Never Buy Lonely Planet (Why?)

I’ve always been thouroughly disappointed at the quality of Lonely Planet’s travel guidebooks with regards to Latin America. Then I read a shocking article explaining why they are quite so poor.

It has come to light from a certain Thomas Kohnstamm (a former LP author) that the Lonely Planet empire pays their authors so poorly that it’s near impossible for them to write anything vaguely useful.  Mr Kohnstamm’s most shocking revelation is with regards to the Colombia Lonely Planet that he wrote - he says he never even visited Colombia to research the book. He got the travel information from a girl he was dating. Colombia’s Lonely Planet author hasn’t even been to Colombia. That’s plain ridiculous - read the full article here.

I live in Colombia (and write my own Colombia travel guide), and now I understand why Colombia’s Lonely Planet guidebook is quite so useless.

If you want an out of date, inaccurate information about where is cheapest to do your laundry or check the internet, buy a Lonely Planet. If you want something useful to take with you on your travels, try Footprint, Bradt or Rough Guides, or Frommers is a good option if you seek information on more upmarket hotels and restaurants.  But never bother with Lonely Planet.

2 Responses to “Never Buy Lonely Planet (Why?)”

  1. Wrong. I tried Footprint for Central America and was fairly disappointed. LP is good in the sense it provides a good and quickly accessible overview. The info in the 2009 Colombia edition was pretty accurate, up to date and very helpful. Don’t know about RG, Frommers and Bradt though, they may be good as well or even better.

  2. Go point Jack - I agree that the latest edition of Lonely Planet’s Colombia book is actually remarkably good. They received so much bad publicity about the previous edition, it seems the newest one got worked on heavily. So well done LP for fixing it!

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