El Bosque Encantado

La Garita, Alajuela, Costa Rica

Closed 1995

The Disappointed Tourist: El Bosque Encantado, Ellen Harvey, 2021. Oil and acrylic on Gessoboard, 24 x 18″ (61 x 46 cm). Photograph: Etienne Frossard.

El Bosque Encantado (the Enchanted Forest) was a Costa Rican amusement park founded in 1976 by Don Álvaro and Doña Carmen in La Garita. The painting doesn’t have a date on it because I couldn’t figure out when it closed. I don’t know who took the photograph on which the painting is based.

The “Bosque Encantado” was one of the most important amusement parks in the 70’s and 80’s in Costa Rica. I was 3 or 4 years old when I visited the park for the first time and my memories of a pirate boat, a castle, swans driven by elves, a shoe house and a statue of a bunny will remain forever. My family visited the park at least 3 times each year. Children and adults of all ages enjoyed the attractions. One of the most interesting activities was paddling a boat towards a skull statue, that was very scary for a little kid, but we loved it! There were swimming pools, the egg and mushroom house and the coolest thing ever were the electric motorcycles that we could drive ourselves with no safety equipment. I believe that the iconic piece of the park was the entrance in the shape of a castle. The Bosque Encantado was the happiest place in the world for me and my sisters. Evelyn O.