San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

New Theme Park to Offer A Day at the Farm

San Mateo, a canton in the province of Alajuela, is set to become home to a new Panaca theme park, which allows visitors to participate in traditional farm activities, based on successful parks of the same name in Colombia.

Panaca, a name that comes from the Spanish acronym for the National Agricultural and FishingPark, is an interactive park that will allow visitors to experience rural agriculture first-hand. Panaca is scheduled to open next December, according to the financial weekly El Financiero; however, those in charge of the project are still seeking investors for a total initial sum of $15 million.

The park, to be built on a former dairy farm called Las Maravillas, will offer sevenhour tours to teach visitors about horses, pigs, cows, dogs and farms in general.

Visitors will have a chance to feed animals, walk ecological trails and enjoy special presentations in five amphitheaters with a total capacity of 3,500 people, El Financiero reported. The amphitheaters would also host national agricultural fairs and exhibitions.

The Alajuela Panaca would also eventually include 150 acres of house and condominiums and three or four 150-room hotels, Panaca President Jorge Ballen told the weekly.

The park is modeled after similar sites in Quindío, where the park opened in 1999 – an effort by Colombian coffee-growers to branch out during the international coffee crisis – and Bogotá, where a park opened in 2002. Parks are also planned in Mexico, Cuba, Panama, the Dominican Republic and Spain.

San Mateo native Erwen Masís told the weekly that the investors already participating in the project are ready to begin construction, though the search for additional investors is still under way.


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