Takarua Lodge.
- Car rental – You won’t be able to rent from the standard car rental companies. We ended up renting from Insular and we cover the details in our guide to rental cars on Easter Island.
- Guides – In order to visit the main sights, it’s mandatory to have a guide now. EcoChile offers a brilliant 4 day Easter Island tour and if you book through our referral, save 5%.
- Travel insurance – If something happens, you want to make sure you’re covered, especially with the closest major hospital being over 2,000 miles away, you want to make sure you pick the best travel insurance for your trip and also Medjet in case you need a medical evacuation back home.
- Flights – We have an insane hack on how to save hundreds. Don’t miss it in our article on how to get to Easter Island!
Here's what we're covering:
- Where is Easter Island?
- Who does Easter Island belong to?
- The many names of Easter Island
- How to get to Easter Island
- Fly with LATAM
- Fly with Flight Passes
- Fly with Points
- Travel Requirements
- Departure process from Santiago
- Arrival in Easter Island
- How much does a flight to Easter Island cost?
- When is the best time to go to Easter Island?
- What does the typical trip to Easter Island look like?
- Tips for flying to Easter Island
- Final thoughts
- Frequently asked questions
Where is Easter Island?
First things first, where the heck is Easter Island? I think if you asked 100 random people on the street, most will have heard the name but they wouldn’t be able to pinpoint it on a map.
Belonging to the Polynesian Triangle, Easter Island is on the farthest Eastern reaches of the area where traces of Polynesian settlement can be found. It really goes to show how intrepid travelers they were and how good they were at paddling and navigating.
How isolated is it?
The reason why it’s said to be the most isolated inhabited island in the world is because the closest other inhabited island of Pitcairn is almost 2,000 km (1,243 mi) away. From there, Chile’s coast is 3,700 km (2,299 mi) away and Tahiti is 4,100 km (2,548 mi) away.
From that standpoint, you can see that there’s really nothing around Easter Island, a hint for why the ancient civilization met its eventual downfall.
Who does Easter Island belong to?
In 1888, a “Deed of Cession” was presented and signed by the island’s then King, giving Chile full control over Easter Island indefinitely. As a result, Easter Island is part of the country of Chile and belongs to its Valparaíso region.
Rapanui citizens carry full Chilean citizenship but they don’t have their own administrative autonomy. That said, in 2007 they gained the constitutional status of “special territory” so the hope is that things will eventually change.
The many names of Easter Island
The name Easter Island comes from the Dutch explorer, Captain Jacob Roggeveen in 1722 when they made sight of an island they didn’t have on their charts on Easter Sunday. It was subsequently and creatively named Easter Island.
Easter Island is the English name that ended up sticking and in Spanish, this translates to Isla de Pascua, which also another common name.
These were all names introduced by Europeans that passed through but does it have a local name that the indigenous use?
While the original name isn’t known, the earliest recorded name of the island came in 1863 where it was noted to be a larger version of the island of Rapa in French Polynesia and as a result, given the Polynesian name, Rapa Nui, which translates to ‘Big Rapa’. This has been fully adopted by local islanders so you will never hear them referring to any of its derivatives.
While it’s totally appropriate to use Easter Island, those in-the-know will refer to the island as Rapa Nui.
About our trip to Easter Island
We were lucky enough to visit Easter Island soon after the island opened back up to the world after several years of the pandemic. We cover our entire 9 day Easter Island itinerary and the comprehensive guide for how to visit Easter Island.
Once we had that sorted, we had the eureka moment of “Wait a second, Easter Island is part of Chile right?”, followed by “how can we get to Easter Island?”, “is it open?”, and “can we afford it?”.
It took a little research and there were a lot of challenges because so much of the information online is out of date. Eventually, we realized that the answer was a resounding “YES!”.
With that, we ended up with quite the epic 1 month adventure in Chile that consisted of Patagonia, Atacama Desert, and Easter Island.
How to get to Easter Island
With this guide on how to get to Easter Island, our goal is to cut through the BS and get right to answering your question.
It’s actually quite simple but the caveat is that it’s far.
- As you learned earlier, Easter Island is part of Chile.
- With how isolated it is, flying is the only way to get there.
- LATAM airlines is the only one that flies to Easter Island.
- Currently, you can only fly to Easter Island through Santiago.
- There are limited number of flights per week.
Most importantly, you have to fly through Chile in order to get to Easter Island.
The thing is, there are a lot of things that other guides don’t share, and that’s probably because they haven’t gone recently. Let’s dive into the details.
Easter Island’s Airport
There is only one airport on Easter Island and it is located in the capital of Hanga Roa. The airport is called Mataveri International Airport and has the airport code IPC.
As an island airport, expect a small airport where stairs are required to deplane and there is only one luggage carousel.
FUN FACT: The reason why the airport runway the main highway is so well-paved is because NASA used it as an emergency landing site for the space shuttle. As a gift for allowing NASA extended the runway, they also paved the main road to Anakena.
The capital of Chile’s airport is named Arturo Merino Benítez International Airport (also known as Santiago International Airport) and has the airport code SCL.
This is the largest and busiest airport in Chile and is the primary method international travelers enter the country.
Santiago has 2 terminals that are not connected – one for domestic and another for international. This means that special care is required for those connecting between domestic and international flights.
Departures to Easter Island also requires passengers to go through a special custom clearing process. We will go into detail how that works in our section about travel requirements.
Fly with LATAM
LATAM is the largest Latin America carrier and is the result of a merger between Chile’s LAN-Chile and Brazil’s TAM Linhas Aéreas in 2010. They are based in Santiago, Chile but have a strong hold on the entire region.
There are no airlines other than LATAM that can fly to Easter Island.
- Pros: You don’t need to shop around.
- Cons: You’re limited to their flight schedule which can make coordinating with your connecting flights a challenge. You’re also stuck with whatever their prices are (but there’s a hack for that).
Santiago to Easter Island
This is currently the only way to get to Easter Island which makes it simple but can be frustrating especially if you’re coming from an international flight
To help with your planning, and since LATAM doesn’t publish this anywhere, we’ve gone ahead and searched all the remaining months of the year to figure out what the flight schedule looks like for the inbound and outbound flight to Easter Island.
Santiago (SCL) to Easter Island (IPC) on LATAM LA841
It looks like they’re starting things off slow this year and then opening it back up to daily flights in September.
Another interesting observation is that flights start off scheduled as a 5 hour 20 minute flight and then adjust to 5 hours and 40 minutes. We believe this has to do with the transition of the plane from the Boeing 787-8 to 787-9 but we could be wrong.
|Month||Days of Week||Departure||Arrival|
|March||M, F, Su||9:25AM|
9:05AM (last week)
12:45PM (last week)
|April||M, F, Su||9:05AM||12:45PM|
|May||M, F, Su||9:05AM||12:45PM|
|June||M, F, Su||9:05AM||12:45PM|
|July||M, Tu, W, S||9:05AM||12:45PM|
|August||M, Tu, W, S||9:05AM||12:45PM|
|September||M – Su (daily)||9:40AM||1:20PM|
|October||M – Su (daily)||9:40AM||1:20PM|
|November||M – Su (daily)||9:05AM|
9:55AM (Wed only)
1:35PM (Wed only)
|December||M – Su (daily)||9:05AM|
9:55AM (Wed only)
1:35PM (Wed only)
Easter Island (IPC) to Santiago (SCL) on LATAM LA842
This schedule closely mirrors LA841 from Santiago because after it lands, it immediately turns around.
Airplane used: Boeing B787-9
The duration of the flight is 4 hour 25 minutes.
|Month||Days of Week||Departure||Arrival|
|March||M, F, Su||2:45PM|
2:40AM (last week)
9:05PM (last week)
|April||M, F, Su||2:40PM||9:05PM|
|May||M, F, Su||2:40PM||9:05PM|
|June||M, F, Su||2:40PM||9:05PM|
|July||M, Tu, W, S||2:40PM||9:05PM|
|August||M, Tu, W, S||2:40PM||9:05PM|
|September||M – Su (daily)||3:15PM||9:40PM|
|October||M – Su (daily)||3:15PM||9:40PM|
|November||M – Su (daily)||2:40PM|
3:30PM (Wed only)
9:55PM (Wed only)
|December||M – Su (daily)||2:40PM|
3:30PM (Wed only)
9:55PM (Wed only)
Tahiti to Easter Island
It’s worth noting another route that used to be an alternative way for traveler’s to make it to Easter Island that used to fly from French Polynesia’s island of Tahiti from Pape’ete via Fa’a’ā International Airport (PPT) to Easter Island (IPC) with LATAM.
Not only was this connector helpful for many of the Rapanui that have family in French Polynesia, this was also handy for those hopping through the Pacific islands or anyone from the Asia-Pacific region (including Australia and New Zealand).
Is the Tahiti to Easter Island LATAM flight active? No, they have not brought it back since the pandemic.
Will the Tahiti flight to Easter Island come back? It’s hard to say. Local rumour has it that it will at some point but only time will tell.
This was never a frequent flight (once a week) but it was a useful one. Let’s hope that it comes back in the near future!
LATAM flight experience
We can only speak from our experience in economy but this is on par with other flights we’ve had with LATAM.
Significantly shorter than the flight we took from JFK to Santiago with LATAM, the Boeing 787 experience is similar and is equipped with a modern entertainment system that you come to expect with modern airplanes.
The photo above shows you the one meal service we had on the flight. The hot ham sandwich and cake were better than expected. You’ll also appreciate that all of LATAM’s cutlery is biodegradable.
There was no additional beverage service.
What changed after the pandemic
Even though Chile opened back up in September 2022 by dropping their most strict restrictions, to this day, they have not dropped their other travel restrictions. Rapa Nui (Easter Island) has additional rules that have also not been lifted. We’ll go through that in the travel requirements section.
In addition, Rapa Nui National Park, which covers approximately 40% of the island, made a dramatic change to their operations. In order to visit the sites within the park, you must be accompanied by a local accredited guide or a Rapanui adult (18+).
Both are quite significant and substantially change how you plan your trip and why many of the older Easter Island itineraries you may find online to be not as relevant.
Which guide did we use?
We did quite a bit of research for who was the best private tour company on Easter Island and we loved the energy of Marc Shields from Green Island Tours Easter Island after seeing his YouTube channel and the rave reviews.
Special offer – Mention “Going Awesome Places” when you book your tour and get Marc’s photography book (sells for $35,000 CLP at the airport).
Fly with Flight Passes
If you want to get a little creative, there two little-known round-the-world (RTW) type of passes that might be intriguing for those that can make it work.
The two of them are:
- Star Alliance – Circle Pacific – A Circle Pacific journey touches 3 points in the Pacific Ocean.
- LATAM – South American Air Pass – There isn’t a lot of information about this and many suspect that it doesn’t exist anymore.
Fly with Points
For the frequent flyers and travel hackers out there, you can get to Easter Island using your points as well.
Getting to Santiago on Points
This is probably the easiest part. There are a number of airlines that fly to Santiago and depending on where you’re located, use the frequent flyer miles on your local carrier.
We won’t go into too much detail here but here are few things I’ve done in the past:
- Finding Ridiculous Aeroplan for Cheap
- The new American Express Aeroplan Cards
- Aeroplan’s New Changes
TIP: If you’re looking to directly connect with your flight to Easter Island, consider flying with LATAM so that your bags transfer through. The international (T2) and domestic (T1) terminals are not connected so there is a considerable amount of time required to pick up your luggage, walk over to the other terminal, check-in again, and go through security. Elimiate a few of those steps by staying with the same carrier.
Getting to Easter Island on Points
Now this is the harder part. As you already know, LATAM is the only airline that flies to Easter Island so you need a program that can book reward on this airline.
LATAM is currently not part of any alliance but because Delta (member of SkyTeam) has 20% ownership of the airline, they have a unique partnership with them.
Since LATAM used to be part of OneWorld, they are still connected with them in terms of OneWorld airlines being able to earn points but most will not be able to redeem points for flights to Easter Island (IPC).
We’ve summarized each of the loyalty point programs, what we know about how much it would cost, the best way to earn points with them, and their availability.
|Loyalty Program||Cost to IPC||How to Earn||Availability|
|LATAM Pass||No fixed reward chart. General priced by distance and leg.||Fly with LATAM|
Earn on airline partners
Transfer from Marriott Bonvoy
LATAM co-branded credit cards
|Delta Sky Miles||Unknown||Fly with Delta|
Earn on airline partners
Transfer from Amex MR
Transfer from Marriott Bonvoy
|Alaska Mileage Plan||Economy is 22,500 and Business is 35,000||Fly with Alaska Airlines|
Earn on airline partners
Transfer from Amex MR
Transfer from Marriott Bonvoy
Sign up bonuses with MBNA Alaska Airlines MasterCard
|British Airways Avios||Zone 4|
Economy is 13,000 and Business is 38,750
|Fly with British Airways|
Earn on airline partners
Transfer from Amex MR
Transfer from RBC Avion
Your best bet: If you’re in North America and looking to do it for little to no cost, Alaska Mileage Plan is the best way to go since it’s hard to accrue points for LATAM Pass and both the cost and availability is quite good.
Chile’s travel requirements are well documented. We’re going to cover the important bits you need to worry about.
For most, you won’t need a special visa to enter Chile, especially if you come from North America and Europe.
Visitors can stay in Chile for up to 90 days.
Countries that require visas:
- Australia – E-visa is needed (required since 2020).
- Venezuela, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Cuba, or Dominica – This was recently called out as a newer change where a transitory stay visa is now required.
- Other countries – Chile has a list of countries where transitory stay visa is required.
Always check the travel requirements page for the latest updates as they may change.
Currently, these are the additional rules to enter Chile.
- Certificate of vaccination issued in the country you where vaccinated.
- If you’re not vaccinated, you must show a negative result in a PCR test within a maximum of 48 hours from departure.
- Those under 18 do not have any requirements to enter Chile.
- There’s a chance that you’ll be subjected to a COVID test upon arrival (they claim this to be 5%). If you refuse or there is a positive result, there’s a mandatory 5 day quarantine.
- If you’re traveling from China, you must do a PCR prior to traveling to and entering Chile.
Sufficient daily funds
There is also a new rule that says “Foreigners who enter Chile as tourists must prove that they have sufficient daily funds of a minimum of US$46 to cover their expenses.”
They say that the customs officers (called PDI) will be the ones to check for the availability of funds through showing cash, bank account statements, and credit cards.
In talking to recent travelers to Chile, they told us that PDI did not ask about this so I would not worry too much about this new travel requirement.
There above covers what you need for entering Santiago but there’s a whole other set of rules to get to Easter Island that adds another layer of complexity.
Again, use the Chile travel requirements page as a guide but based on personal experience, here is how you should interpret the rules.
To enter Easter Island, you will need to do the following:
- Fill out the Single Entry Form (FUI) – This is an online form that can only be filled out 3 weeks ahead of time and needs to be done at least 48 hours ahead of your flight. In the form, you’ll notice that you have a dropdown of specific hotels to choose from so make sure what you’re booking is on that list. After filling out the form, you’ll receive an e-mail that confirms all of the entered data. You technically don’t need to print it but I would just in case.
- Round-trip ticket – You need to be able to prove/show PDI at the airport that you have a return ticket back to Santiago. Stays can only be a maximum of 30 days.
- Hotel reservation – You also need an accommodation booking at one of the ones authorized by the national tourism service (SERNATUR). Almost all hotels are on the list but this means that you can’t camp, stay at someone’s home, or rent an unregistered place. Have this printed out.
- 5-day health follow-up – Supposedly after 5 days, they will follow up with you about your COVID status. This did not happen for us while we were there, even though I had a local Chilean number.
- No honey products – This sounds like an unusual ban but I think it has to do with the fragile ecosystem for bees on the island. It seems like this is mainly to prevent beekeeping material out of the island, they applied a broader ban on all bee products.
- Mandatory guides – This is less of entry requirement and more of a reminder of the new national park rules. Customs officers won’t ask you for your guide names or anything like that.
- Rapa Nui National Park tickets – Again, this is more of a heads up that you need to buy this ticket to enter national park sites. It is not a requirement for entry, contrary to how it’s listed on the travel requirements page.
What are the must-see’s on Easter Island?
From moai, caves, quarries, scuba diving, and more, find out what you have to make sure is in your itinerary.
Departure process from Santiago
When flying out of Santiago to Easter Island, which departs from the domestic (T1), you’d think that you can just go through the same process as a flight to say Puerto Natales (PNT) for Patagonia or Calama (CJC) for Atacama Desert but it’s not that simple.
Follow these detailed steps so you don’t make the same mistakes that we did.
Step 1 – Locate the Easter Island check-in counters
You cannot use the regular LATAM check-in counters at the domestic terminal in Santiago. In our case, this was on the far left side of the LATAM counters and labelled on the screen as “Rapa Nui”.
You will later find out that these are actually counters specifically for people going to Easter Island and meant document checking only.
Step 2 – Use the machines to check-in
This isn’t mandatory but they definitely encourage everyone to use the machines first to speed up the process at the counter.
TIP: If you’re worried about your check-in luggage weight, Santiago T1 has free weighing machines that blend into their digital ad billboards.
Step 3 – At the counter, they will check documentation
The staff at the counter will check your passport, vaccination certificate, phone number, and address of the hotel on the island.
This will take a bit of time but at the end of it, you’ll receive a slip of paper, and tell you to go to the general LATAM counters. This piece of paper essentially confirms that they’ve checked all of your documents.
Step 4 – Walk into standard LATAM check-in queue
Right before you get into the snaking line for the regular check-in counters, they’ll check your slip, passport, and printed FUI form.
Afterwards, you’ll be handed a small circular “document approved” sticker.
Step 5 – Check in at the standard LATAM counter
After all of those checks, you’re finally at the step where you check in to your flight.
The agent will check your passport, the slip from Step 3 and grab the sticker from Step 4. They’ll also process your luggage which are put on the belt and sent onwards.
Your boarding passes will be printed and the sticker will be put on them.
Good to know: They will of course check the weight of your checked bag but they did not care about our carry-on and in my case, my heavy Shimoda Action X50 camera backpack.
Step 6 – Special customs and security
Normally for domestic flights at T1, you go straight from the check-in counters to airport security which is on the same floor (third floor). However, for Easter Island, you need to go to a special area on the second floor.
This is essentially a special processing area for Easter Island travellers that include customs officers (PDI) and security.
At the PDI counter, they will check passport, vaccination, mobility entry document where they really seemed to hone in on the hotel name. They will also ask why you’re going.
When done, they will stamp a new PDI receipt and hand it to you.
Security is the standard x-ray machines and again, because it’s domestic, you don’t need to take out your laptop, your shoes can stay on, and having water is not a problem.
Don’t make our mistake: For us, I don’t know if the check-in counter agent forgot to tell us, or if we totally missed it but we proceeded to the standard security area. It was a slower line that morning and we patiently waited in the queue. When we got to the belt for the x-ray where they scan the boarding pass, they told us we were in the wrong place and that’s when we realized we had to go to the second floor.
Step 7 – Boarding the flight
You’ll be finally through to the other side but the Easter Island planes are usually at the farthest end of the terminal because of the size of the planes.
In our case, it was Gate 12 but it may be different for you. You can check out the airport map beforehand.
Boarding the plane is the same as any other. The only difference here is that after the check your boarding pass and passport, they’ll take the PDI receipt that you received in Step 6.
Key points to remember:
- Book a proper hotel through Booking.com, Expedia, or Hotels.com because they have to be on the government’s approved list.
- It’s a good idea to print the confirmation e-mail that comes after filling out the Single Entry Form online.
- While technically it’s a domestic flight but because of all of the additional steps, we recommend that you plan to arrive 3 hours before your flight. Treat it like an international flight.
- After you get your boarding pass, head down to the floor below (2nd floor) unless instructed otherwise.
- PCR tests used to be required for Easter Island but this is no longer the case.
Arrival in Easter Island
When your LATAM flight arrives in Easter Island, you’ll feel the rush of the humid air. If you’ve ever traveled to other tropical islands such as Bora Bora, Seychelles, Maldives, the airport experience will be similar.
There are no jet bridges at Mataveri International Airport so a ladder will be pulled in to the front door.
After you walk down, you’ll appreciate that airport staff don’t rush you off the tarmac. This’ll allow you to take photos of the plane and and selfies.
Right off the tarmac draw your attention to the a colourful “Iorana” sign. Feel free to take photos here.
After that, you’ll walk into the open-air terminal and straight into the arrival area where you’ll be waiting for your bags on the carousel.
Walk outside of the doors and there’ll be a cluster of people waiting for you. In our case, the driver for Takarua Lodge was holding up a sign with our names with flower leis, and off we went to start our 9 day adventure!
How much does a flight to Easter Island cost?
You’d be shocked to find out that flights to Easter Island cost a lot less than you think.
When economy is available, the prices for a round-trip to Easter Island from Santiago can be $1,200 USD if you’re booking closer to the date or availability is starting to dwindle. Further out and during the off-season, this can drop down to $650 USD.
For a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, we think it’s totally worth it.
What you need to be careful with are the different fare classes. The above prices are for their lowest Basic fare which only gives you allowance to bring a handbag onboard.
If you look at the above fare classes, most of you will opt for Plus because it comes with a checked bag (up to 26kg).
TIP: That isn’t the only solution though. You can actually purchase basic fare and purchase the bag allowance as an add-on. For a 1 carry-on bag and 1 checked-bag for both legs, it comes out to $86 USD which is often less than the price of Plus fare. That said, being able to pick your seats, ability to change flights, and get some refund money back might be worth the extra cost.
In some cases you’ll only see business class tickets and that’s because economy is sold out.
TIP: LATAM doesn’t automatically show you the fare of Premium Economy and Premium Business as it’s defaulted to Economy. Their 787 configuration doesn’t have Premium Economy but you’ll often find that the Business tickets aren’t that much more. For a flight of this length, it might be worth dishing out the extra dough.
Good to know: When you purchase your tickets, you’ll be able to select your seats. We learned that it isn’t easy to ask them to change seats at the counter or at the gate so don’t rely on that strategy.
Do you need a rental car?
Find out if it actually makes sense to rent a car on Easter Island.
When is the best time to go to Easter Island?
We will cover this in detail in our Easter Island guide but from the perspective of flying, we know that your real question is “when is the cheapest time to fly to Easter Island?”.
That really comes down to the seasons of travel in Chile. Being in the southern hemisphere, everything is flipped for those coming from the northern half of the world. Chile’s summer is November to March and winter is June to August.
Being off the mainland, Easter Island’s climate is more tropical, and thus stays more steady throughout the year. That said, most of you will likely pair a visit with other parts of Chile or South America so you’ll likely want to avoid winter. Coincidentally, this is also the wettest part of the year.
High season is in the summer and with that brings more tourists which brings about higher prices and less availability.
It’s no surprise that we recommend the shoulder seasons of September – November and March – May which are great for mainland Chile but also Easter Island because the flight prices tend to drop.
That said, we’ve also managed to find low cost for flights in months like December so don’t be afraid to search all over the calendar.
What does the typical trip to Easter Island look like?
There are a lot of ways you can do a trip to Easter Island but it’ll largely depend on how many days you’ll be spending there.
In large part, the number of days will be dictated by the flight schedule. With the frequency of these flights, here are the options for how long your trip can be.
- 3 times a week (M, F, Su)
- Monday to Friday (5 days, 3 full days)
- Friday to Sunday (3 days, 1 full day)
- Sunday to Friday (6 days, 4 full days)
- Monday to Sunday (7 days, 5 full days)
- Arrive and depart on the same day of the week (8 days, 6 full days)
- 4 times a week (M, T, W, Su)
- Monday to Wednesday (3 days, 1 full day)
- Wednesday to Sunday (5 days, 3 full days)
- Tuesday to Sunday or Wednesday to Monday (6 days, 4 full days)
- Monday to Sunday or Tuesday to Monday (7 days, 5 full days)
- Arrive and depart on the same day of the week (8 days, 6 full days)
- Daily flights
- You can do whatever combination of days you’d like.
9 Day Easter Island Itinerary
This seems to be a lot of time but in retrospect, 9 days ended up being the best way to see Easter Island. Get a day-by-day breakdown with this itinerary.
What can you see on Easter Island
Depending on what you have budget for, days that you can afford, and your interest level, here’s a high level of what you can expect to see based on the number of full days you have on the island.
It’s worth noting that partial days (the day you land and fly out) aren’t wasted. For the ambitious ones, you can pack in tours.
Below are names of tours from Green Island Tours who we traveled with. These are effectively all day tours.
|Number of Full Days||What You Will See|
|1||Highlights of Rapa Nui in 1 day + relaxing the two half days.|
or you can do the Moai Monuments Tour + Historic Pathways Tour (split into two days) + Tongariki Sunrise.
|2||Historic Pathways Tour (start this right away when you land)|
Moai Monuments Tour
Trekking Day or Hidden Treasures of Easter Island.
Rapa Nui Stargazing
|3||Everything included in the 2 full days.|
Free days to explore Hanga Roa including the Father Sebastian Englert Anthropological Museum.
See the Kari Kari cultural show.
|4||Everything included in the 3 full days.|
Opportunity to rent a car and walk Ranu Kao Crater Walk.
|5||Everything included in the 4 full days.|
Scuba diving or snorkeling with Mike Rapu.
Beach days at Anakena Beach and/or Ovahe Beach.
|6||Everything included in the 5 full days.|
Ability to things out more and add in relaxing days or days to work with if the weather doesn’t cooperate.
|7+||Everything included in the 6 full days.|
Trekking to other areas such as the North Coast, Poike peninsula, Terevaka summit.
Layer in photography tours if there’s interest.
Tips for flying to Easter Island
We cover a few of these in our Patagonia travel guide, especially the booking hack, but we have a couple of travel tips and travel hacks for traveling to Easter Island.
- A stopover in Santiago is safer – LATAM departure times for Easter Island are as early as 9:05AM. This means that you need to be at the domestic terminal counters just after 6AM. With that in mind, your international flight needs to come in extremely early for you to be able to make that connection. It is much safer to stay the night in Santiago or plan around it (do Patagonia and/or Atacama first).
- Plan a bigger trip – Along the lines of the previous point, flying to Easter Island is going to take a lot of time and effort so you might as well take advantage of the fact that you’ll be in Chile. Extend your stay and make it several weeks or a month if you can!
- Don’t book flights last minute – This applies to all flights but it is not a good idea to wait for a price drop. As soon as you have your dates figured out, the LATAM round-trip flight should be the first thing you book.
- It doesn’t actually matter which side you sit – Beforehand, we read that choosing a seat on the left hand side of the plane but from our flight, there was nothing visible on approach. We heard from a local that pilots used to be allowed to fly directly over the island before turning southeast towards the airport but because of complaints, they no longer do it. The plane now comes in directly northwest on the runway. Departure from the island is southeast where those on the left might have a bit of a view Ahu Tongariki.
- Stay awhile – Many itineraries will point you the direction of staying 2-3 days, but having done our own 9 day itinerary of Easter Island, we’d say 6-9 days allows you to thoroughly see the best of Rapa Nui.
- Buy your national park pass online – You can buy them online. There’s $2,500 CLP (Chilean peso) service fee that’s added on top and the foreigner price comes out to $74,500 CLP. At the office in town, tickets come out to $76,000 CLP and you can only pay via credit card. With that in mind, you might as well buy them online. The advantage of buying them in person is that it gives you some flexibility if plans change. With the pass, you won’t have to pay additional entrance fees.
- Prepare for limited to no internet – Whether it’s a SIM card or wifi at the hotel, the internet is painfully slow on Easter Island. Streaming video is near impossible so download as much as you can offline before you leave Santiago.
- Book LATAM flights on Chilean page – This isn’t advertised but if you go to latamairlines.com/cl/es, there is a significant price drop. You’ll have to translate all of the pages but we have tested this and you could save hundreds and the payment processor accepts international credit cards. You’ll be paying in the Chilean currency (CLP).
To illustrate the differences between the US versus Chilean landing sites for LATAM, here’s a sample flight we picked. We noticed that 1) there’s a significant price difference and 2) the fare classes offered on the Chilean page only offered Top and Top Premium Business.
At the time of writing, the conversion of $652,924 CLP is $812.84 USD. That’s a whopping savings of $586.16 USD. Shocking right?
This turned out to be quite the long information-packed article but hopefully, this gives you a complete picture of what’s involved for how to get to Easter Island.
As we said at the beginning, getting there is simple because there’s only one route and airline that can take you there but at the same time it’s also complex due to how unique it is. However, once you break it down and you know all the details, it’s really not that bad.
A trip to Rapa Nui is one like no other and we can unequivocally say that it’s worth it. We hope you get to go soon!
Frequently asked questions
You can only fly directly from Santiago, Chile but it is not possible from any other destination.
No, it is no longer open. You have to purchase your national park tickets online or at the Hanga Roa office.
The best way to get the cheapest flights to Easter Island is by booking on the LATAM Chilean language page which has lower prices than other languages.
The only airline that flies to Easter island is LATAM.
The flight to Easter Island is 5 hours and 40 minutes. The return flight back to Santiago is 4 hours and 25 minutes.
Easter Island is behind by 2 hours.
The view will be limited because the plane no longer crosses the island on arrival but if you had to pick, the left side in the rear of the plane is the best seat.
The plane departs from the runway and will have a view of the island from the left side of the plane. For the best views, make sure choose a seat on the left rear part of the plane so the wings don’t obstruct your view.
Getting to Easter Island is hard from the perspective of only being able to get there from Santiago, Chile with one airline, LATAM, but once you know that and you build a trip around Chile, it is not hard hard as you think.
The prices vary with LATAM but they can be as low as $650 USD and upwards to $1,200 USD.
The distance from Santiago to Easter Island in Chile is 2,334 miles (3,756 km).
The only way to get to Easter Island from Chile is through Santiago (SCL) with LATAM.
The flight from Santiago to Easter Island is 5 hours 20 minutes. Easter Island back to Santiago is 4 hours 25 minutes.
Yes, you absolutely can! The only way to fly there is with LATAM from Santiago, Chile
To enter Chile, you need certificate of COVID vaccination, be able to prove that you have sufficient funds, and be willing to do a COVID test if randomly chosen (5% chance). To enter Easter Island, you need a booking at an approved hotel, proof of return flight to Santiago, fill out an online entry form, and there’ll a potential 5 day health follow up.
What you should read next
Travel Resources For Your Next Trip
If you’re in the process of planning your trip and putting together your itinerary, these are genuinely the best resources that the Going Awesome Places team stands by 100%.
Airport Parking: You’ll need a spot to leave your car at the airport so why not book a spot at a discount. Use code AWESOME7 to get at least $5 off at Airport Parking Reservations or Park Sleep Fly packages.
Hotels: Our go-to is Booking.com because they have the best inventory of properties including hotels and B&Bs. The exception is Asia where Agoda always has the best prices. TripAdvisor is also useful for reviews and bookings.
Vacation Rentals: Airbnb is the market leader but you’d be surprised how you can find cheaper deals on the lesser-known VRBO.
Travel Insurance: Learn how to buy the best travel insurance for you. This isn’t something you want to travel without.
- Insured Nomads – Popular insurance provider for frequent travelers and comes with great coverage and special perks.
- RATESDOTCA – Search engine Canadians looking for the cheapest insurance including multi-trip annual policies.
- SafetyWing – A perfect fit for long-term nomads.
- Medjet – Global air medical transportation.
- InsureMyTrip – Best for seniors, families, and those with pre-existing conditions.
If you need more help planning your trip, make sure to check out our Travel Toolbox where we highlight all of the gear, resources, and tools we use when traveling.