Rugged, remote and spectacular, the Juan Fernandez Islands would pass unnoticed to all but ornithologists and intrepid explorers were it not for the literary name of the archipelago’s second largest volcanic outcrop – Robinson Crusoe Island!
Evoking tales of pirates and castaways, the rugged Juan Fernandez archipelago lies 672km off the Chilean coast surrounded by the sparkling, deep blue waters of the Pacific Ocean. Towering, jagged peaks and cliffs tumble onto rocky coves while the crystal clear bays abound with some of the finest seafood in the world.
Discovered in 1574, these rocky outcrops would have sunk into obscurity were it not for Alexander Selkirk, a troublesome sailor marooned on the islands for 4 lonely years in 1704 and who was to become the inspiration behind Daniel Defoe’s classic book Robinson Crusoe. Today, the Juan Fernandez are home to a small island community who depend on subsistence fishing, farming and increasingly tourism.
Accessed from Santiago via a short 2 hour flight, a number of simple lodges offer intrepid visitors the chance to explore these unique and spectacular islands from above and below the water. A paradise for wildlife enthusiasts, the archipelago boasts 3 endemic species of birds including the impressive Juan Fernandez Firecrown that attracts ornithologists from far and wide.
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