Chile is reopening its world-famous Easter Island in August after almost 2 and a half years of closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Easter Island—which is over 2,000 miles (3,129km) off the coast of Chile—is home to the iconic giant heads carved by the locals centuries ago. It’s also famous for its stunning nature.
Chile’s economy minister said in a statement: “As of August 1, an increase in flights (two or three weekly flights, according to the epidemiological situation) and the opening of tourism, in conditions which will be communicated in a timely manner, will be allowed,”
The Details of the Reopening
The Chilean government has decided the local COVID-19 vaccination rate must reach 80% for the island to reopen. Currently, the local vaccination rate on Easter Island is only 73%. That’s why they’ve given the island three months to catch up.
Easter Island has been closed since March 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic started. Locals took over the airport to prevent flights traveling from mainland Chile to the island.
To reopen the island, Chile’s government has started an official dialogue to “find a solution to the territorial conflict that has existed for over 50 years” between the state and the local community.
Last October, the island held a referendum on whether to reopen Easter Island for tourism purposes. The result—which was non-binding—showed that 67% of the island voted against reopening.
Unfortunately, the medical center of the island’s only city—Hanga Roa—is only equipped with respirators; it doesn’t have an intensive care unit. The nearest intensive care unit is in Mainland Chile, which is about 5 and a half hours away by flight. This is a problem for the island’s reopening.
However, the Chilean government said it would boost the health infrastructure on the island to handle the eventual spread of COVID-19 cases. The government also plans to assist local businesses, especially tourism, which have been hammered by the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, due to the locals forcing the island’s closure and its incredible isolation, Easter Island has witnessed very few COVID-19 cases since March 2020. Currently, there are only a handful of cases on the island.
Chile’s Entry Requirements
Although many nations worldwide have scrapped all COVID-19 entry requirements, Chile still has some restrictions. Chile currently has a COVID ‘Alert Level’ system.
At the moment, Chile is in Alert Level 1.
- The government recommends a pre-departure test, but it’s not mandatory at this Alert Level 1
- However, at Alert Levels 2 and 3, all travelers must have a negative pre-departure PCR test SARS-COV-2 (rapid and antigen tests are not accepted), taken no more than 72 hours before boarding the final flight into Santiago.
- The government recommends all travelers have a valid Mobility Pass (‘Pase de movilidad’). However, this isn’t mandatory at Alert Level 1, but it’s mandatory at Alert Level 2 and 3. Travelers must validate their proof of vaccination to obtain the mobility pass
- Tourists also need to have proof of travel insurance covering a minimum of $30,000 for COVID-19 related issues for the total duration of their stay
- All travelers must complete an affidavit (Declaración Jurada) up to 48 hours before boarding.
The Chilean government requires tourists to show their mobility pass to enter various private and public places. Tourists can obtain the mobility pass for 30 days if they’ve had two vaccination doses. However, tourists can obtain the mobility pass for 90 days if they’ve had the booster shot.
Chile’s entry requirements may change before Easter Island reopens in August, so before leaving on your trip, be sure to watch the latest travel rules.
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Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions can change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling. Travel Off Path does not endorse traveling against government advisories