February 6-16, 2019
Easter Island is a wonderful enigma; a remote dot in the blue South Pacific, more than 2,000 miles from the nearest neighbors. The Rapanui people thrived in their isolation, creating a culture unlike any other. Nearly 1,000 carved stone moai bear witness to this, as do the ceremonial platforms, petroglyphs, cave art and more. The Rapanui also developed the only written language in all of Polynesia. In time these once-great seafarers lost the ability and resources to build boats and leave the island again.
Join us as we explore this remarkable island, delve into the history and experience her culture today.
EXPEDITION OVERVIEW & LENGTH:
Our expedition is 11 days in length, plus 2 travel days. For two weeks each year Easter Island/ Rapa Nui / Isla de Pascua cuts loose and celebrates their cultural heritage through song, dance, native crafts, and historically symbolic although very quirky sporting events.
February 6-16, 2019
Group size is limited to just 14 participants, plus the Tour Escort and in-country guides.
February 6 • INTERNATIONAL ARRIVAL / SANTIAGO
On arrival this morning transfer to the centrally located Hotel Plaza San Francisco (your room will be available for early arrival). Remainder of morning at leisure. This afternoon tour around Santiago, visiting the city's most outstanding attractions, including a walking tour downtown visiting the Plaza de Armas, the Cathedral, Ahumada Boulevard, and the Government Palace; "La Moneda." Then, by vehicle, visit the main avenues of old Santiago, crossing the bohemian neighborhood of Bellavista and drive to San Cristobal Hill, for a magnificent panoramic view of the city and the Andes Mountain Range. The afternoon finishes with a stop at the artisan village of Los Graneros del Alba. This evening we enjoy a welcome dinner in the charming Bellavista Neighborhood of Santiago. Overnight Santiago.
February 7 • VALPARAISO
Today we travel through some of Chile's richest wine country, reaching the charming port city of Valparaiso. The city retains an old European feel, with an urban landscape made up of picturesque narrow streets lined with colorful houses, and giant ships moored at the wharves. This piece of coastline is one of the world's more beautiful ports. The area was the home and inspiration of Pablo Naruda; Chile's Nobel prize winning poet and writer - tour his eclectic hillside home. Late afternoon return to Santiago. Evening Free. Overnight Santiago.
February 8 • SANTIAGO to EASTER ISLAND
This morning we transfer to the Santiago airport for the LAN Airlines flight to Easter Island. The morning flight will have us on Rapa Nui midday. Lei greeting and transfer to the Aloha Nui Guest House upon arrival. This afternoon we begin our exploration of the island with a walking orientation tour of Hongo Roa Village and the Tahai archeological site. Overnight Aloha Nui Guest House.
February 9 - 15 • EASTER ISLAND
Five of our six full days will be guided excursions. Our expert local guide will select specific visitor sites for each day to maximize the viewing opportunities, minimize overlapping with other groups, and hopefully put us near out-of-town festival events. We will be visiting all of the major sites, including Tahai, Tongariki, Vinapu, Anakena, Orongo, Rano Raraku and Akivi. More than that, we will also visit many off-the-beaten-path sites, including un-restored ahu, ceremonial plazas, secret gardens, house foundations, caves, petroglyphs, and so much more.
A free day on Easter Island is the perfect opportunity to explore independently, enjoy festival events, or just relax! Cars, jeeps, & bikes are available for rent in town depending on your interests and energy. The only way to visit the roughly one-third of the island's coastline without a road is either by hiking or renting horses (the horse trip, with a cowboy/guide is a great way to see it!). Small motor boats can take visitors out to circumnavigate some of the neighboring motu (small islets) that feature so heavily in island history. You can also stroll the streets of town, visit the artisan's market, go diving, take surf lessons, or just relax and take in being on Rapa Nui!
Evenings during the Tapati festival see locals and visitors alike taking in elaborate (free) dance or music performances on the open-air stage. It is not uncommon to see 100 or more performers on stage at one time, all being cheered on by their neighbors.
February 15 • EASTER ISLAND to SANTIAGO
A mid-day LAN flight will have us back in Santiago early–evening. On arrival we will transfer back to the Hotel Plaza San Francisco for the night. Remainder of evening Free.
February 16 • SANTIAGO - INTERNATIONAL DEPARTURE
Transfer to the airport for you international flight home, or to future adventures in Chile... Patagonia, Atacama Desert...
$4,500 per person (double occupancy) / $4,950 single but willing to share / $5,800 guaranteed single
For single travelers we are happy to try and schedule a roommate for you. If we fail to find a roommate you will be invoiced at the "willing to share" rate. Alternately we have a limited number of guaranteed singles available if you prefer.
INCLUDED IN EXPEDITION COST:
All lodging in Chile, including 3 nights in Santiago and 7 nights on Easter Island; Meals as noted, including breakfast daily; baggage handling at airports; all tours foreseen as part of our trip; private road transport; national park entrance fees; an expert local guide accompanying the group on Easter Island; and a tour escort from Galápagos Travel accompanying the group throughout.
NOT INCLUDED IN EXPEDITION COST:
Any airfare, either internationally or between Santiago and Easter Island; passport or visa fees; travel insurance; travel inoculations or medications; drinks; tips to the local guides; items of a personal nature, including laundry and communications charges.
DEPOSITS & PAYMENTS:
A deposit of $500 per person is required to reserve space. The balance of the Land Cost is due 90 days prior to departure. We accept personal checks, Visa & MasterCard for deposits and payments.
CANCELLATIONS & INSURANCE:
Any cancellations shall be in writing. All deposits and payments are non-refundable. In this respect, participants are strongly encouraged to purchase Travel Protection Insurance.
The island is only serviced by one airline: LATAM (formerly LAN Chile). Flights are several times a week from either Santiago, Chile. Flight time is roughly 5 hours from Santiago. Once a week there is a flight from Tahiti, 2,200 miles to the west.
Santiago is served by most major airlines, with U.S. gateways including Los Angeles, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta & Miami.
Our office is happy to assist with flight bookings as we are often able to beat the fares from LATAM. It is not unheard of for flights to sell out 6 months in advance.
Our on-island programs are designed by the husband and wife team of Ramon & Josie. One of them will be our private guide as well. Ramon Edmund is the son of arguably the most influential family on the island and was raised here, with a few years spent abroad attending college in the U.S. Josie Mulloy is half Rapanui, and the granddaughter of William Mulloy, the famed American anthropologist and archeologist known for his work in Polynesia and Easter Island, and the first to re-erect any of the fallen moai. She was raised in the U.S. and moved to Rapa Nui in her 20's. Both are outstanding guides and passionate about their island, from the history to the culture, and love sharing it with visitors.
The Tour Escort for this expedition is Mark Grantham from Galápagos Travel. Mark first traveled to Rapa Nui 2003 and since that time he has been under the spell of the island, returning half a dozen times.
Accommodations in Santiago are at the centrally located 5 star Hotel Plaza San Francisco.
On Rapa Nui we will be staying at the charming Aloha Nui guesthouse. The ranch-style former residence of Ramon's family, the Aloha Nui is set in a lush walled garden compound on the main street of Hanga Roa, about a 10 minute stroll from the center of the village. Over the years it has been added on to a couple of times and the original house turned into the Residencial Aloha Nui with 6 guest rooms (all with private bath) plus a spacious sitting room overlooking the garden. Attached to the house by a breezeway is another building housing the palatial dining room, another sitting room, and the kitchen. Breakfasts are a leisurely and extravagant affair. Past guests at the Aloha Nui have included presidents and politicos from several countries, American rock stars, the Ecuadorian artist Guayasamin (two of who’s pieces are personally inscribed to the hosts and hanging in the house), and the Chilean poet Pablo Neruda. A bakery, restaurant, and small convenience store are all found just outside front gate.
Breakfast is included daily. We will have a group welcome dinner in Santiago, plus lunch is included on the day tour to Valparaiso. On Easter Island we will have three group lunches, plus a farewell BBQ dinner at the guest house. For any non-included meals on Easter Island there are a wealth of restaurant options within walking distance of our guest house.
Most dietary restrictions/allergies can be catered to – if concerned about this please talk to us prior to joining the expedition.
TAPATI FESTIVAL SCHEDULE:
The Tapati festival is really an event by and for the locals, which has become an island-wide celebration today. The dates are typically in the first two weeks of February but the exact schedule will likely not be announced until roughly August 2018.
WHAT TO EXPECT:
Quite simply, expect to be amazed! The mysterious history and culture of this small dot of an island in the Pacific is sure to captivate with the ever-present moai. Easter Island might be light on unique flora and fauna, but rich in other ways.
Independent snorkeling is an option is several places, or by taking a boat trip to surrounding islets.
The activity level on this expedition is generally easy. Walks are short, seldom more than the equivalent of a few blocks, on gravel trails or grassy fields. We anticipate traveling by minibus and roads are mostly well paved. There is however minimal shade on the island.
The town of Hanga Roa is home to many restaurants, featuring a delightful mix of Chilean & Polynesian cuisine, including fresh seafood and local produce.
Most nights during Tapati there are free open-air performances on the festival stage. Seating tends to be limited to VIP guests and local seniors, then visiting seniors, with everyone else standing.
The photographic opportunities are unique, between the monumental carved moai, panoramic views, and festival celebrations and performances often carried out in traditional dress.