Parque Nacional Archipiélago Juan Fernández
Almost contiguous with the archipelago—excluding only San Juan Bautista and the airfield at Robinson Crusoe’s southeast corner—Parque Nacional Archipiélago Juan Fernández comprises 9,571 hectares of protected land that varies from barren desert to dense endemic forest on Isla Robinson Crusoe, Isla Santa Clara, and Isla Marinero Alejandro Selkirk.
From a wildlife perspective, it’s noteworthy for what it excludes: All the surrounding offshore areas fall under jurisdiction of the Chilean navy’s Gobernación Marítima.
At its San Juan information kiosk, Conaf now collects a US$5.50 per person park admission charge (US$3.50 for Chileans), and more for those who come with specific activities in mind. Senior citizens pay US$1 and children US$1 per person except for foreign kids (US$2).
The boat trip from Bahía del Padre to San Juan Bautista is a good introduction to Robinson Crusoe’s geography—it covers nearly half the island’s circumference—but hiring a launch in San Juan offers greater flexibility and the option, if seas permit, of going ashore in otherwise inaccessible areas. Figure about US$190 for a five-hour circumnavigation of the island; expenses can be shared by up to five or six people.
© Wayne Bernhardson from Moon Chile, 2nd edition