Exploring Rapa Nui – Easter Island in Five Days

I had been excited to visit Easter Island ever since I scored an amazing deal with airmiles and booked a $22 round trip flight to the island eleven months in advance. While it did not go exactly as I had imagined, the sights and history make Easter Island a wonderful destination to visit.

Though the population hovers just below 6,000 full time inhabitants, I struggle to imagine where they all are and what they do. The island is tiny, and its main town seems even smaller. Judging by the sheer amount of tourists on the plane ride over from mainland Chile, I had expected it to be a bustling tourists’ paradise.

Instead I found a handful of restaurants and shops and then very little but vast open spaces, twisting badly maintained roads, and hundreds of Moai. (For more photos of the Moai, click the previous link.)

Many people cautioned me that five full days on the island would not be enough to see everything, but I struggle to see how anyone stays there longer. I accomplished my whole list of things to see in about two or three days and just relaxed the rest of it.

Here's what I did to fill my time on the island.

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The Uncomfortable Side of Travel

Crater Guide on Easter Island

When I first announced I was taking a solo tour of the world, friends and family alike were concerned. At barely 5’4” and under a hundred pounds, my tiny size and gender had everyone frowning about what could go wrong.

I waved off their concerns and set off anyway. Now with more than a half dozen Central and South American countries under my belt, I can easily say I've felt safe and ignored almost everywhere I've been.

Easter Island has been the sole exception to this.

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The Best Easter Island Hotels for All Budgets and Styles

Ahu Tongariki on Easter Island

If there was one thing about exploring Rapa Nui that surprised us the most, it would be that there was an incredible range of accommodation options available for visitors.

For an island so remote, we thought we'd be paying an arm and a leg to stay there, and as it turns out there are options available for everyone- from the most frugal budget traveler to those wanting all the bells and whistles (except for good internet- that one is impossible on the island, unfortunately).

As this information is often lacking in most reviews of visits to the island, and may be the deciding factor on whether or not you visit (you should), we wanted to publish this guide to Easter Island hotels so you know just what you are looking at when planning a visit to this incredible spot in the middle of nowhere.

Read moreThe Best Easter Island Hotels for All Budgets and Styles

How Many Days Do You Need on Easter Island?

Ahu Tongariki on Easter Island

When it comes to helping others with their trips to Easter Island, we seem to get one question over and over again. 

It is simply this: how many nights do I need?

Considering Easter Island is only about 60 square miles and you can drive around it in a few hours, you may think you only need two or three night there.

But in order to truly see it all, we have determined that the magic number is five nights to visit Easter Island, and we have a very good reason for it.

Read moreHow Many Days Do You Need on Easter Island?