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Guide books - rough guide or lonely planet?!

Travel Forums Travel Gear Guide books - rough guide or lonely planet?!

1. Posted by SooMagoo (Budding Member 19 posts) 8y

Hi all,

Firstly, apologies if this has been asked before, but I'm off to Peru, Blivia and Chile in May and am looking for guide book recommendations for the area. I'm usually a LP fan but have read some pretty bad reviews of the Bolivian LP...what books do you guys out there swear by?!


2. Posted by Degolasse (Travel Guru 823 posts) 8y

I was happy with the LP for all these countries. I pretty much use them exclusively.

3. Posted by danube (Full Member 63 posts) 8y


I'm about to go to Peru soon holding a RG, while my travel partner will take LP. Usually I rely on LP, but at time of purchase only RG was available. It looks pretty much about the same, and practical, and in a week it'll turn out which is more accurate :)

4. Posted by SooMagoo (Budding Member 19 posts) 8y

Well if one turns out to be better than the other and you happen to pass a computer with internet connection on your travels you must let me know!!

5. Posted by Taffski (Travel Guru 182 posts) 8y

Rough Guide (Definately) for Bolivia anyway (since it´s a new one too !!! Feb 2008)

Peru... hmm... we had the "Bible" i.e. LP´s South America on a Shoestring and it wasn´t "too" bad for Peru, but we also had the RG for Peru only and the Rough Guide was far more informative on the historical sites etc. which helped when the guides turned out to have very limited English and spoke very quickly in Spanish !

The LP for Peru will of course be better than the Bible though so not sure I can fully comment on it !

The Bolivia LP is terrible!!! and I mean terrible!!!

Don´t bother (even though it´s only January 2008) even in the tourist hotspots of Oruro and Uyuni... it was terrible. Places no longer existed (havn´t done so for 5 years either when I asked) so in places like Santa Cruz etc. it just wasn´t worth bothering to use it at all ! I won´t go into the details, suffice to say we arranged to meet friends in 4 seperate places.... based on the "bible" and they ALL either no longer existed or had moved etc. !!!

We didn´t have the RG for Bolivia, but I have to be honest the RG for South America was also fairly poor for Bolivia as it was older (2004 I think) but the new one specifically for Bolivia should be much better than the LP anyway !!! Literally, it can´t be any worse !!

Anyway, RG for Peru (very good.... expecially since it mentioned such gems as Torre Muerto near Arequipa and LP hasn´t even heard of it !)
and the NEW RG for Bolivia just as it´s not the LP for Bolivia

We´ve just left South America after travelling in all the above countries (October 2007 - Mar 2008) and Bolivia is BRILLIANT !!!!!

hope this helps


6. Posted by Gelli (Travel Guru 2457 posts) 8y

Neither, if i can help it, as i'm not a fan of guide books, and also not particularly enamoured by how they have both gone in recent years.

However, if i have to take one, unless there is no other option, i will NOT take LP. That is not LP bashing, rather than looking from a different angle/reverse logic. LP are by far the market leader, and because of that, you shouldn't take one - the chances are any other travellers that you met will have an LP. Thus, you will still be able to look at/read/borrow/photocopy from LP even if you don't carry one yourself. Take something different, and then you at least get to consult two different sources.

7. Posted by lehcargiar (Budding Member 62 posts) 8y

EVERYONE travelling in South America seems to have a copy of South America on a Shoestring!
I find that guidebooks in general aren't great for restaurant/bar recommendations. Places always move and change and trends change so the most popular place one week might be unfashionable the next. However they tell you what the general feel of the place is and what the sights are. LP has very good historical/cultural information. I find there is a lot of interesting information to read while you're en route to the town/country you're reading about.
Remember it's only a guide, the only way to find out the real information is to visit the place and come to your own conclusions.
In conclusion, you don't want to be carrying more than one guidebook so I would recommend LP SA on a Shoestring

8. Posted by Gelli (Travel Guru 2457 posts) 8y

Interesting. From the same piece of information, i would suggest the exact opposite!

EVERYONE travelling in South America seems to have a copy of South America on a Shoestring!


In conclusion, you don't want to be carrying more than one guidebook so I would recommend LP SA on a Shoestring

If everybody has it, then you should NOT take it. You'll be able to read it/borrow it anyway.... So save yourself the weight/hassle of taking that guide, and take something else entirely - then you have options and variety as you'll have a different guide to everybody else as well as having access to the same info that everybody else does!

9. Posted by Buttfish (Respected Member 298 posts) 8y

i don't know about the bolivia lp and rg differences. but! i do know that the lonely planet is a bit more generalized in touristy things - but gives you many historical facts throughout the book - adn the rough guides one mentions both ends of the spectrum when you're traveling - so more options in hostels and hotels, kinda thing. if you're on a budget, maybe the rough guides.