The price for a double room at an island guesthouse runs from US$20 to US$120, plus another US$10 in the high season from November to March. The rooms are clean and simple, often facing a garden, and most have private bath. Many of the places called "hotels" are only larger guesthouses and virtually all are single story affairs. The fancy five-star beach resorts so common in French Polynesia haven't arrived here yet although there are upscale hotels.
Most room rates include a continental breakfast, but for a full English breakfast you'll have to pay more. Beware if something extra is "offered," as you could end up paying an additional US$40 for one small frozen lobster. If you're asked to choose a meal plan, take only breakfast and dinner so you won't have to come back for lunch. You can buy picnic fare at local stores. Unfortunately few places offer cooking facilities.
If you haven't booked a package, accommodations are easily arranged upon arrival as most of the residenciales (guesthouses) have booking counters in the baggage collection hall at the airport. Once something is arranged you'll be given a free lift to the place. Don't promise to stay more than one night until you've seen the room and are happy. Many rooms are priced per person, which is a good deal if you're alone.
Room prices fluctuate according to supply and demand, and when things are slow bargaining is possible. During the low season from April to October the large hotels stand almost empty and rates are discounted as much as 50 percent. The peak season with the highest visitor levels is November-February; June is the slackest month. More rooms are available than there are airline seats to fill them, so unless you're very fussy or specific about where you want to stay, reservations are not required, even during the Tapati Rapa Nui festival. You'll just have to pay more when it's busy.
If you want the security of a reservation, the best established travel agency on Easter Island itself is Mahinatur on Ave. Hotu Matu'a near the airport. Also highly recommended is Rapa Nui Travel. Both can book hotel accommodations, excursions, and rental vehicles in advance, and their services are used by most overseas tour operators.
Virtually everyone staying at the large hotels will have been put there by a travel agent or tour operator. Independent travelers invariably choose the smaller hotels and residenciales, which are much better value. The rack rates at places such as Hangaroa Eco Village, Hotel Iorana, Hotel Manutara, Hotel Hotu Matu'a, Hotel Taha Tai, and Explora Posada de Mike Rapu are far above what their rooms are worth. Avoid Hotel Manutara which is buffeted by rock music from a nearby disco on Friday and Saturday nights. Hotel Iorana is inconveniently far from everything.
The listings which follow are not exhaustive because almost every family on the island is involved in tourism in some way (and unlike many other South Pacific destinations, tourism here is run almost exclusively by the local people). A few places, including Residencial Ana Rapu and overpriced Hostal Martín and Anita, have been deliberately left out. Almost all of the 10 hotels and 40 residenciales are in Hanga Roa, arranged here beginning with those closest to the airport. None of the streets have numbers and most residenciales don't have signs, so never hesitate to ask directions. Some places are better known by the owner's name.
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