Books I Read About Costa Rica While In Costa Rica

Finding books set in Costa Rica was more challenging than previous countries; I couldn’t find much literature that had been translated and then plopped into Kindle format. Here is what I ended up with for the month:

Two Weeks in Costa Rica was a travelogue of a two week vacation in Costa Rica by repeat visitors (who seem to live in Costa Rica now). I read it in my first few days in the country, and it was a good way to get oriented to the essential vocabulary (soda, pura vida, tico, gringo, etc.) and pieces of the culture.

Monkeys are Made of Chocolate was probably my favorite book, written by a cattle farmer turned conservationist. I learned a bunch about various Costa Rican critters. (I love learning about critters.)

Even though the author is a conservationist, he is also very practical about the impartial reality of nature. After describing watching toucans bash a woodpecker to death on a tree, take over its nest, and then move out again the next day, the author describes nature as a giant woodpecker recycling machine. For some reason, when I’m stressed out about my life, I find this concept of impartiality comforting. (Strange, right?)

Costa Rica: A Traveler’s Literary Anthology was a series of translated short stories by Costa Rican authors, sorted by geography. It was the only of the books that I read that wasn’t written by someone from the United States. It was good, though most of the stories were shorter than I would have ideally liked; I felt like I was barely getting a peek before the story was done. (Peeks are still interesting, though.)

Butterfly in the City was a series of articles by a retired expat living in San Jose, and reading the book made me regret that we didn’t spend time in San Jose itself. I enjoyed the glimpses into the Costa Rican medical system, politics, and urban life.