Easter Island

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ShermansTravel experts rely on years of collective travel experience to bring you the best money-saving tips for your vacation. We take a discerning look at all the attraction passes, public transportation options, and other local bargains to make sure you get the most bang for your buck while traveling.

Easter Island Money-Saving Tips

Getting around

Avoid renting a car – roads are poorly signposted and not always in top condition. You’ll have a better experience if you rely on knowledgeable tour operators and taxis, which are plentiful in Hanga Roa. If you must get out on your own, however, Oceanic Rent a Car is based in Hanga Roa (011-56-32-210-0985).

Negotiating taxis

Most taxis are not metered, so it is wise to agree on a fare before getting in. While drivers do tend to raise their prices for tourists, be aware that gas on the island is extremely expensive as it must be imported from mainland Chile. Consequently, prices are higher than one might imagine (don’t expect your fare to be less than $10 regardless of distance).

Drinking water

Carry bottled water at all times – outside of Hanga Roa, there is absolutely no potable water to be found and it’s easy to get dehydrated on Easter Island’s nearly shade-less hills. Although the tap water in town is technically safe, its high mineral content can upset some travelers’ stomachs.

Bring Band-Aids

Top-tier hotels like the Explora are equipped with first-aid kits, but smaller establishments rarely even have band-aids, and anything you purchase on the island is guaranteed to be at least twice the price since it is imported from the mainland. Consequently, it’s a good idea to come equipped with first-aid details like Band-Aids, Advil, insect repellant, and suntan lotion.

Time zone

By the clock, Easter Island is two hours behind Chilean time even though by the sun it’s in the Mountain Standard Time zone – a strategy employed by Chile to keep the island close to mainland time. As a result, the island experiences dark mornings and evenings marked by long hours of sunshine.

Email

Don’t expect to get cell phone service on this remote island, and although some hotels provide internet access, the connections can be spotty. If you find yourself on a property without a computer, there is one internet café on Atamu Tekena called m@tariki.net.

Tapati Festival

The first two weeks of February usher in a huge festival dedicated to native arts and culture, including dancing, music, woodcarving, fishing and horse racing. Book in advance and expect more people than usual . . . and general chaos in Hanga Roa.

Say what?

While the Rapa Nui language is understood by most residents, Spanish is the language of choice on the island (inhabitants tend to employ their native tongue either to impress tourists or to keep them from understanding what they are saying). Basic English is spoken in some locations, but it’s a good idea to pack a Spanish phrasebook.

Beware of old maps

Make sure that any maps you might be carrying are up-to-date. Several years ago, two of the Hanga Roa’s main streets, Atamu Tekena and Policarpo Toro, switched names (for example, while it used to be that Atamu Tekena fronted the water, now it is Policarpo Toro that overlooks the ocean).

Don’t touch!

Do not touch statues or walk on ahu platforms or petroglyph-carved rocks. While the historical monuments of Easter Island are not fenced off from visitors, it is important to recognize that they are not only valuable archeological sites that need to be preserved, but are also considered sacred territory by the inhabitants.

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