When I ran out of supplies, I supplemented by eating empanadas for lunch, which are only a few dollars and can be found at most small shops, and by buying a fish from a local fisherman for the equivalent of $8 and cooking it myself (it would have cost $20 in a restaurant). You can find fish for sale every morning except for Sunday at Hanga Roa’s cultural center.
If you do buy food on the island, budget at least a dollar or two per fresh fruit or veggie item, at least $10 per meat item, and $15 or more per restaurant meal.
How to get around
Within the town of Hanga Roa, taxis are cheap at just $3.00; bicycles are great as well for the town and surroundings. A taxi doesn’t make sense for longer distances, as the price goes up significantly, and it takes about 90 minutes to make it from one side of the island to the other.
To visit the moai and the beach, I suggest driving yourself. Tours are expensive, so to get around I rented a motorbike and shared it with one other person. The motorbike cost $40 USD per day ($20 each), which afforded us freedom on the island. If renting a car, keep in mind that the price is negotiable and you can probably work out a discount.
The entrance to the national park is $60 for foreigners and is valid for the entire island. For most of the Moai, you don’t need any kind of entrance ticket and can visit as many times as you want, except for the quarry where the statues were carved and the museum at Rano Kau. You can visit each only once and they will demand to see your ticket. It would be a pity to travel all the way to Easter Island and miss these things, so I recommend coughing it up at the airport and just buying the ticket on arrival.
Additionally, besides seeing the famous statues, you can go scuba diving to see the sunken moai (spoiler alert: it’s actually just an old movie prop, but still cool!), go surfing, or just drive around to just see where the day takes you.
Easter Island was a trippy walk through the past. Few of the descendants of the original tribes are still left and nobody is exactly sure how or why the Moai were carved. That’s part of what makes Easter Island so alluring and interesting to visitors – it’s still partially an enigma.
By bringing my own food, scoring a cheap business-class ticket, driving myself around the island, and working out a deal with the owner of my accommodation, I saved myself hundreds of dollars off of what most tourists usually pay when visiting Easter Island. Easter Island was one of the most unique places I’ve ever visited. There was no way I would visit Chile without going. Through very careful and smart planning, you can visit the island without blowing your budget.
Kristin Addis is a native Californian who has been traveling the globe solo for four years now, visiting every continent (except for Antarctica) on her own. She’s hitchhiked solo around the world, climbed to some of the tallest peaks, and dived some of the deepest dives. She’s been featured in Buzzfeed, Business Insider, Glamour, and Daily Mail to name a few. Check out her award-winning blog, Be My Travel Muse, and find more of her amazing photography on her Instagram!
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