Parque Fransisco Alvarado: Costa Rica’s Little Wonderland

Probably one of the most scenic towns in the province of Alajuela, Zarcero is the home of Parque Fransisco Alavarado- famous for its whimsically-shaped bushes and shrubs. Those who want a surreal dose of the peculiar and pretty come to this side of Costa Rica. After they tour this humble town, tourists leave light-hearted and their cameras filled with vibrant pictures to go back home with.

The Town of Zarcero
Zarcero immediately gives the fresh feeling of spring once you’ve arrived. Located in the northern part of the Central Valley, the temperature is just right and the surroundings are perfect for afternoon walks and lazy late-night strolls.

Those who love to cook and eat consider Zarcero as their Mecca. They offer perfectly-ripened fruits and vegetables, fresh dairy and other ingredients that are just the secret to a delectable meal.

Parque Fransisco Alavarado
Probably the most visited area of Zarcero, Parque Fransisco Alvarado is seemingly a wonderland of lush, creatively-trimmed bushes and shrubs. It instantly transports the visitors to a whole new world once they get to see the various shapes formed by the bushes. There are sixteen green arches that will lead you straight to the pink-colored San Rafael Church. It gives the entire place a dramatic effect and a moving touch.

These mesmerizing evergreen are the creations of artist and landscape designer Evalengisto Blanco. He started trimming the park in the 1960’s and from then on, formations of a monkey riding a motorcycle, dinosaurs, helicopters, boxing bushes, bullfight scene, green elephants waltz and even Jesus Christ carrying a cross are just some of the otherworldly shapes that he has done.

More than the defined shapes of bushes and shrubs in the park, there are also the odd-looking ones which are believed to depict fantasy creatures and shapes that take you into a different dimension. Some of these bushes appear to be dancing and writhing which is why tourists simply have a blast whenever they come here. You can run as free as a child and be one with these topiary figures and not mind running out of films or memory in your camera.

Conifer cypresses grow well in this area and grow in high elevations. That’s why it gives the visitors a towering topiary experience once they are here.

What Is A Topiary?
Multitudes of topiaries can be seen in Parque Fransisco Alvarado in all shapes and sizes. But what is topiary? Topiary, in layman’s term, is a way of growing and training perennial plants to continue with their shapes even after they’ve been modified or trimmed. This technique can be traced back from Persia and is equally compared to the art of bonsai in Japan and penjing in China.

Parts of France, England and Australia have also vast showcases of topiary. In Costa Rica thankfully there is this unique park that houses these intricate bushes and shrubs.

Visiting the town of Zarcero may be far from the beaches and subterranean caves other parts of Costa Rica have to offer. But once you arrive in Parque Fransisco Alvarado, you’ve already forgotten the wild waters, deep caves and the noise of the many tourists visiting the country. You have already come to your own little wonderland.


Getting to Parque Fransisco Alvarado 

The park is located in the small, humble town of Zarcero. It is about 32 miles from the International Airport and you can get there by renting a car or having a private charter pick you up and lead you there.



Places to Stay Near the Parque Fransisco Alvarado 

Lands In Love Hotel & Resort

Hotel de la Rosa de America B&B

B&B Vista Atenas


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