Robinson Crusoe Island at a Glance

Robinson Crusoe Island
A two-day ride on a hitch with the Chilean Navy ship from mainland Chile, getting and leaving Robinson Crusoe Island is a task in itself. While people of the island relies mostly on food and supply shipped from Chile, a lot of the inhabitants' diet is basically seafood. Despite the hurdle and ordeal of getting to the island not to mention the not-so-easy way of getting provisions, Robinson Crusoe Island remains a popular tourist destination.

Declared World Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 1977, Robinson Crusoe Island lures tourists for its rich coral reefs perfect for snorkelling and scuba diving and abundant supply of seafood. While most tourists get to the island by airplane from the city of Santiago, cruise ship visitors on South American voyages as well arrive the island anytime of the year. The island is also popular for nature hiking and horseback riding.

When I visited Robinson Crusoe Island it was the day just before the tsunami. It was a warm day; blue sky and sun was hovering above; kids playing at their home's front yard ; locals chatting casually by the road side - just another typical day in San Juan Bautista, the lone village in the remote Robinson Crusoe Island. Never did it occurred in my wildest imagination that a day later, a dreadful tsunami following an earthquake of 8.8 magnitude would hit the coastal village damaging homes, properties and even took 16 lives.

Robinson Crusoe Island
I may have chatted with one of those who perished, well, I may never know. But one very thing I know for sure, I was on the road the day before the tsunami with my camera and backpack wandering and exploring around the small village, walked the steep path leading to a vantage point and stayed there for few minutes to simply enjoy the view of the island and the horizon.
After the tsunami, I did not see the devastation in person but through images circulating around the internet. Years past, Robinson Crusoe Island was completely rebuilt and if you are among the many tourists who visited the island these days, you will see how the village has moved on - new buildings had replaced the destroyed ones and people so full of life.


Declared World Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 1977, Robinson Crusoe Island lures tourists for its rich coral reefs perfect for snorkelling and scuba diving and abundant supply of seafood. While most tourists get to the island by airplane from the city of Santiago, cruise ship visitors on South American voyages as well arrive the island anytime of the year.