Chile's Easter Island reopens to tourists after pandemic shutdown

FILE PHOTO: Statues named "Moai" are seen on a hill at Easter Island, Chile February 1, 2019. Picture taken February 1, 2019. REUTERS/Jorge Vega

SANTIAGO (Reuters) - Chile's Easter Island received its first group of tourists on Thursday after closing its borders for more than two years due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Easter Island, over 2,000 miles (3,219 km) from the coast of Chile, has over a thousand stone statues -- giant heads that were carved centuries ago by the island's inhabitants -- which have brought it fame and UNESCO World Heritage Site status.

"(Easter Island) is the biggest open air museum in the world," said Pedro Edmunds, the mayor of Easter Island, adding that it was time to open the island after it shut its borders 868 days ago.

"We've learned what the pandemic is about and know how to take care of ourselves," Edmunds said, adding that the focus was on keeping guests safe.

Visitors must be fully vaccinated and present a negative PCR test taken no more than 24 hours before boarding a domestic flight to the island. Tourists aboard international flights to the island must take an antigen test once they arrive.

LATAM airlines said it reopened the route from Santiago to Easter Island with flights on Thursdays and Saturdays and hopes to add more.

"LATAM will gradually increase frequency as health measures allow," said Constanza Pizarro, LATAM's communications manager. "We're coordinating with authorities."

(Reporting by Reuters TV; Writing by Alexander Villegas, editing by Deepa Babington)

Article type: free
User access status:
Subscribe now to our Premium Plan for an ad-free and unlimited reading experience!

Next In World

Colombia's Petro replaces military commanders in human rights drive
Canada confirms over 25,000 new COVID-19 cases in one week
N.Korea lifts mask mandate, distancing rules after declaring COVID victory
U.S.-listed Chinese firms trade flat
U.S. stocks rally, notching weekly gains
Italy emerges as European hotspot for West Nile fever outbreaks
U.S. Congress passes Democratic bill on tax, health care, climate
Italy's trade in value increases due to high energy prices in Q2: ISTAT
Hotel fire leaves 22 injured in northern Colombia
Mexico's president draws ire after navy helicopter flies in baseball mascot

Others Also Read