The Ultimate In Birding Tours

JUAN FERNÁNDEZ ISLANDS EXPEDITION – A unique adventure in late 2024

July 15, 2023

Getting to Robinson Crusoe (formerly Más a Tierra) in the Juan Fernández archipelago is difficult enough, depending on an expensive and occasional air service (with a risk of delays during periods with low cloud), but getting to the far more remote Alejandro Selkirk (formerly Más Afuera) is a once-in-a-blue-moon opportunity!

In late 2024, Birdquest has chartered a comfortable, well-equipped 10-passenger ocean-going boat to carry out a true expedition, sailing from the coast of Chile, through the famous Humboldt Current with its fantastic assemblage of pelagic seabirds, to the Juan Fernández Archipelago and back!

We will be visiting the archipelago at the perfect time of year for some very special seabirds. At this season huge numbers of Stejneger’s and Juan Fernandez Petrels are returning to Alejandro Selkirk to breed, while the rare Masatierra (or De Filippi’s) Petrel is reaching the end of its late winter to early summer nesting cycle in the Robinson Crusoe islands group.

The three endemic landbirds are the gorgeous little Juan Fernandez Firecrown (an endangered species but easy to find) and Juan Fernandez Tit-Tyrant, both of which are restricted to Robinson Crusoe, and the Critically Endangered Masafuera Rayadito, which occurs in the upper levels of Alejandro Selkirk.

Almost all the time we will be overnighting on our comfortable boat (where all cabins have en-suite bathrooms), but for one or perhaps two nights on Alejandro Selkirk we will have optional simple camping on the island so that we can enjoy the weird sounds and watch the activities of huge numbers of breeding Pterodromas.

As well as the Juan Fernandez landbird endemics and special seabirds, we are of course going to have the ‘Chilean Pelagic of a lifetime’ with a host of seabirds of many species and a great chance of turning up rarities.

The expedition will last 13 days, Santiago/Santiago, provisionally from 1 December – 13 December 2024. Kindly note that these dates may be subject to minor change.

Robinson Crusoe is around 670 kilometres (around 416 miles) west of mainland Chile and Alejandro Selkirk lies around 160 kilometres (around 100 miles) further to the west.

The price is not yet confirmed but it will likely be in excess of US $7800.

The expedition will be guided by our great friend and top Chilean bird guide and author, Enrique Couve.

We are also planning, in connection with this special expedition, a double pelagic off Iquique in northern Chile, focussing on Ringed (or Hornby’s) and Markham’s Storm Petrels in particular but with many other seabirds, and a special pelagic into the Gulf of Pincoya for the fairly recently-described Pincoya Storm Petrel. These can be taken as optional extensions.

Once the full expedition description and confirmed price are published, a 40% deposit will be needed owing to the large charter deposit arrangements required.

Further details about the expedition can be found here: