We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Just back from Rapa Nui Island

Level Contributor
7 posts
13 reviews
Just back from Rapa Nui Island

Hello,

I wanted to share my trip report. I spent 6 days on Easter Island just a couple weeks ago. I had a great time and loved the island. Weather was crazy windy, but not cold. It did rain a bit off and on but didn't ruin the trip by any means.

I'm glad that I brought bottled water and peanut butter and Jelly and bread from Chile in my checked bag. That along with nuts and granola protein bars kept me energized and going. I highly recommend you do this to save money!

The island gladly accepts US dollars and on occasion will accept Visa and Mastercard. I had a Visa card and was able to use it at 2 restaurants and to pay for some tours I booked with Mahinatur. A word of caution if you plan on using the ATM, they are completely in spanish. So If you don't know spanish you might want to have a trusted person help you out a little there. Only one ATM I guess takes Visa. and most of the time they are not on and tend to have some issues. Try to go when bank is open.

Note: the post office will only take Chilean Pesos.

I booked a full day tour with James Grant Peterkin (easter island spirit tours) before I arrived. I am so glad I did. I am a photographer and I really appreciated James' approach and tour agenda. If you are a photographer and you hope to get great photos I highly recommend James. It costs a little more but it is worth it because 1. He goes the opposite way the other tours go, this means Ideal light conditions and practically no other people in your pictures! 2) small intimate tour size.

3) James is very laid back and easy going you can go at a nice calm pace whereas in the other tours it is hurry hurry quickly quickly.

James is very knowledgeable about the island and people so you will learn much as you explore.

I stayed at Tupa Hotel. I found it to be accommodating and fine. The breakfast was lame but it did fill me up sufficiently.

I walked a lot around town and along coast. You can do quite a bit at least for 2 days on foot from town. Go north to Tahai and Hanga Kioe, museum, town, church, and then to Orongo.

I took tours to see the rest of the island. It was too pricey for me to rent a car or take taxi around. the tours at Mahinatur were only $40 for half day and $80 for full day. (but like I said I'm glad I had one full day tour with James Grant Peterkin- I got my best pictures with his tour)

I did go see a dance/music show at Maori Tapuna (just north of fishing dock). It was only $20. I enjoyed it. The music and dancing were great. And who's going to complain about seeing beautiful buff dark Rapa Nui men dancing in front of you in loin cloths!? The women are beautiful too.

I recommend that you wear good walking hiking shoes perhaps with ankle support. There are random sized lava rocks freaking everywhere. I was constantly stubbing my toe and lightly tripping. It is a twisted ankle waiting to happen. So if you are uncoordinated and clumsy BE CAREFUL.

Make note of the restaurant reviews on Tripadvisor for your stay and go to them. All of the ones I noted to go to were fantastic. Eat the local fish (tuna steak and cara-cara- VERY good!) I really like La Kaleta at the end of the fishing dock area, and the Dominican Restaurant.

Enjoy your trip! Let me know if you have questions.

Nicole

Easter Island, Chile
Destination Expert
for Easter Island
Level Contributor
247 posts
1. Re: Just back from Rapa Nui Island

Good to hear you had a great time on Easter Island!

US dollars are generally accepted in cash but credit cards will be charged in local currency (that's Chilean pesos, CLP). That confuses people who book indirectly using OTA's and external websites. Hotels, naturally, are very clear with the currencies and payment methods so they generally inform the price in USD and CLP so you know exactly how much it will be.

It's a good advise to get some cash with you in every case when visiting the island since currently, there's only 2 ATMs on the island.

I'm not familiar with routes of Mahinatur but at least Kia Koe Tour always does east and north-east coast clockwise for the best pictures (otherwise, you'd go against the sun). They also visit Orongo in the morning (because it's less windy in the morning if the day is windy) and Akivi in the afternoon (since Moais there are facing west and, once again, you'll get the best possible photos).

I know that some other operators visit the same sites even in opposite direction but that does not make any sense to me.

When you book a private guide, the prices are higher but at least private tours are still reasonable, especially considering the quality. However, you should always (group or private tours) check the prices by Kia Koe Tour since according to your message, you paid twice the normal price.

Easter Island, Chile
Destination Expert
for Easter Island
Level Contributor
247 posts
2. Re: Just back from Rapa Nui Island

Sorry, I mixed clockwise and anticlockwise.

When you'll leave from south (Hanga Roa) and move along coastal road towards north, you'll do it anticlockwise, of course. That's the best way when you consider that you'll wish to take best photos. At least Kia Koe Tour does it always that way.

Naturally, nobody guarantees weather so if you really want to get good shots, add an extra day or two to your stay so that you're able to revisit the sites in case the day is cloudy when you'll attend your tours.

Zug, Switzerland
Level Contributor
6 posts
9 reviews
3. Re: Just back from Rapa Nui Island

Hey,

thanks for this review, luckily I booked my trip with James as well!

Quick question regarding currencies - is it better to bring Pesos or USD? I am currently in Santiago so it is easier for me to take CLP than USD.

Best,

Michal

Easter Island, Chile
Destination Expert
for Easter Island
Level Contributor
247 posts
4. Re: Just back from Rapa Nui Island

Generally speaking, it's always best to have at least some amount of local currency with you.

Specifically, in your case (if you prefer to bring some cash with you), just check the exchange rate between CLP and USD in Santiago since Easter Island has no money exchange business (and exchanging money in a bank is not the best option).

The exchange rate on Easter Island is normally fixed (CLP 500 = USD 1) but depending the business, the exchange rate might be fixed on monthly basis, as well.

If you pay with credit card, your account will be charged in CLP. In that case, you should check the exchange rate between CLP and your local currency to decide which is the best option. That means, if your bank account is in EUR, just check the exchange rate between CLP and EUR and so on.

Albany, New York
Level Contributor
2,585 posts
84 reviews
5. Re: Just back from Rapa Nui Island

Can you give me the website of "James"? Sounds like my kind of tour guide. Thanks.

Dubai, United Arab...
Level Contributor
50 posts
7 reviews
6. Re: Just back from Rapa Nui Island

very very helpful. now I am ready to plan mine this time.

Quito, Ecuador
2 posts
7. Re: Just back from Rapa Nui Island

Nicole, your report is extremely helpful. I am going to Easter Island in one week. I am a photographer. You need a guide who is one to take you to the right place at the right time to take pictures. Thanks for all the good tips.

Basel, Switzerland
Level Contributor
5 posts
98 reviews
8. Re: Just back from Rapa Nui Island

Hello,

anybody has any idea what James prices are? I could not find them on his web page.

Or should I just send him an e-mail?

Thank you

southern cal
Level Contributor
311 posts
18 reviews
9. Re: Just back from Rapa Nui Island

Try http://www.easterislandspirit.com/

We have a 2 day tour booked with James' tour company in January. We are excited and amazed that we can finally get to Easter Island and our tour with Easter Island Spirit sounds perfect to us!!

Dubai, United Arab...
Level Contributor
50 posts
7 reviews
10. Re: Just back from Rapa Nui Island

vai, any space for me? im alone and i need to be in a tour or else you will find one crazy lady driver around between jan 6-10. hahahaha!