Getting to Easter Island: It’s Easier Than You Think

by Chris on January 16, 2011

It took me 15 hours flying time to get to Easter Island. But that’s better than before, thanks to new Lan flights to Easter Island from Lima.

This post is the first in a series about Easter Island.

Moai on Easter Island, Rapa Nui

“How far is it? And how do you get there?”

Those are the questions that everyone asked before my trip to Easter Island. And they are good ones: Easter Island, also known as Rapa Nui (pronounced Rappa New-ee) or Isla de Pascua, is the most remote inhabited island in the world. Although governed by Chile, the island is closer to Tahiti and other Polynesian islands than it is to South America.

Which means that it does take a long time to get there. But now it’s slightly closer than it was before for U.S. passengers. LAN Airlines has started direct flights to Easter Island from Lima, Peru twice a week – which shaves off several hours from the former route through Santiago, Chile.

Plaza Mayor, Lima

Lima is fast becoming a hub for South American travel. LAN offers non-stops from several cities, including New York, Los Angeles, Miami, and San Francisco, with connecting service to other South American
destinations. Delta, Continental and American also have direct flights. Even cheapie airline Spirit has a direct flight to Lima, although I would never recommend taking this airline.

flat bed seats in business class, LAN Airline

In total, my route took 15 hours flying time: 2 1/2 hours from Seattle to Los Angeles, then 8 hours from LAX to Lima. Luckily, I spent this portion of the flight in LAN business class, which boasted a Chilean wine menu, a full entertainment system and flat bed-type seats.

Things weren’t quite as comfy in economy for the 4 1/2 hour overnight from Lima to Easter Island, but we had spaced things out with a daylong layover in Lima so it wasn’t too bad. The flights in and out of Easter Island weren’t full, so we were able to score a bulkhead seat for more room.

LAN is part of the OneWorld alliance, which includes American, Alaska and British Airways. After my experience, I would highly recommend redeeming your miles from OneWorld for an upgraded business-class seat on any long haul flights you take with LAN, as the lie-flat beds do make a big difference in comfort.

sunset pictures, Easter Island

Another tip for RTW (round the world) travelers and honeymooners: LAN also flies from Easter Island to Tahiti. So it’s easy to make Easter Island a stopover on your trip to the South Pacific. My husband and I had briefly considered Tahiti for our honeymoon, but chose to go with something more adventurous. Adding Easter Island to the itinerary might have changed our minds.

What’s the longest flight you’ve ever taken? Was it worth it?

Thanks to LAN Airlines for sponsoring my trip.

| Chris Gray Faust is a veteran journalist, travel expert, social media butterfly - and editrix of this site. Like what you read? Check out her writing, editing and social media services.

{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Talon (@1Dad1Kid) January 16, 2011 at 2:47 pm

I really like LAN! Flew them several times when I went to Peru. Good to know there’s a direct route from LIM now and to Tahiti!

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Chris January 27, 2011 at 6:11 pm

@Talon I’m a LAN fan now too. I want to get one of their South America passes and jet all around.

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Gray January 16, 2011 at 5:42 pm

Longest flights I’ve ever had were to Europe. I don’t think I could handle a non-stop flight much longer than that. I keep telling myself that if and when I go to Hawaii, I’m going to fly to a West Coast city, stay overnight and continue on the next day, because I think I’d go stir-crazy on a plane for 14 hours.

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Chris January 16, 2011 at 8:21 pm

@Gray – My husband and I took an 18 hour flight between JFK and Bangkok for our honeymoon – now that was long!

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Camels & Chocolate January 16, 2011 at 9:40 pm

Maldives when I lived in NYC! I was covering a resort opening for Newsweek, and I had to travel NYC to SF, SF to Hong Kong, HK to Singapore, Singapore to Male, Male to the northernmost atoll, then a speedboat to the island. In all, it took over 30 hours!

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SaraJane January 22, 2011 at 11:58 pm

Chris – Great post! Now I totally want to go to Easter Island!

Keep up the good work!

My longest flight was Dubai back to the US when that stupid volcano errupted. At least I didn’t get stuck in London! The 2 year old kid who didn’t speak any English made it even longer, especially after his father fell asleep! Oh well, I lived!

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Andi January 23, 2011 at 9:04 am

One of my most favorite trips I’ve EVER taken!!!

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Don January 23, 2011 at 3:42 pm

@Andi, I think I agree with you! So fascinating.

(For readers who want more on Easter Island, Andi has been posting there about her trip – her blog is http://www.mybeautifuladventures.com)

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Lisa E @chickybus January 23, 2011 at 11:46 am

I would love to check out Easter Island, but I’m not sure when I’ll be in that part of the world. Glad it’s easier now. Just wondering…what would you estimate the total cost of the flight + several days to be? I might be comparing it to Mt. Nemrut in Turkey in an upcoming post and was wondering.

Meanwhile, re: the longest flight…. I went to South Africa a while back and had to go to Frankfurt first and then somewhere else (can’t recall) before actually landing in Cape Town. I think it was about 20 or so hours of flying time. With layovers, it was about 32 hours! I got lucky, though, and got bumped to business class for part of it! Anyway, I sort of like really long flights. I think the reason is that it means I’m going somewhere cool! :)

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Chris January 23, 2011 at 3:46 pm

@Lisa LAN has had some specials to Easter Island from JFK for as low as $899. That was in the summer, though, so not peak season. A flight in March from JFK, according to Kayak, is about $1,200.

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Mike's Road Trip January 31, 2011 at 3:28 pm

This is on the “bucket list,” would be so cool to go there one day. Great post. Thanks!

Mike

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Uncle Jer February 1, 2011 at 9:08 pm

Longest flight was from Bangkok to Phoenix. Bangkok to Taipei 3.5 hrs with a 2 hr layover. The leg from Taipei to LAX is 14 hours but EVERGREEN AIRLINES treats passengers like royalty. Three hours in LAX were not enough for UNITED to get us checked-in in time for our flight to Phoenix so we had to lay out an extra $250 to SOUTHWEST and wait 2.5 more hours for a 90 min flight home. United made no attempt at reimbursing us. I’d gladly do it again to see Thailand but nothing will get me back on a UNITED flight.

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Claire Walter February 12, 2011 at 9:47 pm

When my husband and visited Easter Island several years ago, we stopped for a while at what might be the only school in Hanga Roa, which is definitely the island’s only city. As we watched youngsters playong soccer in the schoolyard, my husband remarked, “Away games must be a bitch.” — claire @ http://www.travel-babel.com.

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Aaron @ Aaron's Worldwide Adventures March 4, 2011 at 1:31 am

Great to know thanks! I’d love to go to Easter Island!

Longest day of travel I’ve had is flying from Las Vegas to Bangkok (via San Francisco and Tokyo). Flying time was 18 hours but with layovers, it was closer to 25 hours!

Longest non-stop flight I’ve had is JFK to Seoul, which is 14 hours! Actually kind of flew by, even in economy (helps to fly an Asian carrier whose service is FAR better than any domestic US carriers!)

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Chris March 5, 2011 at 11:06 am

@Aaron – I agree with you on international carriers. For our endless flight between JFK and Bangkok, we were on Thai Air in premium economy.We were given business class service, it seemed .Wish US carriers would take some lessons.

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Bluegreen Kirk March 9, 2011 at 7:44 am

Im not a fan of long flights and anything over 6-8 hours I just get exhausted if I cant sleep. Though I must admitted straight through flights are always welcomed. Easter Island looks fabolous

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Mark June 26, 2011 at 8:23 pm

The LIM flights are a welcome addition! Particularly to those using a oneworld RTW where you get the 4 LA coupons included.

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