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Robinson Crusoe Island
ROBINSON CRUSOE ISLAND:
Robinson Crusoe Island is one of three islands of the Juan Fernandez archipelago. The other two islands are Alejandro Selkirk and the small Santa Clara. The archipelago was declared a national park in 1935.
Located some 674 km (411 miles) from the Chilean mainland in the Pacific Ocean, it is here that Alexander Selkirk (Robinson Crusoe) was marooned in 1705 and lived in absolute solitude for 5 years. His story was the inspiration for Daniel Defoe's classic novel, Robinson Crusoe.
The main village is San Juan Bautista with some 859 inhabitants (2011 est), engaged mainly in fishing for the incerless lobster.
In 1977 these islands were declared by UNESCO as World Biosphere Reserves, have been considered of great scientific importance because of the endemic species of flora and fauna. Of the 146 native species of plants, 101 are endemic.
The red hummingbird is most famous for its needle-fine black beak and silken feather coverage.
Getting there is part of the adventure. It is a 2 1/2 hour flight on comfortable but small twin-engine planes from a local airport in Santiago. After landing, board the local taxi-boat for 1 1/2 hour scenic transfer to the only inhabited town, San Juan Bautista. Flights are not daily and are subject to weather conditions.
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Excursions include the Santa Barbara Fortress and Patriot's Caves, Selkirk's Lookout, Robinson's Cave, Puerto Frances and Playa Arenal.