At a Glance
The most luxurious option on Easter Island comes from famously all-inclusive Chilean property chain Explora, which also has properties in the Atacama Desert, Patagonia and a few other far-flung South American destinations.
- All-inclusive activities, including fifteen different treks led by expert guides
- The communal lounge with stunning views and beautiful South American furniture
- Guest rooms feature brightly-hued accents and raw tree trunks as room dividers
The first LEED-certified hotel in Latin America, Explora Rapa Nui takes pains to not only protect the environment, but to celebrate it. Buildings blend seamlessly into the landscape and were constructed with inspiration from the original grass-and-stone houses of the islanders. The lodge is set back from the coast (it’s about a 30-minute walk away), affording spectacular views of equal-parts land, sea and sky.
But the most memorable aspects of a stay at any Explora lodge are the all-inclusive activities and meals. Fifteen different treks, bike rides, tours and boating expeditions are on offer, led by expert guides who have all gone through rigorous training at Explora’s own guiding school. Timed to avoid other tourists, the half-day or full-day trips occur in small groups (never exceeding eight people), but are generally shared with fellow guests. Guides meet their group in the hotel lounge the night prior to discuss the next day's plan and what they might expect. Departures leave from the large-scale map that sits in the lobby, which is flanked by chalkboards outlining the day’s available activities. (A recent day's options included a trek to the island's headlands, visiting a beach, seeing the moai quarry and a boat trip.) The lodge can also arrange for scuba diving, snorkeling and surfing lessons.
Décor throughout the property is based around neutral colors and made of organic materials, with the occasional bright pop of color. The bar-cum-café has natural light streaming in from a ceiling full of skylights, and the lounge is filled with mid-century style leather, light wood and white upholstered furniture imported from Argentina.
Explora has 26 rooms and four suites between its two wings, all facing the sea with the same sweeping views. Guest rooms are built with neutral-colored elements such as tree branches, exposed cement and light woods. Bed linens are accented with fuchsia, lime green and orange blankets. The rooms are on the small side and do not have wifi, enforcing that the Explora experience is about being outside and in the communal spaces. All rooms have such thoughtful amenities as organic journals, sandals and water bottles.
The restaurant uses local ingredients and features Chilean wines. Picnics can be arranged on the coast by the natural pools. The spa's two treatment rooms overlook a meadow, and there is a solar-heated Jacuzzi, an “ancestral” sauna covered in eucalyptus leaves (inspired by Mapuche Indians and Easter Island’s boathouses) and a pool café where guests can have lunch.
Note that Explora is located a 15-minute ride from town; taxi fares run about $10 each way. There is a minimum stay of three nights.
Who Should Stay
Families as well as couples who want to participate in multiple activities and be guided throughout the island by a knowledgeable guide will appreciate Explora's hand-holding nature. Those who like to be more independent in their travels will prefer the less intimate, more centrally located, Nayara Hangaroa.
Written by Amelia Osborne Scott