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How to get to Easter Island

How to get to Easter Island

The most common, fastest and best way to get to Easter Island is by plane, but you can also travel to Rapa Nui by boat. Here you will find information about available flights, when to buy tickets to visit Rapa Nui, Mataveri airport and the options to get to Easter Island by boat.

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Can you travel to Easter Island in 2023?

In March 2020, Easter Island closed the Mataveri airport to any commercial flight to protect its inhabitants from the deadly coronavirus. This extreme measure resulted in a total control of infections. In fact, only a few isolated cases were detected in Rapa Nui at the beginning of the pandemic. And during the closure decreed by the authorities, the island was free of Covid-19 thanks to strict sanitary protocols and the follow-up of the “tapu”, an ancestral philosophy based on respect for the rules.

Opening of Easter Island in 2022

Once the Covid-19 pandemic was controlled, Easter Island reopened to tourism on August 1, 2022. After almost two and a half years of isolation and sacrifice, on August 4, 2022 the first flight from Santiago de Chile landed in Rapa Nui, beginning the return to normality. Currently, the Latam airline operates 3 weekly flights and it is expected to increase their frequency according to demand.

Visitors wishing to travel to Easter Island must comply with strict security protocols, including having the full vaccination schedule, although as of December 1, 2022 it is no longer necessary to present a negative PCR test.

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Documents and requirements to travel to Easter Island

Flights to Easter Island

View of airplane landing in Hanga Roa since Ahu Tahai-How to get to Easter Island
View of an airplane landing at Hanga Roa from Ahu Tahai

Because of its remote and isolated location, the most common way to get to Easter Island is by plane. Currently Latam Airlines (formerly Lan) is the only airline that has scheduled flights to Rapa Nui. It connects the island with a daily flight from the Airport Arturo Merino Benítez in Santiago de Chile (SCL), although in high season these frequencies can vary a little, being this the most important and accessible point of connection. The duration of the flight from Santiago de Chile to Easter Island is about 5 hours and 40 minutes on the way and somewhat less, 4 hours and 45 minutes on the return due to the influence of the wind.

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There are also a couple of flights a week to / from Papeete Airport (PPT) in Tahiti, which is the main access to the other islands of Polynesia. In this case the outward journey is slightly shorter with a duration from Papeete of 5 hours and 20 minutes and surpassing the 6 hours on the return flight due to the wind against.

A few years ago Latam (formlerly Lan) opened a new route with direct flight from Lima (Peru) but after a few months of operation, it stopped working and for the moment it is not known if they will reopen it. For travelers from Europe, this route was shorter than calling in Santiago. Finally, some charter flights and private planes arriving from different destinations also arrive on the island.

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A Moai statue at Mataveri Airport
A Moai statue at Mataveri Airport

The value of tickets to Easter Island from Santiago de Chile, economy or tourist class varies according to the dates, but tickets can be found from US $ 350 in low season, reserving several weeks or months in advance. If purchased in high season or shortly before traveling can reach a price of up to US$ 1000. Business or executive prices range from US$ 800 to more than US$ 3000 in the period of greatest demand.

It is necessary to be attentive to the offers that LATAM occasionally publish to foment the internal tourism inside Chile. They usually last a few days but you can get tickets at very convenient prices.

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Easter Island Airport

Easter Island Airport- How to get to Easter Island
Easter Island Airport

Mataveri International Airport in Easter Island, inaugurated in 1967, is considered the most remote in the world, since the nearest air terminal is Mangareva, in French Polynesia, which is 2603 kilometers away but has no direct connection to it. At the moment it only operates with Santiago de Chile Airport, which is located at a distance of 3759 km and with the airport of Papeete (Tahiti) located 4254 km.

More information about Easter Island Airport

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Travelling to Easter Island by boat

Sailboats anchored in front of the beach of Anakena How to get to Easter Island by boat
Sailboats anchored in front of the beach of Anakena

Reaching Rapa Nui by surfing the waves as their first settlers made, it is possible, but for the moment is a type of trip reserved only a few.

The most adventurous option is to sail aboard a private yacht or sailboat across the ocean. The main anchorage site is located in the bay of Hanga Roa, since it is protected from the winds that blow from the east and southeast. You can also anchor in Hotuiti in front of the Ahu Tongariki, on the beach of Anakena, perfect place to jump into the water and enjoy a swim and in the Vinapu sector.

More information about how to get to Easter Island by boat

The most exclusive way to arrive by boat to Easter Island is in one of the cruises that include the island in its itineraries by the South Pacific and the so-called World cruises. The cheapest options start from $6,000 USD per person. For those who have time and money to spare, there are ships that go around the world with sailings that last more than 3 months. The price of the ticket, in these cases, amounts to more than $20,000 USD per person.

Until a few years ago there was the possibility of traveling aboard the ship Aquiles belonging to the Chilean Navy. It is a multipurpose ship that makes trips to Antarctica, Easter Island and other isolated areas to carry out military, logistical and scientific tasks. The price was much cheaper than the air ticket, and although the requirements made this adventure very difficult, many travelers showed interest in this form of transportation.

However, as Navy sources have informed us, since 2019, the Chilean Ministry of Defense prohibited the transfer of civilian passengers aboard ships and aircraft of the Armed Forces. Therefore, it is no longer possible to travel to Easter Island on the ship Achilles.

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