I had 10 days on Easter Island, which is a lot for such a tiny island. The way LATAM flights are to/from Easter Island, they are not operating on a daily basis like they used to. Easter Island only recently opened back up for tourism after Covid-19, so the flights are not as frequent as they once were. When I booked my flight, I could only get the roundtrip 10 days apart, whereas I really only wanted 3 or 4 days. I met a couple from Australia who had the same issue booking their flight, and they were there for 10 days.
I knew I was going to get bored at some point, so I decided to split all of my activities up and spread them out.
- Day 1 – I rested and visited a restaurant for ceviche.
- Day 2 – I did a half day tour of the island.
- Day 3 – I did a full day tour of the island.
- Day 4 – I did the sunrise and sunset with the Moai.
- Day 5 – Glass bottom boat tour (took about 2 hours).
- Day 6 – Snorkeling (snorkeled for about 30 mins; entire trip was less than 2 hours)
- Day 7 – I rested and shopped around a little.
- Day 8 – Polynesian show at a local hotel.
- Day 9 – I rested, ate, visited gift shops, walked around, journaled at an ice cream shop, and ate ice cream.
- Day 10 – I rested, ate, visited gift shops, walked around, and journaled at a cafe.
Some people like to do a day or two at Anakena Beach, which is a beautiful small beach on the north side of the island. I was not too keen on having beach days so I opted not to do this. I did get to visit the beach during my full day tour, though, because there are Moai there.
You really only need 3 days on Easter Island to see everything and then some. I would not recommend the glass bottom boat unless you love boats like I do. I enjoyed it because it took us along part of the island, and the water is crystal clear. The coral that is there is black and grey, so it’s not impressive, and there were a few fish. The most impressive thing was seeing a sea turtle through the glass bottom boat. You can also see a Moai that is under water, but it was really hard to make out the nose, mouth, etc.
I would not recommend snorkeling unless you have 10 days like I did because you will need something to do. But don’t come to Easter Island to snorkel or scuba. Yes, the water is crystal clear all around the island because there is no plankton (from what I was told). So the visibility is great but there’s just not much to see. I can’t speak for scuba, but I know some people did scuba diving when we went snorkeling so they would have seen the same black and gray coral that we saw. I remember seeing some sea anemone and some yellow fish, but that was about it on the snorkeling trip. I spoke to one group who had gone snorkeling in another location, and they said they only saw ONE fish. So they were disappointed in it, as well.
I did visit an ice cream shop during my down times and sit and journal on my iPad. I ate ice cream every time I was there, so I had lots of ice cream on Easter Island.
The Polynesian dance show was entertaining, but it’s similar to any Polynesian dance show you will see in any of the Polynesian islands. I’ve seen a Maori dance show in New Zealand and thought this was similar. So, it’s not a must-see on my suggested list. They also pulled almost everyone up on stage and made them dance, which I did not like. I was fine just watching. LOL. But it was a good time. The guy sitting next to me ordered a drink when he arrived, and the drink didn’t come out until the show was almost over. I was glad I didn’t order a drink. But I noticed that is how food/drink service is in South America…very slow.
The tours of the island are a must-see. That is where you see the Moai, and you have to have a guide to visit the Moai sites. You also have to buy a national park ticket. (I bought mine online and only had to show my phone at the park entrances). You can also buy a paper ticket once you get to Easter Island at the cultural center, but I noticed that the couple that had paper tickets that was with me had to show their passport each time they showed their paper tickets. I’m not sure why, but I was glad I didn’t have to drag my passport out everytime.
My guide was Marcello. He owned the hotel where I stayed and he was super nice and accommodating. He also took photos for me since I was traveling alone. I paid $200 USD for my tours, and he even drove me to/from the Polynesian dance show and drove me to/from sunrise and sunset without charging extra. This also included the full day tour and the half day tour. There are a lot of Moai to see on Easter Island! Some of the tour was not as interesting to me. Maybe if I were a Geology major or something – because the tour took you to caves and an extinct volcano. It was interesting to hear the story of the birdman competition, which took place at the extinct volcano several hundred years ago.
One thing that lots of people do on Easter Island is rent motorbikes or quads to get around. There is also a horseback ride you can do (but I opted out of that). If you have your own transportation, you can go anywhere on the island except the national park sites that require a guide, but you can still see the Moai from a distance around the perimeter of the park. And there is one site that is good for watching the sunset behind the Moai where you don’t need a guide to enter.
Easter Island takes some planning but once you’re there, don’t expect fancy hotels and restaurants. There’s not even a McDonald’s. The Main Street is so much smaller than I had expected. I felt safe my whole time there and never felt threatened or anything. Everyone is so nice and they don’t haggle you to try and buy stuff. They’re very polite.
I hope you find your trip to Easter Island as peaceful and relaxing as mine was (minus the sunburn I received during the tours).
P.S. BRING SUNSCREEN!