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Central America (Shoestring Travel Guide) [Paperback]

Carolyn McCarthy , Greg Benchwick , Joshua Samuel Brown
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Lonely Planet Central America on a shoestring 8th Ed.: 8th Edition Lonely Planet Central America on a shoestring 8th Ed.: 8th Edition 1.0 out of 5 stars (1)
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Book Description

Oct. 1 2010 Shoestring Travel Guide
Lonely Planet knows Central America. Whether you want to explore ancient Maya ruins, zip through rainforest canopies or search out the best surf breaks, this 7th edition is your key to adventure.

Lonely Planet guides are written by experts who get to the heart of every destination they visit. This fully updated edition is packed with accurate, practical and honest advice, designed to give you the information you need to make the most of your trip.

In This Guide:

Full color highlights chapter with top picks from other travelers
Detailed itineraries to get you started on your trip to Central America
Unique Green Index makes ecofriendly travel that much easier

Product Details

Product Description

About the Author

Carolyn McCarthy divined a future passion for exploration with her first word: door. Yearly childhood pilgrimages to her mother's native Quebec whetted an appetite for travel. After growing up restless in Massachusetts she made a break for Colorado, where she studied comparative literature and powder skiing while pursuing a BA from Colorado College. She later earned an MFA in creative writing from Emerson College and an ice-climbing certificate from a now-defunct Andean institute.

Carolyn has been writing about the Americas since 1998, when she bumped across Mexico and South America solo by bus. Her writing is informed by a concern for the natural environment and the everyday experience of those off the grid and outside of modern norms. Between wanderings she has taught English to executives in Buenos Aires, worked with immigrant families in the western U.S. and guided trekking trips in Patagonia.

On a good day, working for Lonely Planet means flying over the Beagle Channel or cruising the Amazon basin by canoe. A bad day means fleeing a bus fire, sampling the dodgy fare that won't get recommended or self-diagnosing intestinal bugs. Such misadventures make an occasional success all the sweeter. Her advice for those hitting the road: don't rush. Wandering can yield greater pleasures than racing to that so-called destination. And forget day packs. When tooling around pickpocket hot spots, it's best to tote your necessities in a plastic grocery bag.

Carolyn has coauthored Lonely Planet's Ecuador & the Galapagos and South America on a Shoestring, and contributed to Bluelist, The Middle of Nowhere and Travels with Lonely Planet columns. A contributing editor to South American Explorer, Carolyn has written for the Boston Globe and Spanish language titles. A former Fulbright recipient, she is currently working under a grant from Banff Mountain Center to write about northern Patagonia's fading pioneer culture. She lives in southern Chile.

You can follow her tracks at www.carolynswildblueyonder.blogspot.com

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
4.0 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Book Nov. 9 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book was so helpful while I spent a few months traveling across Central America. It came quickly and in great condition. Thanks again
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5.0 out of 5 stars LP awesomeness as usual May 3 2013
By Janet
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The right info, just what I need.
In 15 years LP never let me down this book in up to it's normal standards!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Great and Perfectly on Oct. 27 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Needed this book as a last minute item for trip to Central America. I took a chance that it would arrive on time and perfect in everyway!!! Thanx
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Central America (Shoestring Travel Guide) March 9 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I travelled to Guatemala a short while ago and was hoping for information with a bit more colour and flair. Perhaps i should have bought a Lonely Planet Guide instead. Not very helpful, and unsurprisingly, too general for what I needed.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.8 out of 5 stars  26 reviews
41 of 41 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Green Index a disappointment, but otherwise very useful April 11 2011
By duermite - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I just returned from 2 months traveling through Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, Belize, and Guatemala. Because I was covering a lot of ground in a little time, I used the book extensively for the busing information, which I found quite accurate. Bus departure times were much more reliable than I expected, though when possible I always asked around and tried to arrive a little early. Prices overall were also reasonably close, even in Honduras where they include a disclaimer that prices were extremely low during their research due to the drama with President Zelaya.

The biggest inaccuracies seemed to be with restaurants either no longer existing, or not being all they were cracked up to be, so I found it more useful to ask around. With hostels and hotels, I was bummed that lp's "our pick" was often out of typical backpacker price range and many of the lower priced rooms were really talked up. You'll have to learn to read between the lines if you're traveling on a really low budget: "well scrubbed" might actually mean brightly painted and "simple" might mean dirty and the toilet doesn't work.

I loved the idea of the green index, but in practice, didn't use it once. It felt like lp just threw that in there to make it seem like they cared, but didn't really put any effort into it. The 2 page index leaves a lot to be desired. Instead of warning that some hardwoods sold in the markets are endangered, tell me which hardwoods are endangered and which are ok to buy. Same thing with seafood - tell me which are harvested sustainably in which areas. Lp was especially contradictory in this respect, noting that I shouldn't eat conch or lobster outside their seasons in Belize, but constantly recommending lobster dishes in Utila, Honduras (where they have no lobster season and harvesting is never very sustainable).

Another, minor, qualm I had was their budget approximations in the beginning of each country chapter. These are budgets if you are doing little to nothing other than eating and sleeping and maybe one inexpensive activity. I'll admit, this could easily just be my own misunderstanding of how to use the book, maybe that's what lp intended, but I didn't have lots of research time before my trip so I used these budgets as a baseline and it didn't work for me.

Overall, I did find this book extremely useful and the negatives above are meant as constructive criticisms and things I would've liked to know beforehand. Lonely Planet Central America on a Shoestring helped me significantly during my travels, but you'll never fully experience a place relying solely on a book so just make sure you don't expect the world from it and you'll likely be very happy!
19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good guidebook, Kindle failure April 14 2011
By John Walzer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Formatting a guidebook for an e-book reader presents challenges that LP clearly has not worked out yet. First are the maps: if shown whole, they are too tiny to be readable; if cut into pieces, each piece shows a tiny area. Worse, the legend, with names of hotels, restaurants, etc. is often cut in two, literally breaking words and rendering it useless. (An interim solution: anyone buying a Kindle guidebook can download, for free, a packet of PDF maps for that guidebook.)

The use of icons - telephone, WiFi, clocks - taller than the text causes ragged spaces to appear between lines. Bad links often lead to unrelated text elsewhere in the book. It is difficult to navigate; one has to return to the table of contents and click on country, region, etc. There is no index in the back.

Some sections of the book are riddled with errors that make one question whether anyone is minding the store. The "Costa Rica" chapter, for example, is loaded with typographical boo-boos: what should be an apostrophe instead looks like the two Chinese characters for "blind proofreader." Even the capital, San José, is rendered "San Josã".

As e-book readers grow in sophistication, and if Lonely Planet dedicates itself to exploiting the new medium creatively, Kindle could be an effective vehicle for guidebooks. As of now, however, I would avoid this Kindle failure and buy the paper edition.
17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Can't miss with Lonely Planet! April 11 2011
By Leslie B. Chaplin - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I have been to 43 countries and lived in 10 so I think that I am qualified to rate a travel book. I usually take a look at other travel guides out there but still can't find a better overall guide than Lonely Planet. It gives you information that you won't easily stumble over on the internet and is always pretty much up-to-date.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Maps not great, some info lacking Aug. 11 2012
By erika kar - Published on Amazon.com
Overall, this is a decent guide. It seemed that some countries got better attention than others. For example, the Guatemala section was fairly in depth, but the El Salvador section was not. And El Salvador happened to be what we need it for on this trip.

I appreciated the great bus info and the border crossing info very much. The history and information about the culture and history of each country was great to know, as well as safety information.

The next edition could use more detailed maps.

If you are thinking of buying the guide for a trip, you shouldn't hesitate. But use it as an introduction and then look online in forums, etc. for more detailed information.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love the Lonely Planet Series Oct. 1 2012
By zubair khan - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I used this book for my backpacking trip to Costa Rica and Panama. This book was right on and very helpful. I will continue using it. A+, good travel guide.
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