This book attempts to serve as a tavel guide for both the budget and the upscale price segments for trips to Costa Rica. It was first published (over) 15 years ago in 1994. This review considers the 6th edition of the book, which was the most current version when we made our trip in 2009.
While we cannot speak for the upscale price segment, this travel book utterly failed on us as a guide for our backpack tour through Costa Rica. It appears to us as if much of the information provided in the book is outdated and has not been properly updated.
The reasons for why we are so disappointed with the book include the following experiences:
1) In 2009 a change in the telephone system of Costa Rica took place. While the book briefly mentions this in the last chapter, it does not explain how this change affects the old seven digit numbers. Without this rather simple information (a number 2 must precede the seven digit numbers) all telephone numbers in the book are rendered useless. While this detail may not have been available when the 6th edition was published in 2007, we would have welcomed to be given a hotline number or an operator at the least, through which the necessary information could be obtained.
2) Hotels which are mentioned in the book are occasionally missing from the maps (e.g. Cashew Hill Jungle Lodge and Kaja's Place, Puerto Viejo).
3) The information about getting to Tortugero is rather misleading. The water taxis are not public, but run by a private operator. Thus the fare for the trip is not $6, but $35-40 (one-way). According to the locals the public water taxies were put out of operation as early as 1991 (!). The telephone number given in the book does not reach the taxi operator, but the port's main entrance gate. Furthermore the taxi trip from Puerto Limon to the port is not $4 but $10 (here the author contradicts himself, the error can be spotted by looking up the taxi meter rates at the end of the book).
4) The information on Cashew Hill Jungle Lodge, Puerto Viejo, is not correct. The Lodge does not offer any of the rooms mentioned in the book, instead it offers rental cottages for a much higher price. This can even be looked up at the very website which is provided in the book.
5) The telephone number of Tamarunda Lodge, Puerto Viejo, is not correct (wrong number).
6) On page 595 the author describes that tourists occasionally get pulled over by police men in the hope for bribes, because rental cars can be spotted by the letters TUR on the license plates. During the two weeks that we spent in Costa Rica we did not see a single car with such license plates, nor seemed our own car which we rented in the second week to be marked in such a way.
After our travels we went to the book store to have a look at the Lonely Planet guide for Costa Rica. It was surprising to find that a lot of the information which we missed in the Moon guide could actually be found in the Lonely Planet. We suspect that in the future we might be better of with a book that considers budget travel only, but does not aim to deliver information on both the budget and the upscale price segment.