Christopher P. Baker was born and raised in Yorkshire, England. He received a B.A. in geography from University College, London, and masters degrees in Latin American studies from Liverpool University and in education from the Institute of Education, London University. He began his writing career in 1978 as contributing editor on Latin America for Land & Liberty, a London-based political journal. In 1980 he received a Scripps-Howard Foundation Scholarship in Journalism to attend the University of California, Berkeley. Since 1983, Christopher has made his living as a professional travel writer, photographer, speaker, and international tour guide. He is acclaimed for his specialist knowledge of Cuba and Costa Rica, about which he has written 10 books, and created the Costa Rica !Pura Vida! travel app. His many books include Moon Cuba and Mi Moto Fidel: Motorcycling Through Castro's Cuba, winner of both the 2002 Lowell Thomas Award for Best Travel Book and the North American Travel Journalist Association's Grand Prize. He has contributed to more than 150 publications worldwide, including Caribbean Travel & Life, Maxim, National Geographic Traveler, The Robb Report, and the Los Angeles Times. Christopher has been profiled in USA Today; appears frequently on radio and television talk shows and as a guest-lecturer aboard cruise ships; and has been privileged to address such organizations as the National Press Club, the World Affairs Council, and the National Geographic Society (on the televised show Live from National Geographic). He is a National Geographic Resident Expert and escorts cruise-tours of Costa Rica and Panama for National Geographic Expeditions and Smithsonian Journeys. His many awards include the prestigious 2008 Lowell Thomas Travel Journalist of the Year, from the Society of American Travel Writers, and Travel Journalist of the Year from the Caribbean Tourism Organization and the Jamaica Tourist Board.
Best of Costa Rica: Few visitors have time to explore Costa Rica from tip to toe, but the following itinerary takes in half a dozen of the best national parks, a potpourri of active adventures, and many of the best sights. Day 1 Arrive in San Jose. Take the afternoon to visit the Museo del Jade and Museo del Oro Precolombino, then dinner at Hotel Grano de Oro. Day 2 An early-morning visit to Parque Nacional Volcan Poas is followed by a visit to the La Paz Waterfall Gardens. In the late afternoon, get a feel for Costa Rica's coffee culture with a tour at Cafe Britt or Doka Estate. Days 3-4 Head to La Fortuna and fill your days with hiking at Parque Nacional Volcan Arenal; a ride on the Sky Tram, including the zip line; and a soak at Tabacon Hot Springs. A traditional meal at Choza de Laurel is a good way to end the day. Day 5 Transfer via Laguna de Arenal and Tilaran to Monteverde, where the Monteverde Lodge makes a fine base. After lunch, head to Selvatura for a canopy adventure. Day 6 Rise early for a guided hike in Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve or Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve. In the afternoon, visit the Serpentario and Frog Pond. In the evening, take a guided twilight walk at Bajo del Tigre. Day 7 Transfer to Parque Nacional Rincon de la Vieja. After settling in at one of the nature lodges that double as activity centers, you'll want to visit the bubbling mud pools and fumaroles and partake of canopy tours, horseback riding, and hikes. Day 8 Today, it's the Nicoya Peninsula and Tamarindo, arriving in time for lunch at a beachfront restaurant. This evening, head to Playa Grande to witness marine turtles laying eggs (in season)--you'll need to make reservations. Day 9 Head south to Nosara via Ostional National Wildlife Refuge. If you're driving, the coast road will prove an adventure. With good timing and prior planning, you can visit the turtle arribada at Ostional. Days 10-11 Travel to Manuel Antonio for wildlife-viewing, snorkeling, and relaxing in and around Parque Nacional Manuel Antonio. The resort hotels here offer superb accommodations, and there are plenty of excellent restaurants and a lively night scene. Days 12-13 Transfer to the Osa Peninsula for more rugged adventure. A guided hike along coastal and rainforest trails in Parque Nacional Corcovado leads to waterfalls and offers phenomenal wildlife sightings. Day 14 Return to San Jose for your homeward flight, or extend your trip and fly to Tortuguero, where you can explore Parque Nacional Tortuguero by canoe or boat.