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Justino (United Kingdom)

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Lonely Planet Mexico (Travel Guide)
Lonely Planet Mexico (Travel Guide)
by Lonely Planet
Edition: Paperback
Price: 12.59

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Pretty Average for a Lonely Planet, 8 Feb 2013
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I booked an independent trip to Mexico in Januray 2013 and bought the guide book as a reference guide. I'm a fan of Lonely Planet books, but this one i'm afraid is pretty average.

I'm basing this review on my experience of the Riviera Maya section within the book - to be fair, it does cover the whole of Mexico, but it really falls down on the hotels and restaurants section.

I moved around once there (avoiding Cancun as much as poss!), and can highly recommend Tulum (lovely beaches / sea / maya ruins / tho slightly hippyish!), The Coba ruins (a great trip for an hour or two clycling round the ruins), Chichen Itza (obligatory, impressive, but an hour or two is plenty), Valladolid (lovely colonial town with a traditional mexican feel) and Isla Mujeres (great island feel, fairly touristy mind).

So - as with other Lonely Planet's, it has all the usual good nuggets about the history etc, but there are very few options of hotels and restaurants (and there are loads of good options once you get out there!) - and of the ones that are mentioned, the writers don't really give you a good feel for them - instead describing most things as "ok" or "average." As a result, from reading the book, you don't get an idea of what ones are the best places to stay at or eat - almost like a lack of opinion which was disappointing and you might as well just go online to look at hotel options.

There is a real lack of restaurant options too - and again - there are lots of really good options. In Tulum for instance, pretty much every cabana or hotel has a restaurant dishing up some good grub - good quality, good value, and some lovely places.

A good example is Harry's restaurant in Cancun. The book describes it as serving up good steaks or something non-descript along those lines - so this place wouldn't look out of place in London - vibey, in-house DJ, amazing steaks (better than gaucho!), great service and just a really cool place. Its pricey - especially by Mexican standards - but if the book had given an accurate description, i wouldn't have worn my thongs! Luckily, i chose trousers and a shirt so avoided potential embarrassement!

Another example of the lack of info is on Isla Mujeres. Again, just a few random eateries listed in the book - "a nice option for breakfast or lunch" - but there's couple of really busy streets off the malacon that are full of restaurants, bars and loads of atmosphere. No mention of even the streets in the book!

So - to summarise - if you're looking for a guide book to get a rough feel for a place, choose an itinerary, learn about the history and culture etc then this is fine. But, if you're looking for a book from which to book hotels and choose restaurants etc, then its pretty crap.

Cuba (Lonely Planet Country Guides)
Cuba (Lonely Planet Country Guides)
by Conner Gorry
Edition: Paperback

32 of 35 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars My advice - use another guide book, 7 Mar 2006
I'm a big fan of lonely planet guides and use them religiously whenever I travel outside Europe. Great books. Unfortunately, this isn't the case with the Lonely Planet Cuba by Connor Gorry, and it’s the worst I’ve used.
My advice if you intend to travel round Cuba, and you're the kind of person who finds guide books indispensable, is to buy another guide book.
I travelled round Cuba in December 2005 / January 2006 and bought the Lonely Planet Cuba before I went. On reading the book prior to the trip, I found the author to be really contradictory. In the intro, she raved about Cuba, and all the fabulous places to go, but then she didn't have a good word to say about the same places later in the book! In fact, the author seemed to always focus on the negatives, rather than the positives. Or, if there was a compliment, then this would always be followed by a negative. This was quite frustrating especially when trying to plan my route.
Also, there are quite a few mistakes throughout the book - especially where buses are concerned which is quite critical in trying to get round the country! Distances, costs, bus times, and frequency are often incorrect, so it’s definitely worth checking on the Viazul web site.
Then there was the ferry! According to the book, there is only one boat crossing a day from the mainland to Cayo Levisa - at 9am I think? After a few days spent in Maria la Gorda (fab!), I'd already booked a beach bungalow on the lovely cayo levisa, so, using the book, I basically got a taxi at 4am to get to the dock in time. After a mental journey, I got there and there's a boat which will take you across for 10CUC's per person anytime, so wasn’t best pleased!
The maps are terrible! I got lost trying to find a restaurant in Trinidad and ended up wandering around for an hour! I never did find it! The Havana maps are poor too.
Disregard anything to do with costs in the book - despite the fact they're in dollars - they're all way out and there’s one price for locals and a much higher one for tourists!
I was planning on visiting the Che Memorial in Santa Clara, but got chatting to someone who got a taxi all the way there from Cienfuegos, and it was basically closed when they got there! There was nothing else to do there apparently, so best to make sure it’s open before you go. No mention of opening times in the book.
Food next! The book is generally pretty scathing about the food in Cuba, but I rarely had a bad meal – and the seafood was superb in places. The worst meal I had was at one of the Chinese restaurants the book recommended in Havana – we’re talking inedible! Avoid it!
Be wary of the opening times in the book too – especially in Havana. I went to the Havana Club shop / museum place, and the opening times were completely different to the book. Also, the open-air market was open on each of the 4 days I spent in Havana, whereas the book stated it was only there twice a week I think.
After 3 weeks of using this guide book, you’ll be cursing the author and that eye patch will really wind you up!!

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