Do you revel in traveling to offbeat locations? Easter Island ranks high on that list, lying more than 2,000 kilometers (more than 1,240 miles) away from the nearest inhabited location, Pitcairn Island. One of the most desolate places on Earth, the island was discovered on Easter Sunday of 1722 by a Dutch vessel—hence the name.
The nearest continental point is South America, and the tiny Pacific atoll is officially a territory of Chile. To arrive at Hanga Roa airport, you need to take a five-hour flight from Santiago de Chile. But before you leave, be sure to purchase
travel medical insurance or
to stay protected against unexpected mishaps, accidents, illnesses, or injuries.
Things to Do for Travelers in Easter Island
Though Easter Island is quite small, just over 60 square miles (about 155 square kilometers) in area, you can't possibly get bored. The island has a fascinating history, and how it first came to be populated has been the subject of considerable debate. The legendary Kon Tiki expedition had proven that it is possible to travel here from South America on bamboo rafts. Recent genealogical studies have demonstrated that the earliest settlers were from Polynesia.
Moai at Rano Raraku National Park
You must have seen Moai on the National Geographic Channel. These strange statues enthralled the early Europeans and continue to do so to this day. Made from stone, they stand tall and proud, looking out over the vast ocean. Moai stands on a raised platform known as Ahu, and you may not show disrespect to either of them under any circumstances. Created between the 13th and 15th centuries, it is believed that these carvings are ancestral deities that protected the local clans.
Watch the sunrise at Tongariki for a breathtaking experience. The beach is encircled by fifteen majestic Moai statues, and the rays of the sun make them appear grand. Their outline etched against the pink sky is a sight to behold and the topmost attraction of Easter Island. If you are not an early riser, fear not. In summer, the sun rises at 8:30 a.m., allowing you plenty of snooze time.
The main attraction of Anakena Beach is white sand that shimmers in the noon sun. The sea is quite warm, and a swim followed by a leisurely breakfast at one of the roadside kiosks is the start of a perfect day. The fare is standard – tuna sandwich and poa, a pudding made of pumpkin and flour. The wind is refreshing, and spending a long day by the water is the perfect antidote to a year of hard work at the office.
Cycle around the island
You can get everywhere by cycle, and most of the tourists rent one and set off on a day trip. You could bike between Hanga Roa and Tonariki, picnic by the roadside, and just wander around the lush fields. There are very few cars on Easter Island, and the pristine ocean air would fill your lungs and make you feel on top of the world.
Papa Vaka Inscriptions
The Rapa Nui people, the first settlers of these islands, carved the Moai statues and left behind rock inscriptions. Scattered through the island, these make fascinating objects of study. If you study them carefully, you can decipher images of a canoe, fishing, and various aquatic fauna.
Stargazing at Ahu Akivi
As the sun sets on Ahu Akivi, the sky appears to shimmer with a million stars. Being so far away from civilization, Easter Island is the perfect destination for an amateur astronomer. There is no pollution to obstruct your view of the heavens. Seven Moai statues that are perfectly aligned east-west and face the sun during the Spring Equinox can keep you silent company through the evening.
Travel Risks for International Travelers on Easter Island
Travel is meant to be relaxing, but unfortunately, our expectations can be dashed at any moment. Mishaps during travel are more common than you think. Most of the time they are minor, but sometimes, they can cause great inconvenience. Though a trip to Easter Island is usually pleasant and free from incidents, you should be prepared for any eventuality.
- The island has a high incidence of disease like hepatitis and typhoid. The best way to fight these is by getting the appropriate vaccinations before you travel. Besides vaccines, make sure that you drink bottled water whenever you are away from your hotel.
- Partying all night on the beach is fun, but alcohol poisoning is not. Incidents of alcohol poisoning are all too frequent and will require hospitalization and saline to restore strength. Drink in moderation, and remember that a little is a lot better than a throbbing headache for the rest of your trip.
- The local economy thrives on tourism, and so does local crime. Be sure that your drink is not spiked, and protect your wallet and other personal belongings.
- Boat rides along the coast are fun, but too much sun can cause sunstroke and dehydration. These conditions can be life-threatening unless treated in a timely manner. Have plenty of water and oral rehydration salts when you travel outdoors.
- ATM cash grabs are a common crime on Easter Island. If possible, two people should visit the ATM together, with one keeping watch while the other withdraws cash. Make sure to cover the PIN pad with your free hand while you're entering your passcode.
Easter Island Travel Medical Insurance for International Travelers – FAQs
The Moai are noble and dignified, but germs are not. Easter Island has a modern hospital that can treat cuts and sprains, but not much more. For anything else, the only recourse is a flight back to Chile. Air ambulance is the sole way to get reasonably swift treatment for any even moderately serious condition.
Do I need travel medical insurance for Easter Island?
There is no legal provision that makes it mandatory to purchase travel medical insurance before visiting Easter Island. However, keeping in mind the exorbitant cost of private healthcare in Chile, you are very strongly advised to buy adequate coverage.
Why buy travel medical insurance for Easter Island?
Carefree sunrises and leisurely bike rides through Easter Island communities could come to a screeching halt if you fall ill. A nasty fall when climbing a trail or trying out a new cuisine could cause you to land up in a hospital. Medical treatment at a private clinic in Chile is quite expensive, and to defray expenses, you must buy travel medical insurance before you board the flight to Easter Island.
Easter Island Trip Cancellation Insurance for International Travelers – FAQs
Of course, it probably will not happen, but trip cancellation is a fact of life that every traveler lives with. On the day of departure, a close family member could fall ill, and you wouldn't be able to take your trip. To cope with this common problem is difficult, especially due to the expenses involved.
Why buy trip cancellation insurance for Easter Island?
You have paid for most of the trip, including hotel and travel, in advance. If you cannot take the trip, that amount would not be refunded by the airline or hotel company. Easter Island vacation insurance cannot remove your disappointment, but it can provide you financial compensation for prepaid, nonrefundable expenses. Trip cancellation insurance is valid if you have to cancel for one of the reasons explicitly listed in your plan's certificate wording.
What all is covered under trip cancellation insurance for Easter Island?
What is covered could vary slightly, but almost every policy covers trip cancellation due to poor health in the family, bad weather, and political instability at your destination. You would also likely be compensated if flights are canceled due to a pressing reason. You have to ensure that you buy travel insurance to keep loss at bay. Again, be sure to read your policy's fine print for more details.
Before You Travel to Easter Island - Do These
Spend time contemplating the meaning of life as you watch the sunrise with the Moai, but keep these three pieces of advice in mind.
Separate your passport, visa, and other important documents from the rest of your luggage and keep them close at hand, or in a secure location.
It is best to be cautious when in such a remote location. Exercise restraint, and do not be overenthusiastic.
Buy travel insurance to protect you and your loved ones during the trip. Compare a wide variety of plans and select the one that best fits your individual needs.