Compared with other Polynesian islands, Rapa Nui is a bargain, but price levels are higher than most of mainland Chile. With over 600 rooms and more than 1,300 beds, accommodations are abundant for such a small place, so reservations are generally unnecessary except during the summer peak, particularly during the Tapati festival. Almost invariably, Polynesian hospitality is the rule, but some places are substantially better than others. While several hotels are near the airport, the infrequent air traffic—one or two flights a day—is rarely disruptive.
For passengers lacking reservations, finding a first night’s lodging is a more orderly process than it once was, since the airport arrival area now features a series of booths for each hotel or hospedaje. Most provide transport into town, a welcome service in sprawling Hanga Roa. Nearly all include breakfast and private bath, and some offer additional meals, but full board is not a recommended option for anyone exploring the more distant archaeological sites—it can be a nuisance to have to return to Hanga Roa for lunch. Also, while Hanga Roa may not rival New York or Paris or even Santiago for dining, its independent restaurants may rank among the world’s best for a community of its size.
© Wayne Bernhardson from Moon Chile, 2nd edition