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For intrepid travelers intrigued by ancient history (and mystery!), the siren call of far-flung Easter Island  – site of oddities like the massive moai (giant stone heads) and the world’s most remote airport (Mataveri International Airport, IPC) – has been heard loud and clear. The one caveat? Actually getting there. With Easter Island access long restricted to limited LAN Airlines’ routes via Santiago, Chile, flight times from U.S. cities like NY, Miami, and LA, required anywhere from about 15 to upwards of 20 hours of travel time, when factoring in the Santiago layover. Enter LAN Airlines’ new Lima–Easter Island routes, which are slated to shave off up to 3 hours of the direct voyage for American and European travelers when they debut in January. The new route also serves to make two-stop itineraries that combine taking in ancient sites of Peru (like Machu Picchu or the Nazca Lines) with a jaunt to Easter Island pleasantly conceivable.

The new routes, the first available to Easter Island outside of Chile (and less frequented French Polynesia), will be offered twice weekly (on Wednesdays and Sundays) from Lima starting January 5, 2011. The 5.5-hour flights aboard LAN’s Boeing 767-300s will be equipped with a Premium Business cabin in addition to Economy class; both cabins come outfitted with personal high-definition screens featuring state-of-the-art entertainment systems.

We found flights to Easter Island (via Lima) from LAN’s major U.S. gateways beginning at about $1,400 in January. Flights to Easter Island via Santiago until then are currently priced at around $1,900, making the new route both a time and money saver for American travelers.

For information on Easter Island, read our Easter Island Travel Guide.          

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