Rapa Nui Affordable Adventure – Easter Island

I don’t care what people say Easter Island or as it’s originally called, “Rapa Nui” is not Chile and thus why I opted to not include it in my post about Chile. Thus why I chose to craft this Rapa Nui affordable adventure – Easter Island post as a stand alone travel article. Easter Island definitely has a Polynesian feel. This is to be expected given its location and since the locals consider themselves more Polynesian and not Chilean. I too would agree with them.

Why Visit Easter Island

They say roughly only 70,000 people visit the island each year. Compared to 51 million a year in Chicago, to help draw perspective. With a population of a little over 5,000 inhabitants, you can imagine how small and uninhabited the island is. I do envision this changing as increased building in Hanga Roa is happening. Currently Rapa Nui is a secluded whimsical travel location. You can ride through it’s limited paved highways and hardly pass any vehicles or people. This is amazing for enjoying the sights but not helpful when you’re ATV breaks down.

In my Latina solo travels, I’ve never explored a place where I felt as if I was the first person discovering the moai statues. Or where I felt like an area was closed to the public for only me to enjoy. Like a VIP or A-list celebrity. It’s beautiful to roam the land and see the moai’s without being shoved souvenirs down your throat.

Fellow travelers, places like this still DO exist!!!! Don’t let a budget or hearing its expensive limit you to visiting this unicorn destination. I show you how to experience more in Rapa Nui / Easter Island without breaking the bank.

Disclaimer: This Rapa Nui ffordable Adventure – Easter Island article may contain affiliate links. At no extra cost to you, we receive a small commission on purchases made through these links. By making a purchase using these links, you are directly supporting and allowing me, a Latina travel blogger to continue providing you with free high-quality travel guides. Thank you!

Plan YOur Affordable Rapa Nui Adventure





Is Easter Island Budget-Friendly

It shouldn’t come as a shock to hear that Easter Island is expensive. The island is in the middle of the Pacific ocean. It’s closest mainland is Santiago, Chile, which is a five hour flight. Everything is imported into the island, which means everything is expensive. This includes accommodations, food and activities. But, I can assure you that it is worth it. And there is good news, I managed to find ways to cut some of those costs mentioned above. Why? I couldn’t visit Chile and not visit the place that has been on the top my travel bucket list.

The areas I found, I could be more frugal while backpacking Rapa Nui was accommodation and food.

Affordable Easter Island accommodation

Affordable accommodation Easter Island

Hostels start at $25-$35 USD and options are limited and/or book up quickly.

I opted to camp in Easter Island at eco-campground Camping Mihinoa for half the cost per night. The cost included the tent, mattress and sleeping bag. The site of the campground is right in front of the ocean so you get an exceptional view. Showers are clean but it is recommended to shower during the day as the hot water is powered by solar energy.

Another thing to note is that while the kitchen is very clean and big the cooking tools provided by the site are very basic like pots, pans, pasta drainers etc. No wine or can opener, cooking oil or salt for example. I managed to borrow from the neighboring hostel when I made friends with management after I rented my ATV from them.

Additionally their lounge area reminds me more of a basic lobby reception with nothing to really entertain you with. WIFI was slow but this was expected given the location and size of Easter Island.


Saving On Food While Explore Easter Island

Saving On Food While Explore Easter Island

In terms of saving on food costs and whenever you want to cut costs while traveling. The easy way is to buy groceries and cook/eat meals at your accommodation.

From other blogs, Chilean locals and those who have traveled to Easter Island, I heard that grocery shopping in Easter Island can be just as expensive as going to a restaurant. Remember, food gets imported here, after all.

I advise you to buy food in Chile and bring this with you on the island. Many people do this and while I ended up with a 20 Kilos (45 Lbs) backpack for my trip, I paid only $5 USD a day on my meals.

Getting Around Easter Island

Affordable transportation on Easter Island
Rapa Nui affordable adventure method – ATV

Rent either a car, ATV (Quatrimoto) or scooter if you have a license for motorcycles. These may be rented per 24 hours increments by some of the shops in town. You may also ask your accommodation for preferred operators. For example, if you pick up at 11am, you drop off at 11am the next day.

Be sure to book your airport transfer which will save you time when arriving. I would recommend Planet Andina HERE.

Backpacing Rapa Nui Tip
While the island is small, walking is only an option if you are use to walking 2 to 4+ hours each way to get to places. Some fellow campers did walk and would ask for rides along the way.

Low-cost Itinerary In Rapa Nui

This is how I would suggest you fill these days. (See map further below for reference on various moai area names)

Day 1

Spend your first day visiting the main 2 stretches of Easter Island. This covers Anakena beach and the more famous statues in the areas of Rano Raraku and Ahu Tongariki. There are only 2 main roads that connect at the beach. This is also the farthest point from the city. (35 minute via ATV ride) You can easily do the loop in one day with proper transportation.

Easter Island Money Saving Tip
Pack a lunch, water, etc. as the island is limited with shops, restaurants outside of Hanga Roa

Day 2

Explore the areas closer to the city which are more walkable such as Orongo, Rano Kau, Ana Kai Tangata and Hanga Piko. Following lunch, you can spend the afternoon visiting the northern side of Hanga Roa to see Ahu Tepeu, Ana Kakenga. Enjoy watching the sunset from Tahai.

Easter Island Money Saving Tip
I opted to pay for a cab ride to the top of Orongo and walk down from there. A bit lazier but made my trek down more enjoyable and obviously less tiring.

Day 3

On your third day do an activity of your choice. Top ones are scuba diving, surfing, horseback riding, boat rides, massages or spend the day at the beach. Other options could also be checking out their Anthropology museum or their Botanical garden.

Explore other activities and tours available in Easter Island HERE.

Treat Yourself Activity

A Rapa Nui affordable adventure shouldn’t be all budget. If you fancy seeing a traditional Curanto show, they have 3 in the city. All of them alternating on days and the only night they don’t operate is on Sunday. They offer two options based on your budget, either just the show or show and dinner.

Exploring the Enigmatic Easter Island Rapa Nui

Traveling To Rapa Nui Tips

  • Keep in mind that their is a price to enter the island. This acts as your ticket to enter the various moai areas and you should carry with you when visiting the moai’s. Some areas will check and stamp this. When I visited this was to be paid in cash.
  • While you can visit many of the moai sites as many times as you wish, the only exception is Rano Kau and Rano Raraku. Leverage your time here to make it worth your visit.
  • Places that accept cards typically charge a 5-6% fee. Bring cash and save more my budget traveler.
  • Cabs have set fares for rides in the city with prices for locals and tourist. Fare prices also change based on time of day.
  • If you come with a mobile plan note that you will only have signal in the city. Outside of the city, signal is limited. Given the size of Rapa Nui, if something does happen, if you see someone, they will gladly help you.
  • The people here are exceptionally nice. They will do what they can to aid you and expect nothing in return.

Easter Island Locals

Local Story One

I make mention of how nice the people are here as my ATV adventure was one for the fellow travelers books. I accidentally dropped my mobile phone and credit cards out of my pockets due to the vibrations of the ATV. When I figured it out, I ended up having to retrace my steps aimlessly hoping that by chance I would find my items. 2 locals saw me and called me to their field to return my cell phone and credit cards. They realized I must have been the owner of said items by how I was staring at the ground. Loosing your phone and credit cards back home is one thing. Loosing your phone and credit cards in a big city while traveling is another thing. But loosing your phone and credit cards in an island is a new level of nerve wracking.

Local Story Two

After my cell phone and credit card ordeal I continued my journey with the rented ATV. Half way to the beach the ATV starts to break down. Of course I start freaking out as there was no one around and with no signal. Miraculously, I figured out how to use the reserve gas tank to make it back to the hostel I rented it from. I switched out the ATV to a different model with management even offering to extend my return time for the mishap.

Local Story Three

Finally, because I couldn’t end my ATV adventure without another story. I ran out of gas 2 blocks away from the only gas station in the island. I admit this one was totally my fault, I honestly didn’t see how much gas I had left. The girl at the rental said I should have enough for 2 trips back and fourth to the beach. Regardless, the locals once again proved how nice they were. A man helped me move the ATV to a safer location, while a woman called the girl I rented the ATV from. The girl came with a gas tank and took me to the gas station. I’m happy to say that while I loved riding on the ATV, I was more than ready to return it at this point.

Final Rapa Nui Comments

My motto is God, family, travel in that order with God coming first. I know that God was certainly looking over me and had my guardian angels working in my favor. I know things could have been worse, but I’m blessed to say they didn’t.

I share these Latina female solo traveler stories because as travelers not everything is perfect. You do find yourself with those “Travel Problems”. But as with life, you take a deep breath, go through the motions, overcome and learn from it. Regardless of my mishaps, which now makes for a great storyies. I’ll admit, that as I peacefully and lonesomely looked at the Pacific Ocean from the top of Orongo, I got choked up with emotions. I couldn’t have felt more blessed to be in this island.

Know that if this island interests you too, that the higher powers will also make it happen.

Bonus: Chilean Escapade

In order to visit Easter Island, I made a stop in Chile which is the easiest way to get to the remote island. See how you too can make this stop and visit multiple places during your trip.

More on my Chilean Escapade visiting Santiago & Valparaiso in this post HERE.

Want to discover where else you can visit in Latin America by a Latina travel blogger?

Chilean Escapade

See my TRAVEL GUIDE SECTION for tips and recommendations for other bordering countries. Learn how to get there, where to stay, eat and what to do!

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