Reviews of Explore Costa Rica (Fifth Edition)

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Explore Costa Rica

(Fifth Edition)


ISBN 1-893643-55-7

SBN 1-893643-55-7

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Editorial Reviews

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Explore Costa Rica has been named "Cool Book of the Day"

Travel World Magazine If you're planning to go to Costa Rica, a copy of Explore Costa Rica is a must read. Be forewarned: If you weren't planning to go, reading this fantastic book is like being there and you'll probably put Costa Rica on your wish list of places to explore in the future. In this fifth edition, you'll find 668 pages filled with details information as well as 38 maps and 30 color and 80 black and white photos. Author Harry Pariser – who has received the Lowell Thomas Award for Best Guidebook - has done an excellent job covering all ranges and types of accommodation including nature lodges. You'll find lots of adventure, too -- whitewater rafting, surfing, horseback riding, snorkeling, scuba, bird watching, hiking, whale watching, canopy climbing and ballooning. Pariser offers complete background information on the animals, rainforests, history, culture, and volunteer opportunities, language schools, environmental organizations, car rental, buses, plane travel, and ferries. Pariser's writing is geared towards the nature-minded traveler, and as a bonus, the book lists thousands of related web sites, e-mails, phone numbers, fax numbers and even Internet updates.



Fifth Edition (2007)

Reader Views
Explore Costa Rica, 5th Edition
Harry S. Pariser
Manatee Press (2007)
ISBN 9781893643550
Reviewed by Kelley Anderson for Reader Views (4/07)

“Explore Costa Rica” is a well-written, in-depth guide to visiting Costa Rica. The introduction gives a comprehensive overview of the land, climate, vegetation, animal and social life of Costa Rica. It presents this varied country’s past and present, reflecting on how the history of the country affects the travel and culture today.

Everything you could want to know about Costa Rica is in the book. From money conversion to places to stay, this is an excellent guide to plan your travels. The book breaks down the country into six distinctive areas and presents the unique travel experiences in detail. It is also full of maps, pictures and suggestions from the author, who is obviously very well versed in Costa Rica, both travel and lifestyle.

The writing is simple and expressive. I had never thought to travel to Costa Rica, but found myself absorbed in the many possibilities for a vacation or immersing myself in the culture. Each suggestion also comes with a price guide, making it easier to plan your expenses. This includes everything from hotels, local transportation, food, entertainment and more. I have never seen such a thorough guide about any place, especially a foreign country.

“Explore Costa Rica” would be a helpful planning tool for any age traveler. I noticed in each section headings of "Men traveling alone," "Gay and Lesbian travel" and "Traveling with children." This seems very insightful and obviously planned by the author to be useful to anyone thinking about visiting Costa Rica. Also, when considering traveling to a foreign country, I always think of two main concerns, health and hygiene and dealing with the local laws which can both be very different from living in the USA. Both of these subjects were covered to my satisfaction, making me feel confident that if I did choose to visit Costa Rica, I could navigate safely through my vacation. “Explore Costa Rica” had an extensive amount of information on the country, more than I would have thought to ask before traveling. Any traveler considering a vacation to Costa Rica should purchase a copy of this book well before booking any rooms or flights, and carry it with them on their trip.

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BostoniaBostonia "Pariser offers an in-depth look at an accessibly exotic country."

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Midwest Books Review "In Explore Costa Rica, Harry Pariser draws upon his considerable experience and expertise as a travel guide writer to compile one of the best and most 'user friendly' guides to what Costa Rica has to offer the business traveler and vacationer. Now in a newly expanded and updated fifth edition, "Explore Costa Rica" is a 668 information packed compendium that is enhanced with the inclusion of 38 maps, 30 color photos, and 80 black-and-white images. All types and price ranges of accommodations also include some of the best nature lodges to be found anywhere in Central America. Recreational resources and recommendations ranges from whitewater rafting, surfing, horseback riding, snorkeling, and scuba diving, to birdwatching, hiking, whale watching, canopy climbing, and ballooning. Complete and 'visitor friendly' background information is provided for Costa Rican animals, rainforests, history, and culture. In addition to travel basics for neighboring nations, "Explore Costa Rica" also features volunteer opportunities, language schools, environmental organizations, and covers transportation by car, bus, plane, and ferry. Enhanced with the addition of thousands of thematically appropriate websites, phone and fax numbers, and access to internet updates, "Explore Costa Rica" is an invaluable and superbly organized resource for planning any sort of trip to or within one of the true gems of Central America.
Michael J. Carson

link to review:


Curled Up With a Good Book Award-winning travel guide author Harry S. Pariser takes the reader on a tour of Costa Rica in Explore Costa Rica, a comprehensive manual that combines personal experience and insight with solid information about all where to go, what to do and how to get there.

This thick book contains tons of useful, practical information and recommendations for all the special places, and the usual tourist spots, that you could ever imagine visiting in Costa Rica. From the nature lodges and bed-and-breakfasts dotting the landscape, to the many national parks and historical sites, to the best places to dine, shop and take in the vast and varied scenery, you must not leave for Costa Rica without this book in hand.

Pariser has written ten guides to various Central American and Caribbean countries, so he knows all the ins and outs, all the tried and true places, as well as the local spots that most tourists might miss out on. This book is incredibly detailed, with maps, email addresses, websites, directions, tips on travel and reservations, prices in U.S. dollars, even a Spanish vocabulary list and glossary. By the time you finish this book, you will know the country like the back of your hand and understand the richness of a country that offers unique experiences, from its beautiful coastal villages to the dense rainforest to the best places to surf or visit a volcano.

There are plenty of maps, photos and tour information, as well as an abundance of factoids on flora and fauna and the best places to see the real Costa Rica, not just the most popular hotspots any travel agency can book you into. Pariser knows the land, and he shares everything he knows in this must-have travel guide.

Don’t leave home without it.


About.com "Explore Costa Rica" by Harry Pariser is a comprehensive detailed travel guide to Costa Rica. Now in its 5th edition, the guidebook is packed with over 600 pages of information, including 38 maps, and over 100 color and black-and-white photographs.
Pariser covers Costa Rica’s history, culture, and natural features such as rainforests, cloud forests, tropical dry forests, volcanoes, parks, beaches, eco-tourism, and the wildlife’s biological diversity. Activities include whitewater rafting, scuba diving, snorkeling, horseback riding, bird watching, whale watching, hiking,
You’ll also find useful tips and recommendations on lodging, transportation, ferry schedules, worthwhile activities, and things to avoid. Discover thousands of websites, email addresses, and fax numbers.
"Explore Costa Rica" is an excellent take-along guide. You can trust the information in this book. Harry S. Pariser is a seasoned guide writer and award winning travel writer with over ten published guides to Central American and Caribbean destinations.

original review:


Reviews of Previous Editions

New West Indian Guide, Royal Institute of Linguistics and Anthropology, Leiden, The Netherlands "{These guides} have a strong authorial voice and stand a notch above others in this genre."

American Library Association Booklist "..this extensive, up-to-date guide for Costa Rica is a welcome sight. Selected accommodations and restaurants span the scale from luxury to low budget, while the author's respectful, ecologically aware perspective contributes a progressive view of the sights and scenes encompassed in mountains and lowlands, rain forests, and beaches."

The Bookwatch "...(differs) from the others in its naturalist-oriented cosiderations of outdoors activities and unusual offbeat adventures...mention of transportation challenges and unusual accommodations leads the visitor away from well-worn paths."

Travel Books Review "...the definitive book to read...well-written and well-researched...you are shown the best jungle hikes, the best jungle hikes, the best beaches with top offshore diving and snorkeling locations, white water rivers suitable for rafting/kayaking (with recommended outfitters), tips for bird watching, and mucn more... I recommend that you buy this book."

www.fearlessbooks.com "Can an entire country be summarized in less than 500 pages? Award-winning travel guide Harry S. Pariser accomplishes this amazing feat in this fascinating and fact-filled guide. Be warned: this is not your average, run-of-the-mill travel guide. Pariser gives you the lowdown on everything Costa Rican -- from its volcanoes, beaches, mountains, rainforests, wildlife, and socio-political history to the bus schedules, restaurants, resort prices, tourist sights, festivals, volunteer opportunities, and local customs. Not to mention how to find the ladies' room (it's marked Damas). Excellent color photos bring the natural beauty of Costa Rica alive. With its in-depth and down-to-earth commentary, this guide can't help but make the most of your visit to Central America. As an added bonus, free web updates are available so you will always have access to the latest information whenever you decide to travel. So, whether you're an armchair traveler or the real thing, you can't go wrong with Explore Costa Rica.-- C.APPEL 2/01

Bostonia "...plenty of historical background, many useful maps and illustrations, and just about everything you need to know about traveling in the country." (Spring 2000)

Today's Books "!!!! Exceptional"

Daryl Loth, Tortuguero Safaris "Your material about Tortuguero National Park is solid... I even learned a thing or two..."(Daryl Loth, Tortuguero Safaris, writing about Tortuguero National Park) "Your material about Tortuguero National Park is solid... I even learned a thing or two...")

Shirley Miller, Costa Rica Outlook "This book will be one you'll want in your library and to carry with you on your next trip to Costa Rica.... The...references are excellent and good reading. If you want to expand your knowledge about Costa Rica..then buy a copy of this book and READ it! You'll enjoy the light writing style."

Midwest Books Review " Costa Rica has long been a favored vacation destination offering the on-site visitor a wealth of recreational opportunities of all kinds and categories. Harry Pariser's Explore Costa Rica is an ideal, very highly recommended travel guide and planner. This informational compendium is wonderfully enhanced with color photography and covers everything from surfing to hiking, horseback riding to ballooning, cruising the countryside to wandering around the towns, and much, much more!" (9/00)

Michael Kaye, founder and CEO, Costa Rica Expeditions "Your book is impressive as hell!"

Costa Rica Outdoors "Mr. Pariser capably charts the natural history of a country -- one literally studded with neotropical rainforests, volcanoes, white water rivers, beaches, and immense bio-diversity- against the backdrop of Costa Rica"s recent emergence as one of the most democratic and peaceful eco-destinations in the world. Of particular interest to those anticipating (or in the process) of a trip to Costa Rica, he then goes on describe the practicalities and logistics of getting into contact with the best that Costa Rica has to offer. Pariser, though openly critical of the fast food invasion from his native North American culture that is so rapidly changing the face of this Central American gem, openly advocates cross-cultural involvement and contact with the people as a preferential path to deeper understanding. To this end, he devotes an entire section of his book to volunteer opportunities, educational programs, and language study.... In short: a fragrant, entertaining, and deeply informative departure from the normally sanitized genre of travel guidebooks. An uncensored, frolicking, kaleidoscopic encounter with much of what most people only dream. (8/00)

Travel Weekly "Explore Costa Rica devotes special attention to naural attractions and outdoor activities as well as to environmental issues and concerns. Comprehensive guidebook covers accommodations, attractions, activities, adventure opportunities, transportation options, and plenty of useful travel tips. Author includes frank commentary on various aspects of Costa Rican life and issues such as tourism development controversies, environmental conservation and destruction and social mores. Complete background information covers Costa Rica's natural history, geography, culture, government, and economics." (8/00)

Trips " Geared towards the nature-conscious traveler, this guide is loaded with practical information and candid observations. Nearly 100 pages are devoted to the country's culture, history, flora and fauna....Internet info is also included."

Bard's Ink " Having apprenticed as a naturalist for the past ten years, my yearning to experience new exclamations of forest and fauna in this country has lured me. During my attempts to educate myself I have listened well and read much. Harry S. Pariser's authentic travel guide is an exotic trip in itself. I find myself picking it up often, as I do with other favourite reference books nestled beside my most comfortable reading chairs. There is a lot to explore. Pariser provides inside knowledge on everything from epiphyte orchids to folk-art Band B's. I found details on the differences to expect in driving the roads and custom made tours to be well researched and valuable. Pariser includes URL sites and a reader's response form which invites confirmation and feedback from the traveler. This is a guide written with much attention to the biology and botany of the rainforest. The book is a wonderful experience. Enjoy." -- Lee Beliveau

Heartland Reviews Extraordinary Guides to Extraordinary Places

Series: Explore The Virgin Islands, Explore Costa Rica, and Explore Barbados

"This is a most unusual series of travel guides for the Caribbean basin. The author has written ten books on this area. He includes much more than the standard hotels, restaurants, and places to go information. He approaches his destinations from an ecological point of view. He includes snorkeling and sightseeing information. These guides are almost what the military would call an area study manual. The information is so complete and well rounded. There are lots of excellent photos and illustrations. Anyone planning a trip to this region would be well advised to carry along the appropriate guide to his or her destination. We rated this series a high four hearts." -- Bob Spear, Heartland Reviews



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