Tourism in the Robinson Crusoe Island

A place that captivates for its landscapes, opportunities and history.

Consuelo Vergara Mendez | Flickr
Consuelo Vergara Mendez | Flickr

One of the islands of the Juan Fernández Archipelago, Robinson Crusoe is one of the most famous among this group. It used to be called “Isla Más a Tierra” (Closer to Land Island), due to its distance from continental Chile, but its name changed after the popular novel by Daniel Defoe, “Robinson Crusoe” was published. The book told the story of a man that shipwrecked on a south-pacific island. The novel was based in the story of Alexander Selkirk, who inhabited the island for many years.

Nowadays, its population doesn’t reach the 1000 people, but it constantly receives national and international visitors that want to know more about this beautiful and historically important place. A destiny far away from the busy life in the cities and filled with places to explore.

Among the most popular activities in the island we can mention the different trekking routes that do not require any special training. The most popular sites on this routes are the Selkirk lookout, from where it’s possible to see the whole island, providing a view from different angles. “Plazoleta El Yunque” and “Salsipuedes” are the names of two popular paths of the island. These paths allow to discover the unique forests of Robinson Crusoe, appreciating its flora and fauna; such as the endemic birds that nest in the archipelago, for example the Juan Fernández firecrown.

For those who have more experience practicing trekking, there are two fairly unknown routes that lead to different cliffs from where you can have a unique view of the island’s landscape; the Centinela hill and the French pier.

Another popular activity in the island is the underwater exploration. The Juan Fernández Archipelago is internationally known for being one of the best places in the world for this activity, and Robinson Crusoe offers this alternative. A unique biodiversity that does not require any special training or going into deep, due to the clarity of its water. The South American fur seal is definitely the most popular especimen in this region, since it was considered to be extinct during the XX century.

The island also attracts tourists interested in history and culture. After the Battle of Rancagua in 1814, the island was used as a prison, known as the the Patriots’ Cave, which is currently considered a National Historical Monument.

There’s a legend that says that for many years, a treasure has been lost in the island. In 1741, the commodore Lord George Anson visited the island, where he hid a chest filled with gold and jewelry. To this date, many visitors try to find it, whether it is with the purpose of finding fortune, or as an excuse to wander across this captivating island.

This post is also available in Spanish