Getting Here and Around

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Getting Here and Around

By Air. Easter Island's shoe-box-size Aeropuerto Internacional Mataveri is on the southern edge of Hanga Roa. LAN operates all flights from Santiago to the east and Tahiti to the west. Seven flights a week arrive from Santiago throughout the year and two flights a week arrive from Tahiti. The planes are often full in January and February, so it's best to book far ahead and reconfirm your flights.

Tickets to Easter Island are expensive—up to $1,000 for a round-trip flight from Santiago. You'll get a better deal, however, if you package it with your flight to Santiago.

By Car. To see many of Easter Island's less traveled areas, a four-wheel-drive vehicle is a necessity. Except for the well-maintained road across the island to Playa Anakena and the road along the southern coast, the best you can hope for are gravel roads. The most isolated spots are reached by dusty dirt roads or no roads at all. None of the international car rental chains have offices on Easter Island, but there are two reputable local agencies, Insular and Oceanic, and the main tour operators also have vehicles for rent. They charge about 30,000 pesos for eight hours, or 35,000 pesos per day for a four-wheel-drive vehicle. If you plan on visiting during January and February, call a few days ahead to reserve a car. You can also rent cars at many restaurants, souvenir shops, and guesthouses. If you ask around, you may find a significantly cheaper rate than what the rental companies charge. It is important to note that there is no vehicle insurance on Easter Island and any damage is charged to the client.

By Taxi. With no buses on Easter Island taxis are a common form of transport, so it's never difficult to flag one down. Vehicles of the three radio taxi companies are identified by a yellow sign on the roof, but many local car owners also work as taxi drivers. They have a cardboard sign on the windscreen (and tend to be cheaper than radio taxis). Most trips to destinations in Hanga Roa should cost no more than 1,500 pesos (rates are lower for residents), but after 8 or 9 pm the price doubles.

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