Parque Francisco Alvarado – Zarcero, Costa Rica - Atlas Obscura

Parque Francisco Alvarado

Zarcero, Costa Rica

This Costa Rican topiary park is a surreal garden of unearthly delights. 


One of the major attractions in the city of Zarcero, Costa Rica is the Parque Francisco Alvardoa which has been delighting visitors with strange topiary figures and shapes since the 1960s after its curation was taken over by one visionary artist.

Sitting in front of a large ornate church, the public park would easily be overshadowed by its grandeur were it not for the work of gardener and artist Evangelisto Blanco who took over care of the space in the 1960s. Blanco began shaping the shrubs and hedges into abstract figures and forms. The human figures are generally squat and jolly, sometimes standing on their own and other times bunched together in groups. There are also carved animals and dinosaurs. Some of the bushes simply have faces etched into their surfaces. One bush was even been shaped into the likeness of Jesus himself in deference to the looming house of the holy. Possibly the most stunning and iconic creations however are the series of green arches that are laid out in rows that create the effect of naturally grown tunnels, through which visitors can stroll.

Blanco continues to curate and shape the park to this day, making sure that none of the leafy visages grow out of the bushes, and that the tunnels remain crisp and well maintained. The church’s architecture may be awe inspiring, but the Parque Francisco Alvarado manages to be simply inspiring.          

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