Shrines in Argentina

South America Travel 6 15

Driving through Argentina you will undoubtedly come across roadside shrines. You will be surprised to find them even in the unlikeliest and remotest locations.

Shrines in Argentina,Deofinda Correa,La Difunta Correa

A shrine in Rio Tercero, Argentina.

I have driven and walked past many but never had the opportunity to find out exactly what the story behind the shrines are. People leave bottles of water next to the shrine. I knew this would make for an interesting story. So I decided to do some research and find out what the story is. I got my answer.

Road Shrines and legends

National Shrines in Argentina

“Those are shrines or monuments to Deolinda Correa.”

But who was Delinda Correa?

La Difunta Correa,Deolinda Correa,Shrines in Argentina

The legend of Deolinda Correa

Legends are always interesting stories. This one is no different. Legend has it that María Antonia Deolinda Correa, lived in the San Juan Province in the 1830’s with her husband and infant child. San Juan province is far north of Patagonia.One day her husband Bustos, was taken by force from their home.

He was forced to join the private army of Juan Facundo Quiroga. He was a regional gaucho warlord. Deolinda was devastated and set out on foot, with her infant son in her arms. She followed her husband. For days she walked through the desert without food or water. She finally collapsed and died. Some days later, mule drivers passed by this route and found her body. But amazingly the baby was still alive! He was nursing at her breast! They buried her. The men did not know who she was. The only indication was a pendant that she wore which bore the name Correa. They labelled the tomb “Difunta Correa,” difunta being a word that commonly means “dead.

Many years later when the story started to spread, the locals started to think of her as a saint who had given her life for her child. Keeping in mind that the nation is predominantly Catholic, people started to pray to her, mostly people in need. When someone’s prayers were answered, he would built a small chapel to honor Deolinda. People brought offerings of water to this chapel. It was a symbol for the divine relief from thirst. Small roadside shrines began to appear all over the country. Some shrines are littered by hundreds of bottles of water.

Deolinda Correa has become the unofficial regional patron saint of travellers, farmers, and all those whose lives or livelihoods depend on a precarious supply of water. The monument built on the site where Deolinda is said to have died is now a large sanctuary—a hilltop where 17 chapels, and numerous smaller shrines, pay her honor. Over half a million pilgrims visit this site in the small town of Vallecito each year.

Shrines in Argentina and Deolinda Correa

There are many Argentinians who don’t believe in the story but judging by the thousands of shrines all over Argentina, a great many people do.

Shrines in Argentina was last modified: October 11th, 2013 by Nelieta Mishchenko

About the author / 

Nelieta Mishchenko

I have been fortunate to have done quite a bit of travelling over the last 10 years. By heart I am an adventurer and I love exploring new places, cultures and food. Travelling can become stressful and expensive. Over the years I have learnt to travel as cost effective as possible, simply by travelling more clever. Nelmitravel.com is a Adventure and Budget Travel site where I review Airlines, Accommodation, Transport, Restaurants and give helpful travel information.

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6 Comments

  1. cooking-varieties April 16, 2011 at 4:09 pm - 

    This scenario sure looks very strange and never seen such a great piling up of bottles waiting to be collected by the owner.Guess most of them left it there for a few days? hence the huge pile-up//amazing :). Thanks for your visit and looking forward to read more posts from you. take care…

  2. Hostel Tinktinkie, Santa Rosa de Calamuchita April 17, 2011 at 4:59 pm - 

    I am not sure who collects the bottles after some time. They normally keep it there for a very long time because it is a religious and sacred place. Glad you enjoyed the post and I am looking forward to be reading more about delicious recipes!

  3. Hostel Tinktinkie, Santa Rosa de Calamuchita April 17, 2011 at 5:13 pm - 

    Hi John, you are welcome and I am glad that you have enjoyed reading about the shrines.

  4. John April 17, 2011 at 5:00 pm - 

    I have seen these shrines around Argentina a couple of years ago but I never knew what they represent. Thank you for this interesting article!

  5. Anonymous July 12, 2011 at 1:50 am - 

    I travelled extensively in COrdoba ARgentina and was told about GAucho Hill. He was an Argentinian RObin HOod, stealing from the rich to give to the poor…on the roadsides in the most rural agricultural areas there are many bright red kerchiefs, or other red fabrics that are tied to fencpsts in honor of this public hero…have you ever heard aout him yourself? If so please expand on the story for me. Thanks

  6. Hostel Tinktinkie, Santa Rosa de Calamuchita July 12, 2011 at 3:09 pm - 

    Hi Anonymous, thank you for the visit. Yes you are quite right. The story that you have been told is true. I will write a separate blog about the legend of Gaucho Hill.If you have a look under the tags you will find a blog that I recently wrote about the Guachos. That was very interesting the history and also meeting them :)

Meet the Author

Nelieta Mishchenko

Hostel Owner, Blogger, Photographer, Explorer

Nelieta Mishchenko is the face and voice behind Nelmitravel.com and is currently based in Argentina.Nelieta is always looking for a new adventure and is trying to travel as cost effective as possible.

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