I love the Lonely Planet Guides, since they are aimed at exactly my kind of traveling - shoestring budgets, adventurous outdoor activities, and casual backpacking/hosteling/cheap hotelling. This is not really a guide set for fine dining and prime accommodations, although those things are mentioned here or there. It's important to buy the right kind of travel guide for your personal preference of travel.
The Costa Rica Lonely Planet Travel Guide is great for dreaming and trip planning. I appreciate that color photos are now incorporated into the text (instead of only on coated panel pages).
Everything in the text is very user-friendly. There is a nice introduction to most common outdoor adventures people do in Costa Rica, and details about itinerary planning. Along the book's side are color tabs to code how to flip through the various sections of the country. The back of the book has some Costa Rica country basics.
The meat of the book has the maps and information about what to do and how to get around in Costa Rica. These sections are not exhaustive. They provide good options the writers have personally experienced and recommend for eating/sleeping/entertainment, at various budget levels (again, mostly at the low range - this isn't a Frommer's guide).
The book's photos make me drool with desire to get out to the jungles, eco-lodges, mountains, volcanoes, beaches, rivers and national parks right now. They make me want to pick up surfing and live in Playa Grande. I want to watch the baby turtles stumble out to sea.
This book works for both trip planning, and for bringing along while actually traveling. The 7.5 x 5 inch book fits well in a purse or backpack sleeve, and has a clay coating on the cover for a bit of extra travel protection. It's a lightweight book.
According to the inner back flap, the guidebook is sourced from sustainably managed forests.
If I had to carry around only one book in Costa Rica, this would be the one. Nicely done, and highly recommended if you are the type of traveler - a frugal one - that Lonely Planet caters to.
NOTE: I received this product for review purposes for free. All opinions expressed are my own.