Getting through Santiago de Chile Airport (SCL) on your way to Rapa Nui/Easter island is a little bit different from a typical domestic flight and in this article, I will break down everything you need to know.
Filling out the Rapa Nui Entry Form
First, you probably want to fill out your Rapa Nui Entry Form before you ever arrive at Santiago de Chile Airport (SCL). You can fill out the form online here.
It only takes a couple of minutes to fill out but you will need to know:
- Flight departure number and date
- Seat (optional)
- Country of origin or previous connection
- Country of nationality
- Document type (e.g., passport)
- Document number (e.g., passport number)
- Phone number
- Flight departure
- Contact information
You will need to select the type of visiting status you have which will be “tourist” for lots of people.
For your hotel status, you can just select the first hotel that you will be staying at as we had three separate hotels during our stay.
Very shortly after you submit your form, you should receive an email confirmation. It is this email confirmation that you are going to print out and show at the airport so be sure to have it ready. (It basically summarizes all of your key details.)
We actually struggled to receive the email confirmation on a couple of occasions so if that happens to you, try to fill out and submit the form with a Google incognito browser. As soon as we tried that, it worked.
(We ended up submitting several forms but it did not end up causing any issues thankfully.)
When you arrive at the airport, you will need to head to the terminal for domestic flights known as Terminal Nacional (T1). Even though it is a domestic flight, LATAM recommended us to arrive four hours early due to potentially long lines.
We were arriving at around 5AM so I thought this was overkill but the airport was actually pretty busy during those early hours.
The reason why you would want to arrive early is because after you drop off your bags, you will have to go through an additional checkpoint which I will talk about in a second.
Checking bags to Rapa Nui/Easter Island
If you have bags to check, you can head to the standard check-in area for LATAM. We were flying business class so we took advantage of a very short line in the Premier check-in area but the line was already pretty long for economy.
Make sure that you have your Rapa Nui Entry Form ready because you will need to show it here at baggage check-in as well as at the security checkpoint later on.
We checked our bag and then headed back down some stairs and through a couple of long hallways to get to the checkpoint specifically designed for Easter island.
You will know whenever you hit the checkpoint because other domestic passengers will be directed to go in a different direction. Also, you can look for the signs which should be easy to find and those will direct you where to go for Rapa Nui/Easter Island.
We arrived at the security checkpoint a little under four hours prior to departure and there were already a dozen or so people in this area.
It’s essentially a small waiting area with some seats but they get taken up pretty quickly so you might have to be standing around or sitting on the floor if the area is particularly busy.
The checkpoint is directly adjacent to this area and the speed at which you go through may vary similar to customs and immigration.
At this checkpoint all we had to show was our passport and the Rapa Nui Entry Form. They did not ask us to provide any verification status for our vaccine status or even itineraries for the hotel stay or round trip.
That’s not to say that they won’t ask you those things, so it will be best to come prepared with all of those printed out and organized inside of a folder.
At the time of this article in February, 2023, they require proof of a negative Covid test if you do not have a vaccination but it’s possible that it could be changing.
While we were able to get through quickly, there were a couple of passengers who took a lot longer to get through. Why exactly that was the reason, I’m not sure. (From the time that they opened up the station to the time that we got through, it was about 15 minutes.)
After you get through the checkpoint, then you are free to head to your gate. You’ll be happy to know that there are no further checks for anything until you arrive in Easter island!
Just be aware that this process could be changed in the future. I have a feeling that Easter island will always require additional documents or verification so that they can keep extra close tabs on who is entering the island but the exact process could change.
Overall, the process of getting through the airport at SCL to Rapa Nui/Easter island is not quite as bad as it might appear. As long as you fill out your form, and have the requested documents on hand, you should not have a problem.
Daniel Gillaspia is the Founder of UponArriving.com and creator of the credit card app, WalletFlo. He is a former attorney turned full-time travel expert covering destinations along with TSA, airline, and hotel policies. Since 2014, his content has been featured in major publications such as National Geographic, Smithsonian Magazine, Forbes, CNBC, US News, and Business Insider. Find his full bio here.