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Talking Tico: (Mis)adventures of a Gringo In and Around Costa Rica by Joe Baur

Talking Tico, Joe Baur, travel, nonfiction, book review, On My Kindle Book Reviews

Source: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Genre: Nonfiction, Travel
Format: eBook
Publication Date: November 24, 2016

Back Cover

Costa Rica is one of the most sought after vacation destinations in the Americas with some of the world's most attractive natural surroundings teeming with wildlife. Most visitors spend years saving up for a trip of a lifetime, or perhaps even a honeymoon, but Joe decided to move there for ten months to get a closer look at life in and around Costa Rica.

Over the course of his time abroad, Joe brings his experiences to life alongside the history of the region as he travels throughout Costa Rica and its Central American neighborhood with stops in Panama, El Salvador and Guatemala. Xenophobic expatriates, delicious food, vibrant market scenes, an epic battle with Mothra, and inevitable culture clashes all make an appearance in Talking Tico, leaving readers with a new impression of this fascinating region.


I featured Talking Tico: (Mis)adventures of a Gringo in and Around Costa Rica back in November. It sounded interesting, so I'm glad that I was given the opportunity to read it.

Like the book blurb says, Baur shares the good, bad, and the ugly about his time in Costa Rica and Central America. I've read a few travelogues and most of them have shared a common theme; an awe-inspiring journey of self-discovery. Talking Tico is different because it's not really about self-discovery; it's about a regular guy who decides to learn more about a culture by living in it while recognizing that he is still an outsider to a certain extent.

Reading the book is like having a couple of beers with a friend who is telling you about her/his experiences in a different country. Baur manages to strike a perfect balance of being informative and maintaining a conversational tone throughout the book. His insights are punctuated by humor, sarcastic asides, and his personal opinions on various subjects.

Like many of the travelogues that I've read, Baur teaches readers some of the local language; however, he has put his own twist on this practice by sharing slang terms. I enjoyed this as I used to be quite fluent in Spanish a couple of decades ago, but most of the words that have stuck with me after years of disuse are slang and swear words.

My only gripe about the book is the fact that Baur didn't include a few pictures from his time in Costa Rica. However, this is a pretty minor gripe since Baur does a wonderful job of describing sites of interest to readers.

Talking Tico: (Mis)adventures of a Gringo in and Around Costa Rica is a really approachable read and a breath of fresh air in a genre that is known for being stuffy and boring.

About Joe Baur

Joe Baur, Talking Tico, On My Kindle Book Reviews
Joe Baur, author. Reprinted with permission.
Joe Baur is a travel writer, author, filmmaker, photographer, and podcaster. He's even stood in front of groups of people to share his experiences and answer questions, so feel free to add "speaker" to the résumé, too.

Before moving to Costa Rica, Joe contributed a chapter to Rust Belt Chic: The Cleveland Anthology and published Best Hikes Near Cleveland with Falcon Guides. Following those 10 months in Costa Rica, he returned to Cleveland where he launched the Without A Path travel podcast, Best Hikes Near Minneapolis and Saint Paul released, he completed Best Outdoor Adventures Near Minneapolis and Saint Paul, and he continued his independent travel writing and filmmaking with trips to Germany, Ireland, Japan, Honduras, England and Jordan.

Over the course of his career, his work has been featured in a variety of international publications, including BBC Travel, Viator, AFAR Magazine, Yahoo! Travel, National Geographic and more. In August of 2016, he made the move abroad again, this time to Düsseldorf, Germany where he continues his independent travel work and searches for that next big project.

His fourth book, Talking Tico: (Mis)adventures of a Gringo In and Around Costa Rica, is now available.

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