The best Costa Rica books to read before you come

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.

We are sure you already have done some research, and also a typical Costa Rea Guide is already in your bedside table. So we decided to give you the other books that are also importants.


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.


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.

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

Ranging from miniature epiphytic orchids to towering trees, and from mangrove forests lining coastal waterways to high-elevation cloud forests, Costa Rica’s rich and varied flora dazzles visitors and botanists alike. Tropical Plants of Costa Rica, the first popular treatment to include plants from all regions of the country, is an indispensable guide to native and exotic species found in the neotropics.

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.

Photo by Chris Lawton on Unsplash/ Photo by Isabella Juskov on Unsplash