Some years ago, the author of these columns was sitting in a Zen monastery in California, blissfully meditating, when someone slipped a folded note, underneath his cushion. The note had the word Help, and no other information, except for an email address. When he wrote to the email address, to inquire as to what Help, exactly, was needed, he received only the response, Thank you. Two days later he received a second email advising him that someone of importance had greatly enjoyed reading these columns when they were originally published, and that they, a publishing house in New York, had funds specifically allocated for a guidebook on Costa Rica, and that these funds would be reassigned elsewhere, unless a Costa Rica guidebook could quickly be assembled, and would he be the one to do this. Not being one to pass up allocated funds, he assembled the columns and produced this book, which has turned out to be unquestionably the definite book on all things Costa Rican.