* Prices may differ from that shown
I really love to travel and have numerous guide books covering many different places I would like to visit. This year we have decided that we would start saving for (another!) trip of a lifetime, this time to British Columbia and the Yukon in Canada. With that in mind I ordered a lonely planet guide book covering the area from Amazon.
I am a huge fan of the Lonely Planet series, finding them full of useful information written in a way that makes them easy to read and relate to. I have always found the information given to be honest and accurate. The books are written by authors who are dedicated travelers and unlike some travel writers, they don't receive freebies to encourage positive reviews! The books include not only popular tourist destination but also off the beaten track places that I prefer to explore.
My latest lonely Planet addition, British Columbia and the Yukon is written by Ryan Ver Berkmoes and John Lee. Ryan Ver Berkmoes has been living in British Columbia for over two decades, whilst John Lee, originally from the U.K,attended university in British Columbia and is now a full time travel writer. This is a paperback edition and contains 464 pages, including 80 detailed maps. The book doesn't contain very many coloured photos, but the ones it does have are stunning.
On the inside of the front cover is a very useful quick reference guide explaining how to use the guide book. There is also a list of area telephone codes, typical shop opening hours and a conversion table for weight, temperature and measurements. This is followed by a detailed map in full colour.Before you start to get into the text there is a list of the highlights of both British Columbia and the Yukon. The 26 highlights are all accompanied by brightly colour photos to really wet your appetite!
The first pages of text deal with important matters such as the best time to visit, how much it might cost as well as some more obvious tips such as breaking in your new boots before you travel! There is an events calendar listing many highlights such as the August peach festival and Vancouver's gay pride week.
Some of the most useful few pages for me, are the suggested itinerates and how long you will need to allow for each. British Columbia and the Yukon covers a huge area and it can be a bit overwhelming trying to decide what to see and how long to allow for the trip. There is an itinerary covering classic routes taking a month and another for a long weekend. There are routes for those interested in wine tasting or sampling the local cuisine. This section is followed by a detailed history from early settlers to the present day. There is a time line for quick reference.
The chapter covering the culture of the area is an important one to read as I think it really helps you get the most from any visit to have some understanding of why and how things work. The chapter includes a brief overview of the Government and politics. Next the book looks at what you can expect in the food and drink area. It has useful information on such matters the legalities of alcohol consumption, eating with kids and habits and customs.
The chapter covering the environment looks at the geology, wildlife and environmental issues. Having read the environmental issues I think we had better plan our trip soon! After this depressing reading the book moves on to look at the great outdoors. British Columbia and the Yukon are places where the opportunity for outdoor pursuits is endless. The chapter gives you a list of ideas from the obvious such as biking and hiking to the more unusual such as ziplining and kite boarding this chapter has it covered!
Next comes a colour section listing the national parks and where to find them. I was amazed to read just how many protected places this area has-over 1000! The next chapters deal with the area region by region starting with Vancouver. The chapter begins by listing the highlights of the city. This is a sizeable chapter and covers the city is great detail. There are several maps detailing the entire city. There are listings of where to stay and eat from budget to high end places. The author's favourite places are highlighted as 'our pick'.
The following chapters deals with Whistler and the sunshine coat, Vancouver Island, the southern gulf islands, Okanagan valley, the Kootenays, The Rookies, Northern British Columbia and finally the Yukon Territory. All chapters have listings for places to stay in addition to lots of useful information about what to do and see in the area. The final section of the book covers health and includes hazards to avoid.
I really can't recommend this series highly enough and this latest book is equally as good as all the others I have read and used whilst travelling. The book is well written with lots of fascinating information. I really like the way the book is set out, especially the where to stay and eat lists as they cater for all budgets and include camp sites up to 5 star hotels.
Unlike many other travel guides Lonely Planet aims to write honest opinions and that includes any negative aspects of an area. It is very useful to know where the less safe areas of a city such as Vancouver are as well as dangers that may be lurking in the wild! I particularly enjoyed reading about the local wildlife and will ensure I plan any trip to include the best sighting areas!
This is quite a compact book and so will be easy to pack into my hand luggage for further reading on the plane! The edition I have was published in 2009 and is available from Amazon for just over £9 ,much less than the list price of £15.99!