The center of this small, tidy town 15 km (9 miles) north of Sarchí on the road to Ciudad Quesada looks as if it was designed by Dr. Seuss. Evangelisto Blanco, a local landscape artist, modeled cypress topiaries in fanciful animal shapes—motorcycle-riding monkeys, a lightbulb-eyed elephant—that enliven the park in front of the town church. (An NPR feature on Zarcero dubbed Blanco "Señor Scissorhands.") Soft lighting illuminates the park in the evening. The church interior is covered with elaborate pastel stencil work and detailed religious paintings by the late Misael Solís, a well-known local artist. Sample some cheese if you're in town, too; Zarcero-made cheese is one of Costa Rica's favorites, and it's available in a few shops on the west side of the central park. The town is frequently included as a short stop on many organized tours heading to the northern region of the country.
Zarcero, 21101, Costa Rica