Talking Tico: Travelogue Meets History Lesson

I never tire of reading travelogues. Each one is unique, with a different voice, and different perspective. So, when Joe Baur asked me to read and review his latest book, Talking Tico: (MIS)Adventures of a Gringo in and Around Costa Rica, I jumped at the opportunity.

I was excited for various reasons. First and foremost, it was travel related. But secondly, I was thrilled that it took place in one of my dream destinations, Costa Rica.

Talking Tico

Talking Tico: (MIS)Adventures of a Gringo in & Around Costa Rica

“A travel book at its simplest level is to go on a trip with the author.” ~ excerpt from Talking Tico

Joe Baur’s book Talking Tico is about the 11 months he spent living in Costa Rica with his new wife Melanie, and their adventures as they settle in and explore not only the country but neighbouring Central American countries. While there Joe studied at the University of Peace (UPEACE), and also explored Costa Rica from the Pacific coast to the Caribbean coast.

“It’s here where I could always find fresh valley air, a cool morning breeze, clear blue skies and the meditative quiet  of the Costa Rican countryside.”

Determined to explore more of Central America while in Costa Rica they even make visits to El Salvador, Guatemala, and Panama. From big sights, like the Panama Canal, to small beach towns, the book stretches beyond the boarders of Costa Rica.

“That’s why I was going to El Salvador – to meet people and find those real stories and experiences, share them, and do my part in changing unfair perceptions, because it’s those exchanges that have killed and that will continue to kill those baseless fears we harbour of one another across manmade boundaries.” ~ excerpt from Talking Tico

And as an added bonus you’ll learn a few Costa Rican words and phrases, like Tico and Pura Vida. In between every so many chapters, Joe shares a word or phrase he’s learned and shares, in a quick lesson, how to say it, what it means, and how to use it in a sentence.


“I want to get up close. I want to meet people, hear their stories, see their country, learn about their culture and share it with anyone who will listen.” ~ excerpt from Talking Tico

Talking Tico is a travelogue meets guide, with a heavy helping of history. Not only will you hear tales of Joe and Melanie’s adventures in Costa Rica, from settling in to daily life in a new country, and hiking in the rainforest to repelling down waterfalls. Joe’s account of this time and view on life in Costa Rica, and beyond, is brutally honest and at times heartwarming, as he gets to know Ticos and their zest for life.

But you’ll also learn in depth history of Costa Rica itself, and stories behind some of its parks and attractions. You’ll also learn about the history, and USA involvement in said history, of neighbouring countries like El Salvador and Panama. It’s evident that Joe really digs deep and wants to get to know the countries, the people, and the places he’s visiting. Learning all he can before he goes, and speaking directly with the people while there.

Related Post: Travel Writer Interview – Meet Joe Baur

Talking Tico is a great read for those who want to know the history behind why these cities and places are the way they are. Those who want to really dive deep into a place’s culture, its people, and the everyday life of an expat’s new home – like being trapped indoors by the rainy season or mould growing on clothing, oh, and that night out of a horror movie when they encountered a giant moth, will love this book.

“At the end of the day, what I’ll appreciate most about Costa Rica are the Ticos and their lifestyle.” ~ excerpt from Talking Tico

Looking to read Talking Tico for yourself? Head over to Joe’s site Without A Path!


I'm a Canadian gal with a passion for wildlife, the great outdoors and travel and hope to inspire others to feel the same way! Travelling mostly solo I love to explore Ontario Gems in my own backyard as well as exotic cities around the world.

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2 Responses

  1. Nancie says:

    Language lessons, history, and the local people and culture have to make for a good read.

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