The volcanic archipelago is located in the Pacific Ocean 400 miles west of Valparaiso. It is named after Juan Fernandez, the first European to visit in 1574, and two of the islands – Alexander Selkirk and Robinson Crusoe – are named after the real life shipwrecked Scottish sailor and his fictional alter ego created by Daniel Defoe. Today about 600 people live on Robinson Crusoe Island.
The islands became a national park in 1935, and designated a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in 1977. The islands host 131 endemic plant species, 3 endemic land bird species including the critically endangered Juan Fernandez firecrown, and the endemic Juan Fernandez fur seal.
Access to the archipelago is by air taxi (2 hrs 30 mins) from Santiago, or monthly ferry service (36 hrs).