The Best Costa Rica Books to Read Before You Go

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From the best travel resources to comprehensive field guides and engaging stories, these must-read Costa Rica books dive deep into the history, natural environment and wonder of this exotic destination. If you’re planning a visit to this remarkable and unique part of the world, you’ll surely want to put a few of these books on your reading list.

Essential Costa Rica Travel Books

The Best Costa Rica Books to Read Before You Go…

Costa Rica: The Complete Guide | By James Kaiser

Award-winning author and travel photographer James Kaiser has spent more than a decade exploring Costa Rica. In this essential guide, featuring hundreds of beautiful photographs, as well as detailed sections on the country’s history, culture, ecology, and wildlife he shares the best of Costa Rica beyond hotel and restaurant reviews.

Lonely Planet Costa Rican Spanish Phrasebook & Dictionary | By Thomas Kohnstamm

The number one pocket guide to understanding idioms, slang and Spanish as it is spoken by the Ticos.

Costa Rica – Culture Smart! The Essential Guide to Customs & Culture | By Jane Koutnik

History, religion, daily life, food, health and safety are all covered in this accessible pocket guide to Costa Rican customs, etiquette and culture.

Costa Rican Culture

The Best Costa Rica Books to Read Before You Go…

Costa Rica: A Traveler’s Literary Companion | By Barbara Ras

A collection of twenty-plus well-chosen stories by Costa Rican writers who brilliantly introduce the allure of the country’s people, culture and land.

The Ticos: Culture and Social Change in Costa Rica | By Richard Biesanz

This insightful, fact-filled portrait of the Costa Rican people details their culture, history and society.

A Brief History of Central America | By Lynn V. Hector

A good overview of the region’s economic, political and social history ranging from The Spanish Conquest to modern times.

Costa Rica Wildlife & Natural History

The Best Costa Rica Books to Read Before You Go…

Wild Costa Rica: The Wildlife and Landscapes of Costa Rica | By Adrian Hepworth

This beautiful, informative survey of the habitats, wildlife and protected areas of Costa Rica features 200 color photographs and chapters on natural history and conservation.

The Wildlife of Costa Rica: A Field Guide | By Twan Leenders, Robert Dean, Jim Zook & Fiona Reid

This guide includes 450 of the most common, interesting and charismatic mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and arthropods that you are likely to encounter in Costa Rica, including exquisite full-color illustrations for each.

Travellers Wildlife Guides Costa Rica | By Les Beletsky

This handy field guide features 350 color illustrations of commonly encountered birds, mammals, amphibians and reptiles. With chapters on habitats, parks and conservation.

The Birds of Costa Rica: A Field Guide | By Richard Garrigues, Illustrated by Robert Dean

This colorful and thorough resource covers 903 species of birds with hundreds of illustrations and color-coded range maps.

Tropical Plants of Costa Rica | By Willow Zuchowski, Photos by Turid Forsyth

Organized by habitat, this photo guide to 400 species has chapters on popular destinations, including Monteverde and Tortuguero.

The Best Costa Rica Books to Read Before You Go…

The Monkey’s Bridge: Mysteries of Evolution in Central America | By David Rains Wallace

Opening this absorbing account of the history and biogeography of the Central American isthmus with the tale of Columbus, author David Wallace often weaves his own travels in the region with a crisp overview of exploration, nature and evolution. Natural history buffs and ecologically-minded travelers will appreciate this valuable resource.

Tropical Nature: Life and Death in the Rain Forests of Central and South America | By Adrian Forsyth & Ken Miyata

Two uncommonly observant and thoughtful field biologists offer a lucid portrait of the tropics through 17 marvelous essays that introduce the habitats, ecology, plants and animals of the Central and South American rainforests.

Where Tapirs and Jaguars Once Roamed: Ever-Evolving Costa Rica | By Jack Ewing

Renowned environmentalist Jack Ewing explores the natural history of Costa Rica in this conservation study, telling why the country is so unique, why he founded a national wildlife refuge and why the tapir and jaguar still might return to the southwest coast.

Cari Morgan heashot

Cari Morgan

Cari Morgan is the Content Marketing Manager for OARS. Since 2014, she has managed the company’s blog, The Eddy, and has been the primary “voice” behind the brand’s social media sphere.

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