Robinson Crusoe Island, Chile Cruise Port

Within the South Pacific Ocean is the cruise port known as Robinson Crusoe Island, Chile, located roughly 416 miles west of the mainland. The second largest of the Juan Fernández Islands, it gets its name from sailor Alexander Selkirk; he was marooned here from 1704 to 1709, and believed to have inspired novelist Daniel Defoe as he wrote about the fictional Robinson Crusoe. By 1966, the government of Chile decided to jump on this happy coincidence, renaming what used to be called Más a Tierra, then Juan Fernandez Island (after the Spanish explorer who landed here in 1574) to Robinson Crusoe Island. Most of the fewer than 900 residents live in the village of San Juan Bautista at the northern end of the island, with an economy that focuses on the spiny lobster trade. Listed below are a handful of our favorite experiences when cruising to Robinson Crusoe Island, Chile:
 
  • The entire archipelago was named a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve by in 1977, and 22,980 acres of the island contain Juan Fernández National Park. Along with recreation, you'll see flora and fauna not found anywhere else. Along with the lobsters and flying fish, keep an eye out for the chonta palm trees, sandal tree, and much more. The South American fur seal is a big tourist favorite.
     
  • Although the entire island doesn't take long to explore, there are fascinating places such as the colorful Cementerio. The cemetery has tombs of early settlers and later German sailors, who stuck around after sinking a battleship in 1915.
     
  • Speaking of the sunken battleship, fans of military history will want to see the Balas al Dresden, connected to the SMS Dresden which was deliberately sunk here after being trapped by British cruisers. Not far from the cemetery, you'll see the holes left behind by shells and grenades, fired from the Dresden during battle.
     
  • Fuerte Santa Barbara, originally built in 1770, stands atop a hill to protect the area from British invasion. Later rebuilt, there are still some of the cannons from the early fort here – as well as a great view of the harbor.

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