Before I begin, I met The 1500’s! Mr. and Mrs. 1500 are even more engaging, warm, and witty in person as they are on their blog, and it was such a treat to be able to meet them (and have Mr. 1500 plant the seed of going to Yosemite after seeing his cool pics). I say it constantly but I have to say it again – I would have never guessed that I would not only learn so much about personal finance through this blog and reading other blogs, but also meet these amazing people that I wouldn’t have normally encountered! 🙂 Okay, back to the regularly scheduled program:
When we first started this whole honeymoon planning, I
bullied made a request to B if we could please visit Easter Island as I’ve been obsessed about it ever since I had to take an art history course where I learned about the Moai statues. Once I laid my eyes on those amazing creations, I knew it was a place I wanted to visit one day. He agreed to it easily and wanted to also tack on Santiago since the daily flight to Easter Island flew out of there, as well as Buenos Aires since he prefers visiting cities. Had we done further research as some of the other Easter Island tourists did, we would have also probably tacked on the weekly flight from Easter Island to Tahiti, as that sounded really amazing. However, we still got some ‘island time’ with Easter Island, and for the 3 nights of hotel, all tours, and transportation, we spent a combined total of $970.
Here’s some highlights and good things to know about Easter Island:
Reciprocity fees –Easter Island is a territory of Chile, so no reciprocity fee was paid since Chile is now part of the Visa Waiver Program!
Transportation – the only transportation we used were the vans to take us to and from the airport, and during the tours. Otherwise, the island is pretty small and you can walk around the few blocks of the ‘main’ area. At night, though, be sure to bring a flashlight, as you share some walkways with the main road and it’s mostly dirt. Another tourist we met rented out a dirt bike to cruise around the island himself, and it sounds like it’s pretty pricey to do so.
Housing – We stayed at a hotel there that included a breakfast buffet every morning. Since it’s on an island and pretty rustic (it reminded me a lot of Kauai), it was pretty basic lodging, though it was clean, had modern bathrooms, and A/C.
Tours/Excursions – the tours were undoubtedly the best part of the trip, and I think a must to learn the history and culture of Rapa Nui and the Moai statues. There’s only about 5 or so tours total, and we did 2 half-day tours and 1 full day tour. During the tours, you get to learn about the Bird Man competition which seemed like an extreme version of triathlons, how the Moai statues were a tribute to their ancestors and not gods, that they face the island in order to protect their inhabitants, and how all the “randomly placed” statues while walking around the park were really their factory for making the Moais! You also get to learn how they were able to create them, transport them to and from their places (our guide stated it was something like this), and all sorts of great stories regarding them. The tours have Spanish, French, and English speaking guides, so communication wasn’t a problem. This was such an amazing experience and I relished this part of our honeymoon the most!
Currency – the currency is the Chilean Peso, and ATM’s and credit cards can be used with ease. I think they also accept USD in some places, but we just stuck with CHP.
Food – Food was pretty pricey in Easter Island at most restaurants, but if you dig a little deeper you can find some great eats for way cheaper. We ate a delicious chicken sandwich with avocado and cream cheese for around $5, though there’s some places that would also charge $20 for a fish burger with fries. And of course, pisco sours were present there, so we consumed those daily. Food and drink cost for 3ish days: approximately $350 since breakfasts were free at the hotel (this was divided with Santiago, but this is a reasonable guesstimate).
Souvenirs – there’s some great artisan shops around the main area, but we didn’t really find anything we super liked. We decided on 5 mini Moai statues made of the volcanic rocks from the island, and we’re going to place them in a framed shadow box. Total cost not including frames: approximately $14.
People – the tour guides were really nice but we didn’t really talk to anyone else other than tourists. The tourists were amazing, though, and came from all over the world and were traveling everywhere from Patagonia to Machu Picchu to Antarctica. It was really enjoyable getting to know other people, plus it gave B and I something to talk about other than ourselves. 🙂
Obviously, this was my favorite part of our honeymoon and despite it being somewhat costly with airfare (around $1300 for both), I have absolutely no regrets going on this awesome adventure! Final destination – Buenos Aires!