In 2008, Luciano Capelli and Yazmin Ross released their joint effort: “Guanacaste: Rutas de Viaje – Travel Routes”, a photographic and written journal of this unique Costa Rican province. It has been one of the most popular books in Costa Rica for the last five years. Have I really been admiring this book for half a decade? The original project took nearly three years to assemble. Luciano told me he had to decide which photos would appear in the book among the five thousand that he took. So it really is no surprise that he wanted to present a new version of the book.
The 2013 edition contains one hundred thirty-five new photos. Beginning with the first two photographs in the book, the images are stunning. The patience needed for this kind of selection speaks for itself. It is not every day that a photographer can catch a school of manta rays leaping out of the water, as if on cue… He also confided that he used a very high-resolution printing process, along with augmenting his own photos with about fifty others by Pablo Cambornero and Simone Manzo in addition to the underwater photos of Diego Mejia. Luciano also employed Guido Scheidt and Frank Nierhoff of the Flying Crocodile, with their gyrocopters that we can see flying over our heads at times, in Tamarindo and Samara.
Just as it was difficult to edit the photo selections down to the original version, it must have been equally hard to choose the new ones for this new edition. But when I opened the cover for the first time, I was amazed at the new shots. It is easy to see why Capelli wanted to put out this new version. I am sure these new photos have been “calling” to him for their deserved exposure for some time. Luciano also expanded the book to include the entire Nicoya Peninsula, including Montezuma and the beautiful beaches of Malpais, where the road ends and the legendary band got its name.
The entire book has been revised: some of the original photos have been moved on the page and sometimes even to other locations in the new book and Ms. Ross’ printed words (in Spanish and English) have been reconfigured on the page. It is still a book of seven chapters: the introductory “Routes to Get Lost In”, followed by Marine, Volcano, and Pre-Colombian Routes, then Routes of Tradition, and finally Ranch, Nature, and Summertime Routes. There are new photos on the cover page for each section, kind of a new introduction to each chapter. Even the breath-taking cover photo of Witches Rock is new, a kind of variation of the original, with its panoramic, overhead view of the beach and island.
Deciding which version I like better is like asking me to choose between apples and oranges. And asking me which is my favorite new photo is like asking me which is my favorite day of the week; Monday: the rainbow road starting “Camino de Luz”; Tuesday: the bridge at Playa Conchal; Wednesday: the sunrise shot of an ash-spewing Volcan Arenal; Thursday: the jaguar at dusk; Friday: the hidden spot on the Tempisque; Saturday: the shadow-play in the Colorado lowlands; Sunday: the yellow full moon hanging over the Pacific Ocean at dawn. I do recognize that the new edition is a pristine version, one worth owning, but I also think the two editions would look nice side by side on any coffee table. The new “Guanacaste: Rutas de Viaje – Travel Routes” is available at the Jaime Peligro bookstores in Playa Tamarindo, Quepos, and Nuevo Arenal.