I think Easter Island is one of those travel destinations that seems a whole lot more awesome in theory than it is in reality. While I’ve had some issues travelling around the world, I have always been thankful for the experience and lessons learned. Unfortunately for me Easter Island just felt like one big disappointment. Which sucks in hindsight because I was looking forward to it so much. Maybe I was just unlucky?
I had to go to Chile for work, and at the time I was told I had to clear off some of my annual leave entitlements by our HR department. So I took an extra 4 days off on the work trip and flew from Santiago to Easter Island on LAN. I organised a private tour guide/driver before I left based on the recommendations I’d been given from a family friend who’d visited a few years prior. In hindsight, maybe not the best idea, since the family friend was more into the superstitious aliens side of things. As a scientist? I’m really not. The guide basically ended up doing a heap of illegal things – from climbing on monuments, to trying to chip off pieces of stone carving, to trying to take me into areas that were clearly sign posted as off limits.
Regardless, I made my way to Easter Island and my hotel in Hanga Roa Bay. I’d done some research before booking the hotel and knew it was managed by a US expat, and that it had recommendations from people who had travelled there that were vegan. I figured it was probably my best bet. I figured wrong?
While the manager might have been an expat who understood what being vegan meant, I’m pretty sure her kitchen staff didn’t. Being an island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, it was unsurprising that the food options were dominated by seafood. I get that, it makes sense. However I was surprised at the total lack of vegetarian options while dining out, let alone vegan! And there’s not really a grocery store to speak of on the island in which to buy food if you don’t like what the restaurants have to offer.
I attempted to go out for dinner every night to a different restaurant, but it was a pretty spectacular failure. Ultimately, I literally ate nothing but fruit and drank nothing but water for 4 days. Probably did wonders for my health, but I was incredibly frustrated by it. In the end, I was grateful to get crammed back on that LAN flight to Santiago and eat something other than fruit!
As for Easter Island itself, I was kind of bored after 2 days. It gets to the point where you’re thinking “Oh God, not another statue?!?!” after about half a day. One other day I went scuba diving and climbed the volcano.There’s 2 dive shops on the island (surprising that that’s sustainable given how small it is), but the scuba diving was fun, so it wasn’t all a disappointment 🙂 The other couple of days I hired a bike and went for a ride and sat around the hotel pool or the beach at the other end of the island. Nice enough I guess? Just not really what I went there for.
I cried when I saw the ceviche and realised I couldn’t eat it anymore.
Not another Moai?