We learned about the everyday life of a town which was created as the result of the construction of a hydroelectric power station and the discovery of 100-million-year-old dinosaur fossil sites.
The first snapshot of a new place is always very exciting. We were driving along National Route 237 when a life-size dinosaur reproduction caught our eye. This incredible creature showed the entrance to Villa El Chocón and the world of dinosaurs got definitely stuck in our minds. We drove 3 kilometers along road inside this small and unspoiled town to learn more about its essence and keep on researching.
We felt as if we were on the top of a cliff. The soil was made up of red-hued clay traced by drought and wind. The bunch of houses and the shopping center overlooked artificial Lake Ezequiel Ramos Mexía, which used to be the Limay River before the dam construction.
The section of this neighborhood named “H” and the Neighborhoods I, II and II were built at the same time as the hydroelectric power station; therefore, the building structure is very much alike.
The quiet, clean streets
Streets the mall
A life-size dinosaur reproduction
The old and unused lighthouse
On the lake shore
The Catholic Church
Water is Life
Arriving at the Downtown
It was easy to find the downtown and the shopping heart of the village. Good signposts led to the Town Hall, Bachamn Museum and the Catholic Church. The architecture of the neighborhoods is basic and the same pattern is repeated in schools and several stores. Spacious and integrated by large staircases joined by modules, the downtown gives relevance to town life.
“Our Lady of Chocón” Church, Patron Saint of dams, is defined by its modern and sober style. The design of the exterior walls was inspired by the lines of the Noah’s Ark whereas its interior has simple forms and shows several God’s teachings during the Deluge.
Our trip included a guided tour to Ernesto Bachmann Museum. We were surprised by the size of the discoveries in the area, some of which were on display. Life in Villa El Chocón, within the Valley of Dinosaurs, shows a strong influence of these creatures over the village and it is clearly evidenced by the names of stores and hotels all around.
The vegetation found on squares, streets and gardens is scarce and short, typical of areas where strong wind is constantly blowing and the soil is composed of clay without nutrients.
Water is Life
Wandering along the streets near the dam changed our first impression of the village. There on the higher coast, the closeness of water allowed vacation houses to enjoy green and well-groomed gardens. Small motorcycles and bikes are the usual means of transport used by young residents.
We could witness the hustle and bustle in the campsite and the beach. Boca del Sapo Bay was the busiest place in the area and it was packed with boats. Colorful kayaks, boats and motorboats came and went from this area of the lake. However, the immensity of the place left visitors speechless.
The clean air allowed us to see the distant horizon. We could take a bath in those crystal-clear waters. At midday, we needed to use a nearby thatched roof gazebo, which gave us shade and protection from the hot sun.
We also went past the old and unused lighthouse and a small runway. An incredible professional football field called our attention and we realized the importance of sport activities offered to young people in this town.
In The Outskirts
Somewhat far from the downtown is a very quiet neighborhood called “Llequén”. Its most attractive spot lies on the lake shore. It is the area where visitors can see tracks of dinosaurs discovered many years ago. We went on our trip to Picún Leufú and Lake Ezequiel Ramos Mexía accompanied us for 60 kilometers as if biding farewell.
This trip gave us a feeling of having visited a growing town, which has reinforced its tourist potential in the few last years. Villa El Chocón is working hard to make this village an attractive spot for tourists.
Mónica Pons Eduardo Epifanio