Hello from Easter Island!
I’m enjoying some time in South America and the South Pacific with my partner Jessy. We’re here to tick some far-flung destinations off of our bucket lists, as well as experience a different type of travel than what we’ve done recently.
This trip is a bit shorter and less exhaustive than, say, our honeymoon and pre-honeymoon trips, but it’s one that we’ve been looking forward to for quite some time.
Easter Island, or Rapa Nui to the locals, is one of the world’s most remote outposts. It’s located over 3,500km off the coast of Chile, and there aren’t too many ways to get there.
Indeed, it’s a destination which I’ve long dreamed of visiting, and I’m thrilled to finally find myself here.
Our last trip to the South Pacific was for our “pre-honeymoon”, when we spent some time in French Polynesia soaking up the sun and living in the lap of luxury. On Easter Island, we’re in for a much different experience; however, it’s sure to be just as rewarding.
From here, we’ll head back to Chile for a brand-new experience of a different kind, as we’re off on a five-day trek in Patagonia.
Long gone will be the five-star logos adorned on the exterior of our accommodations and the elaborate breakfast spreads to look forward to.
Rather, we’ve opted for a more rustic experience this time around, as we’ll be sleeping under the stars in tents and more modest tourist lodgings.
Trekking is something that’s new to me, and after hearing from my friends and colleagues about epic adventures in the mountains, I wanted to see what it’s like for myself.
From there, we’ll wrap up the trip in Santiago, before heading back to North America.
I’ve loved my travels in South America over the years, and I’m very happy to add to my experiences in this part of the world.
For this trip, I had to piece together separate flights for us, since I began my trip after TravelMoreCon in Asheville, North Carolina, whereas Jessy started out from our home in Vancouver.
After a quick positioning flight to Miami, I booked through to Santiago via Lima on LATAM business class for 45,000 Alaska miles. This is a product I haven’t had the chance to try out until now, and I thought it was a pretty good deal, especially given the upcoming devaluation in 2024.
I booked Jessy from Vancouver to Santiago via Toronto with Air Canada, using the “Latitude Attitude” to secure lie-flat business class seats on both flights for just 65,000 Aeroplan points.
To get to and from Easter Island, we made an Avios redemption from my British Airways Executive Club account with LATAM business class. We paid 38,750 Avios per person per direction, plus a nominal amount of taxes and fees.
Oddly enough, the availability in business class is much better than economy on this route, and it’s a great sweet spot to take advantage of, especially if you used a transfer bonus event.
For our trek, I booked cash fares from Santiago to Punta Arenas, which is the major hub city in the Chilean Patagonian region, and then from Puerto Natales back to Santiago. Puerto Natales serves as the gateway to the W Trek in Torres del Paine.
Coming back, I booked us from Santiago to Vancouver via Toronto in Air Canada business class for just 58,000 Aeroplan points each. This was an incredible deal, considering that we booked directly into business class, and have around 16 hours of flying time in the comfort of lie-flat pods.
It’s not necessarily easy to find Air Canada flights at these prices, but it’s certainly not impossible. I was fortunate enough to stumble upon ample award space at the lowest business class pricing within the mid-November travel window when I had booked in mid-September.
There’s a wide range of accommodation on this trip, spanning everything from top-tier resorts to tatty tents.
Upon arrival in Santiago, we indulged in a two-night stay at the Mandarin Oriental Santiago. I’ve enjoyed all of my stays with the Mandarin Oriental brand so far, which can be booked with Prince Collection, our luxury travel agency.
On Easter Island, we’re spending three nights at Explora Rapa Nui, one of the best hotels on the island. This is another property that can be booked with Prince Collection via the Virtuoso program, so be sure to get in touch with us for a quote if you’re headed this way.
Once back in Chile, we’re staying at a mix of Airbnbs, refugios, and campsites during our time in Puntas Arenas, Puerto Natales, and the W Trek in Torres del Paine. The campsites will be a whole new experience for me, especially when compared to the luxury side that I typically pursue.
To wrap up our trip, we’re booked for two nights at the W Santiago, for which I burned a few Marriott Free Night Awards. This W is also notable for allowing Suite Night Award holders to request the WOW Suite, so I’ll certainly be hoping that my suite upgrade comes through.
Overall, there’s a real mix of lodgings on this trip, and I’m looking forward to getting out of my comfort zone this time around, both literally and figuratively.
My wife Jessy and I are off to Chile, where we’ll visit Santiago, Easter Island, and the Chilean Patagonian region.
South America is a destination that offers such a wide range of experiences, and I’m pleased to be trying out new airline products and accommodations during this relatively quick trip.
From absorbing the mystical charm of Easter Island to the lacing up my hiking boots in Torres del Paine, I’m looking forward to exploring many new frontiers on this trip, and I invite you to follow along on our adventures on the blog, YouTube, and my Instagram page in the coming weeks.