In the heart of Argentina’s Buenos Aires Province, a once-thriving tourist destination lay in ruins for over two decades, submerged beneath the brackish waters of Lake Epecuén. Villa Epecuén, a town that was once a vibrant hub for vacationers seeking the healing properties of its saltwater lake, transformed into an eerie and desolate ghost town. However, in recent years, Villa Epecuén has experienced a remarkable resurrection, symbolizing the resilience of both nature and human spirit. In this article, we’ll explore the fascinating history, the catastrophic flood, and the incredible comeback of Villa Epecuén. Villa Epecuén’s story begins in the early 20th century when the town was founded as a lakeside retreat. The high salinity of Lake Epecuén, with its supposed therapeutic properties, attracted tourists from all over Argentina, making it a popular destination for those seeking relief from various ailments. The town flourished, becoming a thriving community with numerous hotels, restaurants, and recreational facilities, catering to the influx of visitors.
The town’s prosperity was abruptly interrupted on November 10, 1985, when a relentless storm battered the region. The storm caused the lake’s waters to swell, eventually breaking through the dike that protected Villa Epecuén. In a matter of hours, the town was submerged under 10 meters (33 feet) of saltwater. The once-thriving tourist destination turned into a surreal underwater world. For more than two decades, Villa Epecuén remained submerged and forgotten, covered in a white crust of salt. The saltwater left its mark, corroding buildings, vehicles, and everything in its path. The town appeared as a lifeless wasteland, eerily preserved in time.
The remarkable revival of Villa Epecuén began in the early 21st century when local resident Pablo Novak returned to the town he once called home. He decided to restore some of the buildings and infrastructure. Villa Epecuén’s eerie beauty and the curiosity it sparked in tourists caught the attention of filmmakers, photographers, and urban explorers, who flocked to the town to document its hauntingly preserved state.
As a result, tourism began to breathe new life into Villa Epecuén. The town saw the construction of a viewing platform, guided tours, and even the reopening of a museum. Local businesses, including bars, hostels, and other services, have emerged to cater to visitors curious about this unique place. Villa Epecuén’s journey from a thriving lakeside paradise to a submerged ghost town, and finally to a resurging tourist attraction, is a testament to the power of nature’s resilience and human determination. This surreal town, once abandoned and forgotten, has once again become a place of fascination and intrigue. Villa Epecuén stands as a living monument to the ebb and flow of life, where the past coexists with the present in a hauntingly beautiful display of endurance and rebirth.