There are accommodations of various sizes in Easter Island, many of them are guest houses with rates that are quite reasonable. Here are hotels in Easter Island frequented by tourists:
- Explora Rapa Nui Posada de Mike Rapu
- Tea Nui – Cabanas y Habitaciones
- Kaimana Inn Hotel & Restaurant
- Taura’a Hotel
- Mana Nui Inn
- Hotel Altiplanico
- Hotel Tiare Pacific
- Hotel Gomero
- Taha Tai Hotel
- Hotel & Turismo Chez Joseph Rapa Nui
Steeped in history, culture and tradition, Easter Island offers a unique and spectacular experience for all.
Considered as one of the world’s most isolated inhabited islands, Easter Island is a Polynesian island in the southeastern Pacific Ocean. It is a special territory of Chile that was annexed in 1888, and is most famous for the 887 monumental statues crafted by the early Rapanui people, called moai.
Easter Island is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and much of the island is protected within the Rapa Nui National Park.
The island’s first documented European visitor was the Dutch explorer named Jacob Roggeveen who landed on the island on Easter Sunday in 1722. He named it Paasch-Eyland, Dutch of ‘Easter Island’ in the 18th century. Isla de Pascua, the island’s official Spanish name, also means ‘Easter Island’. Early settlers allegedly called the island Te Pito O Te Hanua which means ‘Navel of the World’ or ‘The ends of the land’.
The island’s current Polynesian name, Rapa Nui, is said to allude to its topographic resemblance to the island of Rapa in the Bass Islands of the Austral Islands group.
While it has long been believed that Easter Island was inhabited by mistake or chance, evidence suggests that it was settled in intentionally by people who came to the island aboard large boats. The settlers prospered due to the abundance of trees, birds and waters which yielded fish and oysters. The giant moai that are prominently featured to this day are believed to be depictions of the early settlers’ ancestors blessed and protected their villages. Petroglyphs were also a significant part of their culture and showed their fascination with the capability to travel to distant lands.
Today, tourism is the foremost industry in Easter Island.
While Easter Island is extremely remote, it is accessible by regular commercial air service, albeit there are very limited routes in order to get there. Currently, the regular flights are via LAN Airlines a few times each week on the route between Tahiti and daily to Santiago de Chile.
The Tallship Soren Larsen sails to Easter Island once a year from New Zealand, the voyage taking an average of 35 days.
Due the Easter Island’s size, it is extremely easy to get around. Cars/jeeps, bicycles, dirt bikes, motor scooters and even 4×4 quad bikes may be rented from various rental agencies in Hanga Roa. However, driver’s licenses specifically for motor scooters and motorbikes are required if you choose those modes of transportation.
Generally, the use of cars is more beneficial especially considering travel time (for those who are on a tight schedule). Additionally, the roads to many main sites consist of dirt roads and are quite uneven or potholed.
Guided tours are also the best way to explore Easter Island and the culture of its people. The tour guides are very knowledgeable when it comes to local rules and can also explain features of the location and culture that may be quite difficult for tourists to understand and often overlook.
Things to See and Do
The main attractions that people go to Easter Island to see are the moai that represent deified ancestors, which are often erected upon ceremonial platforms and burials known as ahu. Tourists should treat both the moai and the ahu with care and respect. Walking on the ahu is considered a disrespectful gesture.
Rapa Nui National Park, Ahu Tongariki, Rano Raraku and Ahu Vinapu are just some of the most well-known places where the moai are found.
Rano Kau is a large volcano where tourists can hike to the summit in order to enjoy the panoramic view and the crater lake which is one of only three natural bodies of fresh water.
Orongo is a stone village and center of the Birdman culture. The lake-filled crater is full of remnants of the Birdman cult which was practiced until 1867. Orongo still has restored masonry houses and petroglyphs.
Ballet Kari Kari is regularly included in tourist Easter Island itineraries, where Polynesian dancers in feather costumes entertain the audience.
Anakena Beach is located on the north side of the island and features pristine white sand as well as moai.
Ovahe is another white sand beach located along the southern shore of the island, near Ahu Vaihu. It is larger than Anakena and features breathtaking cliffs.
Motu Nui and Motu Iti are well-known scuba diving and snorkeling spots.
Another interesting and remarkable feature that visitors to Easter Island must see and experience are its extensive cave systems. Tourists are warned, however, that these caves can be dangerous, several of them running extremely deep. The damp and slippery interiors of the caves also add to the hazard.
Quite a few shops catering to tourists can be found on Easter Island, as well as an open market, most of them selling souvenir items such as moai-inspired trinkets.
Eat and Drink
Due to the increased amount of tourists in Easter Island, restaurants have been established to cater to the visitors’ gastronomic needs. It is best to consult your tour guide on the best eateries available on the island in order to avoid those that can be kind of a tourist trap. Below are just a few of the restaurants in Easter Island:
Te Ra’ai Restaurant Etnico Rapa Nui features dinner/shows and promises an unforgettable and truly extraordinary experience. The excellent and authentic Polynesian food is cooked the ancient way and is complemented by the educational and energetic show where guests are taken through a history of Rapa Nui through music, song and dance. It is an experience not to be missed.
Kotaro provides delicious and authentic Japanese cuisine including ramen, sushi, miso soup and raw fish salad among others. The restaurant features traditional Japanese design, with either a traditional tatami mat and cushion for seating or standard tables and chairs.
Te Moana is a favorite among travelers to Easter Island and is highly recommended especially for first-time visitors. Among their specialties are the tuna sandwich, curry shrimp, grilled white fish fillet, and ceviche.
Hetu U offers some of the most delicious seafood on East Island for a reasonable price (compared to other establishments).
Au Bout du Monde features refined, simple yet creative cooking, excellent service and atmospheric interior design. The restaurant itself overlooks the sea. Renowned traditional Pascuan musicians and dancers stage performances almost every night.