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Lonely Planet Caribbean Islands (Travel Guide) Paperback – November 1, 2011
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1) It covers The Bahamas. Technically not part of the Caribbean, culturally very much so. They are omitted in the Fodor's, Frommer's and Footprint publications. So if you want coverage of the full potential vacation region, you have to buy the Bahamas guidebooks they offer - and pay twice as much. And if you are buying the Caribbean in one package and not books on Jamaica, Puerto Rico etc all individually, you want it less detailed but all in one. The LP book has the same amount of details on the true Caribbean Islands as the competition (or more) but packs in the Bahamas too! Only Rough Guide covers The Bahamas, but the latest edition is waaaay out of date - 2008.
2) It covers Haiti and Cuba. Haiti though not a touristy place is safe for tourists (despite what some media say) and is one of the best countries for culture and history enthusiasts in the region. Cuba is also an interesting place despite being controversial. Fodor's and Frommer's omit both countries. Footprint (latest 2007!) and Rough Guide (latest 2008) both cover these places, but are very out of date now.
3) Caters to all. Frommer's and Fodor's generally only have info on top and middle end hotels. They also omit some very off the beaten track places even in countries covered. LP manages to squeeze in backpacker hostels and off the beaten track gems and somehow still has a fantastic selection of the more top end places.
4) Fodor's and Frommer's are published annually, so they may be good when the LP is out of date (like last year), but now as a new LP guide came out, it is your best bet for 2012 and 2013 at least.
Note to LP users - sadly the book is changing into a bit of a mainstream guide.Read more ›
I sometimes find Lonely Planet guidebooks to be a little overwhelming, with their "include everything" approach. However, I think that tendency was somewhat constrained in this book by the need to cover the entire Caribbean in a single volume and, in my opinion, the guidebook is better for it. The first part of the book provides an overview of the region and gives you a quick glimpse of the character and major attractions of the various islands. Then, in alphabetical order, each individual nation is covered in greater detail. For each country, the guidebook tells you "Why Go?" and "When to Go," and offers suggested itineraries and recommendations about activities, lodging, restaurants, and transportation. There is also a section titled "Understanding [insert country name] with information about the country's history and culture.
Two of the things that I appreciate in this guidebook are sections on "Dangers and Annoyances" and "Women Travelers." Not all guidebooks are as honest about some of these issues as this one is.
I have already visited a few Caribbean islands and I found that this guidebook very accurately describes those islands. I highly recommend this book to anyone planning a Caribbean vacation.
1. Includes Cuba, Haiti, and The Bahamas, all very much part of the region culturally, and friendly to tourists
2. Frames each country (or commonwealth) with an appropriate amount of historical and cultural context, to satisfy your interest but not to bore you
3. Includes special recommendations for outstanding listings (i.e. "Top choice") presented with an insider's perspective
4. Includes a very useful, "If you like..." section that directs your attention to places most likely to interest you (beaches, food, diving, colonial charm...), and includes historical and cultural attractions
5. The entire book is introduced with 25 top attractions which are honest and thought through
The only negative I can think of is the relative age of the guide. This one is based on data gathered in 2010 and 2011. Other guides are right up to the last few months.
You'll have to decide which is best for you, but this book is, without question, the most comprehensive guide to the region. Don't be fooled by numbers of pages. There's more here in 950 pages than in other guides' 1,200.
The only negative thing is that because the guide is so broad, it can't go too deep into detail for each location. Great to use for the basics, though.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
If you like this book then you'll LOVE Curacao Travel Adventures! It's an extention of what's in this book but focus on the ABC Islands (Aruba, Bonaire & Curacao) Here's a link! Read morePublished 21 months ago by Alexandria Collins
Good book. Covers about everything, good -- and bad -- about each island, and includes the Bahamas.Published 22 months ago by MomHecate
Comprehensive book. The chapters on the smaller islands are a bit shorter than I would have liked, but it was a useful resource and well organized.Published on July 4, 2014 by LJ