Más Afuera and Más a Tierra
Spanish sailor Juan Fernández was seeking new routes between Peru and Chile, when he came across these islands. On his arrival, he divided them by location. Más Afuera (further out) is now called Alejandro Selkirk, while Más a Tierra (closer to land) is Robinson Crusoe. It is the latter of these that is home to the only stable, permanent settlement on the archipelago, San Juan Bautista.
Although its purpose today is one of tourism, the desert-island spirit endures. Just 1% of Chileans have visited Robinson Crusoe island. Its inhabitants, about 800 people, make their living from tourism and through lobster fishing. Travellers will not have to worry, as the castaway did, about “perishing of hunger, or being devoured by beasts”, since they catch more than enough to share.
The desolation the sailor felt is non-existent. The void is filled by cruise ships, like the Minerva, which, in a single day, brings 350 tourists, attracted by the spirit of the castaway. The different elements Defoe describes, like the aroma of the sea and the lush green, remain. Upon arrival–it is easiest to catch a small plane from Tobalaba, Pudahuel or Torquemada–visitors can take in the emotion of reliving the most literary of journeys. The first will be to assimilate the realities of the myth: the trees the castaway climbed on his first night on the island, fearful because he had no weapons, are still there, independent of the passage of time.