This classic 8-day Chile and Easter Island itinerary takes you from Santiago de Chile to the enigmatic Easter Island. Enjoy the modern and historical highlights of Chile’s sophisticated and eclectic capital city, then head to Easter Island, aka Rapa Nui, in the Pacific Ocean for a chance to marvel at the moai, the giant human forms carved from stone. Learn about the heritage of the Rapa Nui people, the island’s native Polynesians.
Santiago de Chile
Chile’s exciting capital city is characterized by skyscrapers against a stunning snow-capped mountain backdrop. There’s lots to see and do here, and the best way to take it all in is on a downtown walking tour through the historic district. Start at the main avenue, the Alameda Bernardo O’Higgins, and head to La Moneda, the Government Palace.
Walk through the pedestrian streets of Huérfanos and Ahumada, and visit the famous main square of the city, the Plaza de Armas, where you’ll see the beautiful Catedral Metropolitana de Santiago. Continue to Santa Lucia hill, which is a great vantage point for viewing the city. Stroll around Providencia with its top restaurants, elegant shops, and modern high-rise buildings. Finally, a highlight of any visit to Santiago is taking the funicular up to Cerro San Cristobal, the city’s highest hill, for stunning panoramic views.
This unforgettable Easter Island Chile tour allows plenty of time to stand in awe and admire the many giant stone moai statues, which were built during the 13th – 16th centuries by the island’s inhabitants, the Rapa Nui people, in honor of their ancestors. View the moai at various different locations on the island. Head to Rano Raraku volcano − which is considered one of the most important archaeological sites in the world − and view the quarry where moai were cut from volcanic tuff.
The quarry contains 397 moai statues which are all at various stages of carving. Walk along the path that leads to the ancient crater; it is like being in an open-air museum. Marvel at the most famous and best preserved moai platform of Ahu Tongariki, where 15 complete statues stand in an impressive line on their ahu plinth in front of the ocean and cliffs. This is the picture that you will see on nearly every postcard rack on Easter Island. Wander Anakena Beach, the legendary landing place of Hota Matua and take a dip in the cold Pacific. See Ahu Nau Nau, which is the best-preserved platform on the island because the toppled statues were buried under sand for many years, protecting them from damage.
Take a drive up to Rano Kau, the largest volcano on Easter Island and the location of the historic Orongo village. See the stone dwellings looking out over the sea towards a couple of rocky islands. This ceremonial village is where the ancient ‘Birdman’ competition was held, pitting representatives from each village on the island against each other in a dangerous climbing and swimming match to one of the offshore islands.
Peer inside the Puna Pau volcanic crater where there is a quarry of red scoria that was once an important source of raw material for the islanders. Visit Ahu Akivi for unparalleled ocean views.
Rich in legends, extraordinary landscapes and gorgeous sunsets, this is an unforgettable trip of a lifetime, perfect for couples and families with kids. The featured activities and accommodations can be tailored to suit your personal wishes. The tours are conducted on a private basis (private transport with a private guide).
Itinerary & Prices
Welcome to Chile!
Welcome to Santiago, the capital and largest city of Chile as well as one of the biggest cities in the Americas. It is situated smack bang in the center of Santiago Metropolitan Region, which is Chile most densely populated region, with a population of 7 million. Filling the country’s central valley, was founded in 1541 by the Spanish conquistador Pedro de Valdivia, Santiago is rare among South American capital cities in that it has served as the capital city since the colonial occupation.
Downtown and central Santiago is largely made-up of 19th-century neoclassical architecture and winding side-streets, but has smatterings of art-deco and neo-gothic architecture, amongst others. Like many cities in along the Western confines of the continent, Santiago is surrounded by hills as the Andes begin to rise behind it. The main river in the city is the fast-flowing Mapocho River, and Santiago is known in South America for being modern, organized, and very safe, as well as a clean, prosperous city with important financial and industrial clout in South America.
Upon arrival in Chile, you will be picked up at the airport and taken to your hotel.
City Tour Santiago San Cristobal
On today’s excursion, we explore the historical and modern sights of Santiago de Chile. We start our trip at the main avenue, the Alameda Bernardo O’Higgins, and head to La Moneda, the Government Palace, where we will learn about the historical and contemporary role it plays in Chilean life.
From there we take a walk through the pedestrian streets of Huérfanos and Ahumada, where the main commercial activity of the city is concentrated. Afterward, we visit the famous main square of the city, the Plaza de Armas, around which are several important historical buildings, including the Metropolitan Cathedral. From there we continue our trip on to Santa Lucia hill, the mount upon which the Spanish founded Santiago in 1541. It is a lone steep rock, covered in vegetation and a great vantage point for viewing the city.
Moving on, we cross the Mapocho River to get to Bellavista, the cultural and artistic neighborhood of Santiago and home to many artists, actors, and young bohemian people. Bellavista lies at the foot of the San Cristóbal Hill, the highest in town, and is situated in the middle of the Metropolitan Park. We venture up the hill to explore the surrounding areas all the while enjoying beautiful panoramic views of the city. Finally, we visit Providencia with its top restaurants, elegant shops, and modern high-rise buildings. After this amazing tour, we will call it a day and return to the hotel.
Welcome to Rapa Nui!
Today we are transferred to the airport for our flight to Easter Island!
Upon our arrival at the Mataveri airport in Hanga Roa, we are received with the traditional Island welcome presentation of a traditional flower necklace. After a short transfer to the hotel, we will have the rest of the day to spend as we please. A visit to the nearby church and village is recommended, where we have the opportunity to observe both Catholic and indigenous symbols and statues (Sunday mass available if time permits). Next to the church, there is a local market and museum rich in Rapa Nui artifacts and culture.
The Moai of Easter Island
Today we will learn more about the fascinating history of Rapa Nui as we head south along the coast. As we travel along the road, we have the black volcanic rock shoreline as a backdrop, and behind that, some amazing views of the vast Pacific Ocean.
Our first stop will be a place known as Hanga Te’e where we will be able to view a variety of toppled Moai (statues) of Ahu Vaihu. From there, we will continue on and arrive in Rano Raraku. This volcano is home to an ancient quarry that supplied the stone from which about 95% of the island’s sculptures were carved. Here we will enjoy a box-lunch and explore our surroundings.
Subsequently, we make our way to the next highlight, Ahu Tongariki. This is the largest restored Ahu on Easter Island and features 15 impressive moai. Afterward, we drive towards the east coast and arrive at Te Pito o Te Henua. This location is known locally as the “bellybutton” of the world boasting the nearby Ahu Te Pito Kura. Last, but not least, we will reach the beach of Anakena known for its beautiful white sand and coconut palm trees. After some time here, and a visit to a nearby restored Ahu Nau Nau, we’ll have time for a little rest and a refreshing swim in the Pacific Ocean.
Meals (B, L)
Legendary Tangata Manu Bird Cult
After breakfast in the hotel, we take a drive up the Rano Kau, an extinct volcano that offers spectacular views from the track that takes you towards the summit. Along the way we will be able to stop and appreciate beautiful panoramic views of the island from different heights and angles – these stopping points are great places to take some really impressive pictures of the dramatic scenery. Further up, we make a brief stop at an outlook point from which we can see the beautiful lake which is nestled neatly inside the old volcanic crater.
From there, we will head to the ceremonial village known as Orongo and learn about its fascinating past and how such traditions have been preserved to this day. Orongo is home to the birdman cult, Tangata-Manu, an epic annual race in which competitors needed to swim to a nearby island, harvest the first egg of the sooty tern, and return to Rapa Nui, climbing the cliff with the egg intact!
Here, we can also see some ancient petroglyphs and have a fantastic view of the three islets situated on the opposing coastline. Afterward, we will drive down the volcano to the Ahu Vinapu that includes an ahu – a sacred ceremonial site where several moai stand – with its intricate stonemasonry. Our last stop of the morning before heading back to the hotel will be the cave of Ana Kai Tangata, famed for the ancient cave paintings that adorn its walls
Original Seven Explorers
After a good rest and a delicious breakfast, we set off to Ahu Akivi, a sacred place that features seven re-erected moai. This Ahu is situated inland, and as such, varies a little from other statue collections. Our guide will tell you about the story and legends around this sight and the belief that these statues represent the first seven explorers who were sent to Rapa Nui by the late king Hotu Matua.
From there, we continue on to Hanga Poukura, a site with a number of ahu in various states of disrepair. One of the most famous and varied statue sites on the Island, where we can see the widest variation of stones, with the famous “topknot” statues featured heavily.
Next, we will visit the important quarry of Puna Pau that provided the sole source of the red scoria that the Rapa Nui villagers used to carve the Pukaos, with every single one traceable back to this one quarry site. We conclude our visit by heading back towards shore and a visit the ceremonial site of Tahai which boasts three completely intact ahus, some other statues that have been lovingly and carefully restored and the remains of the old boathouses and ramp system used many years ago. This is a day is filled with history, culture, and breathtaking sights!
Returning to the Mainland
Today, after one last breakfast in our hotel, it is time to bid farewell to this fascinating and mysterious island and head back to Santiago de Chile.
The Flight Home
Today we have a final breakfast. If you have not already, you should try the Chilean empanadas!
As we have slept at the airport hotel for convenience, we simply check our departure times and make our way to the check-in counter for our flight home.