World-famous for its captivating statues known as the “moai,” Easter Island is an adventurous destination. Its uniqueness and secluded vibe make it so authentic that many tourists end up being drawn to Chile because of Easter Island alone.
While visiting it sure sounds exciting, going to Easter Island is usually a once-in-a-lifetime trip, as it’s quite expensive and remote. To secure an awesome stay, you should pick the best time to visit Easter Island based on your travel preferences.
Follow along to learn all about Easter Island’s climate, activities, shoulder seasons, and potential itinerary costs. Let us be your guide!
Why You Should Visit Easter Island in 2023
The main reason why people head to Easter Island is because of its monumental statues. But the island is so much more than the moai and their history.
Here are some reasons why you should bother visiting Easter Island in your lifetime:
- The island’s home to three extinct volcanoes — Rano Kau, Terevaka, and Poike. Whether you wish to observe an impressive crater, such as the one Rano Kau has, or see the one that occupies the largest portion of the island (Terevaka), visiting any of Easter Island’s volcanoes is bound to be a thrilling experience.
- Easter Island is worth visiting for its eco lodges alone. You have Posada de Mike Rapu, created with local wood and boasting an intimate atmosphere. Being the first lodge in South America to receive the so-called LEED certification (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), Posada de Mike Rapu offers spectacular ocean views and an environment that feels like home. With 79 bedrooms, Hangaroa Eco Village & Spa is in close proximity to Hanga Roa. Built in an authentic eco style, Hangaroa Eco Village & Spa is for those seeking a luxurious Easter Island experience.
- You can’t make it to Easter Island without making Rapa Nui National Park one of your top priorities. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the park is proof that the island’s cultural heritage goes hand in hand with its natural beauty, captivating bays, and stunning cliffs and caves.
- If you’re an avid hiker, wait till you reach Easter Island and discover a myriad of breathtaking views and hiking opportunities. Popular trekking routes include Terevaka, Rano Kau, North-West Coast, and Poike.
- You can chill out on some of the island’s magnificent beaches. While Anakena Beach may be the most popular one, others worth visiting include Pea, Ovahe, and Hanga Vare Vare.
- Let the water wash all your troubles away by taking a surfing lesson (or two). Beginners should look for classes in the Hanga Roa area with waves adequate for their skillset, whereas more experienced surfers can go to Tahai or Mataveri right away.
- For a more urban touch (although nowhere near as urban as “normal” towns get), head to the island’s main and only town of note — Hanga Roa. Situated on the southern part of the island’s west coast, Hanga Roa is home to all the shops, restaurants, and museums.
All in all, if you have any doubts about whether heading to this in-the-middle-of-nowhere island and paying a costly plane ticket is worth your time (and money!), the answer is a resounding yes!
Overall Best Time to Visit Easter Island
The overall best time to visit Easter Island is in fall (March–May).
You can hit the Anakena beach and marvel at the white sand, head to Ahu Te Pito Kura to see the largest moai, visit Rano Raraku to see what a volcanic crater made up of consolidated volcanic ash looks like, or go to Ahu Tongariki and take many photos.
In April, the Arts and Culture Week is an absolute must. Hosted by the Tongariki Cultural Center, this event provides local products, workshops, a wide range of music performances, and other engaging activities.
Then there’s the Easter Island Marathon in May or June. Accepting just 150 runners (50 of which are locals), this running event, which also includes a half marathon and a 10K run option, is one of the most intimate and exclusive running competitions worldwide.
The race starts in Hanga Roa’s center, resumes at the island’s center, and wraps up back in Anakena Beach. March, April, and May have temperatures within the range of 63.9°F and 80.4°F.
Cheapest Time to Visit Easter Island
The cheapest time to head to Easter Island is from late August to early September.
Note that when discussing the cheapest time to visit Easter Island, we refer to securing better airfare prices than the usual ones and more affordable accommodation options, as Easter Island is going to be a rather pricey adventure regardless of when you go.
That said, even if you can’t head to Easter Island during this particular period (as it’s a very brief one), booking your tickets and accommodation well in advance may be just what helps you visit this remote destination without necessarily breaking the bank.
Finally, many people are under the illusion they can travel to the island by boarding the Aquiles operated by the Chilean Navy.
However, the truth is that this vessel departs once or twice a year from Valparaiso, and it’s only for naval staff and selected individuals traveling for business purposes.
Plus, the ship takes around seven days to reach the island, which isn’t something most travelers will be able to afford time-wise anyway.
Others end up looking for various cruise options, but this is something that may cost you up to several thousand dollars — sticking to flying during the period we just discussed is hands down the most convenient (and affordable!) option.
August and September have average temperatures between a high of 71.1°F and a low of 59.7°F.
Least Busy Time to Visit Easter Island
The least busy time to visit Easter Island is in the December–February period, with the exception of the first two weeks in February (you’ll see why in a minute).
While Easter Island usually sees moderate crowds, and there’s never an influx of tourists, such as with other popular tourist hotspots in the world, those who really wish to enjoy the location in tranquility and quiet should bookmark these months and look forward to having the island to themselves.
Given the island’s climate, visitors can get out and explore the island in whatever way they want.
From going to the beach, horseback riding, and hiking all the way to the volcanoes to exploring archeological sites, spelunking, or snorkeling, Easter Island has something for everyone. December and January visitors should expect temperatures fluctuating between 65.1°F and 77.7°F.
Worst Time to Visit Easter Island
The worst time to visit Easter Island is in early February, or more specifically, the first two weeks of February.
This is when the Tapati Rapa Nui Festival happens, so these two weeks see extremely elevated prices — even visitors who dream about making it to the festival may be put off from scheduling their trip.
Those who do end up booking, however, will pay an arm and a leg. Plus, February is one of the school holiday months for Chileans, which translates into larger crowds.
That said, the Tapati Rapa Nui festival is a week-long cultural festivity and not only the biggest event on the island but all of Polynesia in general. Locals are divided into two separate clans fighting for two titles — king and queen of the island.
People play some ancient games, such as Haka Pei (sliding on a banana tree trunk down a cliff), and there’s excitement in the air. Other festival activities include dancing, swimming, canoeing, and triathlon, to name a few.
While this is all very enticing, if you’re hoping to enjoy Easter Island, you may find yourself more immersed in the festival chaos and crowds rather than focused on experiencing the island the way you might have expected.
A warm month, February has average temperatures ranging between a high of 81.1°F and a low of 68.4°F.
Things to Consider
Visiting Easter Island will be adventurous no matter how much you prepare or believe you have learned in the process of planning your trip.
Still, there are certain pieces of information we believe you should consider before embarking on this exciting island quest:
- Most travel guides suggest that the island and its residents aren’t keen to interact with foreigners. While this may be certainly true, heading there in some of the shoulder months when things are calmer allows you to establish some more meaningful contact and get insights into the Rapa Nui culture. Locals love it when foreigners show honest interest in their culture and will happily discuss things with you and share information you probably can’t come across anywhere else. Do note that while few people speak English, Spanish might be just the language tool that will get you what you need.
- Reaching Easter Island from Chile is a walk in the park, as there are flights up to three times per day during the island’s high season and twice in the shoulder months. That said, make sure to double-check flight availability and options, as these things might change.
Tip: if you go by plane, we recommend booking a window seat on the plane’s left side. We don’t want to spoil things for you — all we’ll say is enjoy the view! Oh, and if you end up booking a LATAM flight, rumor has it that booking via the Chile website is cheaper than opting for the US site.
- Make sure to bring enough Chilean pesos. You may be surprised to hear that specific restaurants, hotels, and even tour agencies will charge you less if you pay in cash. Also, certain locations, such as Anakena Beach, function on a cash-only basis, so relying solely on your credit card during your stay can be somewhat challenging in any case.
- Airfare costs aren’t the only expensive aspect of your Easter Island getaway — if you visit, you’ll figure out soon enough that food prices are quite high as well. This may surprise you, but the thing is that, as a result of the island’s remoteness and isolation, many ingredients are imported at a much higher cost, which translates into higher prices for consumers.
- Biking on the island is tempting due to the small distances, but given how unpredictable the weather can get, at times, cycling may very well be an uncomfortable activity.
- Non-Rapa Nui Chilean visitors and all other foreigners are allowed to stay on Easter Island for a maximum of 30 days.
- It’s not uncommon for flights to be delayed thanks to high winds, so be flexible with your itinerary plans, as you may find yourself waiting in Santiago or staying on Easter Island for an additional day or two.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are five facts about Easter Island?
Here are five interesting facts about Easter Island:
- Easter Island is home to more than 900 moai — all of which are in different stages of completion.
- The island got its name from Jacob Roggeveen, a Dutch admiral who is said to be the first European guest landing on Easter Sunday back in 1722.
- While no one can claim when exactly the moai were created, it’s estimated that it was between 1100 and 1650 AD.
- The tallest statue is said to be 38ft and was discovered by Thor Heyerdahl, a Norwegian explorer.
- The first inhabitants had two names for Easter Island: Rapa Nui (Great Rapa) and Te Pito te Henua (Navel of the World).
Is Easter Island expensive?
If you’ve made it this far with our guide, you probably know Easter Island is an expensive destination. To help you plan your budget, take a look at the following figures based on previous travelers’ expenses:
- You should set aside CL$76,439 ($97) per day during your stay on the island.
- You’ll need around CL$23,484 ($30) for food and CL$2,468 ($3.12) for transportation purposes per day.
- Average hotel prices for couples cost around CL$84,434 ($107).
Depending on your travel style, you’ll need:
- CL$32,722 ($41) per day per person if you’re on a budget;
- CL$76,439 ($97) per day per person if you can financially handle mid-range expenses;
- CL$156,551 ($198) per day per person if you have no budget limitations at all.
Finally, note that these figures are approximations and more than likely to change over time.
How long does it take to drive across Easter Island?
Being one of the smallest islands in the entire world, driving across it takes around an hour or so.
How do you get around Easter Island?
You can navigate Easter Island by either renting a car or sticking with a taxi. If you’re up for driving, it’s the far better option. Having your own car is much more convenient and allows you to explore the island at your own pace and stick to your pre-planned itinerary.
That said, note that car rentals come with their own set of challenges, such as not being insured, which means that if you damage it, you’ll be the one to pay for it.
But don’t sweat it — considering that the island is more or less empty-ish most of the time, chances are you (and the rented vehicle) will be just fine.
How do people on Easter Island make a living?
Tourism is said to be the biggest source of income for the islanders. However, even that has its own limitations — for instance, there isn’t a plethora of hotel chains. Many times, people provide accommodation as an extension of their own homes.
What language is spoken on Easter Island?
Rapa Nui is the native language spoken on the island. While the language developed in an isolated manner thanks to the island’s remoteness, it does have influences from other cultures from the 20th century, which resulted in a wide range of loanwords from French, Spanish, Tahitian, and even English.
That said, nowadays, the language is spoken by the minority, as most older adults also speak Spanish on the island. In other words, as children grow up, they’re taught Spanish, and if they end up learning Rapa Nui, it’s usually later in life.
Is there WiFi on Easter Island?
While there’s WiFi on Easter Island, don’t expect to have Internet at all times. As a result of the island’s isolation, the reception isn’t always ideal, although the island has the necessary infrastructure and modern facilities.
What foods are eaten on Easter Island?
If you visit Easter Island, you have to try the following:
- Tunu Ahi
- Umu Rapa Nui
- Rapa Nui tuna ceviche
- Tuna Carpaccio
- Tuna patties
- French fries and shrimp sauce
- Fruits such as coconuts, pineapples, plantains, guava, custard apples, mangoes, and avocados;
- Hand-made ice cream
So, When Should You Go to Easter Island?
All in all, although a year-round destination, the best time to visit Easter Island in fall, in the March–May period. You can either unwind and enjoy the breathtaking views or opt for a more dynamic stay and engage in many of the outdoor activities the island is known for.
The cheapest time to go to Easter Island is from late August to early September. While visiting Easter Island can never be a cheap getaway, this period allows you to go slightly easier on your wallet by securing better accommodation prices alongside airfare tickets.
The least busy time to visit Easter Island is in the December–February period. That said, the island never gets crowded in the same way “normal” islands or cities can get, but if you wish to experience as much solitude there as you can, consider the above-mentioned months.
The worst time to find yourself on Easter Island (if such a thing even exists) is during the first two weeks of February. These two weeks are marked by the island’s biggest festivity — the Tapati Rapa Nui Festival, which draws visitors to the island.
With that being said, if you’re looking to add a bit of cultural touch to your island experience, then heading to Easter Island in the midst of festival chaos may not be such a bad idea after all.
On the whole, if you’re looking for a destination that is highly protective of its cultural heritage and sites and limits the number of visitors so each person can enjoy their stay without fighting large crowds, Easter Island is a terrific destination that simply has to be part of your bucket list.
So what are you waiting for — book your trip today and experience for yourself all that Easter Island has to offer. Happy travels!