It is extremely rare I would ever make a claim like this. How is it possible to be objective about something like a park? Well after visiting this park, my opinion quickly changed and I actually googled “most beautiful urban parks in the world” as I was sure the Parque nacional de Uruapan would be topping the lists. Amazingly it wasn’t even to be found on any “top 20″! However – I have visited quiet a few of those parks that were listed as “most beautiful” and they don’t come close. No way. This is hands-down the most beautiful urban park I have ever seen.
How did a place like this happen and what makes it so special? Well it isn’t the city itself. Uruapan is a pretty typical Mexican mountain city of 250,000 residents. The roads are dusty with lots of traffic – both horse and car and the architecture is average for the area. The entrance to the park itself – just 1km from the town centre is also could easily be over looked. It is inside that the surprise awaits!
Imagine what could happen if you gave a group of artists creative freedom to play with water flow in a 1000 acre tropical forest that contained a mighty cascading river at its heart with hundreds of small tributaries. The basics: 8 kilometres of cobblestone walking trails, at least 4 pavillons for outdoor theatre, a playground, a fish farm and plenty of places for artists stalls and small restaurants.
The creators of this park have played beautifully with the natural flow of water – cascading it through sculptures, over stone walls, through waterfalls (natural and man-made), and running it along every walking path making a beautiful bubbling sound. Since the tropical forest has been kept natural all around, the surprise of what is found around the next turn is half the fun. The water itself pops out of the ground with a force at the top of the park and is a gorgeous crystal clear.
If this park was located anywhere in North America or Europe it would be an inspiration, a landmark and an example of just how perfect an urban park can be. I wish we could say it is anyway, but sadly because of its location in Mexico…it remains undiscovered.