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Costa Rica (Travellers Wildlife Guide) (Travellers' Wildlife Guides) Paperback – 20 Feb 2013

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Product details

  • Paperback: 440 pages
  • Publisher: Interlink Books; American ed edition (20 Feb. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1566565294
  • ISBN-13: 978-1566565295
  • Product Dimensions: 21.4 x 14.3 x 2.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 410,522 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


Excellent series --Birding World

inspired new concept in the field-guide genre --Birding magazine

As ecotourism booms, it's only natural that eco-themed guidebooks would boom alongside it. The Travellers' Wildlife Guides series, endorsed by the Wildlife Conservation Society and researched by professional biologists, is one of the more credible brands to have surfaced in the swelling ecotravel ranks. The series provides an encyclopedic introduction to Central America's flora and fauna, as well as a friendly primer on the principles of ecotourism. These rich ecological contexts are accompanied by hundreds of pictures and photographs. Miraculously, the guides deliver solid science without growing stilted or boring--as evinced by sections with such titles as 'Avian Mating Systems and Birds That Cheat' and 'Frugivory: Animals That Eat Fruit and the Trees That Want Them To.' The one element in surprisingly short supply is ecologically sound travel tips, from general do's and don'ts to a list of ecologically responsible tour operators and other eco-friendly establishments in Costa Rica. This is somewhat discouraging--learning how to travel responsibly is as important as knowing what you're going to see. Though the book isn't quite a one-stop information source for the ecologically minded, it's an excellent guide to the natural wonders that make Costa Rica such a rewarding destination. --Andrew Nieland in

Moving from the urban to the wild, a new breed of guidebooks focuses on flora and fauna (and not in the way Harold Gatty did). The Ecotraveller's Wildlife Guides grew out of its nature-loving author's frustration that 'I could not locate a single book to take along on a trip that would help me identify all the types of animals that really interested me.' So Beletsky wrote one that did. Combining natural history -lore, habits, best places to spot each creature- with pointers on specific sites and background on the state of conservation in the region today. --Jennifer Howard in The Washington Post

You could empty a forest's worth of trees, what with all the books being printed about Costa Rica. Pity that so few guides so fully focus on the country's ecological treasures as this one does. Here, you won't find a word about the best hotels or who's got the coldest beer. About half of its 426 slick pages are devoted to identification plates, those colorful drawings that, for instance, help you differentiate between the mealy parrott and the red-lored parrot. Joining the multitude of bird species are equally fine drawings of reptiles, monkeys, and wild cats. --Toni Stroud in Chicago Tribune

There are so many bad guides on the market trying to do what this book does so simply and so well...few are written with the same authority and attention to detail that wildlife biologist and zoology lecturer Les Beletsky has brought to bear in this volume. It could be the best (money) you spend all trip. --Nick Baker in BBC Wildlife

...this convenient field guide-sized book is absolutely packed with information for the visitor. This book provides excellent background and field information for a trip to Costa Rica and is strongly recommended. --Steve Gantlett in Birding World

These are books I would certainly want to read before a visit. --Gordon Hamlett in Birdwatching

The illustrations are superb, the text simple and direct ('Jaguar - you will know it when you see it'). If you go, take this book. --Birds, Summer

This book is exactly what you want to be reading on a plane headed for Costa Rica for the first time --The Condor

...attractive colour photographs of various natural habitats in Costa Rica will send many North Americans looking for airline tickets, especially --Reshma Prakash in The Earth Times

...attractive colour photographs of various natural habitats in Costa Rica will send many North Americans looking for airline tickets, especially in midwinter ...very useful to first-time visitors to Costa Rica, both casual tourists and scientists contemplating serious research. --K.D.W. in Copeia

If, like many, you have trouble distinguishing a Tropical Kingsnake from a Coral Snake, or a Woolly False Vampire Bat from a Common Vampire Bat, [the price of this book] will set you on the right path. --Reshma Prakash in The Earth Times

About the Author

Les Beletsky is a professional wildlife biologist and university zoology teacher. Prior to taking up writing wildlife guides, he conducted many years of field research into the ecology and behavior of birds, along the way publishing many scientific reports and writing two books. An avid ecotraveller, he visits the Americas, Africa, and Australia often. His basic view of life is that he'd rather be travelling and visiting new places and exotic locales than be doing anything else. Costa Rica, he now says, is his favorite spot on the planet. Currently he makes his home in Seattle, Washington, USA.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By P. J. Newton on 11 Feb. 2011
Format: Paperback
We found this book really useful on our recent trip to Costa Rica with enough details of birds for the amateur bird watcher like us!
There was perhaps a bit too much written infomation for our needs which did make the book thicker and rather heavy.

Maybe to include some butterflies would also be useful.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a very comprehensive book. Rather too heavy to carry with you on a day out but generally had most of the sighting in the book. Rather a lot of description about the country, of which I only read a small amount as I was more interested in the wildlife and birds. It seemed to be the best of the bunch when compared to other peoples books. I had to buy a leaflet on butterflies as there was no mention of them in the book.
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By Richard W Gliddon on 24 April 2015
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 20 reviews
23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
Good news and bad news 20 Feb. 2008
By K. J. Stock - Published on
Format: Paperback
I just returned from 10 days in CR and bought this guide (under seal so I could not examine it before purchasing) when I arrived there. This guide is great in that is provides wonderful data on amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals and lots of information on CR geography, conservation, ecology and related. The guides I met really like the book for the "friendliness" of the presentation. Unfortunately I found the book to be cumbersome because it separated the animal data from the plates and the book lacked cross-referencing, so there was a lot of back and forth trying to read about something then find its illustration. Also, the book is very limited in the varieties of each type of animal. Since my main interest is birding, I was very frustrated not to find many of the birds I was seeing. Lastly, I paid $48 for this book when I arrived in CR and later I saw it for $38; state-side the book sells for $20 or so. I think it is a wonderful overview book on animals of CR but I do not recommend it as a field guide.
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Great resource for travelers to Costa Rica! 12 April 2007
By JLBRBB - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
My husband and I traveled to Costa Rica for two weeks in March 2007. We purchased this book to take with us. This is a good book. Its candid and informative text provides a good background for travelers unfamiliar with Costa Rica's ecology and natural history. The colored species index offers an excellant variety of Costa Rican wildlife.

The only downfalls are that the book is rather bulky (not great for taking out into the field with you) and the species index does not include butterflies (which we saw a lot of).

If you are a casual wildlife observer interested in a mix of animal species, this book is for you! It was perfect for us!
18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
Too Limiting for a field guide 3 Jun. 2008
By D. J Stemke - Published on
Format: Paperback
I found this book only really useful for mammals. I had to supplement this book for amphibians, reptiles, and especially for birds. I found it is really only good for 'popular species' of the non-mammals. If you are a casual naturalist and only want to bring one book, it is ok, but if you trying to really id a lot of organisms and add to your life-list, this isn't a great book.
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Great book 6 May 2007
By J. Maclean - Published on
Format: Paperback
This is a comprehensive, easy to use, and worthwhile book for anyone who wants more information than a name for CR flora and fauna. I refered to it a lot on our trip. Buy it in the USA as it is wildly expensive once you get to CR.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
An Excellent Book 19 Dec. 2007
By D. Mclennan - Published on
Format: Paperback
During my three week trip to CR to search out and photograph birds I referred to this book frequently. The information concerning the various bird species was extremely accurate and the links to the various Wildlife Preserves, where certain birds could be found was very benificial. As a result I was able to spot many of the species that were listed for the locations that were identified.
It's not the best book for bird identification. For this purpose the book "A Guide to the Birds of Costa Rica" by Stiles, Skutch and Gardner is really the best CR bird itentification book.
Also, as mentioned by a previous reviewer, it is a bit on the bulky side for a field book and I rarely took it out on hikes with me. But I did refer to it often in the car and hotel before and after trips.
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