Pauline Frommer's Costa Rica Paperback – Oct 22 2007
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From the Back Cover
"Full of good tips andsuggestions."
"Packed with information onhow to eat and sleep withoutdepleting your bank account."
Spend Less and See More in Costa Rica
Are you ready to travel smart?
If you'd like to get the most out of your dollar and your trip, this is the guide for you. I put a fresh spin on budget travel, showing you how to see the best for less and how to see it in a more authentic way—the way locals do.
Instead of spending $300 a night for a chain hotel, why not rent a brand-new, three-bedroom house near the beach in Jaco for just $130 a night, or bed down in a rustic but cozy B&B in Tortuguero for just $30 a night?
I'll take you on self-guided treks up dormant volcanoes and through rain forests so that you can save enough to splurge on the best ziplines in Costa Rica (we rate 'em all), conquer the rapids on a whitewater rafting tour, or learn how to surf from a master.
Let me show you the "other" Costa Rica—the one only insiders know about. Tour a local artist's studio in San Jose or volunteer with the ANAI in Puerto Viejo to monitor the hatching process of sea turtles. These are only a few of the great ways to get closer to the culture of Costa Rica. Read on for more!
Winner of Best Guidebook, North American Travel Journalists Association
About the Author
Currently based in Miami, “Latino by adoption” David Appell is the former editor of Arthur Frommer’s Budget Travel and Caribbean Travel & Life; co-author of Access Gay USA; and has written for lots of other publications including National Geographic Traveler, Travel+Leisure, The International Herald Tribune, Spain’s El País, GQ, Men’s Fitness, and Out. Dave’s an alum of Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, and apart from Spanish, gets by in a half-dozen other foreign languages. In fact, these days he’s also the publisher and author of the internationally successful Hot!Spanish and related series of foreign-language phrasebooks devoted to love, dating, and the sundry naughtiness likely to ensue there from (www.HotBabel.com).
Pauline Frommer started traveling before she could speak, seeing the world at a young age with her guidebook writing parents Arthur Frommer and Hope Arthur. She went into the “family biz” over a decade ago, serving first as the editor of Frommers.com and then the travel section of MSNBC.com. Her articles have appeared in numerous publications including Budget Travel, the Dallas Morning News, Marie Claire and the upcoming book The Experts Guide to Babies. In 2006, Pauline Frommer’s New York City won “Best Guidebook of the Year” from the North American Travel Journalism Association. In 1999, she was awarded a Lowell Thomas Medal from the Society of American Travel Writers for her magazine work. She currently appears every Wednesday night on CNN’s Headline News to discuss the latest travel trends. Pauline is married to physical therapist Mahlon Stewart and the mother of two very welltraveled daughters, Beatrix (age 4) and Veronica (age 8).
A former editor at Travel + Leisure, Nelson Mui has written on a variety of topics for publications such as the New York Times, National Geographic Traveler, Men’s Journal and San Francisco. A native of Hong Kong who’s lived in Europe and South America, Nelson inherited the travel gene from his mother, an overseas Chinese who grew up in colonial Hanoi, speaks four languages, and packs a bag at the slightest provocation. He finds comfort in the fact that virtually everywhere in the world he’s visited—including the remotest parts of Costa Rica—there’s a Chinese restaurant nearby where he can gather intelligence in his mother tongue.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
It excels in recommending excellent beaches, beach towns, restaurants and hotels but is lacking in maps and discussion on travel logistics - i.e. how long it will take to drive from town X to town Y on the dirt road, etc.
Here's where it shines and is worth purchasing. On three occasions it guided us to sights (a secluded hard-to-reach pink sand beach, a beautiful beach town, and a wonderfully authentic restaurant (where there was no menu but 2 huge plates of food, 2 sodas, and 2 dessert pan dulces all came to under $9)) that made our vacation really special and were either totally left out of the other guidebook or not emphasized sufficiently to warrant exploration. This is a mark of a great guidebook and allowed me to feel confident that the authors, David Appell and Nelson Mui, knew what they were talking about and recommend great stuff! We also like the author's laid back and relaxed, but realistic attitude. We only traveled to areas covered by 3 chapters of the book so I can only imagine the other gems recommended in other parts of the country.
This guidebook can definitely work alone, but I simply like to have more details about transportation - especially maps. The next version should include more. Also, as a young man I almost did not purchase this book simply because Pauline's picture is displayed prominently all around. It looks like it's targeted to my mom's demographic, which it may be, but if its trying to be a new series of guidebooks aimed at allowing the traveler to "see more" and "spend less" it could appear more contemporary and less like a book for ladies.
My only gripe with the book is that the prices were off by 25-100% even though we traveled in the same year the book was published. For example, the butterfly exhibit in Monte Verde is quoted at $8 per peron, and it is actually $10 per person. A Pizza Parlor in La Fortuna recommended for its $5 pizzas actually charges $10.50 for its cheapest pizza. At first I thought this might be an exchange rate issue (after all the dollar is doing poorly this year), but the book quoted the exchange rate at approximately 470 Colons to the Dollar and when we arrived it was 540 Colons to the Dollar. Then I thought maybe this was a problem with world food prices rising (yada-yada-yada). So I did a study of a single item : Imperial Beer. According to the book, Imperial Beer costs 60 cents in bars and "up to $2 in Better Hotels". We paid between $1.25 and $4 for an Imperial (mostly around $2). So, was it the excahnge rate or World Food Prices?.... neither. I went into two super markets, one in Monte Verde and one in San Jose . Both were charging 90 cents FOR A SIX PACK. So in Costa Rica places recommended in the book, they have doubled the price of beer since the book went to press and raised admission fees 25%. Whether this is a result of being included in the book or a sudden country-wide realization that Americans will pay this much, I don't know, but I would not plan a budget using this book as a guide. (Prices in San Jose were closer to the quoted prices than in the other areas).
I took two other books with me that accompanied this book well. One was Moon Costa Rica (Moon Handbooks)which has MUCH deeper information on the history and culture and politics of Costa Rica (you can buy a used copy that is a couple of years old CHEAP on Amazon and you won't miss anything if you stick to the opening and closing sections). The other was The Birds of Costa Rica: A Field Guide. Unless you plan to just get hammered and lay on the beach for a week, you have to bring this book and a pair of binoculars. They have the most increadible birds down there and many places put out fruit scraps so that these amazing creatures come to join you for breakfast!