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Robinson Crusoe, An Island of Castaway Natural Treasures

Birdwatching, botanical and nature photography journey to the main island of the remote Juan Fernandez Archipelago, in search of its endemic land birds and pelagic seabirds. We will have the privilege to study its endemic and threatened flora as well as to enjoy of excellent photographic opportunities to document the natural history of this unique and seldom visited subtropical island. This journey includes a boat trip to explore its rugged and scenic coastline in order to discover the island's seabirds and marine mammals.

Scheduled group departures: January 2-6, 2018 & November 6-10, 2018 from Santiago de Chile.

Private departures: 3-night and 4-night options. Leaving year-round every Tuesday and Friday.

 

The endemic Juan Fernandez Firecrown (Sephanoides fernandensis), one of the world's most threatened birds is possible to see in the woodlands and gardens around San Juan Bautista, the only settlement of this remote archipelago © Enrique Couve, Far South Expeditions

The endangered and threatened Juan Fernandez Firecrown, a rare endemic bird of Robinson Crusoe Island © Enrique Couve, Far South Expeditions

 

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Juan Fernandez is a fascinating archipelago of volcanic origin, situated about 400 miles off Valparaiso, central Chile. Robinsoe Crusoe, the main island of the group, is accessible after a 2-hour flight journey from Santiago, Chile. Its rich history dates back to its discovery by Portuguese explorer Juan Fernandez in 1574, but its fame relates to the prolonged residence of the Scottish sailor Alexander Selkirk who was marooned there between 1704 and 1709. His epic survival story served as an inspiration source for Daniel Defoe's famous novelThe critically endangered temperate sub-tropical woodlands of the island, the Fernandezian forests, holds a large, diverse and rich array of flora represented by more than 130 endemic species, most of them regarded as Critically Endangered. During this trip, we shall explore these forests searching for its endemic landbirds: the remarkable Juan Fernandez Firecrown and the Juan Fernandez Tit-tyrant. We will also have the opportunity to explore the rugged coastline by boat, where we will look for its rare seabirds, including the petrels and shearwaters that nest in burrows in the secluded forests. The sub-tropical waters are very productive and we hope to find Defillipi's, Stejneger's, Kermadec and Juan Fernandez Petrel as well as Pink-footed Shearwater. Join us on this birding and natural history journey to this unique and special destination, to seek the natural treasures of the island of Robinson Crusoe! 

 

OVERVIEW

Overview

 

Itinerary in Brief

 

3-night program (leaving every Tuesday)

Day 1 (Tuesday) • Flight to Robinson Crusoe Island (c. 2 hours) - Boat shuttle to San Juan Bautista (c. 1.5 hours) 

Day 2 (Wednesday) • Forests of Robinson Crusoe Island - Walk to Alexander Selkirk viewpoint 

Day 3 (Thursday) • Pelagic trip off Cumberland Bay 

Day 4 (Friday) • Boat shuttle to El Padre Bay - Flight to Santiago 

 

4-night program (leaving every Friday)

Day 1 (Friday) • Flight to Robinson Crusoe Island (c. 2 hours) - Boat shuttle to San Juan Bautista (c. 1.5 hours)

Day 2 (Saturday) • Forests of Robinson Crusoe Island - Walk to Alexander Selkirk viewpoint

Day 3 (Sunday) • Pelagic trip off Cumberland Bay

Day 4 (Monday) • Forests of Robinson Crusoe Island - Walk to Plazoleta El Yunque

Day 5 (Tuesday) • Boat shuttle to El Padre Bay - Flight to Santiago

 

Trip Highlights

• In-depth visit to Robinson Crusoe Island, the main of the Juan Fernandez Archipelago.

• Great photographic opportunities to capture the endemic (and formerly considered extinct) Juan Fernandez Fur Seal.

• Endemic landbirds including the spectacular Juan Fernandez Firecrown and Juan Fernandez Tit-Tyrant.

Pelagic boat trip to watch endemic and rare seabirds such as Stejneger's, Kermadec, Juan Fernandez and Defilippi's petrels as well as the endemic breeder Pink-footed Shearwater. Albatrosses are always possible as well as dolphins and whales.

• The fascinating array of endemic (and endangered) flora of the unique Juan Fernandez (Fernandezian) subtropical forests.

 

3-NIGHT OPTION

Detailed Itinerary and Activities


Day 1 (Tuesday) • Flight to the Robinson Crusoe Island (c. 2 hours) – Boat trip to San Juan Bautista (c. 1.5 hours)

Our trip starts with a private transfer from your hotel in Santiago de Chile to Aerodromo Tobalaba. From here we will take a 2-hour flight to Robinson Crusoe, the only inhabited island of the whole archipelago. Once we see the island, emerging from the ocean, its ancient volcanic origin becomes evident while observing its rugged hill range, which produces numerous and deep ocean-facing cliffs. The Juan Fernandez archipelago emerged as a lava flow originating from a hotspot located on the Earth’s crust and the islands are currently being slowly conveyed eastwards on the Nazca Plate. The airstrip is located in the western end of the island near El Padre Bay; from here we will take a 90-minute boat ride towards Cumberland Bay. The small village of San Juan Bautista is the only settlement of the island and currently has a population of nearly 900 inhabitants. After Selkirk’s prolonged and solitary residence, the Spanish authorities took possession of the island by building a fort and later using it as a prison. Eventually, it became Chilean territory, being colonized in 1880 by a handful of nationals and foreigners. We will have the rest of the day to enjoy the comfortable facilities of Refugio Nautico, our base for the following three nights. During your stay, you will have a delightful sample of seafood including the famous Juan Fernandez crab. 

Overnight at Refugio Nautico, San Juan Bautista. (Lunch, Dinner)(Guide). 

 

Day 2 (Wednesday) • Forests of the Robinson Crusoe Island – Walk to Alexander Selkirk viewpoint

Today we will explore Juan Fernandez National Park (and World Biosphere Reserve) and its hills covered with Fernandezian forests, looking for the two endemic land birds of the island: the gorgeous Juan Fernandez Firecrown and the Juan Fernandez Tit-tyrant. Also we will look for Austral Thrush, Short-eared Owl and the endemic race of the American Kestrel. The Fernandezian forest has sub-tropical characteristics and is the only of its kind located within Chilean territory. It holds a large floristic diversity comprising 135 endemic species. However, this diverse forest ecosystem face serious conservation threats. Nearly 20 species are represented by a population consisting of less than 25 individuals! and even some of them, as is the case of Robinsonia berteroi, are in critical extinction risk as currently only one plant still survives. We will ascend towards the lookout of Alexander Selkirk; from here we will enjoy breathtaking vistas of the rugged topography of the island, including conspicuous jagged peaks such as Cerro Tres Puntas. From this viewpoint, Selkirk was constantly inspecting both coasts of the island, looking out for the appearance of any ship. 

Overnight at Refugio Nautico, San Juan Bautista. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)(Guide).

 

Day 3 (Thursday) • Pelagic trip off Cumberland Bay

The subtropical marine ecosystem around the island is biologically very productive and favors excellent feeding conditions for a diverse array of resident pelagic seabirds; many of them are long-range visitors coming from sub-Antarctic islands off New Zealand and even from Antarctic latiudes. This remote archipelago attracts the attention of the experienced sea birder, as it is renowned as the nesting location of some of the world's rarest petrels and shearwaters. We will be looking for pelagic birds including four species of Pterodroma or gadfly petrels including the Juan Fernandez, De Filippi's, Stejneger's and Kermadec. To seek the Pink-footed Shearwater, we shall visit a coastal cliffs during the afternoon when these birds return from their long daily feeding trip to attend to their nestlings. Other seabirds will include Antipodean Albatross, Black-browed Albatross, Southern Giant Petrel, White-bellied Storm-Petrel and Sooty Tern. Our trip along the coastline will provide excellent opportunities to observe the endemic, and formerly almost extinct Juan Fernandez Fur Seal. This eared seal, endemic to the islands, was literally at the edge of extinction. Since the late XVIII until the beginning of the XIX centuries, several million individuals of this seal were hunted for its fur, and eventually in 1824, was considered extinct. Fortunately, a small colony was discovered in 1965 and to this date, its population has steadily increased in numbers, now being regarded at a low conservation risk.

Overnight at Refugio Nautico, San Juan Bautista. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)(Guide).

 

Day 4 (Friday) • Boat trip to Bahia El Padre - Flight back to Santiago

Today our adventure in Robinson Crusoe ends. We will head back to El Padre Bay by boat and from there we will fly back to Santiago. A transfer to your hotel in Santiago will be provided. (Breakfast, Lunch)(Guide)

 

IMPORTANT NOTE

Flights scheduled may vary depending on weather conditions and trip participants should be prepared to extend their stay in the island if weather conditions prevent return flights; consider this fact if you have flight combinations or additional trips after this program.

 

4-NIGHT OPTION

Detailed Itinerary and Activities


Day 1 (Friday) • Flight to the Robinson Crusoe Island (c. 2 hours) – Boat trip to San Juan Bautista (c. 1.5 hours)

Our trip starts with a private transfer from your hotel in Santiago de Chile to Aerodromo Tobalaba. From here we will take a 2-hour flight to Robinson Crusoe, the only inhabited island of the whole archipelago. Once we see the island, emerging from the ocean, its ancient volcanic origin becomes evident while observing its rugged hill range, which produces numerous and deep ocean-facing cliffs. The Juan Fernandez archipelago emerged as a lava flow originating from a hotspot located on the Earth’s crust and the islands are currently being slowly conveyed eastwards on the Nazca Plate. The airstrip is located in the western end of the island near El Padre Bay; from here we will take a 90-minute boat ride towards Cumberland Bay. The small village of San Juan Bautista is the only settlement of the island and currently has a population of nearly 900 inhabitants. After Selkirk’s prolonged and solitary residence, the Spanish authorities took possession of the island by building a fort and later using it as a prison. Eventually, it became Chilean territory, being colonized in 1880 by a handful of nationals and foreigners. We will have the rest of the day to enjoy the comfortable facilities of Refugio Nautico, our base for the following three nights. During your stay, you will have a delightful sample of seafood including the famous Juan Fernandez crab.

Overnight at Refugio Nautico, San Juan Bautista. (Lunch, Dinner)(Guide).

 

Day 2 (Saturday) • Forests of the Robinson Crusoe Island – Walk to Alexander Selkirk viewpoint

Today we will explore Juan Fernandez National Park (and World Biosphere Reserve) and its hills covered with Fernandezian forests, looking for the two endemic land birds of the island: the gorgeous Juan Fernandez Firecrown and the Juan Fernandez Tit-tyrant. Also we will look for Austral Thrush, Short-eared Owl and the endemic race of the American Kestrel. The Fernandezian forest has sub-tropical characteristics and is the only of its kind located within Chilean territory. It holds a large floristic diversity comprising 135 endemic species. However, this diverse forest ecosystem face serious conservation threats. Nearly 20 species are represented by a population consisting of less than 25 individuals! and even some of them, as is the case of Robinsonia berteroi, are in critical extinction risk as currently only one plant still survives. We will ascend towards the lookout of Alexander Selkirk; from here we will enjoy breathtaking vistas of the rugged topography of the island, including conspicuous jagged peaks such as Cerro Tres Puntas. From this viewpoint, Selkirk was constantly inspecting both coasts of the island, looking out for the appearance of any ship. 

Overnight at Refugio Nautico, San Juan Bautista. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)(Guide). 

 

Day 3 (Sunday) • Pelagic trip off Cumberland Bay

The subtropical marine ecosystem around the island is biologically very productive and favors excellent feeding conditions for a diverse array of resident pelagic seabirds; many of them are long-range visitors coming from sub-Antarctic islands off New Zealand and even from Antarctic latiudes. This remote archipelago attracts the attention of the experienced sea birder, as it is renowned as the nesting location of some of the world's rarest petrels and shearwaters. We will be looking for pelagic birds including four species of Pterodroma or gadfly petrels including the Juan Fernandez, De Filippi's, Stejneger's and Kermadec. To seek the Pink-footed Shearwater, we shall visit a coastal cliffs during the afternoon when these birds return from their long daily feeding trip to attend to their nestlings. Other seabirds will include Antipodean Albatross, Black-browed Albatross, Southern Giant Petrel, White-bellied Storm-Petrel and Sooty Tern. Our trip along the coastline will provide excellent opportunities to observe the endemic, and formerly almost extinct Juan Fernandez Fur Seal. This eared seal, endemic to the islands, was literally at the edge of extinction. Since the late XVIII until the beginning of the XIX centuries, several million individuals of this seal were hunted for its fur, and eventually in 1824, was considered extinct. Fortunately, a small colony was discovered in 1965 and to this date, its population has steadily increased in numbers, now being regarded at a low conservation risk.

Overnight at Refugio Nautico, San Juan Bautista. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)(Guide).

 

Day 4 (Monday) • Forests of Robinson Crusoe Island – Plazoleta del Yunque

We will keep exploring the Fernandezian forests to study its wealth of endemic plants. We will walk this time to the dense and pristine woodlands of Plazoleta El Yunque, with commanding views to the impressive mountain that surround this flank of the island.

Overnight at Refugio Nautico, San Juan Bautista. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)(Guide).

 

Day 5 (Tuesday) • Boat trip to Bahia El Padre - Flight back to Santiago

Today our adventure in Robinson Crusoe ends. We will head back to El Padre Bay by boat and from there we will fly back to Santiago. A transfer to your hotel in Santiago will be provided. (Breakfast, Lunch)(Guide)

 

IMPORTANT NOTE

Flights scheduled may vary depending on weather conditions and trip participants should be prepared to extend their stay in the island if weather conditions prevent return flights; consider this fact if you have flight combinations or additional trips after this program.

 

MAP

Trip Map

Robinson Crusoe Island | Trip Map

RATES

Dates & Rates

 

Scheduled Group Departures

 

Robinson Crusoe Island
Trip Code ISL03 • CHL016
Trip Length  5 days, 4 nights
Dates 2018 January 2-6 • November 6-10
Price per person  TBA
Single Supplement  TBA
Maximum group size: 6 participants + 1 FSE Tour Leader

 

Custom Private Departures

Departures every Tuesday (3 nights) and Friday (4 nights) from Santiago de Chile. Available year-round. 


Robinson Crusoe Island
3-night program (leaving every Tuesday) • Based at Refugio Nautico
Number of guests 1 pax 2/3 pax 4 pax Single Suppl.
Price per person $1,900 $1,294
$1,000 $637
4-night program (leaving every Tuesday) • Based at Refugio Nautico
Number of guests 1 pax 2/3 pax 4 pax Single Suppl.
Price per person $2,257 $1,576 $1,251 $729
Return flight tickets Santiago - Robinson Crusoe Island
Return tickets $880 p.p.

 

Flights from Santiago de Chile to Robinson Crusoe Island

Duration of the flight: 2 hours plus 1 hour boat trip from airstrip to the village of San Juan Bautista.

Baggage weight allowance: 1 bag or small suitcase of 10 kg (22 lbs) per person. Each additional kilo (2,2 lbs) has an extra charge of USD 5.00.

Flights to Robinson Crusoe Island are operated by ATA and Lassa airlines and leave approximately at 9:00am. Transfers in Santiago are included in the fare costs. 

 

What the trip includes/excludes

Single supplement will be added if single accommodations are requested.

The trip price includes: All accommodations, meals and local guide services as stated in the itinerary, private transfers in Santiago to domestic airport, boat trips to San Juan Bautista, one pelagic trip / scenic boat trips (c. 4 hours), plus park entrance fees.

The trip price excludes: Domestic flights (Santiago - Robinson Crusoe Island - Santiago), tipping, travel insurance, à la carte dishes, snacks, drinks, laundry, telephone calls and anything else of a purely personal nature.

 

LODGES

The Lodge

 

Refugio Nautico, Robinson Crusoe Island, Chile

A quiet and scenic location facing the Cumberland Bay is just the perfect way to wrap up the day after exploring the Island, relaxing, enjoying great meals, comfortable lodging and recalling the memories of the day surrounded by the presence of Nature all around you.

Check out our photo gallery of Refugio Nautico, Robinson Crusoe Island, Chile. Click here.

 

Trip Advisor Review here.

refugio-nutico

 

GALLERY

Photo Gallery

 

http://fsexpeditions.smugmug.com/OurTours/Our-Itineraries/Robinson-Crusoe-Island/i-hZJgVFf/1/M/2-of-17-M.jpg

 

FACTS

Facts

 

On February 12, 1709, the British corsair fleet composed by the Duke and Duchess set anchor at Masatierra Island, the easternmost of the Juan Fernandez archipelago. That day, the expedition rescued the Scottish sailor Alexander Selkirk, who survived a voluntarily accepted exile on that island lasting more than four years. In November of 1704, the tough Selkirk was left by himself, being left only with a trunk with tools, a musket, an axe, a knife, a pound of powder and ammunition, a cauldron, a small amount of tobacco and a Bible. Back in England, his accounts inspired the writer Daniel Defoe, who in 1719 published his well-known classic “The Life and Adventures of Robinson Crusoe.” Selkirk’s epic saga, the history of this lonely exiled figure on that remote oceanic island, later immortalized on the amazing adventures of the literary character, was enough good reason in 1966 to justify the name change of the two main islands of that Chilean archipelago: Masatierra became known as Robinson Crusoe while the formerly called Masafuera was named after Alexander Selkirk.

The Portuguese Joao Fernandez accidentally discovered the archipelago on November 22, 1574 while searching for a faster route between Callao and Valparaíso. The human history of this yet pristine oceanic island started that day. Between the XVII and XVIII centuries, the island was seldom visited; only by corsairs and pirates looking for a seasonal shelter in order to restore food and water after their long journeys through the Cape Horn and Spanish ports in the Pacific.

Robinson Crusoe Island is located in the Pacific Ocean at 33º13’S and 78º50’W, some 415 miles west from the central Chilean coast. This abrupt island has an east-west orientation and occupies a small surface of 37 sq. miles. It is dominated by the presence of a central range of jagged hills, with a maximum elevation of 3,000 feet. Robinson Crusoe, together the small island of Santa Clara, situated a short distance from its southwestern end, and Alexander Selkirk Island, located some 110 miles westwards, comprise the Juan Fernandez Archipelago. In 1935, this territory was declared a National Park by the Chilean Government, which protects a total surface of nearly 25,000 acres. Later, in 1977, in order to preserve the biodiversity of this temperate forest ecoregion, it was conferred the rank of World Biosphere Reserve.

Its diverse native flora is the evolutionary product of air- and water-carried colonizers, which started to establish on the islands right after their formation, estimated to have occurred between 1 and 5.8 million years ago. This flora has ancestral connections with distant regions such as New Zealand, Hawaii and Patagonia. Today, the higher plants are represented by 211 native species, from which 135 are endemic species. This corresponds to a high rate of endemism, above 60%; there are 12 genera and one family entirely endemic to these islands. Two species recently became extinct, 63 face an imminent threat of extinction and 38 are highly vulnerable.

Robinson Crusoe bird life comprises endemic land birds such as the Juan Fernandez Firecrown and Juan Fernandez Tit-Tyrant. The archipelago is also an important breeding site for a wide array of seabird species, only nesting on its islets and forests. On the other hand, its complete isolation from continental masses has prevented the occurrence of land mammals, reptiles and frogs. The only endemic marine mammal of the whole archipelago is the Juan Fernandez Fur Seal, which luckily has survived an extremely long period of hunting and extermination, in which millions of individuals were decimated for the value of its skin. Unfortunately, this fragile island ecosystem, which has slowly generated an array of exclusive plants and animals, has severely suffered since the human arrival. Its native creations are helpless and unable to compete against abundant and competitive new plant and animal colonizers. The ancestral castaways of Robinson Crusoe face today a serious fight against their own disappearance, from this evolutionary stronghold, one the last in the South Pacific.

 

Read these interesting articles:

• Unique wildlife of the islands at risk

Juan Fernandez Archipelago: The 'Galapagos' for plants.

 

BOOK NOW!

Tour Registration

 

To book this tour, please complete our online registration form. We will process your booking form and will send you (within 24 hours) a note with space confirmation and a deposit invoice with payment instructions. The deposit amount is US$ 500 per person. Full payment of the tour fee is due 90 days prior to tour departure.

NOTE: Inquires received on Saturdays, Sundays and Holidays will be replied during the following working day.

 

Cancellation Policy

Notice of cancellation can only be accepted IN WRITING from the person who signed the booking form and takes effect on the day such noticed is received by us.

 

Refunds are made according to the following schedule:

• If cancellation is made 120 days or more before departure date, the deposit less US$ 200 is refundable.

• If cancellation is made between 119 and 60 days before departure, the deposit is not refundable, but any payments covering the balance of the fee will be refunded.

• If cancellation is made past 59 days before departure date, no refund is available.

This policy and fee schedule also applies to pre-trip and post trip extensions, as well as any transfers from one tour to another. We strongly recommend the purchase of trip cancellation insurance to protect yourself.