As someone who works and has frequently traveled in Costa Rica, and who is a long-time aficionado of the Lonely Planet guides, I am really sorry to have to write a negative review of the most recent edition (Nov. 2010) of this travel guide. But having used this latest edition on two recent trips, the extent of its inaccuracies, most likely a result of inadequate research and rush to publish, compels me to warn other readers away from this edition. I would recommend that readers switch to the Moon guide for Costa Rica, but if you want to stick with the Lonely Planet series, I would recommend purchasing the previous edition of Lonely Planet Costa Rica published in 2008.
While there are numerous examples of why this latest guide is so unhelpful, there can be no greater one than the book's review of a sustainable ranch in the Arenal region called Rancho Margot. In the 2008 guide, the authors got it right, devoting 2 pages of highest praise, and described a place "as a sustainable, self-sufficient working ranch....one of the most exciting development projects in the entire country.". It was this review that led my family and I to take a chance on this remote eco-resort nestled between Lake Arenal and the rain forests leading to MonteVerde. Our family fell in love with Rancho Margot's magic immediately, and have returned every time we come to Costa Rica. Rancho Margot has only improved in its beauty, sustainability ethos, and quality of its service since our first visit in July of 2008, and has been recognized as a global leader of sustainable farm tourism.
So it was with great shock and disappointment to see that in the November 2010 edition, the LP editors, in their collective wisdom, decided to tell readers to stay away from Rancho Margot. It appears that they listened to negative gossip of some jealous nearby innkeepers, downgraded their review of the ranch to 'not recommended", without bothering to visit the ranch. For a place that receives near-unanimous praise as a "must-see" destination from guest reviews on Trip Advisor and other guides, the LP's review of Rancho Margot is clearly a huge disservice to its readers.
If it was only this one inaccuracy, perhaps this latest edition of LP Costa Rica would be salvageable. But there are numerous additional examples, which other reviewers have highlighted, and which I would only echo, that lead me to this one-star review.