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Robinson Crusoe Island, the lost paradise

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Location Pacific Ocean
Coordinates 33°38′29″S 78°50′28″W
Archipelago Juan Fernández Islands
Area 93 km2 (35.9 sq mi)
Highest elevation 922 m (3,025 ft)
Highest point El Yunque
Country Chile
Population 859 (as of 2011 est.)

Robinson Crusoe Island (Spanish: Isla Robinson Crusoe), formerly known as Más a Tierra (Closer to land), or Aguas Buenas, is a tropical island treat, the largest island of the Chilean Juan Fernández Archipelago, situated 674 km (419 mi) west of South America in the South Pacific Ocean.

The archipelago is made up of three islands: Robinson Crusoe, Alejandro Selkirk and Santa Clara. The Alexander Selkirk Island was named in honour of the Scotsman sailor Alexander Selkirk who was marooned as a castaway in 1704, and lived in solitude for four years and four months.

Robinson Crusoe Island was first named Juan Fernandez Island after Juan Fernández, a Spanish sea captain and explorer who was the first to land there in 1574. It was also known as Más a Tierra. There is no evidence of an earlier discovery either by Polynesians, despite the proximity to Easter Island, or by Native Americans. Daniel Defoe was inspired by this island in a novel, published in 1719, by the true story of an 18th Century castaway.

There is a single village on these islands, San Juan Bautista, on Robinson Crusoe Island, at Cumberland Bay on the island’s north coast, with Hosteria Villa Green and Crusoe Island Hotel. The houses of this village was damaged by a tsunami and earthquake in 2010.

The Alexander Selkirk Island, in honour of the resourceful 18th Century Scotsman who made these islands his temporary home.

The island is the home of unique species such as the Juan Fernandez Hummingbird or the fur seal. The island was declared National Park – Juan Fernandez National Park (1935) – and later, World Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO, in 1977.

Robinson Crusoe Island is famous for it’s spectacular Island Dance Shows and some of Fiji’s best Fire and Knife dancers. Here you can visit Santa Barbara fortress, the Cultural House, English port, French port, Juan Fernandez National Park, Yunque Square (the highest point in the island), Cerro Centinela, Mirador de Alexander Selkirk, as well as the Cave of Robinson, presented as the cave where Alejandro Selkirk from the Daniel Defoe’s novel lived, about ten miles from town with access by boat.

The best period to visit it is between November and April.

You can visit the islands by flights from Los Cerrillos and Tobalaba airports in Santiago de Chile to La Punta airport, about 2.5 hours, then, by a boat.

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