For over two years, Easter Island remained closed off to tourists due to the threats ongoing from the pandemic. But after a long wait, things changed and the island made some major modifications in order to re-open to the public.
Check out the article below for the latest on whether or not Easter Island is open to the public!
Is Easter Island open to the public?
Yes, Easter Island opened up to the public in August 2022. This opening came after the island had been shut off to the public for over two years since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.
While the island is now open to tourists, there are certain things that you need to know before deciding to plan a trip there. I’ll break these important things down in detail below.
There are still a limited number of flights
Starting in the fall of 2023, the flights may be closer to full speed in terms of volume but right now there are still only about three flights a week to Easter Island aboard LATAM’s 787 Dreamliner.
So while the island is open, it is not as easy to plan and book a flight as it was before the pandemic shut things down due to more limited flight inventory. Booking in advance is pretty important.
Related: How to get to Easter Island: Everything You Need to Know
Filling out your paperwork
Your first priority when getting to Easter Island is to make sure that your paperwork is in order.
You’ll 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. Don’t worry, it’s not that complicated.
Initially when the island reopened they required visitors to be fully vaccinated and present a negative PCR test taken no more than 24 hours before boarding a domestic flight to the island. Also, tourists aboard international flights to the island had to take an antigen test once they arrived.
However, they eventually relaxed the requirements so that if you had proof of vaccination you did not have to show a negative PCR test. (This was the policy when we visited.)
It’s possible that as more time goes by, the coronavirus requirements for vaccinations and testing may become more lax.
Unfortunately, it’s somewhat difficult to get real time information about these things from Easter Island because there is often little to no literature produced when a change is made.
Try to get into contact with a lodge owner or business owner and see if they can provide you with the latest details that you can later confirm (hopefully on a government website).
Related: Guide for getting through Santiago de Chile Airport (SCL) to Rapa Nui/Easter Island
Sites are only open if you have a guide
Whenever Easter Island opened back up, they changed the way that you explore the island.
Virtually every site on the island now requires you to have a guide or local host with you in order to get access. The price for a tour guide can very dramatically from $50-$200 a day depending on the guide and how long you will be exploring.
While the new rules will help keep unruly tourists under control, it makes it much more difficult and expensive to visit Easter Island now.
It is not possible to visit (and appreciate) all of the sites in one day.
This means that you will need a guide for at least two days and some people may even need three days to see it all. (When I say “see it all” I mean all of the spots that require guides and some spots inbetween — not the entire island which would take much more time.)
So you have to factor in the additional expense of hiring a guide which is on top of the $80 you will spend for your 10 day park pass (per person). As you can see, you may end up spending several hundred dollars just to get access to the basic archaeological sites.
Also, most of the Easter Island sites are not open 24 hours a day, so you’ll want to plan out an itinerary that allows you to see the sites within open hours.
Related: Complete Guide to Exploring Easter Island’s Rapa Nui National Park
Get familiar with the island
Easter Island is a special place but there are some things that will stand out that you want to know about.
Be sure to read our guide 21 Things You Need to Know About Easter Island Before Visiting. It will help you anticipate a lot of the big and small things that may catch you by surprise when you visit.
Easter Island is officially open to tourists after a very long wait.
While that is exciting news, it’s important to remember that some things have changed since the reopening and those changes don’t necessarily make your life easier as a tourist.
So stay up-to-date and be ready to take the extra steps for your planning and you should be able to enjoy your time on Easter Island if you choose to visit.
Daniel Gillaspia is the Founder of UponArriving.com and creator of the credit card app, WalletFlo. He is a former attorney turned full-time credit card rewards/travel expert and has earned and redeemed millions of miles to travel the globe. 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.