LAN , Chile only way to come to Easter Island
LAN Chile is the only airline which is flying to Easter Island. They fly from Santiago (Chile), Papeete (Tahiti) and from Lima/Peru to Easter Island. Flights are not daily, so you will have to check carefully when you can fly in or/and out.
We were very satisfied with the service of LAN Chile on all the flights we had with them. The flghts to/from Easter Island - Santiago take about 5 hours (weather depending).
Tickets are rather expensive, so I recommend to check the website of LAN for special deals. Another possibilty is to add your visit to Easter Island in an around the world ticket with ONE World. LAN Chile is member of this alliance and you are allowed to fly to Easter Island (and further).
LAN also offers the South America Airpass to travellers reaching South America with LAN or another OneWorld airline. Check the conditions at: http://www.lan.com/en_ue/promociones/data/europa/todo_europa/saairpass.html
(There is also a One World South American Air Pass, sometimes with better deals than LAN:
We opted for a private tour guide for a full day tour. I think this was an excellent choice, as the roads on Island are not well marked, unpaved in some area's, and not well maintained in other area's. We used Maururu Travel and Sofia was our guide. She was able to give a face to the history of the Island and provide us an understanding that I don't think we would have gotten on our own.
We flew to Easter Island on LAN from Santiago. We were fortunate to travel in Business Class, which made for a very nice flight. Arrival and Departure were on time. We were served a nice breakfast both ways. The flight itself is about 4 1/2 hours. Mataveri International Airport is very easy to negotiate.
Once you're there
Hiring a 4x4 on Easter Island will give you the flexibility to go pretty well anywhere and everywhere you want. Many of the island's roads are little more than tracks, some very rough, making a 4x4 the best way to get to the more out of the way places - though even then you may have to leave the car and continue your exploration on foot at times - heavy rain can make the ground extremely boggy, and there are places that are accessible only by a walking track.
We rented our 4x4 from the owner of our B&B - an ideal arrangement as it was charged for a 24 hour period and we took the rental up from the evening of our first day after returning from a tour. This meant we had the fullest use of it - right up until we had to be at the airport for our late evening departure - Bicky was kind enough to come to the airport to collect it from us (and to farewell us with shell necklaces), leaving us free to check our luggage in and then go back into town for a last dinner.
At USD60 per day, it may not be the cheapest way of getting around - regular cars, scooters and mountain bikes are other options
- but it certainly is the one that allows you to explore the island to its best advantage. One word of warning - there is no insurance available. Provided you're sensible though and keep an eye out for hazards - the greatest of which are the wild horses that roam all over the island - and pedestrians, you shouldn't have any more problems than the dozens of other tourists who are taking the same chance at the same time.
There are several hire companies on the island, or ask at your accommodation. They'll certainly be able to help you. You'd be wise to book ahead at the height of the high season.
Make sure you have
a jack (gata)
a good spare tyre (neumatico)
and that you know how to use it.
You must have an International Driver's Licence.
Only one option
Reaching Rapa Nui, one of the most isolated places on earth, is never going to be straightforward! You could play Thor Heyerdahl and make your own way there by sea - not exactly practicable - or opt for a cruise that calls at the island, but that would only give you a few hours there - nowhere near enough to really appreciate the place, and the ships don't send people ashore when the seas are high, as they often are! - which leaves you with the only alternative - flying.
Chile's national airline - LAN - is currently the only airline flying into Easter Island. They operate daily flights in the high season (Nov-Feb), and three or four times a week the rest of the year.
From Chile, flights leave from Santiago. Some are classed as domestic flights and leave from the domestic terminal in Santiago. Others are international flights that continue on to Tahiti - they leave from the International terminal at Santiago - make sure you check which terminal you're flying from!
You can also fly from Tahiti to Rapa Nui a couple of times a week.
There is no really cheap way to get there. High season return fares from Santiago are currently an whopping USD1300, low season fares come in at USD640 - both plus taxes! However, LAN do offer promotional specials at times so it's well worth checking their website frequently.
You can include Easter Island as a stopover on a round the world ticket - flying with one of LAN's oneworld alliance partners. The options for flying from your nearest airport to Easter Island (via either Santiago or Tahiti) or including it as part of another trip are best left to your local travel agent or your own time researching on the web.
We used Frequent Flyer miles to fly from Australia to South America and Easter Island but had to buy the Papeete- Auckland leg of our journey as Air Nui Tahiti (our only option for that leg) does not accept FF points. An excursion ticket proved to be the cheapest option by far for that leg. You do need to do your homework when it comes to these things!Related to:
- National/State Park
Renting a scooter is a great way to cover and explore the island independently. For between $15 and $20 dollars a day, you can have the freedom to explore the island at your own pace and avoid the mini bus tours which generally cover the sites at the same times every day. You can have the sites largely to yourself if you avoid the sites at peak times, generally between 10.00 and 15.00 plus the light for photography is much better outside these times.
Some agencies rent out scooters and quad bike although your accommodation may also offer a rental service. We rented from one of the many rental shops along the main street and bargained hard for a $15 a day rental over 3 days with a couple of free hours on the actual day of rental thrown in to sweeten the deal. Renting at the end of a day can give you the option of pointing out to the renter that they are unlikely to get another customer for the day and that if they let you take the scooter now you will take the scooter for a few days. We agreed 3 days rental and so the renter was willing to give us the scooter early for no extra charge.
You do need a valid driver’s license to rent a scooter on Easter Island so make sure you bring one from home.
You can also rent small 4X4s, generally suzukis, but the costs were high (between $60 and $90 a day depending on who you ask) and as the island is small renting a 4X4 didn’t really make sense for us.
Getting to Easter Island can be an expensive and time consuming experience with very few flight options to the remote south pacific island. Currently LAN Chile are the only airline offering regular commercial flights to Easter Island and only fly from Santigao in Chile and Papeete in Tahiti although I hear that there is now a twice weekly direct flight from Lima, Peru to Easter Island with LAN.
The Santiago to Easter Island flight continues on to Papeete in Tahiti with passengers for Easter Island disembarking before the plane continues on to Papeete. The return flight originates in Papeete before picking up returning Easter Island passengers. This makes it relatively easy to arrange a stopover in Easter Island on the way to Tahiti.
The Gateway: Santiago (SCL)
As there are more flights from Santiago to Easter Island than from Papetee, I believe this airport is the real gateway to the Island. If you travel from the Americas or from Europe, this is the place for your connection!
From Europe you can fly to SCL directly from Madrid with Iberia and LAN, and with 1 stop with Air France/KLM and Swiss/Lufthansa. Most of the major American carriers (e.g.: AA) also fly here.
Flying to Easter Island
Unless you come on a long cruise (Easter Island is miles and miles from anywhere), you are going to have to fly there. There is only one airline that flys to Easter Island and that is LAN Chile. They don't fly everyday, but do fly in or out (and sometimes in and out!) on most days. The flights are pricey however. You also only have two choices of airports that you can fly to/from Easter Island, and these are Santiago (de Chile) and Tahiti.
To find out about the most up to date fares and the current flight schedules, check out the LAN Chile website below. Every now and then, they do special offers when they have spare capacity, so its the sort of website to check frequently.Related to:
- National/State Park
- Adventure Travel
Rent a 4x4 vehicle!
Definitely rent a 4x4 vehicle to get around Easter Island! Many of the interesting sights are "off the beaten path" and difficult to find easily. Having a 4x4 vehicle will help you to find the moais and other sights without having to waste too much time walking. We saw some people renting vehicles (which included a local guide), however we enjoy our independence and always seem to find the non-tourist sights on our own! Bicky at the Mana Nui Inn has 4x4 rental vehicles at a reasonable price. We e-mailed Bicky and secured a vehicle before we left for our vacation. We've found that the "Suzuki Samari"-type vehicles are rough and tough enough for most places we go. Keep in mind that gas isn't cheap on Easter Island...
Rent bicycles at Makemake
Makemake is on the mainstreet of Hanga Roa. There is a sign with a bicycle so you can recognize it. The owner is nice and can help you also with bicycle routes. I cannot remember what we paid for a fullday but it was definately an okay-price and the bikes are great.
LAN Chile flights to Easter Island
To get to Easter Island from mainland Chile you will need to take a LAN airlines flight direct from Santiago. You can also reach Easter Island from Tahiti.
Our flight was full both ways and mostly had foreign tourists rather than Chileans.
The flight takes 4 - 5 hours.Related to:
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
- Family Travel
Santiago to Easter Island
I had a flight towards Santiago via Paris, and then I had a connecting flight to Easter Island.
Wel there was a waiting time of 8 hours in Santiago, and for a moment I had tought to go in the city center, but I decided to stay in the airport, to avoid stress in a big city. Like this I had time to change money, and to plan my transport on the way back to the hotel in santiago.
So I had booked Lan flight LAN 922 on July 13th
Santiago departure : 16.20
Easter Island arrival : 20.00
Luggage allowed : 20 kg
There is a time difference between Chili mainland and Easter Island of 2 hours.Related to:
- Historical Travel
There is no big choice if you want to fly to Easter Island, as there is only one Flight Company available, the National Chilean flight company : LAN.
Also they are not flying every day, so you need to plan your trip.
Best way is to check the timetables at their website.
Also check out the prices as these change from time to time.Related to:
- Historical Travel
Two ways to Easter Island
There are two ways to get to Easter Island -- by ship and by plane.
A resident fisherman told me the freighter from Santiago made the trip in 7 to 10 days and charged $30 a day. I could see it anchored off the coast and it looked like it was listing a little to one side. It reminded me of those wrecked ships I have seen in ports or just off the coasts of various third world countries.
On the other hand, the planes of LAN (the Chilean airline) are top notch. There are regular 5 hour flights from Santiago and a few flights from the East. The airfare is not cheap probably because there is no competition, but you may be able to save some money by purchasing a Latin America (LA) or Chile Air Pass. The first requires at least 3 flight segments within LA and the second at least 3 flights within Chile. LAN will give the greatest discount on the segments to people who get to LA on LAN, but they also give discounts to people who fly to LA on their ONE WORLD partners. I found it cheapest to fly to LA on American and only purchase my Chilean Pass flights from LAN.
I bought all my tickets through the internet. I found that it took some extra persistence to locate the place where I could get the Chile Air Pass. Most of the LAN promotion currently is toward their Latin America Pass.Related to:
- Budget Travel
Easter Island Hotels
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