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Robinson Crusoe Island

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Chile's Treasure Island

Robinson Crusoe Island – the main island of the Juan Fernández Archipelago, which also consists of Santa Clara and Alejandro Selkirk (also called Isla Más Afuera) – boasts a rich history. Since its discovery by Spanish navigator Juan Fernández in 1574, it became an icon among sailors and a place of refuge for corsairs and pirates, who would use this piece of paradise to stock up on supplies. It was also the place where Scotch navigator Alexander Selkirk was stranded for four years and four months beginning in October 1704. His story inspired the Daniel Defoe novel Robinson Crusoe.

The island's single town, San Juan Bautista, has 500 inhabitants and is on the road to recovery after the devastating tsunami that hit in 2010. The capital is a genuine treasure, not only for the booty that was secretly buried by Lord Anson in the mid-18th century, but thanks to its people and natural wonders. Declared a National Park and UNESCO Biopshere Reserve, it offers 61 times more native plants species than the Galapagos and 13 times more birds.

Cerro El Yunque is the focal point of the island's rolling geography, and is perfect for trekking and photography. You can also enjoy the friendliness and countless legends offered by the locals, descendants of the island's first colonists, who arrived a century back. The island also offers the chance to scuba dive with some of the best visibility in Chile (over 20 meters). There's an abundance of marine life, as well as some playful seals. You can also sample the island's traditional fare, which is prepared with local seafood like lobsters (Robinson Crusoe's most famous product, and an ingredient in the dish known as "Perol"), golden crabs and the island's classic fish, vidriola (yellow-tailed amberjack) and breca. The terrific natural scenery surrounded by the waters of the Pacific makes this a once-in-a-lifetime experience. You won't regret it.

 

Getting there

en avion
By Plane
Two airlines offer weekly flights, which take 1:50  minutes.
barco
By Boat
There are a few options for reaching this island by boat, including service provided by private companies, and trips arranged by the Chile Navy (with island residents getting preferential access). The trip lasts two days (in either direction), although it can take longer in the event of unfavorable weather.
 

 

Tips

01

Post Tsunami
Greeting Trekking
Robinson Crusoe Island has managed to begin its recovery following the 2010 tsunami. The spirit of the island is helping them overcome the adversity, and they are more than happy to welcome visitors. Much of the island was largely unaffected, but you still need to check which lodgings and restaurants will be able to accommodate you. It is a ritual and obligation to greet everyone with an "Hola," even if you've seen them pass by on the street five times in the same day. Failing to greet someone is considered bad manners here. You should strive to be a good visitor, respecting and listening to local opinions. This island is best explored on foot. There are no roads, so you cannot explore its beautiful scenery by car. To reach sites like La Piña, Puerto Inglés, El Arenal and Los Ramplones, you should have a guide. If you really want to go it alone, make sure to make Conaf aware of your plans.

02

Money and Food Flora and Fauna 
There are no ATMs or banks on the island and credit cards are not accepted, so you have to travel with cash. The price of provisions is higher than on the mainland, so it's a good idea to come with supplies. Only one company provides cell phone service. The great treasure of this archipelago is its unique natural wonders. It has one of the highest percentages of native species in the world. One theory is that traveling spores settled on these islands, creating new families of trees and bushes. Highlights among the native fauna include the Juan Fernández hummingbird and the South American fur seal.

 

 

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