Opinionated, insightful, and entertaining, Moon Handbooks are more than just travel guides-they’re reference tools, ideal for independent travelLers who desire complete immersion in the culture of their destination. The only guidebooks to win Lowell Thomas Awards from the Society of American Travel Writers for six years in a row, Moon Handbooks deliver a wealth of practical advice, as well as in-depth coverage of each region’s history, geography, people, arts, politics, and social issues.It is the age of specialization, which is a good thing if you’re traveling to Pacific Mexico. Let’s say you’re heading off to Mazatlán or Guadalajara, Oaxaca or Acapulco, you no longer need to lug along every detail on every town, city, and hotel in Mexico. Just the pertinent particulars will do, and that’s what Bruce Whipperman delivers in his Lowell Thomas Award-winning Pacific Mexico Handbook.
Stretching over 1,000 miles along the Pacific coast from Mazatlán in Sinaloa down to Bahias de Huatulco in Oaxaca, the choices of tropical, palm-lined lagoons and soft sandy beaches seem without end yet easily accessible, thanks to Mexico’s Highway 200 on the Pacific coast and a plethora of airplane access. Yet not each beach resort town is the same in character and opportunities. One of the great services rendered by Whipperman’s handbook, before you ever set foot on Mexican soil, is the concise yet evocative description of the distinguishing personalities of the many towns and cities along the water. Especially useful if you’re venturing south for the first time, Whipperman’s introductions help you plan your itinerary to suit your mood and style. Of course he backs his narrative up with all the facts one might need, the hotels and restaurants, means of transportation and nightlife, shopping, sports, sights, and beaches. But he fleshes these guidebook details out with his sensitive and scholarly attention to the people, history and culture, the land and sea, the vegetation and the animals to be seen and experienced. All the options are spelled out, from the hedonistic immersion in resort relaxation to a glossary of helpful Spanish if you choose to explore further afield. –Stephanie Gold