WXXI Travel - Costa Rica Reading List

Natural History of Costa Rica, by Dr. Alan Jensen.  Dr. Jensen was the man who studied the last dry rain forest on the Pacific Coast of Central America, now called the Santa Rosa National Park (Costa Rica).  Anyone interested in knowing in detail about natural history will enjoy the great work of this man with a vision of the future.  Without him, the National Park would have been destroyed by the cattle farmers.

Explore Costa Rica (Fifth Edition) by Harry S. Pariser. An excellent travel guidebook, this new guide covers a lot of places not found in other guidebooks. It makes a wonderful companion to this website. The maps, charts, tips, bus schedule, etc. — all are useful! Highly recommended.

Costa Rica: The Ecotravellers' Wildlife Guide
by Les Beletsky, Paperback, 448 pages, September 1998 Not too big, not too small. Just the right amount of information. This book is exceptionally easy to read. It's well organized, funny and full of good science and interesting lore. Two other qualities makes this book outstanding. First, it describes and illustrates only the birds that you are most likely to see. Other books often give too many choices. This book also covers all the other wildlife that you may be lucky enough to see. Monkeys, lizards, coatis, and red poison- dart frogs - they're all in there.

Costa Rica's National Parks and Preserves: A Visitor's Guide
by Joseph Franke, Paperback, 224 pages, 2nd edition, September 1999
Unspoiled beaches, tropical jungles, volcanic mountains, exotic wildlife-Costa Rica's natural areas and preserves offer remarkable geographical and biological diversity for adventure-loving travelers. With complete profiles of forty accessible parks and preserves, including five newly protected areas, this book guides visitors through the unique terrain, and discusses each area's climate, flora, and fauna. Whether you are a hiker seeking a panoramic view from a volcanic summit, a kayaker longing to glide downriver under a jungle canopy, or a naturalist eager to observe an incredible array of exotic wildlife, this guide is the key to exploring Costa Rica's best natural areas with an emphasis on environmental awareness. Explorers will find descriptions of hikes, nature walks, and water trails, plus information on each park's facilities, attractions, and history. Hikes range from short walks to extended backpacking trips, and a complete planning section details when to go, what to expect, what to bring, and health precautions.

Field Guide to the Orchids of Costa Rica and Panama by Robert L. Dressler, Paperback, 374 pages, November 1993 Contains keys to all the orchid genera in the region and most of the orchid species, emphasizing features that can be readily seen with the naked eye or a hand lens. Includes 240 color photos and 229 line drawings. Written in an accessible style, with introductory chapters on the geography of the region.

A Guide to the Birds of Costa Rica
by F. Gary Stiles, Paperback, December 1990 Considered among the best birding guides ever written for a specific country. If you're going to do some birding in Costa Rica, don't leave home without it. Excellent plates, descriptions and sound references for distinguishing those minute details that go a long way toward helping you correctly identify your sightings. Highly recommended.

New Key to Costa Rica (15th Ed.) by Beatrice Blake, Anne Becher, Paperback, 528 pages, October 2000 With a special focus on ecotourism, the authors of The New Key to Costa Rica help you discover the diversity of this colorful country's remarkable flora and fauna (from tree ferns to sloths) and learn ways you can contribute to efforts to preserve it. A well-researched sustainability rating highlights lodgings that are active in protecting an environmental, economic, and cultural balance. The book offers complete coverage of sights, lodging, dining, and outdoor adventures, including wildlife viewing, parks and reserves, surfing, fishing, horseback riding, and diving.

Pura Vida: The Waterfalls and Hot Springs of Costa Rica  by Sam Mitchell, Paperback, 96 pages, 2nd edition, March 1995 Many general travel guides to Costa Rica have been written; but this provides a specific focus on the waterfalls and hot springs of the country and will present readers with descriptions of the high points along with the practicalities of locating and traveling to the areas. Be prepared to hike to many of these locations, and enjoy fine first-person descriptions.

Travel & Site Guide to Birds of Costa Rica With Side Trips to Panama
by Aaron D. Sekerak, Paperback, 256 pages, December 1996  This is not a birding field guide, but a helpful guide to quite a few Costa Rica birding sites. Very good descriptions of sites included (including some information not available elsewhere) but many other places were not covered. The author's assessments are useful. Supplements other guides.

The Laughing Falcon. By William Deverell. Even leaving aside the Costa Rican setting it's a very enjoyable book especially if you like murder mysteries. The author is a well-known Canadian author who lives part of the year near Quepos. He's appears to be an avid birder as well. Read this book for an insider's jaded view on the tourist scene in Pacific area but also for very authentic bits about the Manual Antonio and Tortuguero landscapes with a few interesting tips for single women travellers in San Jose.