History of Copahue

The natives were the first ones to dwell in this area, which today lies at the foot of the Copahue Volcano and was named after it. Its name stands for “sulfur site” in the Mapuche tongue. And it was this people who first discovered the countless advantages of its waters, which soothe ailments and alleviate disease. For such reason, a physician expatriated in Chile, Dr. Pedro Ortiz Vélez, in 1870, approached chief Chenquel to ask for permission to take sick people there. The scientific community became interested in the phenomenon of the waters in Copahue and in 1899 a book on the subject written by two military physicians - Dr. J. M. Cabezón and L. Maciel- under the name Los baños termales desde Copahue (Hot Spring Baths from Copahue), was published. By 1900, Dr. Enrique Herrero Ducloux did some research on the first water samples extracted in Copahue to be studied. At the same time, engineer Lavenier elaborated a detailed report comparing these hot springs with the other hot springs in the country. Such report, in which Lavernier emphasized the quality of the Copahue hot springs, was presented before the Department of Agriculture so that the significance of the hot springs should be considered. Finally, Copahue National Reserve was officially created by Decree 105.433 passed by the Executive Branch of Government on May 11, 1937. At first, this reserve was within the jurisdiction of the National Parks Administration and in 1950 it passed onto the hands of the Atomic Energy National Committee, until the government of the Province of Neuquén took charge of it in 1962. It occupies a surface of 40,500 hectares. In July 1988, the Neuquén Hot Springs Provincial Entity was created by a provincial law. Today, the Copahue hot springs are sponsored by the World Health Organization and the hot spring resort, the center of the village, has a medical team that provides constant assistance to all visitors coming throughout the year from all over the world. This panorama, along with the volcanic scene, turn Copahue into a perfect site to rest and relax, apart from practicing other activities such as hiking, angling or visiting the local estancias.

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