The Underwater Tourist Town

By Federico Peretti

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I don't believe that ghosts exist, but if they did, they'd live in Villa Epecuen. The place was born in the 1920s as a tourist town on the banks of a salt lake a few hundred miles south of Buenos Aires. After several decades spent entertaining vacationers from the Argentine capital, a dam bust in 1985 buried Villa Epecuen—by then home to some 5,000 people—beneath floodwater.

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A couple of years ago, though, something in the climate changed, and the town began to re-emerge. After learning about the place in a documentary, I decided to check it out. I took my camera along and ended up staying in an old slaughterhouse that had spent the last 25 years underwater. The building, like everything else in Villa Epecuen, smelled like the sea.

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