Lonely Planet Costa Rica 9th Ed.: 9th Edition Paperback – Oct 5 2010
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About the Author
Matthew Firestone is a trained anthropologist and epidemiologist, though he postponed his academic career to spend his youth living out of a backpack. To date he has authored more than twenty guidebooks for Lonely Planet, and covered far-flung destinations from the Darien Gap to the Dead Sea. His favourite destination is Namibia, where the stark beauty of the desert is completely overwhelming, though freshly sliced sashimi on any of Okinawa's beaches is a close second. When he's not in school or on assignment, he likes to spend his time exploring the American West with his parents, or catching up with the in-laws on the foothills of Mt. Fuji.
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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.
The book also misses all the good backpackers in many towns i visited. I was disappointed with the book and gives me reservation in making decisions to buy a Lonely Planet book for my next adventure.
It's not complete, but it was definitely useful. With the Frommers and Lonely Planet, we were covered pretty well.
And if you're planning a trip to Costa Rica, BUY A REALLY GOOD ROAD MAP. There really are no road signs in Costa Rica.