Even if it was not until 1936 (on November 30, to be more precise) that Villa Traful was founded, when a resolution passed by the National Parks Administration authorized the division of the land into lots and their subsequent sale, the origins and roots of the village date back to days long before those.
In the early twentieth century, the first settlers started to arrive. They were mostly Mapuches, who came in search of opportunities to raise cattle and work the land. There was already a booming activity at Villa Traful, favored by its geographic and climate characteristics.
The name ”Traful” derives from the Mapuche word “Travül”, which stands for “joint” or “union” and refers particularly to the confluence of the Traful and the Limay Rivers in the area known today as Confluencia Traful.
It was also before the creation of Villa Traful that the first school in the area was founded. Open to visitors today, it was built with logs. School 111, raised in 1934, was run by Mr. Eugenio Maciel during its early days.
The identity of this eye-catching spot was set little by little. Later on, the first colonists -mostly Europeans- started to arrive and quickly guessed the tourist potential of the area. Therefore, they began to develop activities aimed at providing services that would turn Villa Traful into the attractive and unforgettable place it is today. Thus, in 1969, the government of the Province of Neuquén resolved to create the Neighbors Development Committee and foster the thriving tourist activities that had already begun in the district.
However, as it is nestled within a national park, Villa Traful could not become independent and be acknowledged as autonomous. It was in 1994 that the most relevant event in the village took place. National Law 24,302 was finally passed after years of struggle by the local dwellers. This law set forth that the village would no longer be affected by the National Park. As a consequence, a new model, based on a low population density (today it has barely 300 inhabitants) and significant sustainable development, could be planned, giving emphasis to the preservation of a pollution-free landscape.