Canada to Costa Rica power adapters - what kind of plug adapter is needed for a Costa Rican power outlet?

Costa Rican power outlet

What adapter do I need for Costa Rica?

Use a Type B plug adapter for Costa Rica if the plug you intend on using doesn't fit into a Costa Rican power outlet.

The type of power adapter, converter or charger that you'll need to bring when visiting Costa Rica all depends on the voltage and type of device that you're attempting to charge with a Costa Rican power outlet. If you don't know which voltage your device can use then please read the section on how can you tell if you have a dual voltage or single voltage device before going any further.

  • Be prepared for frequent power blackouts and limited access to power in certain areas of Costa Rica, it is advised to bring a power bank if you wish to keep your mobile phone battery charged whilst in a region without electricity or during a power cut.
  • If you are planning on travelling to Costa Rica from America then you will not need a power adapter or power converter. One recommendation however is to use a USB travel power adapter as it allows you to power more than one device with only one power charger.
  • If your device can run on 120 volts or is dual voltage and the plug can fit in a Costa Rican power outlet then it will work in Costa Rica.
  • If your device is 120 volts or is dual voltage but your plug doesn't fit in a Costa Rican power outlet then you will need a suitable plug adapter for Costa Rica such a Type B plug adapter. Please be aware that a plug adapter for Costa Rica (or power adapter) is designed to change the actual shape of the plug on your device to fit into a plug outlet found in Costa Rica, but won't change the voltage from 120 volts to a different voltage.
  • If your device can't use 120 volts and isn't dual voltage you will also need a power converter for Costa Rica to convert the voltage from 120 volts to the correct voltage on your device. You'll still need to bring a suitable plug adapter for Costa Rica if the power converter doesn't include the correct Type B plug adapter.
  • If you only need to power one or more USB devices such as cellphones or tablets then a USB travel power adapter is recommended and it should work with any voltage, but ensure that you bring one which includes a Type B plug adapter otherwise you'll also need to use a suitable plug adapter for Costa Rica[3]

Warning: If your device won't handle 120 volts you run the potential risk of an electrical fire hazard, a blown fuse or damage to your device. Before using your device in Costa Rica please read the instruction manual first to ensure safe operation.

Costa Rica power adapters

Power adapters for Costa Rica

If you are organizing a trip to Costa Rica it can be helpful to know if you can power all your gadgets such as mobiles or tablets that you are bringing with you. Without knowing which plug socket is being used in Costa Rica you could end up either bringing too many adaptors or pack the wrong power adaptor, therefore leaving you having to purchase a suitable power adaptor when you get there which might be incompatible. Varying different voltages and plugs can often lead to confusion when planning to stay in another country especially to the first time traveller. With only a handful of different types of sockets being used in the world this article tells you exactly what you'll need in advance to power your device in Costa Rica. This page has links to simple instructions telling you which power adapters you'll need to power your devices when you're in Costa Rica using the B or A type Costa Rican 120 volt 60Hz plug outlets, a majority of Costa Ricans will normally use Type B power outlets. You will find most power adapters are different from region to region so please read our WikiConnections world power adapters list for a full list of destinations.

What is the best power adapter for Costa Rica?

The best power adapter for Costa Rica will be a Type B power adapter which is suitable for powering any 120 volt device or appliance. [3]

What is the best power adapter for Costa Rica?

What is a power adapter for a Costa Rican power outlet?

Power adapters are small, cheap and lightweight plastic adapters that allow a Costa Rican power outlet to accept a different shaped power plug from a different region. [5]

Do I need a power adapter in Costa Rica?

If the type of Costa Rican power outlet is different to the power plug that you are using then you will need a power adapter.

Costa Rica

Will I need a plug adapter for Costa Rica if I'm from Canada?

A Canadian plug does not need a power adapter as it will already fit in a Costa Rican power outlet.

Costa Rica

Will a power adapter change the voltage from a Costa Rican power outlet?

Power adapters only adapt the shape of a plug to fit into a 120 volt Costa Rican power outlet and can't convert to a different voltage. Should you wish to safely use a 220-240 volt appliance you will also need to bring a step up power converter for Costa Rica along with the right type of adapter.

Costa Rica

What does a power adapter do?

A power adapter for a Costa Rican power outlet allows visitors travelling from a different country to use their electrical devices in Costa Rica simply by adapting the shape of the plug to fit the power socket.

Where to buy a power adapter for Costa Rica in Canada

Power adapters for sale in an airport

Where to buy a power adapter for Costa Rica in Canada

Costa Rica to Canadian power adapters will most likely be available in most major Canadian International airports prior to departure, however the range of adapters might be limited to popular destinations. It is recommended to research the exact type of adapter required prior to shopping at the airport. Look in the travel accessories section of airport newsagents, electronic stores and pharmacists such as Relay, The Source or 6&Sundry, but expect to pay more than regular prices. Airports will be your last chance to buy a power adapter before departure, always check the returns policy to ensure you can easily exchange or refund a faulty or unsuitable product in an airside shop.

It will be more convenient and cheaper to buy the correct power adapter in advance of your trip. Best Buy, Costco, Home Depot and other high street electrical stores normally sell a limited range of travel adapters to popular locations however for widest choice it is recommended to buy a power adapter online.

Where to buy a power adapter in Costa Rica

Arriving at an airport

Where to buy a power adapter in Costa Rica

On arrival power adapters could be found in local electrical high street shops and drug stores, but always check the build quality first as safety standards might be different in a foreign country as this is important when dealing with electrical goods. Keep in mind that a shopping trip searching for power adapters in an unknown location might be impractical, especially as this needs to happen quickly before batteries run out.

Hotel receptions could have a power adapter for sale, hire or as a complimentary extra for guests; however, availability is normally limited and a hotel might not have the exact type required for your country. If in doubt, call ahead to the hotel first and request a reservation as it is unlikely that an adapter will be found in your room on arrival.

Electrical adapters for Costa Rica

Travel Power Strips

A travel power strip including adapters

Travel Power Strips

Benefits of a travel power strip

  • A travel power strip is capable of powering more than one appliance at once via one Costa Rican power outlet, costing under C$40.
  • You will find some models have voltage conversation for lower wattage devices (for example laptops). So even if the device isn't dual voltage it should still be used with a Costa Rican power outlet when using a travel power strip, making them a lightweight and cheap alternative option to a voltage converter.
  • Most power strips feature multiple USB ports.
  • Offers surge protection. The voltage from power grids in certain countries can be unstable, a sudden surge in power might damage your electronics. Some models also include a built in surge protector, this will prevent any device from being overloaded.
  • It will potentially be functional back at home as a USB charger and power strip.
  • US and Canadian power strips include Type A, B, D, E/F, G, H, I, L and N plug adapters so should work in Costa Rica.

Disadvantages of a travel power strip

  • Unlike normal power converters, the power converter on a travel power strip doesn't convert higher wattage appliances such as clothes irons or hair dryers.
  • Due to the size and weight of a power strip it might be unsuitable for packing in hand luggage.
  • Travel power strips could be excessive if you only bring a small number of appliances and devices to charge. [6]
Travel USB Wall Chargers

A compact USB travel wall charger

Travel USB Wall Chargers

Benefits of a travel USB wall charger

  • Ideal if you only need to charge devices which are USB powered.
  • You only have to bring a single charger rather than pack lots of domestic power chargers which costs roughly under C$20.
  • Supplied with interchangeable adapter heads meaning they can be used in a large number of countries. The interchangeable adapter heads supplied with travel USB wall chargers are typically lightweight and small which makes them easy to store.
  • Offers surge protector built in.
  • The charger should still be functional back home.
  • The interchangeable plugs will fit into Types A/B, E/F, G and I outlets so will work in a Costa Rican power outlet.

Disadvantages of a travel USB wall charger

  • Restricted to USB ports so you can't charge any appliances, only USB powered ones. [7]
Universal Travel Power Adapters

All in one universal power adapter

Universal Travel Power Adapters

Benefits of a universal travel power adapter

  • Most universal travel adapters function in around 150 countries.
  • An all in one design - small and lightweight for C$25-C$30.
  • There are some universal travel adapters which have USB charging ports.
  • Easy to use.
  • Some universal travel power adapters have a surge protector to prevent your device from being overloaded by an unstable power grid.
  • The pins retract so don't get caught against other items when packed in luggage.
  • It should potentially be functional back at home as a USB charger.
  • Changes shape to Types A/B, E/F, G and I plugs so should fit in a Costa Rican power outlet.

Disadvantages of a universal travel power adapter

  • Universal travel power adapters can't be used with a high powered appliance; for example hair straighteners, clothes irons, vacuum cleaners, kettles, hair dryers or curling irons.
  • The moving parts might be fragile on some models which might make them likely to possibily break when travelling.
  • Universal travel adapters only charge a single plug.
  • Not completely universal - some models might not cover certain countries with less common outlets.
  • Universal travel power adapters don't have a voltage converter meaning they're not suitable for appliances which don't support 120 volts. [8]
Power Plug Adapters

An easy to use Type B plug adapter

Power Plug Adapters

Travellers using domestic 2 pin Type A or 3 pin Type B plugs don't need to bring a plug adapter for Costa Rica as these already fit a Costa Rican power outlet.

Benefits of a power plug adapter

  • Lightweight and compact.
  • Affordable, with prices under C$5.
  • Simple to operate.
  • Using a Type B plug adapter will be ideal for Costa Rica.

Disadvantages of a power plug adapter

  • Only 1 plug adapter for each appliance - for every separate appliance you will also need to bring a separate adapter.
  • This only alters the shape of the plug to fit in a Type B Costa Rican power outlet but not the actual voltage. So if your appliance doesn't work with 120 volts and isn't dual voltage then you'll also need to pack a voltage converter.
  • Hotel rooms in Costa Rica might only have a single power outlet, therefore you will only be capable of powering one device at once.
  • If you need to charge any USB device then you also need to bring a USB charger.
  • Should you plan on travelling to more than just Costa Rica then you might need to pack more than one type of power adapter for other countries. [3]
Plug Adapter Sets

Plug adapter sets

Plug Adapter Sets

Benefits of a plug adapter set

  • As prices are roughly C$4-C$5 an adapter set typically works out more reasonable than buying individual plug adapter types costing around C$5 each.
  • Covers all countries and not just a Costa Rican power outlet.
  • Ideal if you are travelling to different locations.
  • A plug adapter set includes Type A, B, C, D, E/F, G, H, I, J, L, M and N adapters so will be compatible with a Costa Rican power outlet.

Disadvantages of a plug adapter set

  • Not flexible; you will need to choose which plug adapters to pack in advance, if you don't know every country you'll be visiting you'll need to pack each plug adapter type along.
  • Lots individual adapters to pack.
  • All remaining power adapters will be useless using up space.
  • Not all plug adapter types are typically included (and especially less common ones), so ensure that your set includes an adapter which works with a Costa Rican power outlet.
  • Only changes the shape of the plug to allow it to fit in a Costa Rican power outlet but won't convert the actual voltage. [9]
Voltage Converters

Voltage converters offer surge protection

Voltage Converters

Those originating from Canada will not need a voltage converter as the voltage from a Costa Rican power outlet is 120 volts.

Benefits of a voltage converter

Disadvantages of a voltage converter

  • A voltage converter will only change the 120 volts from a Costa Rican power outlet and not the shape of the plug to slot into a Costa Rican power outlet, you will still be required to pack the correct type of power adapter for Costa Rica.
  • Expensive; almost C$120.
  • The typical weight of most models of voltage converters makes them unsuitable for carrying in hand luggage.
  • Redundant after your visit to Costa Rica.
  • It is often better value and more practical to purchase a dual voltage travel appliance than to purchase an expensive voltage converter simply in order to bring your existing single voltage domestic appliance abroad.

Comparison of electrical adapters for Costa Rica

Type B Power Plug Adapter
Power Plug Adapter
Universal Travel Power Adapter
Universal Travel Power Adapter
Travel USB Wall Charger
Travel USB Wall Charger
Travel Power Strip
Travel Power Strip
Plug Adapter Set
Plug Adapter Set
Voltage Converter
Voltage Converter
Can be used in Costa Rica Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Types of plug included B A/B, E/F, G and I A/B, E/F, G and I A, B, D, E/F, G, H, I, L and N A, B, C, D, E/F, G, H, I, J, L, M and N B
Compatible number of countries (A) 45+ 150+ 150+ 200+ 230+ 230+
Fits in a Type B Costa Rican power outlet Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Useful when you return to Canada Yes Yes Yes
Typical combined number of USB ports and AC outlets 1 3 4 7 1 2
Powers USB devices Yes Yes Yes
Typical number of USB ports 0 2 4 4 0 0
Powers a 120 volt AC appliance in Costa Rica Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Typical number of AC outlets 1 1 0 3 (B) 2
Converts voltage (?) Yes (C) Yes
Surge protection Yes Yes Yes Yes
Typical dimensions 2.6 x 1.9 x 1.4 inches 3 x 2.1 x 2.1 inches 4.3 x 3.4 x 1.3 inches 6.6 x 3.6 x 1.5 inches 7.1 x 3.9 x 2.8 inches 11.7 x 8.1 x 6.7 inches
Typical weight 4.5 ounces 4 ounces 4.5 ounces 1.6 pounds 13 ounces 20 pounds
Typical number of items to carry (D) 1 1 5 8 12 2
Suitable for hand luggage Yes Yes Yes • (E) • (F)
Estimated price under C$5 C$25-C$30 C$15-C$20 C$35-C$40 C$4-C$5 over C$60
Buy Buy Buy Buy Buy Buy

Costa Rica power outlets and plug sockets

What plug sockets are used in Costa Rica?

Type A and B power outlets

What plug sockets are used in Costa Rica?

There are two types of power supply used in Costa Rica, these are type B and A with the primary power outlets being type B:

  • Plug Type A - You can identify the wall outlet by the 2 thin slots next to each other where the live and neutral blades go.
  • Plug Type B - You can identify the wall outlet by the 2 thin slots next to each other for live and neutral blades with a hole below for the earthed pin. [3]

Do Canadian plugs work in Costa Rica?

Yes, a Canadian plug will work in a Costa Rican power outlet without needing an adapter or a power converter.

Costa Rica

How do I use a 220 volt appliance in Costa Rica?

To use a 220 volt appliance in Costa Rica you will need a step up power converter.

Costa Rica

Is a plug socket in Costa Rica the same as in Canada?

A Canadian plug will fit into a Costa Rican power outlet, the voltage range and frequency are both the same as in Canada.

Costa Rica

What frequency is used in Costa Rica?

The frequency of the current found in a Costa Rican power outlet is 60 Hz. [11]

Costa Rica
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mains_electricity_by_country

Does Costa Rica have power outages?

Typically Costa Rica suffers power cuts around once a month.

Costa Rica

What is access to electrical power in Costa Rica like?

Almost 5% of the population doesn't have access to electricity in Costa Rica.

Costa Rica

Do I need a power bank for Costa Rica?

As electric isn't available to 100% of the population of Costa Rica combined with potential power outages, visitors should pack backup charging solutions if they need to continue charging devices such as mobile phones or tablets.

  • Whilst travelling to Costa Rica increased use of mobile phones for storing itineraries, taking pictures, getting directions, social networks and web browsing could syphon off power excessively. A flat mobile phone battery can potentially leave you in an unknown location without sufficient power to make emergency calls or being able to use satellite navigation to find your way back to hotel. Packing a 10,000mAh portable charger for Costa Rica lowers that risk as it means you can keep your smart phone fully powered on the move, especially when visiting a country with a lack of access to electricity and power cuts in some areas.
  • A typical 10,000mAh power bank will store enough energy to power around 3 full charges and a 20,000mAh portable charger should keep an average mobile phone charged for around 7 days depending on the model of phone and usage.
  • If you need to charge your laptop in Costa Rica and your laptop has a USB-C charging port then pack a portable charger for a laptop marked with PD (power delivery) and a model supplying at least 20 Wh. Be aware that some airlines prohibit power banks on an aircraft with more than 100 Wh of power and must not be left in checked-in luggage.
  • Consumer portable chargers aren't designed for high powered items that generate heat, although a rechargeable hair dryer or gas hair straighteners can be used for travelling to locations with power cuts and a lack of access to electricity like Costa Rica.    [12] [12] [13] [14] [15] [16]
Do I need a power bank for Costa Rica?
Do solar battery chargers work in Costa Rica?

Solar backpacks are ideal in hot weather

Do solar battery chargers work in Costa Rica?

The daylight in Costa Rica should be suitable enough to recharge solar power bank reliability, however it will need to be left in strong sunlight in order to produce adequate energy for a single charge. It may prove inconvenient to continually unpack a solar power bank then wait whilst it recharges in sunny spells.

  • The bigger cells found on a solar backpack give the backpack the ability to generate more power within a shorter period of time, meaning they should perform well in Costa Rica.
  • A phone which has been plugged directly into the USB charging port of a backpack will trickle charge the power during sunny spells in Costa Rica, but this might be inconvenient to have it continually tethered to the bag should it be used frequently. Unlike a small solar power bank which needs unpacking and facing sunlight, a solar powered backpack is continually exposed to sunlight so can be charging a regular power bank during the day.
  • Even though the sunlight in Costa Rica is strong, a bag should have a solar cell efficiency of at least 22%, can generate a minimum of 6 watts of energy and includes a compatible power bank of 10,000mAH or stronger.
  • Unlike regular rigid solar panels, the flexible and durable cells used in solar powered bags have been designed to endure scratching and bending. They come in backpack, laptop messenger and rucksack styles which makes them perfect for work, travel and domestic use.  [4] [17] [18]

Sources

  • International Electrotechnical Commission - World plugs by location (cited August 2014)
  • Wikipedia - Mains electricity by country (cited July 2014)
  • Index Mundi - Power outages in a typical month (cited May 2018, data collected between 2006 to 2017)
  • Index Mundi - Access to electricity (cited May 2018, latest data collected 2010)
  • WikiPedia - List of countries by average yearly temperature (cited May 2018, data averaged between 1961 to 1990)

Costa Rica chargers

What is a USB travel power charger?

A USB travel charger is a dual voltage charger with interchangeable plugs and multiple USB ports, suitable for charging multiple USB powered devices when travelling abroad.

What USB charger do I need for Costa Rica?

If you are travelling with more than one device the best international travel charger for Costa Rica to buy is a multiple USB port charger which includes compatible plugs such as a 4 port USB travel charger. Costa Ricans use two different types of power outlets (B and A) and using a power charger like this will ensure that you are covered for type A. Because these types of chargers are supplied with interchangeable pins and can handle 100 to 240 volts it makes them ideal for over 100 countries around the world just by changing the heads over. If your type of device can support Fast Charge then you will benefit from much quicker charging times by using one of these travel chargers along with support for more power demanding devices.

Unlike other chargers having a 4 port adapter means you can charge more than one device at once without needing to buy multiple power adapters on your Costa Rican trip. Only bringing a single international travel charger will help keep the overall size down, making it perfect to fold up in hand baggage whilst travelling as well as being suitable for recharging your devices at an airport or on your flight. Because of their versatility these types of power adapters can be used when you return home so when you're not on holiday they can be used overnight charging multiple smartphones and tablets using only a single power outlet.

If you travel frequently we suggest searching for a versatile power adapter of this nature online. The multipurpose power charger illustrated below is the 4 Port USB Wall Charger which has been successfully tested with multiple USB devices in numerous countries around the world. [7]

What USB charger do I need for Costa Rica?

Why use a travel USB charger for Costa Rica?

  • Normal travel USB chargers include 4 or more USB charger ports, meaning you now only need to bring a single charger to charge multiple devices. It helps reduce the weight of your baggage by only packing a single USB wall charger instead of bringing multiple individual power chargers with you.
  • All travel USB power chargers include swappable plug heads for various regions thereby making them perfect if travelling to multiple countries which are likely to use a different outlet to Costa Rica.
  • A good charger is lightweight, compact and rugged - perfect for rigors of travel rather than risking bringing along a domestic charger which might be impossible to replace or repair in Costa Rica.
  • USB chargers can accept both the 120 volt power outlets in Costa Rica along with other voltage standards across the world.
  • There is a possibility that some hotel bedrooms or accommodation in Costa Rica only have one wall outlet, by bringing a travel charger with multiple USB ports allows you to share out the single wall outlet with all your devices rather than waiting to charge one device at a time.
  • Because of their versatile nature a travel USB charger takes the worry out of visiting any unknown destination as they are guaranteed to work almost anywhere around the world.
  • Power outlets found in airports can be in short supply and the demand for charging multiple cell phones and tablets during departure can be high, therefore a USB charger with multiple ports and the capability to fast charge is ideal.
  • The power grid in some countries can be unstable, a good travel charger allows for unexpected surges to prevent damage to any devices attached to it. Trying to repair an overloaded mobile phone or tablet in Costa Rica might prove difficult and expensive.
  • Higher priced USB travel chargers should also feature a power outlet strip to allow you to power multiple low wattage devices such as laptops, but please be aware these will be unsuitable for high powered appliances such as hair dryers or clothes irons. See the section on using travel appliances in Costa Rica for helpful advice and guidelines on the best power adapter for using a high wattage appliances with a Costa Rican power outlet.
  • Certain tablets and mobile phones might require more than the standard 500 milliamps produced from a standard 5 volt USB adapter to charge or provide fast charge. Ensure that the USB power adapter can support fast charging incase any of your devices need additional power.
  • When back at home travel USB chargers can still be useful by recharging multiple mobile phones and tablets every day using only a single power outlet. [7]

What is the best USB charger for Costa Rica?

A 4 port USB travel charger is the most compact option for travellers from around the world wanting to recharge devices using USB, however for those also wanting to use their domestic plugs the following power adapters provide larger but more versatile solutions. All three power converters offer surge protection which can be crucial for visitors of counties with unstable power grids. These power converters are supplied with interchangeable type C, I and G plugs covering both Costa Rica and over 150 countries around the world:

  • BESTEK Portable International Travel Voltage Converter - The BESTEK international travel adaptor has 4 USB charging ports with 3 AC power outlets and is the best selling compact power adapter for travellers originating from North America going to Costa Rica.
  • ORICO Traveling Outlet Surge Protector Power Strip - Likewise having 4 USB ports but only 2 AC power outlets the travel adapter from Orico is also aimed at travellers originating from the US using type B plugs. This is a much more cost effective alternative to the BESTEK with just one less AC outlet for almost half the price.
  • BESTEK International USB Travel Power Strip - This power strip has just 2 AC outlets but offers 5 USB charging ports. This versatile power strip is compatible with both American plugs and popular plug types A, D,E/F, G, H, I, L and N making it perfect for most travellers from around the world visiting Costa Rica. [7]

Power converters for Costa Rica

What is a power converter for Costa Rica?

A power converter allows travellers to use their 220, 230 or 240 volt electric device with a 120 volt Costa Rican power outlet.

Also known as: electrical converter, electrical transformer, voltage converter, power transformer or voltage transformer.

What is the difference between a plug adapter and a power converter for Costa Rica?

A cheap, small and lightweight power adapter (or plug adapter) changes the shape of the plug on your appliance to fit into a power outlet in Costa Rica, but a heavier and more expensive power converter will transform a 120 volt Costa Rican power outlet to work with a non-120 volt appliance. [19]

Do I need a power converter for Costa Rica?

If you are visiting Costa Rica from a different region please check that your device will accept a 120 volt power supply.

  • You need a step up power converter if you are visiting Costa Rica from a country that uses 220-240 volts and your appliance or device doesn't support 120 volts. Read the WikiConnections list of world power outlets guide to see the voltage your country uses.
  • You shouldn't need a power converter if you are already using either a single voltage appliance that works with 120 volts or one that supports dual voltage.
  • Typically, devices which come from a different country which use a higher voltage such as 220 volts and used with 120 volts sometimes take longer to charge or won't power up. If your device doesn't power up or recharges slowly when you are visiting Costa Rica from another country please check that it can be used with a 120 volt Costa Rican power outlet or you will need to use a step up power converter.
  • You don't need a converter if you are attempting to charge a smaller electrical device such as a tablet as these are typically dual voltage and designed for international use, but always always check the device for dual voltage support first.
  • If supplying power to high wattage appliances or generate heat (for example curling irons and hair straighteners) then you will need to use a much larger higher wattage heavy duty power converter which allows it to be used with a 120 volt Costa Rican power outlet.
  • It might be more cost effective to use a smaller lightweight dual voltage travel appliance than trying to bring a heavier high wattage power converter to Costa Rica simply to use your existing domestic appliance.
  • For more information read our comprehensive travel guides on travelling with curling irons, clothes irons, hair straighteners and hair dryers in Costa Rican power outlets , along with recommendations on affordable dual voltage alternatives.  [10] [20]

Will I need a power converter for Costa Rica if I'm visiting from Canada?

A Canadian plug won't require a power converter because the voltage in Costa Rica is in the same 100-120V range as Canada.

Costa Rica

What converter do I need for Costa Rica?

You will need to use a step up power converter to use any 220-240 volt appliance with a 120 volt Costa Rican power outlet. [10]

What is the difference between a converter and a power transformer?

Voltage converter

What is the difference between a converter and a power transformer?

Converters and transformers are both used to change one voltage to another, but this ambiguity can cause confusion as their purposes are different:

  • Power converters are designed for simple electrical appliances which typically generate heat or use motors such as clothes irons, shavers or hair dryers. Transformers are designed for more complex electronic items such as televisions or games consoles.
  • Buying a power converter is cheaper than buying a power transformer.
  • Power transformers are larger and heavier making them more suited for permanent residential use; for example an expat wishing to use an imported television would need to use a transformer for this purpose.
  • Power converters are more suitable for travellers wishing to bring domestic appliances abroad such as hair dryers or flat irons. However, it is more practical and cost effective to purchase a dual voltage appliance designed for travel rather than a heavier power converter.
  • Power converters are suitable for 2 pin ungrounded appliances, it could be harder to find a converter if you want to use a grounded 3 pin appliance.
  • Transformers can be used constantly however it is recommended that converters are used for no longer than a couple of hours at a time.
  • Shops may sell transformers under the name of converters, for the purposes this guide we will be referring to both converters and transformers as converters.

How to convert 120 volts to 220 volts

  1. Use a step up power converter to allow you to use 220, 230 and 240 volt appliances with a 120 volt Costa Rican power outlet.
  2. If the power converter doesn't include the correct shaped plug then it will also be necessary to plug in the power cord from the power converter into a power adapter for Costa Rica before plugging that into a Costa Rican power outlet.
  3. Some power converters include the ability to perform both step up and step down voltage conversions, therefore it may be necessary to manually switch the converter to output the voltage from 220-240v.
  4. Plug your appliance into the converter and turn the power on, your 220-240 volt appliance can now be used with a 120 volt Costa Rican power outlet. [10]

What voltage does Costa Rica use?

Costa Rica uses 120 volts in their normal power outlets. [2]

Costa Rica
https://www.iec.ch/worldplugs/
What voltage is my device?

Single voltage hair dryer

What voltage is my device?

The easiest way to tell if a device is dual voltage is to check for either a sticker or numbers printed on the charger or on the device itself, normally on the rear or near to where the power cord plugs into. The location might vary depending on the make or model of your device and could also be written on the box.

  • Single voltage devices could have a specific number - such as 110V.
  • Single voltage devices might also have a small voltage range (around 20 volts) with a dash to accomodate small voltage fluctuations - such as 100-120V.
  • Dual voltage devices will normally say a large voltage range separated with a slash - such as 100/240V.

Substantiations

See the power adapter substantions section for more information on how we compared travel adapters (October 2018).

What type of adapter do you need for Costa Rica?

Which type of plug adapter do I need to bring to Costa Rica?

The plug adapter or power converter which is suitable for Costa Rica will depend on various requirements. Before choosing which adapter to bring we recommend using the following checklist:

How many devices are you bringing to Costa Rica?

How many electrical items will you pack

How many devices are you bringing to Costa Rica?

  • List all the devices and applicances you intended on packing for Costa Rica (such as cell phones, laptops, eReaders, clothes irons or hair straighteners).
    • Remember to allow for more electrical devices at a later date. Do you intend on buying a new mobile phone computer next year?
    • There are an increasing amount of rechargeable devices such as electric shavers which use USB as a power source. Therefore if you have to replace a device it could need a USB adapter so please ensure your travel adapter has enough spare ports to support these additional devices as well.
  • Will you also be travelling with a partner who will need to charge their devices too?
Are you only planning on charging USB devices?

Are you only bringing USB devices

Are you only planning on charging USB devices?

What types of electrical items do you need to charge?

Make a list of items to bring

What types of electrical items do you need to charge?

  • There are three types of electrical items:
    • Low wattage electrical items which can be plugged into an electrical outlet - for example cameras or laptops.
    • High wattage appliances which plug into an electrical outlet - for example hair straighteners and clothes irons.
    • USB devices which connect to a USB port - for example phones.
  • Should you only have to take just USB powered devices to Costa Rica then a simple travel USB wall charger is ideal because you will only need to pack one charger whilst leaving your domestic chargers at home.
  • Travel power strips are built for powering and converting voltage for several low wattage devices of any voltage, but unsuitable for high wattage appliances (such as hair straighteners) that need voltage conversion, potentially overloading it.

Will your devices and appliances work with 120 volt power outlets?

Is Costa Rica the only country you'll be visiting?

  • Most simple plug adapters will typically only work in a single country which they are designed for, therefore if you are visiting multiple countries then you'll need to pack additional plug adapters which can in turn add to the weight you have to carry.
  • Alternatively, travel USB wall chargers and universal travel adapters are made for going to more than one country becuase of their interchangeable heads.
How many power outlets will be available when you arrive in Costa Rica?

Are multiple outlets available

How many power outlets will be available when you arrive in Costa Rica?

  • You could find that accommodation might offer only one power outlet on the wall, this could be an inconvenience when charging up batteries of more than one electronic item overnight because you'll only be able to recharge one device at a time.
  • To charge more than one device at the same time we suggest packing a travel power strip or travel USB wall charger that can charge multiple USB ports and power outlets. [6]

What is your budget?

  • Cheap power adapters start at under C$5 which charges one device in one location (provided that works with 120 volts or is dual voltage), but paying roughly C$25-C$30 will allow you to power multiple devices at once and be able to bring them to multiple different countries.

Are you intending to visit anywhere else abroad in the future?

Are you intending to bring hand luggage?

Are you only using hand luggage

Are you intending to bring hand luggage?

Do you still need use your charger when returning to Canada?

Will it take you a long time to travel to Costa Rica?

Arriving at an airport

Will it take you a long time to travel to Costa Rica?

  • If you're taking a longer journey to get to Costa Rica think about bringing a convenient airport-friendly power charger that can be used with different power outlet types, one which can be carried in hand luggage and can power phones and tablets right before a long haul flight.
  • As not all airlines and airports actually have power outlets for customers we recommend bringing a travel portable charger for recharging on the go. After arriving you could have to use your cell phone for making telephone calls, messenging, using sat nav or reading itineraries - so it is recommended that your phone will have enough charge remaining. [4]

Will the area of Costa Rica you are visiting have reliable access to electricity?

  • Voltage in Costa Rica could often fluctuate which can cause damage to your devices, you will need to use an adapter which has surge protection such as a travel power strip.
  • Due to Costa Rica having power outages or having partial access to electricity you might find that whatever power adapter you use doesn't function anyway. Packing a portable charger or a solar backpack will prepare you for any power cuts and areas of limited electricity.  [4] [4] [17]

What can I connect to a Costa Rican power outlet

Travel appliances that can connect to a Costa Rican power outlet

Beats Pill speakers which can connect to a Costa Rican power outlet

Jabra Bluetooth speakers which are compatible with a Costa Rican power outlet

Mobile phones which can be connected to a Costa Rican power outlet

Apple iPhones which can be connected to a Costa Rican power outlet

Samsung Galaxy phones that work with a Costa Rican power outlet

A list of Amazon Kindle tablets which can connect to a Costa Rican power outlet

A list of Apple iPads which are compatible with a Costa Rican power outlet

Corrections

We endeavor to ensure all details on this page are correct and relevant to travellers visiting Costa Rica, if you wish to contribute any useful information or feedback please email travel@wikiconnections.org. For more comprehensive technical details visit the Wikipedia page on AC power plugs and sockets[21]

Disclaimer

WikiConnections is not responsible for any injury or damage caused due to using any type of suggested product with any other electrical device or appliance in any location, full details are available on the disclaimer page. All functions and capabilities should be checked prior to purchasing or using any power adapter. Assumptions on if any power adapter, charger, converter or power strip works in any location is based on data from publicly available sources and if it fits the primary power outlet used in that country. WikiConnections has not taken into consideration other less common power outlets which might be found as these might only be used in certain areas or in the process of being phased out.

Where possible, WikiConnections only recommends the type of product as being suitable along with alternatives and does not make any endorsement for any specific brand or product. Always check with the manufacturer to ensure full compatibility prior to attempting to use any device. Always check the reputation of the manufacturer and product to ensure the quality and safety of any electrical device being used.

  1. Wikipedia - Costa Rican Wikipedia web page.
  2. iec.ch - International Electrotechnical Commission World Plugs
  3. Type B plug adapter - US and Japanese 3 pinned Type B plug adapters have a single unearthed round pin along with 2 shorter parallel rectangular flat blades containing holes in each blade, under C$5.
  4. Portable charger - A power bank is a portable charger which can recharge USB powered devices such as mobile phones and tablets on the go, costing under C$50.
  5. Wikipedia - power adaptor
  6. Travel power strip - A travel power strip includes surge protectors, AC power outlets, USB ports and swappable plug adapters for use in multiple countries, costing C$35-C$40.
  7. 4 Port USB Wall Charger - A universal USB charger capable of charging up to 4 USB devices with swappable international adapters, priced at under C$20.
  8. Universal travel power adapter - A typical universal travel power adapter can be used in over 150 different countries for use with appliances and USB devices, estimated price under C$30.
  9. Plug adapter set - Plug adapter set containing a number of different power plug adapters for use in different countries, under C$5.
  10. Step up power converter - A step up power converter allows a 220-240 volt appliance to be used in a 100-120 volt power outlet, estimated cost C$110-C$120.
  11. Wikipedia - WikiPedia - Mains electricity by country -
  12. 10,000mAh portable charger - Lightweight 10000mAh high-speed portable USB charger suitable for mobile phone charging, estimated cost C$35-C$40.
  13. Rechargeable hair dryer - Rechargeable battery powered cordless blow dryer suitable for travelling, under C$210.
  14. Gas hair straighteners - Cordless ceramic hair straighteners powered by gas cartridges, under C$50.
  15. 20,000mAh portable charger - High capacity 20000mAh high-speed portable USB charger suitable for charging mobile phones and some tablets for several days, priced under C$50.
  16. USB-C PD power bank - Power Delivery charger suitable for charging laptops with USB-C support, priced C$140-C$150.
  17. Solar backpack - A solar backpack will charge USB devices or an internal power bank when left in sunlight, C$130-C$140.
  18. Solar power bank - Portable power bank with solar cells which can recharge when placed in sunlight and power any USB powered device, priced C$50-C$60.
  19. Power converter - A step up step down power converter converts 110-120 volts up to 220-240 volts and 220-240 volts down to 110-120 Volts, estimated cost C$60-C$70.
  20. Heavy duty power converter - A 5000 watt heavy duty step up and step down power converter used to convert voltages for domestic appliances, power tools, televisions, heating appliances and motors, under C$250.
  21. Wikipedia - AC power plugs and sockets -