Five Great Books for a Costa Rica Vacation
Posted by Jack Albritton on November 04, 2013
A good book or two is a must when lounging around the pool or on a beautiful tropical beach. And it’s also a good way to wind down in the evening after a full day of experiencing the many activities around you. So for your Costa Rica vacation here are 5 books that have a bit of local flavor to them. This is a good mix of facts and information about the country along with some interesting storytelling. Two of the books are written by Costa Rican authors and offer a rich, realistic take on Costa Rica. So be sure and load a few on your Kindle or grab the actual books and enjoy while you wile away the hours in paradise.
The Lonely Men’s Island – Jose Leon Sanchez
This book is a reflection of the time that Jose Leon Sanchez spent on San Lucas Island unjustly accused of a crime he didn’t commit. Between 1873 and 1991, San Lucas Island was a island prison, similar to Alcatraz, that was home to some of the worst criminals in Costa Rica. It was a brutal place to be sent as the life expectancy of the prisoners was not long and the time spent there was torturous. The book offers a brutal depiction of day to day life confined to prison on this island and the way that the author endured his time here.
In Search of Captain Zero – Allan Weisbecker
This is a colorful tale of Allan Weisbecker’s 1996 journey in search of his friend and long time surf buddy Patrick. He sold his house and everything he owned except for his surfboards, which he loaded in his truck along with his dog and set out from Mexico to Costa Rica to find out the circumstances of Patrick’s disappearance. The book is an entertaining description of the friends he met, the criminals he evaded and the surf he enjoyed in the search for his old friend.
Monkeys Are Made of Chocolate: Exotic and Unseen Costa Rica – Jack Ewing
Author Jack Ewing lived in southwestern Costa Rica for more than three decades. In this collection of essays he shares his experiences and observations about some of the most prolific and diverse ecosystems on the planet. The book is a collection of essays about the wonders of life as told by a man with a great knack for storytelling. You will most certainly enjoy Mr. Ewing’s take on his beautiful adopted country and the many wonders it contains.
Two Weeks in Costa Rica – Matthew Houde and Jennifer Turnbull
Two Weeks in Costa Rica is part guidebook, part narrative. The authors share their adventures that include being attacked by monkeys, hiking in some of the most amazing settings on earth and having their wallet stolen and give back. They show us their trip through the eyes of seasoned travelers, showing us the culture and how to best travel the lovely country of Costa Rica. Along the journey Matt and Jenn learn what is meant by “pura vida” and that life is about more than the day to day grind.
Assault on Paradise – Tatiana Lobo
Assault on Paradise is an historical fiction about the Conquistadores and the Church invading Central America where they impoverish one world to enrich another. Set in the early 1700’s Tatiana Lobo depicts the dark legacy of the Conquistadores and the Church. The story is told through the voice of Pedro Albaran who dramatizes the intrigues of the politicians and the inquisition and the bloody fights between the invaders and the natives. It shows a poetic recreation of the indigenous mystical values which the natives try to use to repel the invaders.
I read The Lonely Men’s Island shortly after moving to Costa Rica back in 1999. The story was so gripping that I was hardly able to put the book down. In Search of Captain Zero was much the same. You might want to bring more than a couple depending on the length of your vacation. All of these books demonstrate the wonder and beauty of this tropical paradise, considered the gem of Central America.