History of Villa El Chocón

The construction of hydro-electrical power stations on the Limay River began in 1967. These works, along with Cerros Colorados, would later make up the first major hydro-electrical complex in the country. It was at this time that Villa El Chocón gradually took shape as a population on the northern margin of the reservoir. It started off as a number of settlements specially built for the project and on October 31, 1975, the municipal government was finally appointed.

High plateaus, cliffs, slopes and different shades of red and layers outline the attractive scene in Villa El Chocón, whose urban grid occupies 6,000 hectares and whose main economic activity is based naturally on the generation of power at the dam and reservoir. Such dam, made of stone, limestone, sandstorm and dirt, reaches 86 meters of height and 2,500 meters of length. Its base is 380 meters wide and it contains six turbines that operate with 1,200,000 Kw together with the Ramos Mexía Reservoir, which occupies 80,000 hectares.

Likewise, tourism is a strong and booming activity in the village, fostered and enriched by its paleontological heritage of high scientific value. Of course, agricultural activities are also important. They occupy and support a great portion of the population of Villa El Chocón, which today records approximately 500 inhabitants.


Legend has it that native peasants crossed the Neuquén River on horse -as there were no bridges in those days-, avoiding those who were after them and defending themselves with arrows, for they did not know fire weapons. On the other side of the river, the troop, the horses and the mules awaited. Not all of them reached the shore. Some were carried away by the waters.

In order to defend themselves, they used a large pointed stick to which they attached a piece of iron. They used this arrow to kill. The fire weapons were brought by the criollos. They were one-bullet weapons which they used to frighten away the peasants towards Chile. The latter ran away amidst the hills praying in their native tongue.

They were believers. It is said that during that flee, the spirit of God (called Kompanpellii) entered the spirit and the heart of a Machi woman who accompanied the ones escaping. She started to tell them what was going to happen to them if the criollos caught them. She also knew where they were going and how far they were. She gave them directions to escape, following the orders given by God. It was thanks to this woman that they knew that they would be saved if they got to Chile.

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