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Easter Island Travel Guide

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Money

The local currency is the Chilean peso, which comes in notes of 500, 1,000, 2,000, 5,000, 10,000, and 20,000 pesos. Chilean currency is almost worthless outside Chile itself, so only change what you're sure you'll need, and get rid of the remainder before you leave. Duty-free purchases aboard LanChile flights can be paid for in pesos.

The Banco del Estado (open weekdays), beside the tourist office in Hanga Roa, charges a flat US$10 commission to change any number of traveler's checks. Cash U.S. dollars are changed without commission at the same rate. An ATM inside the bank gives cash advances on MasterCard; cash advances on Visa cards are available at the counter (US$200 daily maximum). All cash advances are paid out in pesos, not dollars. In 2009 a branch of the Banco Santander opened in Hanga Roa and its three ATMs have a much higher card success rate than the one at the Banco del Estado.

All tourist-oriented establishments accept dollars as payment, though not always at good rates. If you're coming from Santiago, bring a supply of pesos. Outside banking hours, the Shell gas station on Ave. Hotu Matu'a west of the airport changes U.S. cash at a rate five percent lower than the bank (posted in the office). Currencies other than U.S. dollars (including Polynesian CFP) can be difficult to exchange.

Credit cards are rarely usable on Easter Island as those accepting them have to wait a long time to be paid. Some hotels levy a 10 percent service charge for the use of credit cards.

If you want to pay something approaching local prices, ask how much the item or service costs in pesos. Only tourists pay in U.S. dollars and dollar prices are invariably higher. When prices are quoted in dollars, you can usually save a small amount by asking to pay in pesos.

Virtually all accommodations are priced (and can be paid) in dollars, but beware of restaurants, taxis, or shops quoting dollar prices. The price categories on this site are given only in dollars to compensate for inflation and the depreciating Chilean peso, but almost everything can (and should) be paid for directly in pesos.

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