This book sucks (oops, I should say something positive if I want to convince you to buy this book, shouldn't I?). OK I did buy this book, it sucked but I didn't regret buying it (truthfully). All information was outragiously outdated (even it was only 1 year old when I bought it). But can't blame it, everything in Argentina changed so much. I just hoped that it would at least update the tour information or hotel locations. But most of them had disappeared long time ago... Anyway, the prices are still good even if they were wrong, because you can caculate the updated price as soon as you find the reference price for one hotel.
Rating: 3/5 from 4 reviews
Facts Not Straight
I will only say that if the author of a book about a country (or countries) demonstrates in the "Facts" section not having even looked at a map of the region, showing complete lack of knowledge of the most basic geography of what s/he claims to know and write about, what reliability can you expect from such a book?
I'll give you three examples from the "Facts on Argentina" section that reveal lack of knowledge of the region's geography and geopolitics.
1. It says: "In most of Argentina and the other Rio de la Plata countries (Uruguay and Paraguay)...". This is the grosser mistake because Paraguay is nowhere near! the Rio de la Plata river. And that is easy to see in a map of the area this book writes about. Also from a cultural perspective, this is a gross mistake. Only Uruguay and Argentina are (and always have been) known as "the Rio de la Plata river countries". There is even a culture common to both margins of the Rio de la Plata (River Plate in English). This "rioplatense" culture (from "Rio" and "Plata") is not even shared by all of huge Argentina that is a lot more than just the region around this river that divides it from smaller Uruguay.
2. It says that Spaniard "Solís probed the area now known as Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay". But the region occupied by what today are those three countries is VERY big--and one could not say more than Solís probed the region around the Rio de la Plata river, which covers only a small section of today's Uruguay and Argentina (and not Paraguay).
3. It says that "Solís died at the hands of Uruguayan tribes". This sounds almost as a joke if not an insult. Uruguayans did not exist in Solís's times. The author might mean "the tribes *then* inhabiting *today's* Uruguay". Those tribes were not Uruguayan, just as the Apaches were not American (nationals of the U.S.).
I leave the conclusions up to you. I'm sure *some* facts must be right in this book, but such a lack of professionalism revealed in the absense of the most basic review of the facts of a book edited by a large, well knwon publisher does not inspire the least trust in me. I rather not waste my money: I am willing to pay for information--not for mis*information.
A step up, rather
The first 'reviewer' has it wrong--this edition of Lonely Planet's Argentina book is a remarkable improvement over the 3rd edition, which at times is convolutedly wordy beyond belief. The review sounds like it was written by the previous author. Be aware that some competetive guidebooks, such as those put out by Avalon (or Moon) pay their authors based on the royalty system. In other words, on how many books they sell. Avalon may be putting out their own Argentina guide soon. Your best advice: run through the books at a bookstore and decide for yourself which fits your needs best.
A step backward
Except for most of the Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego chapters, which show evidence of capable research and writing, this is a step backward from the previous edition. The coverage of northwestern Argentina is superficial and even naive, and the coverage of Iguazu falls missed the enormous changes that resulted from privatization of national park services over the past few years. It looks as if only one, perhaps two, of the five authors was really up to the job.
Lonely Planet Chile & Easter Island (Lonely Planet Chile and Easter Island)
Better than the most recent reviewers would suggest
I'm not quite sure the other reviewers looked at the same guide book. This one has plenty of opinions (like telling you what restaurants are expensive, what guesthouses are gloomy, etc.) and, of course, it's "outdated"----any guidebook is out of date the moment it's published and the LP folks tell you that upfront. I would have appreciated more on the Torres del Paine, but I could say the same of Footprints or other common guides to Chile. If you expect everything in a guidebook to be fully current and the opinions to be exactly what you need, you should stay home and leave the traveling to people who actually want to experience the world.
Best of the Chile guides
When planning my trip to Chile, I bought about every Chile guide I could find, and I have about 8 or 10 of them. While none of them had "everything" this one was definately the best of them. The city maps were useful as they are in all Lonely Planet books anad its practical information helped decide where to go and how to get around. I think it gave me the most useful information of all the other guidebooks. I planned my entire trip to Chile and Easter Island from guidebooks and phone calls without any tour agency. I think I did find a couple things out of date as others did, but that is, as said another reviewer, common to all guidebooks as they are researched over a period of time, then edited & compiled, then finally released. I recommend getting this book if you plan to visit Chile and also another book for another point of view and other details. The book is not perfect, but it is probably the best out there on the subject.
Concise, filled with great information, excellently written.
This is for certain one of the best Lonely Planet guides I came across (and I do have a very large collection). Perhaps aided by the fact that Chile is a relatively small country, yet stretching from the tropical to the antarctic areas, and by the relative homogeneity of the country in terms of society and culture, the author and editors have done an excellent job in collecting and putting together all the best information a traveller to Chile would need. I know Chile very well, and can witness that this information is up-to-date, correct, unbiased, and altogether an indispensable tool for any traveller, providing all necessary data for the more well-off and for 'backpackers' alike. The information is concise and clear. Everything is excellently written, thus ensuring real pleasure too. The sections on politics, history and society are excellent too. Altogether, it is a great companion while travelling in Chile or dreaming of Chile.
Photos are so, so... after visiting Patagonia live, just awesome, its people and gastronomy superb, definitely recommended, book and visit!!
Magnificent Pictures and good text about Natural Wonders
When I think of Patagonia, I think of the Natural Wonders of a place that has seen little human intervention. This book has magnificent pictures and in interesting text about the geography and wildlife of Patagonia.
I took this guide, along with Footprint and Rough Guide, on a two month tour of Argentina, Uruguay & Chile. Though this guide's title doesn't say it, the guide also covers two important locations in Uruguay (Montevideo and Puente del Este), a very nice plus.
IF you like the best in life, and can afford it, and if you are not going off the beaten path but plan to stay in the major cities, then Frommer's can be a definite plus. However, if you are driving, backpacking, exploring smaller cities and towns, then get another guide (consider Footprint or Rough Guide).
Travel Guides target various audiences. Frommer's is for those with jingle in their pocket. There are guides for those that backpack and have a tight budget (Rough Guide, Let's Go), then there are guides that are for people that have a budget in mind, but can splurge when needed (Footprint, Lonely Planet, or Moon's), and then there are guides for those with money, 'darling'. These are willing to pay for the best and when traveling money is a secondary or tertiary concern, if a concern at all. Frommer's and Fodor's target the upper income class. To put this in perspective "inexpensive lodging" in this Frommer's guide averages around $40-$50 per night (double), while in the Rough Guide "inexpensive lodging" is $2-$10 per night (double). The restaurants that Frommer's lists as 'inexpensive' cost me on average $20 per meal (tip, tax and house wine included), 'inexpensive' to Rough Guide cost me about $2-$4.
Frommer's excels in pointing you to the best restaurants. The descriptions of each restaurant are superb ("This historic cafe has served as the artistic and intellectual capital of Buenos Aires since 1858", "with its high gilded ceiling and grand pillars, bas-relief art work and original Spanish paintings, this restaurant boast the most magnificent dining room in the city", and it sells "thick rump steaks, tenderloins, BBQ ribs or tender filet minion with delicious mushroom sauce"). That said, keep in mind that life changes and chiefs come and go.
Occasionally, one out of five times, the recommended restaurant bombed-out. I was in one recommended restaurant and ordered the dish that guide recommended, "Spanish Paella". I ended up with 5 cups of over cooked, mushy yellow rice, 3 small shrimp, 7 black mussel shells (half without the mussel) and squid pieces, lots of squid pieces. Also, prices quoted were about 20-30% higher that the book stated. But, overall, this guide is a guide to excellent restaurants in Argentina and Chile.
The guide's maps are too few to be a contender with other guides (it is hard to believe that this travel guide has only city maps for Santiago and Buenos Aires, but totally omits maps for Chile's and Argentina's major cities like Mendoza & Cordoba!). That, and in comparison to other guides, the few maps that there are not as easy to use or navigate with.
Your selection of places to stay are paltry compared to other guides (Cordoba, second largest city in Argentina has three listings), however what listings they do provide describe the properties very well and have website addresses. I especially liked the "Seeing the sights".
This guide is superb for knowing where to find the best restaurants and usally the best lodging in Chile, Uruguay and Argentina. So if you want the best, will only be in major cities, and money is not an issue, this is a very good guide. Recommended 4 stars as a resturant guide - 2 stars as a travel guide.
A guidebook full of insight
This is a very nice book. I live in the South of Chile and I got it on a recent visit to the Central part of the country. I find the suggestions on places to visit and especially to eat very good and I must say that all the restaurants recommended in and around Santiago in which I ate,were excellent. Also one day we were to make a reservation for a table for lunch and we tried the phone number that showed on the 2002 edition of a local guidebook. It was disconnected. Than we tried the number indicated on the Frommer's and it worked!!! Around the region I live in, I find that the book gives the best suggestions on places to visit, dine and stay. It shows that the author has researched thoroughly and lived in Chile for a while. Her comments are elegant and full of insight. I'm looking forward to try it on my visit to Buenos Aires next month!!!
fact checkers needed
I have only just begun planning my trip to Argentina, and I have been very frustrated with the incorrect information presented in this book. Many of the phone unmbers are missing a numeral and, after quite a bit of research, I found a key website didn't work because the book left out one of its suffixes. I'm going out to buy a different book.
Fodor's Argentina, 2nd Edition : The Guide for All Budgets, Completely Updated, with Color Photos and Many Maps (Fodor's Argentina)
I used this book as my main "get-around" guide during my vacations in Argentina. The book has an excellent section on travel tips which I found very useful, specially the "Smart Travel Tips" section.
But some of the maps of Buenos Aires in the book have the locations wrong. I would say most of the maps need revision; I always found a mistake. My advice is to have a back up, maybe a good tourist map which you can find almost anywhere for free on hotels or tourist centers.
Also, the phone listed in some of the attractions are wrong. For example, I wanted to arrange a reservation for one of the tango shows listed on the book (by the way, do not miss them for anything in the world!!!), but the phone numbers were wrong also.
The book overall is good, plus they have sections on other parts of Argentina, which makes the book very practical if you plan to travel the country, but again the best advise is to have a backup guide (and map), specially for Buenos Aires.
The most complete travel guide out there for Argentina
I read every guidebook I could find before visiting Argentina with my family two years ago and then moving here for a year last July.
This is by far the most complete guide I've seen, with lots of helpful, realistic information about where to go, what to do (and what not to do) and where to stay all over this country -- not just in Buenos Aires. Even after living here for months we still pull it out from time to time.
It appears to me that the first reviewer may have a chip on his shoulder and ought to have stayed home, wherever that is. As someone who was raised in Perú and return often, I believe that the author of Frommer's Perú did a very good job, especially considering that most guidebooks don't include much about how tourism is endangering many heritage sites in the country. Neil Schlecht obviously cares and let's readers know, politely, that they need to walk softly through this beautiful nation.
I loved the fact that I recognized many of the places he recommended - La Casa de Melgar in Arequipa is indeed a marvelous place to stay, for example and it was a thrill to read his section on Cajamarca, my second favourite Peruvian city, after Arequipa.
I liked his Best of Perú section, although I believe that he missed on the best markets/shopping section and would have liked to read more about how tourists are also endangering the textile and folk art traditions given that they want cheap shopping. For example, more and more textile artists are using synthetic yarns and dyes because they're fed up with visitors bartering them down to pennies for an object that took weeks, if not months to make. Take a moment to consider that the folks who make authentic Peruvian textiles and folk art need to eat, feed and educate their children and have a right to have their work and themselves treated with respect and dignity - heads up to the first reviewer!
Perú is, in many ways, like India in that one could travel there every year for the rest of one's life and not see everything. Personally, I would follow Schlecht's advice and get off the "tourist trail", into the north, the central highlands - the Mantaro Valley, Tarma, the Chanchamayo Valley for a taste of the *real* Perú, not yet the flavours of the month.
Good for you, Neil Schlecht and good for Frommer's. I hope that you will continue to publish Frommer's Perú and update it frequently.
Overpriced and overrated
I was really disappointed with this, the most 'recent' book about Peru. I have recently moved here, and was looking for some information about places to go and things to do when I had holiday time. The information is often incorrect, the prices are exorbitant and the whole book reads more like "go where I suggest because they let me stay here free in exchange for a promotional blurb" than a truly objective presentation of options.
The whole book is skewed towards the requirements of people who are going to use their two weeks holiday to come here and spend all their money with people who will tell them what they should and shouldn't see, (and screw them on the prices in the process), and really only see the Peru that they could have just as easily seen on the Discovery channel for 1000th of the price!
Prices quoted mostly all pander to(and therefore legitimise)the inflated prices that the tourist industy sharks try to inflict on travellers. General rule - take prices quoted and reduce them by a third, and you are still being generous.
Travellers here should try to ensure that their money is going to the people who actually work for it and need it - not to those who live in the top 15% of the income bracket - and Frommer's Peru is just helping the rich keep the poor down.
I say go with the Lonely Planet or Rough Guide, and buy the "Inca Guide to Peru" when you get here (if you can't buy it elsewhere). It is a little older now, but the maps are excellent.
New Frommer's Guide
Frommer's Peru, First Edition; is a comprehensive and informative guide covering all the main tourist destinations in the country. The new star system helps in zeroing in on the best hotels, restaurants and attractions. I particularly like Chapter 3, The Active Vacation Planner. It lists the best places to go according to various interests. The book also lists various tour companies which specialize in that area. Highly recommended.
Lonely Planet South America on a Shoestring (Lonely Planet Shoestring Guides)
I also bought this book for my trip. The descriptions are a bit short but it has very updated information (when I was there).
Rating: 3.21/5 from 14 reviews
If you are looking for the complete guide to South America
This is not it. Sorry. Not that it is an aweful book, but hardly comprehensive. Lonely planet's individual guides are passable, but what little savve they have is sadly editted out in this oversized under norished number. Having travelled in a good few of the countries mentioned here, I eventually ended up ditching the book and using photostats of the South American handbook, a vastly better publication. Remember that a guide book defines, to no small degree, how you see the places you visit. Following the lonely planet guides gives you great generic lonely planet experience. But if you want something more or different, the options aren't there. Sure, its colorful, and yes, it is useful as a map book, but as you only source of information on vast continent, follow the footprint
The book wasn't updated, the bridge over Suriname river in the capital Paramaribo of Suriname wasn't mentioned instead they recommend the ferry! Good for the beginner to find a place to stay but otherwise not so good....
Hit and Miss
Just got back from 3 months with this book in SA...
Plusses: Great Maps...LP maps are the best guidebook maps Lots of Choices for Hostels/Restaurants...they aren't too detailed but do typically offer a lot of places, while Let's Go will offer 4 or 5 per city. Everyone has got it, you'll find a lot of people to hang out with when going to their recos.
Minuses: Everyone has got it, perhaps you don't want to run into a lot of gringos. Doesn't cover lots of small towns which are great to visit...yes of course this is a book that tries to cover a CONTINENT so it's not going to have everything, but I found Footprints SA book to be significantly more comprehensive. A bit out of date...new one is forthcoming, I believe.
Overall I would recommend Footprint's SA Handbook instead, although the maps do leave a bit to be desired.