Strange Argentina Ghost Town That Was Underwater For 25 Years Re-emerges As Tourist Attraction
A strange ghost town that spent a quarter century under water is coming up for air again in the Argentine farmlands southwest of Buenos Aires.
Epecuen was once a bustling little lakeside resort, where 1,500 people served 20,000 tourists a season. During Argentina's golden age, the same trains that carried grain to the outside world brought visitors from the capital to relax in Epecuen's saltwater baths and spas.
The saltwater lake was particularly attractive because it has 10 times more salt than the ocean, making the water buoyant. Tourists, especially people from Buenos Aires' large Jewish community, enjoyed floating in water that reminded them of the Dead Sea in the Middle East.
Then a particularly heavy rainstorm followed a series of wet winters, and the lake overflowed its banks on Nov. 10, 1985. Water burst through a retaining wall and spilled into the lakeside streets. People fled with what they could, and within days their homes were submerged under nearly 10 meters (33 feet) of corrosive saltwater.
"Whoever passes nearby cannot go without coming to visit here," Novak said while showing The Associated Press around. "It's getting more people to the area, as they come to see the ruins."
Many residents of Epecuen fled to nearby Carhue, another lakeside town, and built new hotels and spas, promising relaxing getaways featuring saltwater and mud facials.