Book ReviewGary Garrett

National Parks of Costa Rica by Gregory Basco and Robin Kazmier

National Parks of Costa Rica coverBy Gary Garrett

When Costa Rica’s first national park was created in 1971 ( Poas Volcano National Park), the country’s deforestation was at an all-time high. In point of fact, even during the 1980’s, Costa Rica was losing its forest cover at a rate higher than any country in the western hemisphere. With international attention focused on Brazil’s disappearing rainforests, the disaster in Costa Rica went largely unnoticed. In 1950, for example, 90% of the of the country was covered in forest. By 1990 that figure was 25%.

Thanks to people from many walks of life including environmentalists, biologists, nature lovers, and local and national government officials, the tide turned with the creation of the Costa Rican national park system. Now, 26 national parks and other protected areas comprise 25% of the total land mass in Costa Rica. In a country less than 300 miles (480 km) long and 200 miles ( 320 km) wide, it is now home to 5% of the entire world’s biodiversity. Plus, the reforestation efforts of many groups have increased the forest coverage to 50% in just a few short years.

Published just last year, The National Parks of Costa Rica is your chance, through amazing photography and informative text, to visit the most popular and important national parks and preserves in the country. From the dry forests of Guanacaste, the cloud forests of Arenal,to the lush Central Pacific and Osa and beyond, this 298-page photographic journey is the ultimate window to the unique beauty and wildlife of Costa Rica. Our local Manuel Antonio National Park is the country’s most visited park and also the smallest in the system. As a world famous tourist destination, the park fuels our local economy.

We used to call these “coffee table” books where I come from. You would display this type of book in your living room on the coffee table so all of your guests and friends could enjoy leafing through the magnificent photographs complete with short descriptive text. In this case, nature photographer Gregory Basco, a Costa Rican resident, has obviously spent countless hours maneuvering for just the right shot of the wildlife and scenery that combine to make this the perfect picture book for display in your home. The parks are divided by region and the diverse characteristics of each are easily distinguishable through the vivid close-ups and double-page scenery shots that seem to come alive as you go through the book. The book is large enough to do the photography justice, 10”X12”, but not too bulky to fit in a suitcase for transport, making it a great souvenir choice for tourists.

I would highly recommend this book for those who appreciate high-quality, imaginative photography, but also for those who love our home (native or adopted) of Costa Rica and the courage and perseverance it took to rescue the land and preserve it for future generations. National Parks of Costa Rica celebrates the successes of those whose efforts have helped create some of the earth’s most beautiful places and saved the creatures who call it home just as we do.

Jaime Peligro Books and Adventure stocks several different “coffee table” books with a Costa Rican theme as well as other wildlife and plant guides. We invite you to stop in see our selection of local souvenirs, coffee, and English language novels and nonfiction titles. We are located in Quepos Centro, ½ block west of the bus station.