Since it’s difficult to get by in Costa Rica without a basic knowledge of Spanish, your first read should be a traveler’s phrasebook. Lonely Planet offers a phrasebook specific to Costa Rica, which is useful because the country has its own variations on the language. Even if you already speak Spanish, (unless you are already familiar with Central American dialects) you should review the most necessary words and sentences to avoid accidentally offending someone. Be aware that even Costa Rican-specific Spanish can vary from the variety spoken in the province of Guanacaste.

Once you’ve mastered that, it may be time to check out some of Costa Rica’s local newspapers. San Jose’s Nacion mixes English and Spanish-language news to provide weekly coverage of politics, tourism, economic and environmental issues. La Republica (in Spanish only) is the Guanacaste region’s leading business daily paper. Very useful to visitors is the Tico Times, the most widely circulated English newspaper in all of Central America. It is based in Costa Rica and offers news about Nicoya as well as helpful travel sections.

The Tico Times writers and photographers have also released an updated English guidebook to Costa Rica, called Exploring Costa Rica 2011. Since all of the authors live in Costa Rica and write for its weekly paper, this guidebook is a source of accurate information from experienced locals. For the more conventional traveler’s perspective, try Frommer's Costa Rica or National Geographic Traveler: Costa Rica.

A more recent addition to choices in newspapers is the monthly publication of La Voz de Guanacaste. It is unique in that is covers the Nicoya/Samara/Nosara area specifically, and provides articles in both English and Spanish to cater to both locals and expatriates. Regular updates are provided online and through other newsfeeds between print editions.