Flight and hotel Easter Island
City breaks on Easter Island
One of the world's most mysterious and sequestered places, Easter Island features on many a bucket list. Chile is nearly 4,000 kilometres east of this emerald outcrop, peeking out of the Pacific like the famous statues that crown the island's coast.
Polynesian customs, white sand beaches and unspoilt fertile volcanic basins await. Sparkling sea and cloudless skies signal perfect surfing under the watchful gaze of the island's iconic stone statues. The island's famous Polynesian festival every February is a spectacle as unparalleled as Easter Island itself.
What to know before booking Easter Island flights and hotels
You can catch flights from Dublin and London to Easter Island with a range of airlines. Basic English is spoken by most people on the island, whereas Rapa Nui and Spanish are the local languages. The Chilean peso is in circulation on the island, which is five hours behind the UK.
When is the best time for city breaks to Easter Island?
Package holidays on Easter Island are well worth your time any time of year. Flights to and hotels on Easter Island peak in price during the summer season, which runs between December and March. Easter Island package holidays are most popular around February's vibrant Polynesian party. Music, dance and an ancestral sporting stand-off between two clans dominate the celebrations. Between December and March 21, the sun rises behind the island's fifteen grandest statues. While surfing season tends to peak in January and February, the waves are great year round.
What is there to do on Easter Island?
Beach life has never been better than on Anakena's white sand beach, which is overlooked by seven statues. Watersports heaven as this is, visitors can also combine beach activities with statue-spotting. At Ahu Ature Huki, look out for the lone statue, which was re-erected by Thor Heyerdahl in 1956.
Speaking of beach bum heaven, Waster Island is one of the oldest surfing destinations in the world. Ancient inhabitants used surfboards for fishing and travel, and the sport is still going strong. Head to Pea Beach for classes and rental, or the bays of Paka Ai and Papa Tangaroa for white-crested rollers.
A trip to the ceremonial village of Orongo is like a flight into a fantasy. The epicentre of a 'birdman cult' in the 18th century, the village perches, nest-like, on the side of a dormant volcano. The lake within the crater teems with life, while the houses look out on a sapphire sea, peppered with islands.
What is there to see on Easter Island weekends?
Year round, the remarkable mysteries of Easter Island exert their irresistible pull. Here's what to see:
- Attracting the curiosity of visitors from around the globe are the expressive yet enigmatic stone faces that stand atop Rano Raraku. Known locally as 'moai', these remarkable visages litter the volcano's slopes, gazing out on a panorama and the sparkling lake in the interior.
- Most Instagrammable of all Easter Island's sights are the monolithic Ahu Tongariki, fifteen impressive statues overlooking a ruined village and nearby petroglyphs. There's plenty to see here, not least the preponderance of ancient carvings of natural and sacred subjects.
- If you're checking out Easter Island's annual festival in February, you won't want to miss the triathlon. Slathered in decorative body paint, competitors take part in the Pora paddle across Rano Raraku crater in reed boats. Next, they run the Aku Venga carrying banana bunches on their shoulders, before swimming the lake to complete the race. Haka Pei is another highlight: contestants sledge down the mountain on banana tree trunks at speeds of up to 70mph.
Eating on Easter Island
Package holidays on Easter Island are further enhanced by fresh, exotic foods you won't find anywhere else. Mahi mahi, tuna and swordfish sizzle at plein-air restaurants, and succulent lobster, indigenous miniature lobsters and shrimp feature on most menus. Plaintain, yams and sugarcane are also popular. Tuck into tuna cooked on hot stones at the beach, and po'e plaintain cake. Try meals cooked with the curanto method, which involves slow cooking using red-hot stones. No time for slow cooking? Grab a traditional tuna patty with cheese and tomato and hike up into the mountains.
What to bring back from weekends on Easter Island?
Crafts and souvenirs from this exotic outpost of civilization encompass inexpensive jewellery and authentic artworks. The main shopping drag runs from Holy Cross Church to the coast. Visit the crafts market (open every day except Sundays) beside the church to savour local food and find handmade crafts. Pick up kava kava (sculptures with protruding ribs), reimiro (crescent-headed sculptures) or pukao headdresses.