Jorge Sanchez (Spain):
It is somewhat complicated to travel to Robinson Crusoe Island. (Flying to Easter Island, for instance, is very easy). First you need to book your ticket in Santiago de Chile, in an airline company called LASSA, which flies, weather permitting, from a private airport only when they gather 14 passengers. The same occurs in the way back. Therefore you never know if you will spend in that island three days or three weeks. But that is not all. When you land in the island then you still have to walk for about forty minutes down until the pier,where a motorboat is waiting for the 14 passengers to transport them, during one hour, to San Juan Bautista, the only village in the island, populated by about 500 people. There are irregular ships going there from Valparaiso, at 650 kilometers far from Robinson Crusoe Island, but then you need more spare time.
Robinson Crusoe Island forms part of the volcanic archipelago of Juan Fernandez (Juan Fernandez was a Spanish conquistador who discovered the islands in the XVI century). The other two islands of the archipelago are: Alejandro Selkirk and Santa Clara, both uninhabited.
A Scottish pirate called Alexander Selkirk discussed with the captain of his buccaneer ship and asked to be left in an island in the Pacific Ocean that was then known as MAS A TIERRA. He stayed there 4 years and 4 months before being rescued. Daniel Defoe was inspired in the tales of Selkirk to write his famous Robinson Crusoe novel.
You see many lovely seals playing happily when you arrive to the pier. It is as if they tell you: Welcome to Robinson Crusoe.
My favourite place in the island was the place where the pirate Selkirk watched the horizon with the hope of seeing a ship to save him. There is even a plaque up there. Walking will take you half an hour. From that strategic point you see both sides of the island. You have to pay a fee to enter that area, because is a National Park protected by the UNESCO and declared Patrimony of the Humankind.
There is a Spanish treasure in that island, somewhere hidden in the Bahia del Ingles. According to legend, the value of the treasure is beyond imagination; it was originated in the Incan Empire and was stolen during the Spanish conquest of Peru in the 16th and 17th centuries. When the treasure was en route to Spain at the beginning of the XVIII century, the captain of the ship landed on Robinson Crusoe Island and buried the treasure. Then, at the turn of the XX century, a rich North American called Bernard Keiser, from Jacksonville, Florida (but born in Holland), is working there already several years using sophisticated apparatus. Maria Eugenia is his partner. I had the opportunity to talk with him, and felt that he is a nice and honest person. But I think that the real treasure is the island itself.
In the public Library there is an original “moai” from the Easter Island. You have another one in the Alameda, in Santiago de Chile.
The Hotel Pangal, if you can afford it, is very good and with excellent views, although is a little far to walk to the village. They have a motorboat service for the customers. Otherwise I suggest you the rooms of Senora Maria Eugenia, just besides the beach. She rents huts very well conditioned at a good price. The best hut, where I stayed, is the Anna Pink.
By the way, la Señora Maria Eugenia prepares delicious lasagna stuffed with lobster.
Date posted: July 2013
Have you been to Juan Fernandez Archipielago National Park? Share your experiences!