Having an endless array of idyllic beaches and the most wildlife-rich rainforests on Earth, Costa Rica is an eco-tourism wonderland. Famously friendly local inhabitants, proximity to the US, and an affordable price tag have seen this dream vacation destination skyrocket in popularity over the years.
Are you planning a trip yourself? Then you might need a power adapter to keep your devices fully charged on the road. Here’s everything you need to know about picking up an adapter for Costa Rica.
See our product selection criteria and guidelines here.
Which power outlets do they use in Costa Rica?
Like most countries in Central America, Costa Rica uses the A/B Type power outlet, which is made up of the two horizontally aligned rectangular pins. It’s the same outlet you will find throughout North America.
The condition and quality of the power outlets vary tremendously in Costa Rica. Avoid trying to use any that appear burnt or flimsy as they may result in a nasty electric shock.
What kind of adapter do I need for Costa Rica?
You might be asking yourself “What plug do I need for Costa Rica?” The good news for American travelers is that these outlets are the same as we use at home, meaning it won’t be necessary to purchase a power adapter for Costa Rica. However, most other nationalities will need to purchase one to charge their devices.
We recommend this Universal Adapter that will have you covered in Peru, in addition to 100 plus other countries around the world. It also has a fuse in place to protect your personal electronics from getting fried if you encounter a shoddy outlet, a useful feature even for American travelers.
What’s the electricity and power supply like in Costa Rica?
Costa Rica runs on 110V and 50 Hz, which is the same as the USA. Therefore, American travelers needn’t worry about purchasing a voltage converter, even should they plan on bringing large appliances like fridges and TVs.
Unlike most other Central American countries, the people of Costa Rica have the luxury of enjoying a relatively stable national electrical system.
For the eco-conscious travelers, it’s very nice to know the country has one of the highest rates of renewable energy on Earth – just shy of 100%!
Do I Need A Voltage Converter In Costa Rica?
Travelers from most other regions in the world might wonder whether they need a voltage converter to charge their devices in Costa Rica. The good news is that regardless of what system you use at home, almost all personal electronics are dual-voltage these days, which means you can safely charge them on either system. One common exception is the portable hairdryer, which often runs on a fixed frequency. Check the manufacturer’s instructions if in doubt.
Other Costa Rica Packing List Items
In addition to your US to Costa Rica power adapter, these items will help you pack with intention and expand the possibilities of your getaway. Also, check out our Costa Rica packing list for more inspiration and ideas.
1. Neck Wallet / Passport Pouch
Although it may be considerably safer than the neighboring countries, Costa Rica is no stranger to violent crime. One wrong turn into a dodgy San Jose barrio (neighborhood) could see a gun-toting gangster relieving the hapless tourist of their belongings. And if a passport and credit cards were to be taken, that would be enough to ruin an entire trip.
Therefore, it’s prudent to invest in a neck wallet to keep your valuables safe. These lightweight contraptions are capable of sliding effortlessly under the shirt, so the bad guys won’t even know they’re there. You can keep a decoy wallet in your pocket with only a little cash.
Even the most organized traveler could get into the habit of spreading their luggage all over the hotel room. One sure-fire way to keep everything nicely organized is to use packing cubes, little malleable cubes that neatly store each clothing in categories of your choice. With packing cubes, you’ll be able to quickly stow and retrieve whatever you need without having to dig through your bag and making a massive mess.
Whether you’re snapping a selfie with a Mantled Howler or on the hunt for the best reggae bar in Puerto Viejo, you’re going to need a fully charged device to enjoy a hassle-free travel experience in Costa Rica. And the best way to ensure you never run flat is to keep a lipstick-sized charger in your pocket or purse.
Another nifty trick for charging your devices (and your mini power bank) is to keep an extra phone charging cable on you. Some Costa Rican buses and most airports have USB charging ports these days, thus letting you do a quick recharge while in transit.
Much of Costa Rica experiences heavy rainfall throughout the year, especially the East Coast. Arrive prepared with a rugged, compact travel umbrella. We recommend one with a convenient auto open/close function and a carrying case that will keep your other belongings dry when stowing your umbrella.
Cybercrime is a global issue, and you’d be foolish to believe Costa Rica would be immune from attacks. These days, hackers all over the world have begun hanging around free Wi-Fi hotspots to steal the personal information of unsuspecting web surfers. And if they manage to get a hold of your bank details, then you can say goodbye to your life savings forever.
Don’t take the risk. Invest in an affordable and user-friendly VPN to encrypt your web traffic and keep your personal information free from prying eyes.
As we’ve mentioned, some Costa Rican destinations do have a relatively high rate of violent crime. Other potential incidents such as transport accidents and natural disasters could wreak havoc on even the most finely tuned travel plans. Keep yourself safe and protect the financial investment of your holiday by taking out a suitable travel insurance policy. We use TravelInsurance.com to compare policies from top companies to find a plan that’s well suited for our family and travel plans.
The best time to visit Costa Rica is during its dry season, which runs between December and April each year, although there is an additional dry spell in June and July. During these less rainy months, the country enjoys ample sunshine each day; the ideal climate to kick back on its pristine beaches or seek out wildlife in its lush rainforests.
Of course, the dry season is also the high season, which means you’ll be sharing the magic with hordes of other tourists.
Airfares and hotel rates are going to be considerably higher at this time as well. The crowds dissipate, and the prices plunge once the high season comes to an end. November and May are a good bet as they usually only see sporadic rainfall and manageable crowds. Be sure to check current Costa Rica travel advisories before you go.
2. What’s the weather like in Costa Rica?
As you might expect, Costa Rica has a warm and tropical environment with substantial annual rainfall and a high level of humidity. The average annual temperature of Costa Rica is between 70° and 81° F (12° and 27° C). Note that the Pacific coast is significantly less humid than the Caribbean side.
3. Where to go in Costa Rica?
Despite its small stature, Costa Rica comes ram-packed with exciting attractions to explore. And for many, it’s the blindingly white sands of the country’s pristine tropical beaches that spark such allure.
On the Pacific side, Tamarindo draws in big crowds for its well-developed tourism infrastructure, proximity to the Liberia International Airport, and killer surf breaks.
Nearby, Playa del Coco and Playa Hermosa are attractive options for a sunny seaside escape.
If you’d rather veer off the well-trodden tourist trail, the pristine Manuel Antonio National Park hosts some of Central America’s best beaches and thick virgin rainforest. Further south is the remote Corcovado National Park, which hosts plenty of dense jungle trails and idyllic places to swim. If calm turquoise waves and a chilled Rastafarian vibe are more your thing, then Costa Rica’s Caribbean Coast should be your first port of call. Expect to smell plenty of ganja smoke wafting through the air at Puerto Viejo de Talamanca; Costa Rica’s capital of chill. Awesome surf and wildlife volunteering opportunities add to the appeal.
To catch a glimpse of the gorgeous Green Sea Turtles as Mother Nature intended, make your way to Tortuguero National Park during nesting season from July to October. However, the best wildlife experiences lie within the lush Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve. This perpetually wet region is teeming with all sorts of cute and cuddly creatures – not to mention an abundance of creepy crawlies as well. Thankfully, professional nature guides make spotting the most exotic animals a breeze. And for a little added adrenaline, there’s an array of exciting flying fox tours to enjoy in the region.
Another excellent inland eco-tourism option is La Fortuna, a beautiful region that’s packed full of gushing waters and towering volcanoes to explore. The capital, San Jose, mightn’t be a bucket list destination, but it does at least have a number of fascinating colonial sites and vibrant after-dark entertainment.
4. How to Get Around in Costa Rica
Given its small size, overland travel is king in Costa Rica. Public buses are regular, efficient, and reliable, not to mention incredibly cheap. However, most holidaymakers opt for private transfers for the convenience they afford. These can be organized in any local travel agency and ply every tourist route. Domestic flights do exist but are rarely worth it when you factor in the check-in and airport transfer time.