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The Wonders of Easter Island and Galapagos

Our Agent Dahiana Burucua shares the highlights of her recent trip to Easter Island and Galapagos.

WHERE DID YOU GO?
We split our holiday between two amazing destinations which offered a fantastic cultural and wildlife experience. We visited Rapa Nui (Easter Island) during their Tapati Festival (the annual cultural festival) and we also travelled to the Galapagos to see their unique wildlife.

HOW DID YOU GET THERE?
We travelled with LATAM from the Falklands on to Santiago. Afterwards we went on a direct flight from Santiago to Rapa Nui and returned to mainland Chile on the same route. To get to Galapagos, we flew via Guayaquil on the northbound leg and returned via Quito and Lima.

WHAT ARE THE OPTIONS FOR ACCOMMODATION?
Both destinations offer a wide range of accommodation from budget properties to luxurious hotels. Both destinations have a large variety of properties near the beach.

In Rapa Nui we stayed at Hotel Atavai which is located approximately 10 minutes away from the centre of town. In a previous visit, I stayed at the Altiplanico which was right in the centre of town.

In Santa Cruz we chose to stay at El Descanso del Guia which had great facilities. Although it was far away from the centre of town, taxis only cost between USD$1-2. We originally looked at staying the Finch Bay however it was unfortunately fully booked on our dates.

FAVOURITE PLACE
When visiting Rapa Nui, the sites of the moais are the most impressive. Seeing all the work and time that went into those giant stone guardians will leave you without words.
My favourite moai site was Ahu Tongariki which is the biggest platform in the island, featuring fifteen moais.

As Galapagos is made up of many islands, it is hard to just pick one. We went on various day trips to the outer islands which gave us the opportunity to see the fantastic flora and fauna that this archipelago offers.
We stayed in Santa Cruz as we were only visiting but for a short period of time, had we stayed longer, we would have like to stay overnight in some of the other islands.

FAVOURITE ACTIVITY
Tapati offered a wide range of activities but watching the natives take part in the Haka Pei was extraordinary. Haka Pei is possibly the most audacious, risky and anticipated competition. The public congregates at the foot of the hill Maunga Pu’i, located on the road to Anakena beach, to observe a unique extreme sport. The young and brave participants are adorned with Takona paintings and traditional clothing, before ascending to the top of the hill, which has a height of 200 meters and a slope of 45º.

This risky game consists of sliding down the slope, lying on a kind of rustic sledge built with banana tree trunks joined together. At speeds that sometimes reach 80 km per hour, the contestants descend to the base of the hill in less than ten seconds. The winner will be the one who manages to travel the greatest distance from the launch point.

In Galapagos, we loved snorkelling! We did it everywhere. We had the chance to do this at various points and swam with a fantastic range of animals including iguanas, rays, penguins, sea lions, turtles and sharks. Seeing these amazing creatures in their natural environment was spectacular.

FAVOURITE TOUR
Whether or not you are visiting during the Tapati Festival, I would always encourage visitors to go to a dinner show. Kari Kari is the oldest and biggest dance group in Rapa Nui and they put together an amazing show. The way in which the natives embrace their culture through music and dance is awe-inspiring and is how they keep their traditions alive to this day.

In Galapagos, our full day trip to Pinzon Island was probably the best tour we went on. We got to see so much wildlife and even got to go swim with two types of sharks. At the end of our excursion, we tried our luck fishing but a tiger shark took our catch! It was an unbelievable experience.

BEST FOOD AND DRINK TIP
Make the most of the fresh seafood in Easter Island and Galapagos.
Make sure to also try native Rapna Nui and Ecuadorian dishes which are just delicious.

Both destinations offer happy-hours and traditional cocktails in most of their bar and restaurants. Make sure to try the local beers in both destinations too.

INDISPENSIBLE ITEM TO PACK
Bring sunscreen, your snorkelling gear and an underwater camera.
This will be the best way to ensure you are ready for ever photographic opportunity whether you are visiting historic and cultural sites or if you are having a swim with the marine life.

SUM UP YOUR TRIP IN ONE SENTENCE
A combined trip to these two amazing destinations will fulfil your need for a cultural and wildlife rich holiday, beyond your imagination.

For further information and advice on planning a holiday to these amazing islands, contact me on db.itt@horizon.co.fk










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