Robinson Crusoe Island

 

Birding trip in Chile, Birdwatching in Chile, Birding in Chile, Birding tour in Chile

DAY 1. FLIGHT TO ROBINSON CRUSOE AND BOAT TO JUAN BAUTISTA TOWN

 

DAY 2. PELAGIC MORNING AND ENDEMIC LANDBIRDS

 

DAY 3. FULL PELAGIC DAY

The Juan Fernández archipelago is a sparsely inhabited island group situated 670 km from the continent off the coast of Chile. From a geographic point of view, the archipelago is in the same latitude than Valparaíso Region on the continent, therefore, the political administration depends on the regional authorities of Valparaíso.

 

The archipelago is composed of three main volcanic islands: Robinson Crusoe, Alejandro Selkirk and Santa Clara.

Robinson Crusoe is the most accessible and biggest island of the archipelago and owes its name to the famous novel of the English writer Daniel Defoe published in 1719. The name of the main character in this novel was Robinson Crusoe, a fictitious English castaway who spends 28 years on a remote desert island.

 

For a long time, these islands remained unexplored and belatedly sporadic expeditions of sailors reached their shores.

 

A very marked process of speciation has taken part in these islands because of the geographic isolation resulting in the existence of a lot of endemic flora and fauna. Many flora genera present in the island is endemic. Likewise, there are three species of terrestrial birds that are endemic, two of them occur in Robinson Crusoe; the spectacular Juan Fernández Firecrown and the tiny and delicate Juan Fernandez Tit-tyrant. The third endemic species is Masafuera Rayadito which only occurs in Alexander Selkirk island (former Masafuera island).

 

Another very important and interesting ecological aspect of Juan Fernández is that some very rare and scarce marine bird species nest in these islands. Such is the case of Masatierra and Stejneger’s Petrel both endemic breeders of these Chilean islands. The Pink-footed Shearwater and Kermadec Petrel breed in the archipelago as well.

 

As almost in all oceanic islands, anthropic disturbance is the main factor of ecological problems within them. Unfortunately, Juan Fernández is not the exception and loss of habitat for breeding species, introduction of exotic species and others are the main variables that have led many of the native species under serious conservation problems. This is the case of Masafuera Rayadito and Juan Fernandez Firecrown, both classified Critically Endangered according to IUCN Red List of Threatened Species criteria.

 

Apart from the spectacular and unique environment, landscape and biodiversity Juan Fernández is known because of its excellent seafood and fish cuisine. It offers the possibility to experience a wonderful and special trip as well as to discover how is life in a Subtropical island in the Southern Pacific Ocean.

 

DATES

 

24th - 28th Oct 2018

23rd - 27th Oct  2019

 

GROUP SIZE

 

This tour is limited to a group of 6 participants with one tour leader.

 

Request price and itinerary on “Contact Form” or email

 

 

Private trips can be organized as request

 

In the morning, we will board a two hours flight over the Pacific Ocean from Santiago’s airport to Robinson Crusoe. Once in the island we will take a 45-min boat trip to reach the town of Juan Bautista, located at the other side of the island. During this trip, it will be possible to observe the first sea birds like Black-browed Albatross, Kermadec Petrel, Northern Giant and Juan Fernandez Petrel. Also, while sailing we will cross in front of Juan Fernandez Fur Seal Colony. Not many years ago this endemic species of mammal went almost extinct. The reason of this was hunting. Fortunately, nowadays the population numbers have recovered.

 

During the boat trip, the beautiful clear waters of the Pacific will make us enjoy the colourful schools of different species of fishes. At the end of the boat trip we will head to our accommodation to have a nice and deserved seafood preparation for lunch.

In the afternoon, we will tour the town and its surroundings for our first birding sights of the beautiful species the island treasures.

Very early in the morning we will embark another boat and sail for the next 6 hours, heading to the North of the island in search of deeper waters where the wonderful marine birds are found. Our embarkation will sail about 5 or 8 miles in the surrounding waters of the island, and in order to attract the birds we will use bait. Special efforts and focus will be on the rare and scarce Masatierra y Stejneger’s Petrels. On the contrary Juan Fernández Petrel and Pink-footed Shearwater will be the most common birds in the trip.

 

After spending the morning in this boat trip, we will return to Cumberland Bay where we will have lunch in a local restaurant of Juan Bautista town. Later we will walk at the foothills of El Yunque hill where the fantastic Juan Fernández Tit-tyrant and the dazzling and extremely unique Juan Fernandez Firecrown are more probably to found. We will spend the afternoon in the company of these impressive endemic birds and the beautiful and exuberant vegetation of Juan Fernández National Park.

 

With the purpose of finding more species, this day we will set sail in two great navigation excursions. In the morning, we will head to the North of the island in search of other Petrel species, like the elegant White-face and Black-bellied Storm Petrels.

 

After a delicious lunch and a brief break back in town, we will continue navigation, this time heading to the Southeast of the island to visit Verdugo islet. Here we will see a breeding colony of Kermadec Petrel, which will delight participants with there soaring and wonderful displays.

At the end of the day we will go back to our accommodation to relax and have a nice dinner, while we remember the fantastic bird and landscape views experienced recently.

DAY 4. BOAT TRIP AND FLIGHT BACK TO SANTIAGO

 

Fortunately, on the last day we can keep birding while sailing back to Robinson Crusoe’s airfield in the morning for our departure flight from the island at noon.

 

 

Other interesting and entertaining activities you can enjoy during your stay in Robinson Crusoe island: Scuba diving, hiking, horseback riding, beer distillery visit, archaeology and botany tours.