6 DAYS FROM $2,299
Enhance your understanding of Polynesian culture — and treat yourself to an exotic island experience in the “navel of the world” — on a pre-trip extension to Easter Island, a Chilean territory and UNESCO World Heritage Site. Rapa Nui, as it’s colloquially known, is renowned the world over as the home of the mystifying moai statues. This pre-trip extension is your opportunity to spend a few days in Santiago, where you’ll acclimate before your Antarctic expedition, and before crossing another once-in-a-lifetime experience off your list when you encounter moai up close and disentangle history from legend. Who created these statues? How? Why? And what happened to them?
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Fly overnight to Santiago
Your journey to Easter Island begins with an overnight flight to Chile.
Exploring Santiago and a Welcome Dinner at the hotel
Upon arrival you'll check into your hotel before partaking in lunch on your own. Then, enjoy an orientation walk of Santiago that introduces you to this vibrant, dynamic Latin American hub, followed by the rest of the day at leisure to explore the city on your own. Tonight, you’ll convene with your fellow travelers for a Welcome Dinner at the hotel.
Fly to mystical Easter Island
This morning, you’ll head to the airport for your short flight to Easter Island. After checking into your hotel, embark on a tour of Hanga Roa, the island’s main town and capital. Enjoy dinner at the hotel this evening. Cultural Discovery: You’ll visit a family museum to learn about the Rapa Nui people from a local resident.
Touring Easter Island’s archaeological hot spots
Spend a full day touring the island’s famed moai and archaeological hot spots, starting with Ahu Vaihu, the site of an ancient temple. You’ll find moai toppled over, the result of tribal conflict, family rivalry, or perhaps even local superstition. Next you’ll see the Rano Raraku volcanic crater, a former moai quarry — there are even statues still waiting to be freed. You’ll view the moai in full glory at Ahu Tongariki, the island’s largest ahu platform. At Anakena Beach, you may go for a refreshing swim with moai in sight — Ahu Nau Nau is known as the island's most intricately carved statues. Later, enjoy lunch at a local restaurant.
The epic sights of Orongo and Ahu Vinapu
You’ll head south of Hanga Roa for this morning’s tour. Straddled between the Rano Kau crater and cliffs above the Pacific is Orongo, the ruins of a sod-and-stone house settlement. Who knows what mysteries you’ll solve at your next stop, the archaeological site at Ahu Vinapu? Following leisure time for lunch, reconvene for an afternoon touring Ahu Akivi, the seven scout moai of Rapa Nui legend. Stop in Puna Pau on the way back to examine the red scoria rock used to make topknots for some of the moai. Tonight, weather permitting, you'll enjoy rustic picnic dinner at Tahai overlooking the endless Pacific Ocean.
Visit the most interesting post office on Earth, then return to Santiago
Following breakfast at the hotel this morning, you’ll transfer to the airport for your flight back to Santiago. Along the way, you'll pay a visit to Easter Island’s post office, the furthest location from any other post office on the planet, where you can browse the unique postcards and pick up Easter Island’s stamp. After arriving in Santiago, you'll have the rest of the day to spend at leisure.
Visit a local Chilean winery, then join the base itinerary
Visit a local winery for an in-depth exploration of Chilean vintages on an optional tour, or spend a morning at leisure in Santiago. Later this afternoon, you’ll join Day 2 of the base program, beginning with a Welcome Briefing and Dinner with the rest of your fellow travelers.