Altitude: 1,200 meters/3,936 feet, Populaiton: 300, Telephone Code: 02924
Founded in 1989, Villa Pehuenia has been in existence as an official municipality for a very small period of time, but the region has been populated by diverse groups of people throughout history. As Spanish conquistadors in Chile (only 15 km away) began invading areas occupied by the Mapuche Indians, the Mapuches traveled East across the Andes and settled in the areas around what is now Villa Pehuenia. They inhabited the area peacefully until the 1870s, when General Julio Argentino Roca led the Desert Campaign that killed or displaced the majority of the Mapuche people. Many of the Mapuche remaining in Argentine Patagonia inhabit Villa Pehuenia today, and visitors can find Mapuche residents selling their artisan goods and homemade fried breads throughout the area. Today Villa Pehuenia remains sparsely populated and the real population has been difficult to measure due to the town's young age and small government. Villa Pehuenia is a quiet village with commercial buildings only built up around one main street. The rest of the village is located along the northern shore of lake Alumine.
Named after the Pehuenia tree that is native only to a few regions in the Andes, Villa Pehuenia is located near many Arancaria forests that are home to Pehuenia trees. The area is rife with natural beauty including waterfalls and two lakes. The Moquehue lake runs into the Alumine lake, which empties out into the Alumine river. The locals are concerned with protecting the natural beauty of their town and in 2009, they passed an ordinance that bans smoking in closed public places. Today, Villa Pehuenia's economy revolves around the tourism industry even through it is one of the lesser visited towns in the Lake District. Residents rely on lodging fees, dining costs, the sale of artisan goods, outdoor adventure tours, and the ski mountain to survive.