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Juan Fernandez Islands / Robinson Crusoe / Cumberland Bay / San Juan Bautista
(votes: 1)
Type Anchorage
Country Chile
City San Juan Bautista
Max depth 20 m
UHF 16
  • Water
  • Fuel station
  • Laundry machines
  • Grill
  • Shops
Views: 1909

For boats

Discovered by Juan Fernández in 1574, one island was the home of Alexander Selkirk, a seaman who was left on the island at his own request and lived there alone from 1704 to 1709. It is this willingly marooned sailor whom Daniel Defoe used as the inspiration for his character Robinson Crusoe. This island now bears the fictional character's name. Alejandro Selkirk Island is 80 miles (130 km) further west.

Juan Fernandez Islands belong to Chile. There are three islands but only one – Robinson Crusoe is habitant (pop. about 1000). The village of San Juan Bautista is located in Cumberland Bay, NE part of the island.

On approaching (1hr before) you should contact Juan Fernandez Radio on VHF Ch 16 and inform about your intention.

There is a wharf in the middle of the village, but not for yachts berthing. N side is reserve for small ships coming every 7-14 days, the S side is for fishers small boats. In SE direction from the wharf is a good anchorage place, but there is a lot of small buoys for local boats there, so anchoring there is danger (not enough swinging room). Closer to S coast of the bay, where small buoys end (it’s about 0,5Nm from the wharf) is more room to drop the anchor. The depth is about 15m (closer to the coast, danger when N wind is blowing) or 25-30 (father of the coast but more safe). Anchor hold good (sand bottom).

There is also a big blue buoy 70m N from  the wharf. You can negotiate with Armada (Juan Fernandez Radio VHF CH 16) to berth to this buoy with extra line tie to the wharf.

Anyway you have to be careful in the bay because of swell coming in to the bay, which can make anchoring uncomfortable or danger.  The bay is very unsafe in a N-NE-E gale and you should be prepared to leave at short notice.

The best dinghy landing is a S side of the wharf.  Tie the dinghy to the wharf near the last  stairs (closest to the land).

Fuel you can buy from locals – ask fishermen’s or other local’s. The price in 2016 was 550 pesos (when 450 pesos on continent). You have to deliver fuel in your jerry cans by yourself.

Water is available on the wharf, but you should have a permission from municipal authorities.

There is some small groceries in the town with limited products (not to much fresh vegetables or fruits).

People are extremely friendly


Visit Armada ASAP (on the small hill left from the wharf). Take your passports and boat documents. Only captain has to go.

For crews

There is no specials showers or WC dedicated for boats, but ask in pension located other side of the main road (opposite to wharf entrance). The shower coast there 5000 pesos per person.

The laundry service is provided by Emilia (ask locals to locate her house). It’s coast 5000 pesos for 1 cycle (with drying)

Money: all payments are in chilean pesos, save some money before arriving there. You may change a US dollars in few bars, but they do that unlikely with low rate (550 pesos per 1 US in 2016). Some shops and restaurants accept a visa/mastercard payment. No ATM.

There is a post, tourist information, shop with local souvenirs, few bars and restaurants, disco (Saturday).

The main attraction on the islands is trekking to the mountains. There are three main paths up to beautiful views. The most popular is Mirador de Selkirk (about 2hrs up, 1hr down).

You can try to rent a quad to make a trip around the island. The roads are in bad condition, especially after rainy days.

Other attractions: cemetery  with memorial of Dresden ship, restaurants with good sea food, scuba diving (only in summer time).

There is no well working WiFi, even if you find one, the speed is extremely slow (satellite connection).   


Fuel: 550 pesos (when 450 pesos on continent) – 2016
Water: free of charge
Laundy: 5000 pesos (including drying)

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