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Costa Rica (Travellers' Wildlife Guide)
(2nd ed.)
Les Beletsky

5 1/2" x 8 1/2" • 440 pages • full-color throughout
ISBN 9781566565295 • paperback • $29.95

Most travellers to Costa Rica want to experience its lush tropical forests and catch glimpses of exotic wildlife; toucans and parrots, hummingbirds and hawks, monkeys and big cats, frogs and toads, crocodiles, and (yes) snakes. Here is all the information you will need to find, identify and learn about Costa Rica’s magnificent wildlife. The author, himself a wildlife biologist and experienced ecotraveller, visited national parks, reserves, and other ecological sites, discussed wildlife with local and international experts and veteran tour leaders, and then selected, for new color illustrations, nearly 350 of Costa Rica’s most common amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals—the species you are actually likely to see. Also pictured are some animals of special biological significance—for instance, some highly endangered species. Easy-to-carry, entertainingly written, beautifully illustrated—you will want to have this book as constant companion on your journey.

● Identification, distribution, and conservation information on Costa Rica’s frequently spotted animals.

● Up-to-date information on the ecology, behavior, and conservation of the families of animals to which the pictured species belong.

● Information on habitats and on the most common plants you will encounter.

● Brief descriptions of Costa Rica’s most frequently visited parks and reserves.

● Information on ecotourism in general and on conservation in Costa Rica.

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.

Media Reviews

"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 color 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

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Of Related Interest:
Belize and Northern Guatemala (Travellers' Wildlife Guide)
Peru (Travellers\' Wildlife Guide)
A Traveller's History of the Caribbean (2nd ed.)
Costa Rica
Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands(Travellers' Wildlife Guide)