27 Nov 15
I chose to stay at a camp site on Easter Island for a couple of reasons. There’s privacy in a tent of your own for one; the stars would be perfect and able to be appreciated only by camping for another but most importantly though, I figured the island would be so remote, camping would really be the best way to understand all it has to offer.
The whole island is a nature reserve and camping is sort of prohibited but regardless, highly recommended is Camping Mihinoa which provides a tent, sleeping bag and mattress for 6,500 Pesos (that’s < US$10). I picked a spot that’s sheltered from the sea winds by the ornamental rocks but which is smack in front of the ocean. Beautiful.
I’ve read that Easter Island is expensive. Food in general is slightly pricier than the mainland. I bought my food from Santiago just in case so I lived off fresh produce (which is definitely pricier on the island) and some tinned items in my 5 days stay. Still, food isn’t as expensive as claimed – you’d get a restaurant meal for about what you’d pay in the US or Europe and the most expensive groceries you’ll buy is probably water for about $3 a bottle. You can drink tap water anyway (it tastes a tat metallic but it’s drinkable).
Your other expenses are likely to be a car ride (or tours but do rent a car). That’s another reason why it’s great to stay on a camp site where you can group up really easily. Cars are expensive but rental is for a full 24h rather than the ambiguous ‘day’. Our rental + gas cost us something like 60,000 pesos in total but we drove to the ends of the island so it was still cheaper than tours. Also, I’ve never driven offroad before so it’s quite an experience.
I had intended initially to ride across the island on my uni. Distances are not great. There are 3 main loops – 20, 30 and 6km one way. It would take probably take a full day on the longest loop which isn’t too bad but the main reason why I didn’t choose to ride the longest loop is that there are no street lights after sunset and there’s no traffic outside of the main town. The island is apparently small enough that everyone knows each other and you can easily hitch a ride back to town but I didn’t feel confident enough to do that from my first day so I didn’t want to risk it.
On the days I did ride though, I think it wasn’t too bad an idea i decided to go by car. My first riding day was down south to the volcanic rim and Orongo National Park area. It was the shortest route, 6km but it was 6km of perpetual gradual uphill which was killer to say the least. Having not ridden properly for a couple of months, I didn’t actually realise I was falling sick so I just thought the hills were worse than usual. I walked most of the way uphill but rode most of the downhills.
The next day – and my last day, I took an easy day and rode just 2-3km just outside of town where some Moais are. There’s a huge plain and some offroad tracks that’s perfect for some quick fun. In general the roads are riddled with potholes and even the main parts of town have irregular roads so the terrain does make for some fun riding. There are some caves a short distance away from town that would be amazing to ride in as well. The paths are not long enough for mountain bikes but for unicycles, perfect. I didn’t get to trek in any of them on that day though since it was raining and the floor gets very wet and slippery when that happens.