Christopher Paul Baker
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Christopher Paul Baker (born in Yorkshire, England, on 15 June 1955) is a travel writer and photographer currently[when?] specializing in the Caribbean and Central America. He is a contributor to magazines and other publications worldwide, and is the author of travel guidebooks (for publishers such as Lonely Planet and Moon Publications) and a literary travelog.
Baker was educated at Rastrick Grammar School, in Brighouse, Yorkshire. In 1976 he received a BA (Honours) in Geography from University College London, during which time he participated in a university exchange program at Krakow, Poland; and in two Sahara research expeditions. The following year he attended the graduate Centre for Latin American Studies, at the University of Liverpool, where he received a Masters. He returned to the University of London, received a teaching diploma from the Institute of Education in 1978, and spent brief periods teaching at schools in London between periods of travel in Europe and North America. His first travel article appeared in the Brighouse Echo as dispatches from the United States.
In 1980, Baker relocated to California, where he received a Scripps-Howard Foundation Scholarship to attend the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism; however, he instead married a travel agent and started work for Adventure Center. He launched his career as a travel writer and photographer in 1983 and initially specialized in international adventure travel. His articles included first-person reports on such activities as bicycling in Bali, hiking to Mount Everest, whitewater rafting in Papua New Guinea, and natural history cruising in the Galapagos Islands. In 1984 he became a contributing editor for International Travel News, specializing in Southeast Asia. That year he also planned his first group tour to Britain and for the next six years operated tours to Britain under British Pride Tours. In 1989 and 1990 he operated shopping tours to Hong Kong and Korea. He continued to organize and manage trips to Britain until 1990, following which he dedicated himself exclusively to his travel writing and photography career.
Baker's self-syndicated stories appeared in newspapers throughout the USA and Canada, including front-page stories in the Baltimore Sun, Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune, The Los Angeles Times, Miami Herald, New York Post, San Francisco Examiner, and Toronto Globe & Mail. His other credits included stories in BBC World, Elle and National Wildlife, Newsweek International and the South China Morning Post. His skills as a commercial writer earned him three national awards for best catalogs.
In 1989, Baker was admitted to the Society of American Travel Writers. That year he was also commissioned to write his first guidebook, resulting in publication of the Costa Rica Handbook. His guidebook won the 1996 Benjamin Franklin Award. Baker's first Lonely Planet guidebook, on Jamaica, was followed by Lonely Planet's guidebook to The Bahamas & Turks & Caicos and by the Cuba Handbook.
In 1996, Baker shipped his BMW motorcycle to Cuba and rode 7,000 miles (11,000 km) around the island. The journey resulted in publication of Mi Moto Fidel: Motorcycling Through Castro's Cuba, a literary travelog that won both the Lowell Thomas Award as 'Travel Book of the Year' and the North American Travel Journalists Association's 'Grand Prize.' Baker has since authored numerous other books, including Moon Handbooks: Havana, National Geographic Traveler's Cuba, and Cuba Classics: A Celebration of Vintage American Automobiles.
Baker currently lives in Palm Springs, California. He is a regular contributor to such publications as National Geographic Traveler, The Robb Report, and Caribbean Travel & Life, as well as such Internet sites as Expedia, Home & Abroad, and Luxury Latin America.
He continues to update his Moon Handbooks: Costa Rica (now in its sixth edition) and Moon Handbooks: Cuba (now in its fourth edition). His most recent works include National Geographic Traveler's Panama (National Geographic Society, 2007) and Puerto Rico: A Beautiful Isle (Macmillan Caribbean, 2007). He is currently authoring National Geographic Traveler's Dominican Republic, Top 10 Cuba (to be published by Dorling Kindersley), and Palm Springs: A Destination Guide (to be published by Countryman Press).
- Bahamas and Turks & Caicos (Lonely Planet)
- Cuba Classics: A Celebration of Vintage American Automobiles (Interlink)
- Eyewitness Travel Guide to Costa Rica (Dorling Kindersley)
- Jamaica (Lonely Planet)
- Mi Moto Fidel: Motorcycling Through Castros' Cuba (National Geographic Adventure Press)
- Moon Handbooks: Costa Rica (Avalon Travel Publishing)
- Moon Handbooks: Cuba (Avalon Travel Publishing)
- Moon Handbooks: Havana (Avalon Travel Publishing)
- National Geographic Traveler's Costa Rica (National Geographic Society)
- National Geographic Traveler's Cuba (National Geographic Society)
- National Geographic Traveler's Dominican Republic (National Geographic Society)
- National Geographic Traveler's Panama (National Geographic Society)
- Illustrated Guide to Jamaica (NTC Publishing/Thomas Cook Publishing)
- Top 10 Cuba (Dorling Kindersley)
- Trav'bug California (Prentice Hall; with Judy Wade)
- Travelers Companion Guide to Costa Rica (Globe Pequot, 3rd ed.)
- America on Wheels: California & Nevada (Frommer's)
- Literary Trips: In the Footsteps of Fame
- Rainforests (Inside Guides)
- Travel: Where to go When (Dorling Kindersley)
- Travelers' Tales: Cuba (Travelers Tales)
- Travelers' Tales: Food (Travelers Tales)
- Voyages: The Romance of Cruising (Tehabi)
- World Travel: A Guide to International Ecojourneys (Time-Life Books)
- Writer's Digest: A Beginner's Guide to Getting Published (Writer's Digest Books)
- National Geographic Adventure Press, 2001
- Official site of Christopher P. Baker
- National Geographic interview
- Baker reads an excerpt from Mi Moto Fidel: Motorcycling Through Castro's Cuba. Audio link.
- Christopher P. Baker's Moon Handbooks: Costa Rica
- Christopher P. Baker's Moon Handbooks: Cuba
- Interview with Rolf Potts
- Authors Den profile
- Photos and information on Baker's Cuba Classics: A Celebration of Vintage American Automobiles
- Information about Baker's Cuba Classics: A Celebration of Vintage American Automobiles
- Baker's travel blog at Moon.com
- TravelGuides.com accessed 13 November 2007