Costa Rica power adapters - what plugs are used in Costa Rica?

Costa Rican power outlet

Summary

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

  • If your device can run on 120 volts or is dual voltage and the plug will 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 the 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 [2]. Note that a plug adapter for Costa Rica (or power adapter) is designed to change the shape of the plug on your device to fit into a plug outlet found in Costa Rica, but doesn't change the voltage from 120 volts to a different voltage.
  • If your device can't run on 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 will still need to bring a suitable plug adapter for Costa Rica if your power converter doesn't use the correct Type B plug adapter.
  • If you only want to charge USB devices such as tablets or mobile phones then a USB travel power adapter is recommended and it will work with any voltage, but make sure that you bring a USB travel adapter which includes a Type B plug adapter otherwise you'll still need to pack a suitable plug adapter for Costa Rica.

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

Background

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 and tablets that you are bringing with you. Without knowing which plug socket is used in Costa Rica you may 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 plug 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 visiting Costa Rica using the Type B or A 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 differ from region to region so please read our WikiConnections world power adapters list for a full list of destinations. We suggest reading the Costa Rica Wikipedia page [1] for more indepth details on the location.

Costa Rica power adapters

Do I need a power adapter in Costa Rica?

If the shape of the Costa Rican power outlet is different to the power outlet in your home country then you will need a power adapter. A US plug does not need a power adapter because it will already fit in a Costa Rican power outlet.

What is the best power adapter for Costa Rica?

The best power adapter for Costa Rica will be a Type B plug adapter [2] which is suitable for powering any 120 volt device or appliance.

What is the best power adapter for Costa Rica?

Costa Rica 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 recognise the wall supply by the 2 thin slots next to each other where the live and neutral blades go.
  • Plug Type B - You can recognise the wall supply by the 2 thin slots parallel to each other for live and neutral blades with a hole below for the earthed pin.
What plug sockets are used in Costa Rica?

What voltage is used in Costa Rica?

The common residential voltage in Costa Rica is 120 volts.

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

A US plug will fit into outlets in Costa Rica, both the frequency and voltage range are the identical to America.

Is the voltage in Costa Rica the same as the US?

The voltage in Costa Rica is exactly the same as in America.

What frequency is used in Costa Rica?

The frequency found in a Costa Rican power outlet is 60Hz.

Costa Rica USB 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 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 [5]. 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 iKits 4 Port USB Wall Charger [5] which has been successfully tested with multiple USB devices in numerous countries around the world.

What USB charger do I need for Costa Rica?

Why use a travel USB charger for Costa Rica?

  • Most travel USB chargers include 4 or more USB charger ports, this means that you only need to bring a single charger to charge all your devices. It cuts down on the weightand size of your luggage by only bringing a single USB wall charger rather than bringing several different chargers along.
  • Most travel USB power chargers should include interchangeable plug heads for various power outlet types. This is suitable if visiting multiple countries across North America which will probably use a different outlet to Costa Rica.
  • Good USB travel chargers are rugged, lightweight and compact - ideal for the rigors of travel rather than risking packing a domestic charger which might be hard to repair or replace in Costa Rica.
  • USB chargers will accept both the 120 volt power outlets in Costa Rica plus other voltage standards in other countries.
  • It's possible that accommodation or hotel bedrooms in Costa Rica might only have one wall outlet, by using a travel charger with multiple USB ports allows you to share out the single power supply with all your devices instead of having to wait to recharge one device at a time.
  • Due to their flexible nature a travel USB charger takes the uncertainty out of travelling to any unknown country as they are guaranteed to work practically anywhere on the planet.
  • Power outlets found in airport departure gates can be scarce and demand for charging multiple cell phones from other passengers before a flight can be high, therefore a USB travel charger with multiple ports and the ability to fast charge is perect.
  • Some countries power grids are unstable, a good quality travel charger allows for unexpected spikes and prevents damage to any devices attached to it. Attempting to repair an overloaded smartphone in Costa Rica could prove inconvenient and costly.
  • Higher priced USB chargers will also incorporate power outlet strips to allow you to use low wattage devices such as laptops, howeverthese are unsuitable for high powered domestic such as hair dryers or clothes irons. For further information see the guide on using travel appliances in Costa Rica for useful guidelines and advice on the best power adapter for a Costa Rican power outlet for high powered appliances.
  • Certain mobile phones might require more than the usual 500 milliamps supplied by a standard 5 volt USB power adapter to charge or provide fast charge. Ensure that the USB power adapter can support fast charging should some of your devices draw extra power.
  • When returning home travel USB chargers can also be used by charging multiple mobile phones overnight using a single power outlet.

What is the best USB charger for Costa Rica?

The 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.

Power converters for Costa Rica

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

Voltage converter

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

A heavy and bulky power converter [7] converts the voltage of 120 volts from a Costa Rican power outlet to work with a non-120 volt device, whereas a cheaper and smaller power adapter [6] (or plug adapter) will change the shape of the plug on your appliance to fit into a power outlet found in Costa Rica.

Do I need a voltage converter for Costa Rica?

When you are travelling to Costa Rica from another country check that the device can accept a 120v supply.

  • If your device charges slowly or does not power up when you are travelling to Costa Rica from a different country then check that it is compatible with a 120 volt power supply. Normally electrical devices which come from a country which use a higher voltage such as 240 volts sometimes take longer to charge or won't power up, so check the device is dual-voltage (usually marked with a 100-240 volt notation) else you may need to use an additional International travel voltage converter [9] to ensure safe and proper use when powering devices.
  • When powering larger appliances if you are traveling to Costa Rica from a higher 230 volt country you will need to use a much bulkier Step Up Voltage Converter [8] to convert the voltage from 230 volts to 120 volts.

Read the WikiConnections world power outlets page to find out which voltage your country uses.

What voltage is my device?

Dual voltage hair dryer

What voltage is my device?

The best way to see if a device is dual voltage is to check for a sticker on the charger or on the appliance itself, normally on the rear of the unit or near to where the power cord plugs into. This location might vary depending on the make and model of your device but could also be written on the box.

  • Single voltage devices could have a specific number - such as 110V.
  • Single voltage devices could also have a small voltage range (around 20 volts) with a dash to accomodate small voltage fluctuations - such as 220-240V.
  • Dual voltage devices will normally say a large range separated with a slash - such as 100/240V.

Travel appliances that can connect to a Costa Rican power outlet

Clothes iron
clothes iron

Curling iron
curling iron

Hair dryer
hair dryer

Hair straighteners
hair straighteners

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

Beats Pill
Beats Pill

Beats Pill 2
Beats Pill 2

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

Jabra Solemate
Jabra Solemate

Jabra Solemate Mini
Jabra Solemate Mini

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

A mobile phone
mobile phone

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

iPhone
iPhone

iPhone 3G
iPhone 3G

iPhone 3GS
iPhone 3GS

iPhone 4
iPhone 4

iPhone 4S
iPhone 4S

iPhone 5
iPhone 5

iPhone 5C
iPhone 5C

iPhone 5S
iPhone 5S

iPhone 6
iPhone 6

iPhone 6 Plus
iPhone 6 Plus

Samsung Galaxy phones that work with a Costa Rican power outlet

Samsung Galaxy S4
Samsung Galaxy S4

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

Kindle Fire 1st generation
Kindle Fire 1st generation

Kindle Fire 2nd generation
Kindle Fire 2nd generation

Kindle Fire HD 3rd generation
Kindle Fire HD 3rd generation

Kindle Fire HD 6 4th generation
Kindle Fire HD 6 4th generation

Kindle Fire HD 7 2nd generation
Kindle Fire HD 7 2nd generation

Kindle Fire HD 7 4th generation
Kindle Fire HD 7 4th generation

Kindle Fire HD 8.9 2nd generation
Kindle Fire HD 8.9 2nd generation

Kindle Fire HD Kids Edition tablet 4th generation
Kindle Fire HD Kids Edition tablet 4th generation

Kindle Fire HDX 3rd generation
Kindle Fire HDX 3rd generation

Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 3rd generation
Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 3rd generation

Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 4th generation
Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 4th generation

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

iPad
iPad

iPad 2
iPad 2

iPad 3
iPad 3

iPad 4
iPad 4

iPad Air
iPad Air

iPad Air 2
iPad Air 2

iPad Mini
iPad Mini

iPad Mini 2
iPad Mini 2

iPad Mini 4
iPad Mini 4

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Costa_Rica - Costa Rican Wikipedia web page.
  2. Type B plug adapter - Allows appliances to connect to Type B power outlets without converting voltage.
  3. http://www.iec.ch/worldplugs/ - International Electrotechnical Commission World Plugs
  4. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mains_electricity_by_country - WikiPedia - Mains electricity by country
  5. IKits 4 Port USB Wall Charger - A universal USB charger capable of charging up to 4 USB devices with swappable international adapters.
  6. https://www.amazon.com/Ceptics-GP-12PK-International-Worldwide-Universal/dp/B01DJEBLQU/ref=as_li_ss_tl?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=CFDDSXZJ59CH648AVQ0H&linkCode=ll1&tag=wikiconnections-20&linkId=b865b6ca5e535d710bf1e1b3a790f622 - power adapter
  7. Power converter - A step up step down power converter transformer converts 110-120 volts up to 220-240 volts and 220-240 volts down to 110-120 Volts.
  8. https://www.amazon.com/gp/search/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&bbn=10967761&camp=1789&creative=390957&fst=as%3Aoff&linkCode=ur2&qid=1451325551&rh=n%3A172282%2Cn%3A!493964%2Cn%3A281407%2Cn%3A173541%2Cn%3A10967761%2Cp_n_feature_keywords_browse-bin%3A2888021011&tag=wikiconnections-20&linkId=HWUDRS5BKFQ75ACA - Step Up Voltage Converter
  9. International travel voltage converter - Travel voltage converters change the voltage of an electrical power supply by stepping up or stepping down the voltage and are often compact units which support both plug sockets and USB charging.