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Central America & Mexico Handbook 2004 (Footprint Central America Handbook) (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 31. August 2003
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"My favourite series is the Handbook series from Footprint and I especially recommend the Central America & Mexico Handbook." Boston Globe
Countries covered include Mexico, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Belize, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras and Panama.Alle Produktbeschreibungen
My friend liked to have an own book, well, no probs, he choose the "Let's go" cos it was the most actual one available at the time of travel (Spring 2007). So we had the chance two ask to guides for the right way ;-)
In my memories the South American guide impressed me again and again with very acurate informations, unfortunately I wasn't impressend by the Central American edititon, even it is published as well new in every year.
Positive before travelling: the countries are sorted from north to south, that means, I could cut the number of pages by appr. 50% (Mexico and south of Honduras) and this is positive for backpackers, when every gramm counts. (some other books are sorted by alphabet, so you will need to cut the book more often).
But the main point are the information inside: Of course, you can't expect very detailled ones if you combine whole Central America in one book, but what is printed should be as correct as possible and it wasn't. The worst example in my memories that I missed a bus from San Salvador because they printed 0215 instead 1415 (24 hours time are usual in this book).
The maps at the end gives you a good overview, but I missed more detailled ones beside the text.
Prices were printed most time in USD, even all countries (except El Salvador) deal mainly in local currency. If this is more acurate by the time? I don't think so.Lesen Sie weiter... ›
The transport section was also correct in all cases, which of course is very important when travelling in a foreign country. In Belize we compared our FP to a LP, and while our book showed a possible way to go from Flores to Palenque in one day, this information was not offered by the LP. It turned out there was a way, organized by a local travel agency not hard too find. (We travelled for 7 hours in minibus, boat and again in minibus.)
In the end, we enjoyed our trip with this guide book. There are only a few negative sides. A currency conversion table would be nice (even though these change, but at some borders it is better than nothing). Also, the price of petrol (in US-$) at the time of writing could be given so that rises in oil prices do not lead to tourists believing that taxi and bus drivers rip them off. And while the book states that non-Spanish speakers could at times "become very frustrated and feel helpless", this also applies to those who speak the language. ;-)
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Basic and fundamental entry requirements need careful research and careful editing. I rate an error that may keep people from visiting, performed out of sloppy research and editing, a big error. A big black eye.
Hold on, what was published in the last edition WAS NOT TRUE FOR THE PREVIOUS SEVEN YEARS.
OK, what was this "glaring" error?
The book specifically said that VISA, MasterCard, American Express and Diner's Club credit cards would be accepted as payment for the 180-day temporary car importation bond.
The MINOR error is that American Express has not been accepted for two years and Diner's Club refused for eight years.
The book verbatim says "ATM CARDS ARE NOT ACCEPTED AS PAYMENT"
VISA logo ATM cards have been accepted for car bonding purposes at all POE's for the last eight years, meaning a couple of revisions of this book.
Some errors are not errors at all; things change; other errors are attributable to different people seeing things different ways; still others cause minor to moderate inconvenience but in the end ruffled feathers get smoothed out.
But then there are those that can quash dreams of a trip and my gripe about this guidebook is that not only does it do exactly that, it has done so for more than one revision. Books cost money and people buy them because many times books have more reliable and accountable information than other sources. I didn't say updated or current information I said reliable.
When a basic and fundamental piece of traveler's information is treated so cavalier, it immediately makes less important information equally suspect.
Thumbs down on this product I'm afraid
This guide is absolutely great. I do agree with other reviewers: the paper is very thin (how to place so much info in a handy guide), maps could more precise and in a huge guide there may be some mistakes (I assure you that, for instance, the guide was really concerned about safety in El Salvador, and that was totally right).
BUT... it is concise, precise and realistic. I have enough of this kind of comments that you may have read in other guides: "the hostel is run by a Danish former sailor called Jürg and his wife Ingrid who will make you feel like at home. She cooks delicious crêpes and are very helpful and you will enjoy their anecdotes, etc, etc, etc". Thick paper, tons of photos and tons of rubbish like that: you get to the hostel, there is no Danish sailor, no crêpes, no anecdotes and lots of noise in front of a road. By contrast, Footprint says: noisy, avoid the rooms overlooking the bus station, not that clean, but cheap and very well located. Safe area. That is real, but other guides avoid such comments because they are too much diplomatic.
When you have to read a guide while sitting in a yellow former American school bus in an extremely potholed road, you need that language: direct, precise, concise and avoiding those unreal idylic stories.
I carried two guides: CentralAmerica in a "Horshoe" and Footprint. They cover several countries, so sometimes one may provide more information than the other on a certain field. But, no doubt, Footprint was much, much better and the best guide I have ever had. And, please, do not mislead people: IT IS ABSOLUTELY BUDGET TRAVELLER GOOD.
Now, I will be going to Malaysia and, apparently, Footprint does not publish such "country/region guides", but only about cities, maybe thanks to comments like "this is not a budget traveller guide..." : oh, no, it covers a whole underdeveloped region, but it is intended for rich people going to stay a week in an expensive resort in the Mayan Riviera... Come on!
I feel sorry about that, so as many other times I will have to buy the typical guide with nice photos, which is ok, although not that good since it is too politically correct and provides so much absolutely unuseful info. But, even if not up-to-date, I guess I will buy a used 2002 Footprint edition just to compare again...
Hutchison's writing is succinct and unencumbered by the superfluous. He gives you a solid mental picture, within a paragraph or two, of what to expect and how you can enjoy it. I also enjoyed his "Further Reading & Cinema" sections that he has with each country.
Because this guide covers all of Central America and Mexico, the history, economic, culture and environment sections are abbreviated and you may wish for more. Thus, if you are going to visit just one country, as I did, you may want to buy only that country's guide. For Nicaragua I also bought "Moon Travel - Nicaragua". (see my review)
The guide could improve it's weak, mediocre maps. Also frustrating, in all Footprint guides, is the use a price guide for accommodations. Instead of just stating the price per room, Footprint gives you a cumbersome group of letters that correspond to the cost of the room. The problem is that you may forget that LL=$... and up. Or that the letter "A" next to a hotel means it costs around $... So you have to find the legion again and figure it out. You would think that as many years as FootPrint has been around, they would have realized that just quoting the cost of the room in dollars is the best way.
Also, there was no mention by Hutchison regarding the rising problems with crime and gangs in Managua (Capital of Nicaragua). In fact he recommends seeing the old Cathedral "at night" and, for the past few years, this is and has been, a dangerous area for violent crime. In fact, when I asked to go to this area in the daytime, even then the taxi driver told me be careful using the words: "peligroso, peligroso". While I was there I talked with the Cathedral's resident shoe shine man and he also told me the area was very dangerous at night, and he leaves every day at 5pm because "me gusto mi vida."
That said, this is a very impressive guide which I strongly recommend for those going to various Central American Countries. Strongly Recommended 4.5 stars
Don't be fooled by the excess of snazzy photography in the Lonely Planet et al, this company have done their research and really well. Whatever you're desires from Central America and Mexico; whether it be a bull fight i Mexico and take away burritos, or dinner over looking the white sands of Roatan, you won't regret purchasing this for your travels. And rememeber... what's the point of just buying the guide book for Costa Rica? Even if that is your only intended destination, once you've sampled the fabulous food and vibrant lifestyle of this part of the world you'll be back to venture into the other countries soon enough...