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Chile: Santiago de Chile & Easter Island - 6 Nights Itinerary

This discovery tour to Chile will introduce you to two very different faces of this comically thin nation that stretches from the bellybutton of South America right down to its big toe. On one hand, you will experience urbane and eccentric capital city of Santiago de Chile, only later to be whisked off to the historically captivating, culturally enigmatic and scenically magical Easter Island. While in Santiago — with its popular local markets, tantalizing local cuisine and bohemian neighborhoods — you’ll discover a cosmopolitan, lively and sophisticated wonderland of old-world legacy, modern elegance and colorful unconventionality nestled at the feet of the snow-covered peaks of the majestic Andes. And once you travel to Easter Island, you will find a place where history meets legend, as this island’s history is present in an almost surreal way: massive and mysterious moai statues scattered all over the island. What you will also find on this 7-day/6-night tour of Santiago and Easter Island is that the people of Chile, wherever they are, constantly strive to retain their cultural heritage in dance, art and music. These two adventures in this single country promise to be a travel experience that you will never forget.

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Testimonials

“Thanks so much again! Surtrek, a realiable travel partner and service provider of Operation Earth for our Galapagos Expedition program!”Leon Chen

Highlights
Chile, Easter Island, The Arrival of Hotu Matu’a Excursion, The Looking to the Stars Excursion, The Twilight of the Moai Ex-cursion, Santiago de Chile City Tour
Itinerary at a Glance
Day 1: Arrival in Chile
Day 2: Santiago de Chile – Easter Island
Day 3: The Easter Island (The Arrival of Hotu Matu’a Excursion)
Day 4: Easter Island (The Power of the Birdmen Excursion – The Looking to the Stars Excursion)
Day 5: Easter Island (The First Ahu Excursion – The Twilight of the Moai Ex-cursion)
Day 6: Easter Island – Santiago de Chile
Day 7: Santiago de Chile – Flight Home or Onward to Your Next Destination
South America Map
Detailed Itinerary
Day 1
Arrival in Chile

AM: Upon arrival at the airport in Santiago de Chile, you will be met by your private driver and taken to your hotel in the city. After freshening up, you will be whisked away on a half-day walking tour of Santiago with your private guide, taking in the highlights of the Santiago’s historic district. This sites include the Plaza de Armas, La Moneda, Santiago’s cathedral and the Santa Lucia Hill.

PM: For a well-deserved rest, at the end of the tour you will be driven back to your accommodations: Hotel Cumbres Lastarria. Located in the Lastarria district – legendary for its bohemian vibe and superlative cultural attractions – this boutique hotel greets travellers with comfort, style, and incredible service, thus ensuring a sublime experience for business and leisure guests alike. With only 70 smartly designed rooms and suites, the hotel is intimate enough to deliver attentive personalized service, yet small enough to never intrude on its guests’ tranquillity.

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Day 2
Santiago de Chile – Easter Island

AM: After breakfast, you will be picked up from your hotel by your private driver and taken to the airport in Santiago for your flight to Easter Island. Upon arrival at the airport on Easter Island, you will be welcomed by another private driver, who will take you to your hotel: La Perouse Guest House. This hotel is located on the seafront of Hanga Roa, a few meters from the beach, as well as close to restaurants, shops, banks and recreational areas. An exclusive space where every detail is taken care of, you can enjoy the sunset and the peaceful local life from your guest house’s inviting terrace.

PM: Enjoy the sun and the shore, and let your mind disconnect as you gaze into the most isolated horizon on the planet.

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Breakfast
Day 3
The Easter Island (The Arrival of Hotu Matu’a Excursion)

AM: The Arrival of Hotu Matu’a – After breakfast, you will be picked up by your private guide and driver, who will take you on a wonderful full-day tour of the island. You will be introduced to the epoch of when the first Polynesian navigators stepped ashore, as well as when the island was colonized. You will learn the importance of Ariki (“king”) Hotu Matu’a – not only from the placement of his tomb, but also from the efforts that made in his honor to create the island’s emblematic moai statues. The principal sites we will visit this morning will consist of the following:

  • Anakena Beach: Once viewed, it will be easy to understand why the island’s first king, Hotu Matu’a, landed on this beach and initiated one of the most amazing megalithic cultures in history. Anakena Beach has four Ahu (alters), two of which have been reconstructed and two others that attest to the weathering of time. The first Ahu is called “Ature Huki,” which was restored by Heyerdahl in 1955, and the other is called Ahu Nau Nau which was restored by archaeologist Sergio Rapu. Anakena is located to 18 km from Hanga Roa, in the island’s north coast. 
  • Ahu Te Pito Kura: This site only has one moai, however it’s height is 10 m (30 feet) and it weighs as much as 90 tons, making it the largest moai to be raised on a platform. The hat-like “topknot” structure alone is worthy of praise, as it weighs up to 11.5 tons. Here, we will also find a very sacred stone that the Ahu is named after. It has been said that this stone was brought from the home island of Hiva by the first Rapa Nui king, Ahu Te Pito Kura. It is located to 2 km from Anakena Beach, also on the north coast.
  • Rano Raraku: Without a doubt, this is one of the most interesting archaeological sites on not only Rapa Nui, but in the entire world. Here we can find 396 moai (statues) in the quarry, which is an extinct volcano that has an amazing fresh water crater. Some of the statues are still encrusted in the quarry’s rock and were never moved. Others were in a process of getting their backs finalized and highlighted, while still others are in the “staging area,” still waiting for the moving crew to take these moai to their destined Ahu. Here, we will also see the largest moai ever carved; called “Te Tokanga” or “El Gigante,” it measures a staggering 22 meters (66 feet) in height and is estimated to weigh 220 tons.

 

PM: We will have 1 hour for a delicious picnic lunch at a special site for enjoying and relaxing. We will then continue the tour by visiting the following sites this afternoon:

  • Ahu Tongariki: One of the most visually stunning sites on the island, Ahu Tongariki demonstrates how the island’s ancient people were part of a true megalithic culture. Not only is Tongariki the largest reconstructed site on the island, but it is the largest reconstructed temple in all of Polynesia. This site has 15 moai that were restored in the 1980’s after a huge tsunami came ashore in 1960 and washed 80 ton moais ashore. This site is located in front of the Rano Raraku Volcano.
  • Ahu Akahanga:  “The Platform of the King,” believed the grave of the first king of the island, Hotu Matu’a, can be found in a cave in Akahanga. Here rest four separate platforms with 12 moai (statues), of various sizes, and 8 Pukao (hat-like “topknots”). One statue can be found behind the Ahu. Interesting lining stones made from red scoria (a type of iron rich volcanic stone used to make topknots, funeral items and boarding stones). Also, petroglyphs run along the front of the main Ahu.

Duration of tour: 6 hours (full-day tour)

Difficulty: Easy (except trekking the Rano Raraku Volcano, which is of moderate difficulty)

Suggested Equipment:  Rain gear, proper hiking shoes, sunscreen and comfortable clothes (a map will be provided for each passenger)

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Breakfast - Lunch
Day 4
Easter Island (The Power of the Birdmen Excursion – The Looking to the Stars Excursion)

AM: After breakfast, you will be picked up by your private guide and driver and taken on 2 wonderful half-day tours of the island. You will be taken to a new era of Rapa Nui’s pre-history. When the moai and the ahu were destroyed and chaos was imminent, a new order rose: the reign of the birdmen. Visit the sites of the annual ceremonies and see where an unrivalled competition of physical dexterity and strength gave power to the competitors able to obtain the first egg of the manutara (“Sooty tern”). The principal sites that we will visit this morning are the following:”

  • Ana Kai Tagata: This beautiful cave has pictograms, which are paintings on rock. The paint is made from mineral pigments found on the island. The paintings depict the Manutara bird. The arrival of this frigatebird in spring would initiate the Tangata Manu competition.
  • Rano Kau: The triangular appearance of Rapa Nui is the result of three main volcanic centers and 70 secondary volcanic cones. Rano Kao was the second of the three main volcanoes to erupt about 2.5 million years ago. It has a height of 310m, a huge crater of 1.6km in diameter, and a fresh water lagoon 11m deep. Inside the crater grow grapes, bananas, and totora (a reed used extensively for houses, boats and other purposes).
  • Orongo: From this vantage point, the curvature of the earth can be seen with an unending vista of ocean. Orongo was restored in 1974 by William Mulloy, who reconstructed 47 houses, many of which had collapsed or had been torn down by treasure hunters. He also established the first set of trails through the site. Recently, a Canadian team created an interpretation 1K trail through Orongo, which makes the visit more accessible and enjoyable. Throughout the trail at Orongo, the Birdman Cult will be highlighted. You will hear a presentation about elements such as the competitions, competitors, and how this competition could be seen as an ecological mechanism for survival during the most difficult part of Rapa Nui history. At the end of the interpretive trail lies Mata Ngarau, which was the central focus of the birdman cult. Here, nearly every boulder is carved and re-carved with petroglyphs (carvings on stone).

Duration of morning tour: 3 hours

Difficulty: Easy

Suggested Equipment: Rain gear and proper hiking shoes (a map will be provided for each passenger)

PM: We will have 1 hour for a delicious picnic lunch, and then continue with the next tour: “Looking To the Stars.”During the last period of the moai era (the most important of Rapa Nui’s culture), the descendants of the Polynesian navigators turned their eyes to the sky. You will be taken to the archaeological sites that tell of the connection between the islanders and the universe. Ahu (altars) and moai (statues) prove the magnificent development of megalithic construction with astronomical orientation. This tour mainly focuses on the central part of the island and all of the great archaeological features that can be found there. Moreover, all of the points represent ancient sites that were created and used during the end of the Ahu Moai phase. This tour visits the following sites:

  • Ahu Huri a Urenga: Located in a depressed area named Manavai Tokerau, this was one of the last Ahu (altars) to be restored by Dr. William Mulloy. It is believed to be astronomically oriented such that the sun on the morning of both the winter and summer solstices would rise directly in the facade of the moai as it stands on its Ahu (altar).
  • Ahu Akivi: This altar, with its seven moai, was completely restored in 1960 by Dr. William Mulloy who dated it back to 1460 AD.
  • 3 Ahu Vai Teka: This island site dates back to 1470 AD and was apparently set up to be oriented towards the rising equinox sun (the beginning  of  spring  and  autumn). In the vicinity of this ahu are found a large number of caves and waterholes, which were a very important source of freshwater for the ancient population.
  • Puna Pau: One of the 70 secondary volcanic cones found on the island, Puna Pau is a mineral matrix is much different than other types found on the island. This site has a rich red color due to an iron-rich deposit of easily carved scoria, which the Rapa Nui people used to made topknots, linings, lintel stones, and funeral cists (stone-built coffin-like boxes), among others features.

Duration of afternoon tour: 3 hours (half day tour)

Difficulty: Easy

Suggested Equipment: Rain gear, proper hiking shoes, sunscreen and comfortable clothes (a map will be provided for each passenger)

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Breakfast - Lunch
Day 5
Easter Island (The First Ahu Excursion – The Twilight of the Moai Ex-cursion)

AM: The First Ahu (altars) – The most complex altars of Polynesian culture in the South Pacific are on Rapa Nui. We invite you to a voyage through time to understand the customs and spiritual traditions of the island’s first inhabitants. Get to know the centers of ancient times on Rapa Nui. This excursion will cover three sites that can be found on the southwest and southern coast of the island, including the impressive stone wall of Ahu Tahira, in the Vinapu area. We will then take the coast road to see many other Ahu Moai scattered along the coast, until we reach Hanga Poukura. This morning’s sites include the following:

  • Vinapu: This sector is one of the oldest on the island (dating back to 600 AD). The stone masonry found on the Ahu Tahira has a fit so perfect it is often compared to that found in Cusco, Peru.
  • Hanga Poukura: This southern coast archaeological site is an excellent example of an ahu (open-air altar) belonging to the era of major conflicts on Easter Island (1680-1864 AD). This was a time when the statue-cult lost importance and the moai statues were toppled, giving rise to new cults, among them the Tangata Manu (birdman). At this site, avanga (funeral cists) can be seen as well.
  • Hanga Te’e (Vaihu): Hanga Te’e is located in the Vaihu district, and here we can see 8 toppled moai forever resting faced down in their ancestral homeland. Vaihu is also the site of the first missionary church built there, in 1868, though it later moved to the village of Hanga Roa.

Duration of morning tour: 3 hours

Difficulty: Easy 

Suggested Equipment:  Rain gear and proper hiking shoes (a map will be provided for each passenger)

PM: We will have one hour for a delicious picnic lunch. We will then continue with the next tour: “The Twilight of the Moai.”Rapa Nui is known throughout the world for its moai, but before we could see images of the reconstructed statues, the island went through one of its worst periods. You will travel along the road of the twilight of Rapa Nui’s megalithic past, visiting west-coast sites to understand how a civilisation that was able to reach such an elevated level of cultural development could destroy itself before it would rise again.

  • Museum: The Father Sebastian Englert Museum, open from Tuesday to Sunday, is located in the Tahai area, 2 km from the downtown.
  • Ahu Tepeu: This is one of the largest and best preserved ceremonial centers on the island’s west coast. Among other features found there is the largest foundation of a Hare Paenga (a house in the shape of an upturned canoe), with a length of close to 48 meters. Based on its size, it has been concluded that 150 villagers could have slept in it at the same time. According to legend, Tu'u Koihu, the island's second king, was said to have lived there.
  • Tahai: This complex was restored between 1967 and 1968 by archaeologist William Mulloy. This ceremonial complex is one of the oldest sites (6th century). It includes three different ahu. Ahu Ko Te Riku, stands 4.73 meters high, has an estimated weight of 20 tons and has been dated to 690 AD. Ahu Vai Ure holds 5 different statues and on Ahu Tahai stands one statue.
  • Hanga Kio'e: About 3 km north of Hangaroa, Hanga Kio'e is located close to Tahai. Legend claims that the island's leader, the Ariki Henua, was proclaimed at this ceremonial site. Hanga Kio'e was restored by American archaeologist William Mulloy in 1972 and has been dated back to 1650 AD.

Duration of tour: 3 hours (half day tour)

Difficulty: Easy 

Suggested Equipment:  Rain gear and proper hiking shoes (a map will be provided for each passenger)

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Breakfast - Lunch
Day 6
Easter Island – Santiago de Chile

At a previously arranged time, you will be taken back to the airport on Easter Island to catch your flight back to Santiago. Once landing in Santiago, you will be met by your private driver and taken to Hotel Cumbres Lastarria.

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Breakfast
Day 7
Santiago de Chile – Flight Home or Onward to Your Next Destination

At a previously arranged time, you will be taken back to the airport in Santiago to catch your flight home or to your next destination.

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Breakfast
2017 - Price per person
Persons
Hotel CategoryDouble
First-Class Superior or LuxuryUS$ 7,816
First ClassUS$ 5,472
TouristUS$ 3,693
Included in the price:
  • All services specifically described in the itinerary

Santiago

  • Private transfer in/out
  • One (1) night accommodations at your selected hotel in double room, with breakfast
  • Half-day private city tour

Easter Island

  • Private transfer in/out
  • Accommodations for four (4) nights in a double room at your selected hotel (La Perouse Guest House, Hare Noi Hotel, or the Explora Lodge), with breakfast
  • 3 full days of private excursions, with an English-speaking guide + lunch each day

Santiago

  • Private transfer in/out
  • Accommodations in a double room for one (1) night at your selected hotel, with breakfast
  • English speaking guide

Prices are shown in US Dollars (USD) and are subject to change without notice before full payment for services.

Not included in the price:
  • Domestic and international flights
  • Visa charges or handling
  • Passport charges or handling
  • Tips and gratuities to guides drivers, bellboys, cruise staff and other service personnel
  • Transfers (unless specified)
  • Baggage excess
  • Airport taxes at specified destinations
  • Admission tickets to national parks, natural reserves or fauna reserves that are not included in the itinerary
  • Any extra charge that is not adequately specified in the itineraries
  • International flights.
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