Easter Island is both very remote and very high on a large number of traveller’s bucket lists. The combination of these two factors means that a trip to this gorgeous Island can be VERY expensive!
I weighed up the pros and cons of visiting Easter Island extensively before spending so much money on such a short trip. The deciding factor was something along the lines of “sod it, I probably won’t find myself in Santiago again any time soon, I’d regret it if I didn’t fly to Easter Island now”.
If you’ve read my blog post outlining my budget for my entire 3 month trip in South America, you will know that I really tried to maximise my experiences within the three months and therefore ended up spending a bit more than anticipated. However, that doesn’t mean that I was walking around throwing money at anyone that would take it – I think I planned my trip to Easter Island on as small of a budget as possible – here’s how you can to!
How Much Did My Trip Cost?
All in all, I spent £926.62 over the course of 6 days which is a grand total of £154.44 per day! Considering you could easily spend £150 per night on a hotel (no matter where you are in the world), I don’t think I did too badly for a destination which is known for being super pricey!
A breakdown of my costs are as follows:
- Accommodation: £181.50
- Food: £34.88
- Gifts: £6.64
- Necessities: £6.60 (public toilet and replacement sunglasses)
- Sightseeing: £97.20
- Transport £599.80
Now, here’s how you can book a trip for less than £1,000 too!
When To Book
Flights are the real reason that a trip to Easter Island can be very expensive. The key to getting a good deal looking at flights as early as possible.
I heard great stories about people being able to buy £250 return tickets last minute a few years ago but this didn’t seem to be the case in my experience. I visited Easter Island in late February 2018 and began looking at the flights in November/December 2017. Ideally, I should have booked the flights as soon as I decided on my dates as they did go up in price as time passed.
Should You Use A Flight Comparison Website?
This is the one time that I wouldn’t recommend using Skyscanner to check for flights, purely on the basis that there is only one provider for the route (LATAM). To save time, just check the prices directly on the LATAM website. There were a few times where the actual cost when clicking through to the LATAM website was much higher than the Skyscanner estimate – so don’t get your hopes up!
Flexibility with Dates
Flights can differ massively from day to day. If you can be flexible, check all of the prices on surrounding dates. For some reason, all of the return flights that I was looking at were around £1,000 and then I managed to find the exact same flights on slightly later dates for £560 return! At almost “half price”, it would have been rude not to book them!
Using a VPN / Accessing the Chilean LATAM Website
Of course, all good travel hackers would tell you to use a VPN to hide your location when booking expensive flights. In my excitable state, I forgot to do this while looking for my flights – oops!
However, I did try accessing the Chilean version of the LATAM website rather than the UK version and was shocked at how much cheaper the flights were! I tried to book the tickets but the site wouldn’t accept my UK credit card – it’s worth a shot though!
Check the Price of Business Class
I’ve heard rumours that the price of business class tickets to Easter Island sometimes aren’t that much more expensive than economy tickets! So be sure to check the business class section if you want to get the most bang for your buck!
RELATED: Easter Island is in the middle of nowhere, check out how I slotted it into a 3 month South American backpacking adventure here!
Camping / Hostels
The cheapest way to stay on the island is to camp. Wild camping is prohibited on the island but campsites can be found at a relatively cheap price. The hostel that I stayed at (Camping y Hostal Tipanie Moana) had camping facilities starting from £20 per night!
If you haven’t brought a sleeping bag or camping gear with you, the next best option is a bed in a hostel dormitory. Hostel beds are hard to come by on Easter Island unless you book early, this is perhaps because at Camping y Hostal Tipanie Moana a hostel bed is around the same price as a tent!
Cheap Private Rooms
As I wasn’t carrying a sleeping bag and all hostel rooms had booked out on the Island, I ended up with a cheap private room. There are plenty of small family run hotels offering a basic bedroom on the island. I had a double room and shared bathroom which totalled £181.50 for 5 nights (i.e. just under £37 per night).
Given the fact that the Island is small, I imagined that there wouldn’t be many accommodation choices and I would end up spending over £100 per night! That’s simply not the case if you book early. Most reservations via Booking.com have a time period where it’s free to cancel the reservation, so even if you’re holding out for a price drop in flights (don’t get your hopes up too much), you can reserve the room just to be safe!
Bringing Food From Mainland Chile
As I stood waiting to collect my dusty backpack from the baggage turnstile at the airport, I noticed something quite peculiar… most of the items on the baggage turnstile were cool boxes containing food! As all food is imported to Easter Island, many of the locals (and tourists alike) bring food with them from the mainland in an attempt to avoid the inflated prices on the Island.
As I was only going to be visiting Easter Island for 5 nights, I bought a big bag of pasta and a large sachet of sauce to see me through the evenings where I didn’t want to spend much money! Choosing accommodation that has cooking facilities is imperative if you’re looking to save money.
The bag of pasta and sauce sachet were so large that I ended up being able to leave a substantial amount in the kitchen for future travellers to enjoy too!
Cheap Eats on Easter Island Island
While I would eat dinner at the hotel most nights (yes, I underestimated how boring that one pasta sauce would become), it was fairly easy to find cheap lunches on the Island.
A great place to get cheap empanadas is Club Sandwich located in the main street of Hanga Roa (the town is tiny, there’s only a few streets to choose from). I think their empanadas started at around $3 each and were super tasty!
So many people warned me about the price of food on the Island and I was very scared for the future of my bank account. However, in all honesty, I didn’t find it that bad! If you are sensible and search for a good deal (not the cute little hut serving $20 acai / smoothie bowls), you will be fine.
If you’re looking for ice cream (which I was very frequently due to the intense humidity), check out the ice cream bar next to Pea RestoBar (the pineapple flavour was my favourite) and enjoy the sea views. You may even spot some turtles!
National Park Ticket
On arrival at the Hanga Roa airport, you will need to purchase the national park ticket which costs $60 for all non-Chilean nationals. This ticket covers entry to all of the Moai archeological sites for 5 consecutive days.
By way of visiting the historical sights and Moai archaeological sights, this will be the only price you need to pay and none of the sights on the Island will require a further cost to enter them!
It’s easy to rent a car on the Island to reach the sights, however I would recommend taking at least one guided tour so that you get to understand the history of the Island a little more. Once my car rental expired, I hopped onto an afternoon tour which cost £24 to try and see some of the sights I missed the day before.
This was one of the most interesting tours that I did in South America and that’s largely down to the incredible history and uniqueness of the island.
Free Things To Do
Yes, you read that right – some things on the Island are free! One of my favourite things to do on the Island was hike to the rim of the Rano Kau volacano! While it wasn’t a difficult hike physically, the intense heat made it a very sweaty hike! Luckily, the incredible views made up for it (although I was almost chased by a cow…)!
Of course, the Island has a selection of beaches to choose from which are also free. The most popular being Anakena Beach which you will need to hire a car to visit. If you want to stay closer to town, Pea Beach is in walking distance but is very small!
The Easter Island museum is another great free activity! I don’t usually enjoy museums too much, but there’s something about the mysterious history of the Island which is truly captivating. I left wishing the museum was bigger (both for the history and the amount of time I could stand in an air-conditioned building)!
Quite honestly, one of my favourite things about Easter Island was it’s natural beauty. It costs nothing at all to enjoy the views, watch the wild horses graze and catch a spectacular sunset.
Transport on Easter Island
Renting a Car
Car rental on Easter Island was surprisingly cheap! I met an American couple who were looking to hire a car on the same day as me, so our hotel organised a rental through Oceanic where 24 hours of useage cost £35. When split between the three of us, it ended up costing me just over £11 and was well worth it!
Considering most of the places you will visit in the car are already paid for by way of your National Park ticket, £11 is a small price to pay for a truly incredible day.
If you drive the main ring-road in one day, you won’t need to top-up on fuel at all! This is what we did, so I’m unsure as to how expensive fuel is on Easter Island.
Taxis within Hanga Roa (the only town on the Island) are reasonably cheap at $3 but the Island is easily walk able, so you are unlikely to need to take one.
Using taxis to drive to any of the archaeological sights outside of the town will become very pricey. We stupidly didn’t use our rental car to visit Ahu Tongariki at sunrise (the must-see spot apparently)! When I enquired on hiring a taxi to make this trip on another day, I was quoted in excess of £50 for the short round trip!
Bike and Quad-bikes
If you don’t want to rent a car, bicycle and quad bike hires are readily available! If you are visiting in one of the slightly cooler months, these would definitely be great options! However, the thought of cycling in such intense heat wasn’t a pleasant one! And even though physical exertion is limited when riding a quad-bike, I imagine that I would have got seriously sun-burnt!
Is It Worth The Money?
Hopefully, this blog post has proven that the flights are the only cost that should really be feared when visiting Easter Island! If you have the time and the money to visit Easter Island, I think it is definitely worth it.
I’ve never been to such a secluded and beautiful Island. The residents of Easter Island are trying their hardest to maintain and preserve the Island to the best of their ability – it would be a shame to miss it.
Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post (however affiliate links may be used which mean I earn commissions on purchases at no extra cost to you) and all thoughts are my own.
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