Finding the right hotel/inn/B&B to stay at for Easter Island was no easy task. There was the ultra high luxury – Hotel Explora outside of town (really, really far away) and then everywhere else in town. Now I tend to think of myself as deserving of the ultra high luxury hotel (and who isn’t, really?) until I compared the 4 night single rate which was about $4,500 for room/board/activities.
So in researching my options and trying to decipher TripAdvisor reviews (they are always super fun to read), I had contacted three properties by email. I would learn that internet is available on Easter Island although not consistent.
Property 1: The two rooms were full but the owner would let me stay in her spare room/office with no windows and a shared bathroom (ooh, sounds so tempting, doesn’t it?) for a discounted price.
Property 2: Highly ranked on TripAdvisor, didn’t reply for a week.
Property 3: Paul at Tekarera replied within a day with options, pricing, contact information and a paypal link. I asked a few questions and felt a level of comfort based on reviews and a google search of Paul and his history with the island.
The Tekarera package I chose included 4 nights with two 1/2 day tours with Paul and one day car rental – the total was $440 single. I think I made a pretty good decision to stay at Tekarera – not that I had much of a choice mind you – I didn’t have $4,500 and if I did, I would spend it on one of those over the water bungalows in Tahiti for a week, wouldn’t you?
So I mentioned the arrival to the inn in my previous post and how I was a bit surprised by the state of the outside building with a case of buyer’s remorse as the construction was not completed. It was definitely a case of do not judge a book by its cover. The inn is located 15-20 minutes outside of the main town near the museum and a 5 minute walk to the Moai and sunsets.
I was pleasantly surprised by the interior of the building I was staying at – my room would be at the end of the tiled hallway. When I entered the nice sized room, it was clear that it was newly renovated. There was a large wardrobe, bathroom, queen bed with a welcome lei and towels, desk and fan (there is no A/C). Adapters and an umbrella were available in the room but no alarm clock (my time issues would follow me from Santiago and I would miss a sunrise!). Looking out my window you could see a seating area on the deck and a view of the garden.
I would sit outside and read a book (a real book people, no kindles for me) and check the internet. The Wi-Fi is free and was available about 80% of the time (considering I can’t get a signal in my house in a big U.S. city sometimes, getting one on this remote island was ironic – the world really is getting smaller and more connected). As I had forgotten my flashlight, Paul lent me his headlamp to use on my explorations.
Paul set out breakfast each morning consisting of yogurt, cereal, breads and meat/cheese platter with juice and coffee in the little kitchen alcove. The main common area was, at the time, under construction so guests would meet and chat on the common deck. Paul was doing all of the renovations in his spare time! He has very little help at the inn so is basically a one man show doing it all, I’m not sure he sleeps really. On offer at a discounted price was bottled sparkling and still water – it was the honor system so you paid at the end of your stay. He had a cell phone available in the small kitchen area to call him 24/7 or to call a cab (we would try the cab option one night but between the three of us, our Spanish was not enough for anyone to understand, so we called Paul to order the taxi for us and he instead came to get us (his night off with his girlfriend) and drive us to dinner). It was this type of attention that made the stay so memorable and made me forget about the construction. Paul treated us like family and I know that I appreciated it – learning about Paul was, in itself, a bonus for our visit. Paul would lead our 2 – 1/2 day tours and I will post about the tours separately.
Included in the package was a one day car rental direct from Paul, no car agency involved, he just gave me the keys to the car, a small, manual transmission 4wd. It was easy to drive and helpful on the dirt roads on the island that were definitely challenging to navigate – be prepared for an adventure. As a city girl, used to highway driving, the off roading was fun until I thought I might flip the truck on the deep trenches of rocks or pop a tire. At one point, I got out and had someone else get us through the rough patches. As I love to drive and love a challenge, for me to cede any control only indicates how challenging I found the roads.
I would definitely stay with Paul again at Tekarea even if the construction is still in progress – he loves the island so much and wants you to love it too. Mission accomplished for me!