Costa Rica: travel books to read before you go


This excerpt from Lonely Planet’s Costa Rica guide provides a selection of travel literature to get you in the mood for your trip.

While you’re in the midst of predeparture planning, check out the following recommended titles to start developing your sense of Costa Rica.

A Naturalist in Costa RicaNaturalist in Costa Rica (Dr Skutch) – an icon among bird-watchers, Skutch weaves his philosophies into his beautiful descriptions of flora and fauna in this enchanting memoir and natural history guide.

Around the EdgeAround the Edge (Peter Ford) – a story of the author’s travels along the Caribbean coast from Belize to Panama, on foot and by boat.

Green DreamsGreen Dreams: Travels in Central America (Stephen Benz) – an astute analysis that questions the impact visitors are having on the region and its people.

Green PhoenixGreen Phoenix (William Allen) – an absorbing and inspiring account of the author’s efforts, alongside American and Costa Rican scientists and activists, to conserve and restore the rainforest in Guanacaste.

99 days to PanamaNinety-Nine Days to Panama (John and Harriet Halkyard) – a retired couple’s detailed and entertaining account of driving an RV (complete with pet dog Brindle) from Texas to Panama.

So Far From GodSo Far from God: A Journey to Central America (Patrick Marnham) – the winner of the 1985 Thomas Cook Travel Book Award gives an insightful and amusing account of a leisurely meander from Texas to Panama.

Travelers Tales Central AmericaTraveler’s Tales Central America (eds Larry Habegger and Natanya Pearlman) – a collection of striking travel essays on the region from renowned writers such as Paul Theroux and Tim Cahill.

Walk These StonesWalk These Stones (Leslie Hawthorne Klingler) – this Mennonite service worker writes about her experiences living, working, praying and sharing in the small village of Cuatro Cruces.

More travel literature reading lists for other destinations can be found on