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Explore Costa Rica [Paperback]

Harry S. Pariser
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
Price: CDN$ 25.65 & FREE Shipping. Details
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Book Description

Dec 1 2006 Explore Costa Rica
Travel with award-winning travel guide author Harry S. Pariser around Costa Rica and experience its wonders! Dive and snorkel off the coast of the remote Osa Peninsula. Experience the Caribbean coast with its rich Jamaican culture. Visit the small hotels of the Pacific Coast and the Nicoya Peninsula and remote lodges in the heart of the rainforest. Dine everywhere from gourmet restaurants to local sodas. Ascend by rope and pulley into the rainforest canopy, explore caves, surf, kayak, canoe, bungee jump, mountain bike, trek, or just lay back on a beach, relax, and watch the monkeys at play. Internal air flights, bus travel, ferry schedules, what to do, what to avoid. Studying Spanish, volunteer programs, and sustainable tourism. Maps, photos, web sites, useful tips. Humorous, informative, educational, detailed. There's no other guide quite like it!

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Explore Costa Rica Oct. 7 2007
There's nothing like looking through travel guides in the depth of a Canadian winter. It makes me feel a little warmer. Almost immediately, I start to dream about the places I'd someday like to visit.

Costa Rica is now definitely near the top of my list of places to go. This area is about the size of West Virginia with mild subtropical weather year round. As one would expect, there are great beaches with lots of interesting water activities such as snorkeling, diving, whitewater rafting, surfing, wind surfing, swimming, canoeing, and boat tours.

In addition to these beaches, the island also boasts four mountain ranges which include active volcanoes. Evidentially, the sand in these areas is black or light grey from the volcanic obsidian and the pumice. There are tours available to visit some of these areas.

Costa Rica actually has 12 different life zones that serve as the homes for all sorts of interesting flora and fauna species, including sea turtles, jaguars, anteaters, sloths, fruit bars, poison dart frogs and manatees (just to name a few). Visitors have their choice of informal visits or more formalized tours. Some places even allow volunteers.

Explore Costa Rica gives all the details a tourist needs to tailor fit their Costa Rican vacation. This book even includes entertainment opportunities that I would have never known existed: hot air ballooning, geological expeditions, tour of a pineapple plantation, and snake milking demonstrations just to name a few. There is also lots of good advice that will save time, money, and a good deal of frustration.
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Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars  25 reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Quality Guide to a Beautiful Country May 3 2007
By Paige R. Penland - Published on Amazon.com
As co-author of the sixth edition of Lonely Planet Costa Rica, acquaintances often ask me which guidebook I recommend, now that my own is out of date. Explore Costa Rica is the perfect choice for independent-minded travelers interested in learning more about the country from travel writer who has been covering Costa Rica since at least 1992.

A detailed field guide of flora and fauna will help you appreciate Costa Rica's fabulous national parks, while useful advice on "Picking a Tour" is accompanied by listings that include everyone from slick, international package-tour operators to scruffy beachtown-based independent guides. Hotel and restaurant listings span a wide range of prices and expectations, and descriptions tend to be more detailed than in thinner guidebooks - at 621 pages, there's plenty of room. I especially appreciate events listings; you just haven't lived until you've attended a loud, guaro-soaked Costa Rican fiesta, and Pariser makes sure you know what's on while you're in the country.

My only quibble is with the maps - they're accurate and useful for towns and cities, and are more than sufficient for travelers using public transport. If you're planning to drive, however, be sure to ask for a free country map from your rental car company or any tourist office. Regardless, this book gets five stars because it is accurate, updated and insightful.
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Better than Lonely Planet Jan. 15 2007
By Paul Gahlinger, MD, PhD - Published on Amazon.com
I do quite a bit of traveling and often buy a Lonely Planet guide as a basic reference. Lately, however, I've become somewhat jaded by its formulaic coverage and superficial approach. I'm also skeptical about how they go about choosing which accomodations and restaurants to include in their books.

Pariser's book at first glance looks remarkably like a Lonely Planet guide--the same format and much the same information. However, Pariser puts more of himself into it and the book clearly is a labor of love. Pariser's guide compares to Lonely Planet like a family restaurant to McDonalds.
21 of 25 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not the best 'First Source' for trip planning Aug. 10 2007
By Casitagirl - Published on Amazon.com
I should start by saying that I travel extensively and plan all my own trips. I enjoy the planning process almost as much as the trips themselves (sometimes more so, after a rainy trip to Switzerland when we did NOT see the Alps even once!!!). I've used countless guidebooks and internet sites, and consider myself pretty knowledgeable on travel information sources.

I bought this book as a starting point for planning a trip to Costa Rica and while it contains an incredible amount of information, I felt like it was too encyclopedic to be easily helpful for planning. For example, the first 170 pages deal with history, culture, national holidays, wildlife, etc., etc., etc. While I think all of this info is valuable and interesting, I don't want or need most of it when trying to decide where to travel within the country. This book, while providing a ton of detailed information, seems to assume that the reader has some previous knowledge of the country regarding possible itineraries and what the 'must see' areas are. Its 'Suggested Itineraries' section is one paragraph long and basically says 'do what you want and can afford' - not a big help, in my opinion. I don't always follow suggested itineraries but I find them helpful as a starting point, especially in a country as diverse and filled with so many wonderful possibilities as Costa Rica.

Additionally, I found the format to be kind of like a laundry list - lots of stuff but often no indication of relative merits between lodgings, attractions, etc.

I ended up going to the library and using Frommer's and Fodor's as a start for itinerary ideas and then used "Rum and Reggae's" Costa Rica (Jonathan Runge & Adam Carter) as a good source with a definite 'point of view' and lots of opinions. They make pretty clear WHY they like or dislike something, which helps determine if I'll agree or not.

Having said all of this, now that I've planned my trip (using other sources), I will read this book more closely and I'm sure I will benefit from it. It IS an exhaustive (and perhaps exhausting!) source of, I'm sure, everything you've ever wanted to know about Costa Rica.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Harry Pariser's Great Travel Guides! May 1 2007
By Danai Lamb - Published on Amazon.com
I have been using and reading Harry Pariser's guides for years, through all the editions, and I find them enormously entertaining and helpful. Loved his guide to Puerto Rico, but more importantly: he has a FIFTH edition of the Explore Costa Rica, which I found before my trip. Although Pariser has always included a lot of background information and tips in his travel guides, this one is packed with more. The coverage of lesser known places was great, and the sidebars useful and informative. His images reveal the beauty of Costa Rica. This is a valuable resource for any person going to explore Costa Rica. Take this one with you!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent guide for trip planning Nov. 4 2007
By D. Tighe - Published on Amazon.com
We really found this book to be useful both in planning our trip and in traveling around Costa Rica. The background information on wildlife, history, culture, and politics was very informative and helpful. We didn't find a bus timetable in any other guide. And the beautiful color photos (of wildlife and flora) are a great addition. We found the itineraries and other information on the publisher's website to be a valuable resource for trip planning. Explore Costa Rica also helped us find some special places to stay we would not have found otherwise. Finally, the book is quite humorous and fun to read.
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