Underwater Ghost Town Re-Emerges After 25 Years

An underwater ghost town has re-emerged after 25 years. The town — Epecuen, Argentina — is located in the farmlands southwest of Buenos Aires.

Epecuen was once a busy lakeside resort where 20,000 tourists came per year. During the country’s golden age, the same trains that carried grain outside Argentina brought visitors from Buenos Aires to relax in the saltwater baths and spas.

The saltwater lake was especially attractive to tourists because it carries 10 times more salt than the ocean, making the water buoyant. Tourists enjoyed floating in water that reminded them of the Dead Sea in the Middle East.

But it was not meant to be. A very heavy rainstorm followed a series of wet winters, forcing the lake to overflow its banks on November 10, 1985. Water burst through a retaining wall and spilled into the streets of Epecuen.

Residents were forced to flee quickly with whatever they could fit in their cars. The town was submerged by at least 33 feet of corrosive saltwater just days later. And the ghost town sat underwater while the lake slowly receded.

After 25 years, the water is nearly gone. But in its place, the town of Epecuen, Argentina now looks like a scene from a movie about the end of the world. Rather than being rebuilt, the ghost town has become a tourist destination for those looking to see the rusted remains of automobiles and furniture.

They take photos of crumbled homes and broken appliances while climbing staircases that lead nowhere. The former underwater ghost town even includes a graveyard where the water toppled headstones and exposed the tombs to the elements.

Many of the town’s residents fled to Carhue, another lakeside town. But one resident refused to leave. Pablo Novak, 82, lives on the edge of town and welcomes people who wander into the wrecked streets of his city. He remarked, “Whoever passes nearby cannot go without coming to visit here. It’s getting more people to the area, as they come to see the ruins.”

How would you like to go see the former underwater ghost town of Epecuen, Argentina?

[Image via Santiago matamoro]