History of Termas de Río Hondo

The Hondo River Hot Springs and the "Waters of the Sun"

The city of Río Hondo, whose original name was Miraflores, is a tourist destination whose importance lies in the hot spring resort located by the Dulce River. The Frontal Dam lies on the same river, which gives shape to an artificial lake suitable for nautical sports and sport fishing. The dam was inaugurated in 1967 with the purpose of controling floods, enhancing irrigation and generating energy. The waters of the Dulce River were already known since pre-Columbian times under the name of Aguas del Sol (“Waters of the Sun”). The city has been prestigious for centuries: the princes from Upper Peru -the Incas- would arrive in the “miracolous waters” area in order to enjoy a unique micro-climate and fill their lives with thermomineral energy. Before the Spaniards arrived, a tribe of sedentary natives dwelled the area. They were called the tonocotes. They settled down on the banks of the Soconcho, a river of quiet waters which in the Quechua tongue was called Misky Mayu and the Spaniards translated into río Dulce (Fresh Water River). It was the Incan princes who organized caravans from Cuzco, crossing the high plane up to the shores of the Misky Mayu, to take advantage of the virtues of the yacu rupáj (hot waters), which they considered to be of divine origin. The Incans said that their springs brought the fire of the Earth and cured the ill by miracle. They became famous through the stories told all across the empire of the Son of the Sun, in the heights of the Tahuantisuyo. The Vinará and Miraflores stops welcomed distinguished travelers during the times of the conquest: San Francisco Solano, the members of the Tucumán congress, the Northern Army, Facundo Quiroga and the Taboadas. In the early XX century, Termas was a village of 300 inhabitants and the first hotels began to be built to accommodate tourism, which had its first precursors in the late XIX century, as the construction of the first lodge took place in 1884. It was relocated 21 kilometers away from its primitive site in 1966, in order to build the Frontal Dam. Its original settlement has been covered by the waters of the lake. It was declared city in September 6, 1954, but the municipality did not become independent until 1958, when Mr. Luis Jorge Manzur was appointed first intendent. At present, this is the most important tourist destination in the province and one of the main ones in the region. It is said that Saint Francisco Solano passed by the ancient village on his way to Tucumán in order to get walnut wood supplies to build the temple that stands today in the capital of Santiago del Estero. On his way back, he came across the great flooded river (the Dulce River) in the surroundings of Villa Río Hondo. It was humanly impossible to wade it but the story goes that the saint untied his cord, threw it into the river and said: "Deep River, you shall not prevent us from crossing". Then the waters opened up. He was the first one to reach the other bank and left his tracks and his mule's on a rock that is still preserved and worshipped in the new chapel of Villa Río Hondo. Since that miraculous event, the Saint of the Cross and the Violin is worshipped in the region and the original name of Miraflores was changed into Río Hondo (Deep River).

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