We had clients reach out to us about an Easter Island vacation, with a stopover in Santiago, Chile. It’s a fantastic custom itinerary, so we thought we’d share it with our readers! Here we go!
Day 1 – Depart the US on an overnight flight to Chile.
Day 2 – Arrive in Santiago, Chile in the early morning off of an overnight flight. Upon clearing Immigration and Customs, you are met and transferred to your hotel. Early check in included. Get oriented to Santiago, with an afternoon half day private guided city tour.
Start with a drive around Santa Lucia Hill, where Santiago was founded. Pass by the National Library which is the largest in the country and make a brief visit to the San Francisco church (built in 1586), the second oldest church in Chile. Located behind the church is the Paris-Londres neighborhood with its cobble stone streets and renovated mansions, reminiscent of the Latin Quarter in Paris, France. Proceed to the Presidential palace, La Moneda. The palace, a model of 18th century colonial architecture, is one of Santiago's most recognizable landmarks and a symbol of Chile's political past and its famously turbulent history. After your walk to La Moneda, you can also admire La Bolsa, the Santiago's Stock Exchange building which was built in the early 1900s under the design of Emile Jécquier. The architecture is reminiscent of the French Renaissance. Visit the Plaza de Armas, Santiago's main square and kilometer zero, the point from which all distances in the country are measured. Famous architecture in the square include the Metropolitan cathedral and the central post office, originally built as a house for Spanish conqueror Pedro de Valdivia. Close by stands the Justice Tribunal, in a neo-classical building housing the Supreme Court, ex-Congress and beautiful gardens. Next, head to the square is Mercado Central, a historic landmark, designed by Gustave Eiffel (best known for the Eiffel Tower in Paris). The market was opened in 1872 and features impressive neoclassical architecture. The market is famed for delicious seafood and other traditional Chilean dishes. Take a funicular to the top of San Cristobal Hill where there is a great 360 panoramic view of Santiago and where you can see the famous statue of the Virgin Mary. You will also visit the bohemian Lastarria neighborhood, lined with cafés, restaurants, small theaters, bookstores and boutique shops.
Day 3 – Depart on a full day private guided tour to Valparaiso and Vina del Mar with lunch included.
Your tour will depart from Santiago to the coastline located 120 kilometers from Santiago, passing through the fertile “Curacaví and Casablanca Valleys”, its vineyards, fruit plantations and forest reserves. Visit two important cities, “Viña del Mar”, the main seaside resort of Chile and “Valparaíso”, a port city founded in the XVI century and declared “World heritage by UNESCO”. See the emblematic places of Valparaíso, such as “National Congress”, “O’Higgins Park”, “Italia Park”, “Victoria Square”, “Sotomayor Square” and “Prat” dock located in the same port. You will then visit the Museum of the famous Chilean poet and writer and Nobel prize-winning in Literature (1971), Pablo Neruda named “Casa Museo La Sebastiana”. In the house, collections of old and navy maps and other paintings are kept. There are many other relics of the port and strange objects, such as music boxes and an antique carved wooden carousel horse. You will then walk through the wonderful viewpoints “Atkinson” and “Gervasoni” located in the most important hills of Valparaíso, “Cerro Alegre” and “Cerro Concepción”. Also, you will use its old and picturesque cable cars, which are still connecting this city.
After lunch, you will then continue along the oceanside to arrive at the city of Viña del Mar, which is very well-known as the “Garden City”. Walk past the picturesque “Flower Clock” and go through the “Peru Avenue” with its traditional “Casino” and fine “Hotel Del Mar”, which is the first in Chile, founded in 1930. See and take a picture of an authentic Moai from the Easter Island located on the outside of the important “Museum of Paleontology and Anthropology Fonck”.
Day 4 – Your day is at leisure to explore independently or to take in an optional tour.
Day 5 – Transfer to the airport for flight to Easter Island. On arrival, you are met and transferred to your hotel.
Days 6 and 7 – Enjoy two days of comprehensive explorations. Two Half Day and One Full day tours are included. With the full day tour, a boxed lunch is included.
Full Day tour The Arrival of Hotu Matu´a (with box lunch)
Departure from the hotel to get introduced to the process of colonization of the island and the cultural features of the first habitants of Rapa Nui. Highlight here is the story of Hotu Matua, the first king, who started a settlement that lasted more than 700 years and is recognized as the most prolific period of island culture On this excursion it is possible to visit the area where Hotu Matua disembarked, the sector where you can find his tomb and some of the places where the great part of the giant statues that the populate of Easter Island were built. The tour begins in the town of Hanga Roa and goes to Anakena Beach by the way of the center of the island, as it is known in Vaitea and concludes with the return to Hanga Roa by the south coast of Rapa Nui.
Half Day tour The Power of the Birdmen
Guided tour of some of the most important ceremonial centers of Easter Island. The tour includes rock paintings and archaeological sites of great cultural value, an ascent to the Rano Kau volcano and an interpretive trail through the ancestral town of Orongo. This route allows you to enter Rapa Nui mythology, learn about important elements of the island's geography and understand the enigmatic history of the ancient habitants of this remote point of the planet. This visit includes the places where the Tangata Manu (Bird Man) competition is developed annually, based on a fundamental legend of the Rapa Nui culture. The myth points out that the man who captures the first Manutara egg (characteristic of the Pascua-bird) will be invested with supernatural powers and will exercise the political-military leadership of the island for a year.
Half Day tour Looking Towards the Stars
This tour allows us to know and understand the connection of the ancient habitants of Easter Island with the Universe. The tour includes ceremonial centers founded in the central area of the island during the last period of construction of Moai, the most important of the Rapa Nui culture. They give emphasis to megalithic archaeological sites that show how astronomy determined the disposition of the giant statues and the platforms in which they are held, with which it is possible to enter into the worldview of the ancient Polynesian navigators who settled Easter Island. All points visited incorporate old sites that were created and used during the end of the Ahu-Moai phase. These sites represent various cultural developments of Rapa Nui history, all strategically deployed around ceremonial centers. Looking Towards the Stars includes three restored sites: Ahu Huri to Urenga, Ahu Akivi, Ahu Vai Teka and the quarry of Puna Pau, where the most attractive Pukao are (hats of red scoria that crown the heads of some Moai). Return to the hotel.
Day 8 - You are transferred back to the airport for your flight to Santiago. On arrival, connect to your overnight flight to the US.
Day 9 - Arrive home this morning.
So, what do you think? Pretty incredible, right?
Keep in mind—this is not an inexpensive vacation. Not so much because of Easter Island’s remote location—though, everything’s automatically more expensive when you’re thousands of miles from a major land mass. So much has to be imported that prices are more than you might think. But we’ve still got some vendors that can provide an Easter Island visit, complete with touring and accommodation, for a price that wouldn’t break the bank. The real expense for travelers is in the airfare to the island. Set in the middle of the South Pacific. There are infrequent cruises that visit Easter Island, but if you’re flying, keep in mind that there’s only one airline that flies here, and without competition, airfares are pricey. But once you get there? Man, oh, man! What a fantastic bucket-list destination!
This is certainly the trip-of-a-lifetime, but we can make arrangements comparable to these on a variety of budgets. If you’re ready to explore the mysteries and histories of Rapa Nui, let us know, and we’ll get started on a plan!