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US to South America Power Adapter: What Plug Do I Need? (2024)

south america power adapter
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There are 15 types of outlets in the world, and surprisingly 8 of them are found in South America. Due to this, the equipment you need will depend on where you’re headed. Not to mention – voltage conversions, frequency, and other factors that can get quite complicated.

After experiencing a blown fuse due to a crappy power adapter, I know the importance of coming prepared with the right gear. Use this comprehensive guide to learn about the best power adapter for South America, packing list must-haves, the voltage requirements per country, and FAQs that could make or break your trip!

See our product selection criteria and guidelines here.

Which power outlets do they use in South America?

There is not a consistent outlet or plug type in South America and it can range from American to European and more. Many countries will use the same outlet as the U.S., such as Bolivia, Columbia, Ecuador, Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname, and more. But even in some of these countries, there are varying electrical systems and it won’t always be consistent.

Here’s a breakdown of South American power outlets:

Countries: Plug Type:
Argentina Type C & I
Bolivia Type A & C
Brazil Type C & N
Chile Type C & L
Columbia, Ecuador, Venezuela Type A & B
French Guiana Type C & E
Guyana Type A, B, D, & G
Paraguay/td> Type C
Peru Type C & F
Suriname Type A, B, C, & F
Uraguay Type C, F, & L

Always check the outlet to be sure it looks safe and not discolored or melted. You can also feel the temperature and if it feels hot, do not plug it in. If you plug it in and see any sparks or smoke, remove it.

What kind of power adapter do I need for South America?

South America power adapter
Recommended South America adapter available on ➜

The U.S. is compatible with a Type A/B plug, which you’ll find quite a bit of in South America. However, in other places listed above that diversify from this, you’ll need a reliable adapter.

One of the best investments you can make in your future travels is this universal power adapter. It works in 100+ popular countries around the world and has a built-in fuse protector, which is important since this adds a level of safety against places with an unstable electrical grid.

In South America, it will cover you in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Columbia, Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela. It’s backed by a lifetime replacement guarantee so you can rely on its quality. Plus, it’s potentially the last adapter you’ll ever need to buy!

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Other South America Packing List Items

In addition to your US-to-South America power adapter, these items will help you to make the most of your travels:

  • 1. Neck Wallet & Passport Pouch

    We never travel internationally without this neck wallet. Not only is it the best way to ward off petty theft (since your essentials can be concealed underneath your shirt), but it also is a great way to stay organized when the jet lag sets in. You won’t have to scramble looking for anything since it’s all consolidated into one small tote that can be worn as a necklace. It holds your cash, credit cards, phones, ID, passports, and important travel documents, all lined with RFID-blocking materials so no one can scan your financial data at close proximity. It’s ideal for attractions that draw in local thieves since your valuables won’t be vulnerable in your back pocket or exposed where they can be easily snagged.


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  • 2. Lipstick-Sized Portable Charger

    Your phones will die more quickly on vacation since you’re using them for navigation, language translation, and looking up the nearest eatery. We recommend having a backup power bank to stay fully charged, which can be a lifesaver in an emergency. We’ve forgotten our hotel address because it was very foreign-sounding, or needed to call for a taxi in a remote area. Thank goodness we had this portable charger for on-the-go power.

    Lipstick-Sized Portable Charger

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  • 3. Virtual Private Network (VPN)

    South America is no stranger to cybercrime. There were 137-billion cyber attacks in South America last year and more than 22% of all attacks in the region were sourced from Brazil, a major hub for global online theft. We learned this when my credit card number was stolen on vacation, and now we realize the importance of a VPN when joining public Wi-Fi networks at hotels, airports, cafes, and more.

    A VPN will encrypt your private data like passwords and credit card numbers so no one can hack you. It will minimize the risk of malware, spyware, ransomware, and regional censorship. Which means you will have safer and freer access to the internet. For a few dollars a month, it’s one of the best ways to use the apps you would use at home with real peace of mind.


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  • 4. Jet Lag Relief

    Depending on where you’re coming from, flights can range from 4 hours to 20+ hours. My family visits Argentina often and it’s usually a 26-hour day of travel, and that’s with only one layover. Use these jet lag relief tablets to stay ahead of the exhaustion. They’re very gentle, made with chamomile and other botanicals, but they will help you to feel more rested between the time changes and long travel days.

    jet lag relief

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  • 5. Windproof Travel Umbrella

    South America is rainy – hence, the luscious rainforest! You’ll see the most rain in the countries of Brazil, Ecuador, and Peru, but any area is prone to some downpours. Prepare for unpredictable weather with this windproof umbrella. It’s high quality and has never failed us on a getaway. We love the carrying case that allows you to keep other items dry as you store this away after grey skies pass.

    Windproof Travel Umbrella

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  • 6. Travel Insurance for South America

    Personally, I wouldn’t travel to South America without travel insurance. You never know what can happen when venturing to a new destination and your domestic provider does not typically cover you outside of the country. Our friend had a hiking incident in Central America and had to be transferred to the hospital to treat broken wrists. Luckily, they had insurance and avoided paying out-of-pocket for the $5K treatment and $8K transfer!

    Our preferred provider is Faye since they are the first 100% digital provider. They truly care about their customers and are available 24/7 for any questions you have during your trip. They offer coverage for common issues like flight delays, cancellations, baggage loss, theft, rental issues, evacuations, family deaths, or even entire trip cancellations. We’ve never regretted having insurance and were reimbursed quickly when something went missing from our checked bag.

    Travel Insurance for South America

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  • 7. Grayl Filtered Water Bottle

    The tap water quality can vary greatly in South America and roughly 60% of the region’s water is contaminated due to industrial waste and runoff. Recent studies have shown that the continent’s water supply is exposed to E. Coli and other harmful types of bacteria. You may have access to water bottles but the plastic use can be wasteful and this system is not reliable for times when you may head off-the-beaten-path.

    That’s why we recommend the Grayl. It’s a high-quality option that removes bacteria, viruses, microplastics, pesticides, sediment, and more. It’s a little pricy, but it’s cheaper than a trip to the hospital, and it will serve you in all future travels.

    Grayl Filtered Water Bottle

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  • 8. Waterproof Phone Pouch

    The continent is surrounded by nearly 16,000 miles of coastline and some epic beaches and lakes! Indulge in the water scene but don’t forget your waterproof phone case. This one is more of a pouch, so it suits almost all smartphone models and allows you to film underwater videos for social media.

    Waterproof Phone Pouch

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  • 9. Quick-Dry Travel Towel

    A travel towel is always a smart idea since it’s one of the more versatile items you can bring on your trip. You never know if your accommodation will provide towels and even if they do, you don’t want to lug around fluffy hotel towels to the beach. This one is compact and thin yet super absorbent, drying 10x faster than cotton. You can use it as a beach towel, sweat rag for long hikes, seat cover, packing cushion, and so much more.

    Quick-Dry Travel Towel

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  • 10. Activated Charcoal

    If you’re an avid traveler, you’ve likely experienced a tummy ache from trying new food. Exploring the local fare is part of the fun! But come prepared with these activated charcoal tablets. These detoxify your body and stop pathogens from absorbing into your stomach before it’s too late. We never travel without them because they can stop stomach pain in its tracks and will minimize your downtime if food poisoning strikes.

    Activated Charcoal

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  • 11. Hanging Toiletry Bag

    Not everyone is aware of the sheer magic of a hanging toiletry bag! I didn’t know about these organizers until last year, and it’s truly been life-changing for our travels. Instead of juggling bottles on the edge of a sink or dealing with a lack of storage, this bag functions as a pop-up shelf that can unfold wherever you may roam.
    It holds all of your skincare, haircare, dental hygiene products, makeup, and more – with 4 internal pockets and 3 external for easy access items. It can hang virtually anywhere and makes all the difference for packing up and staying on-the-go! We’re obsessed and this brand even gives back to underserved communities and environmental protection.

    hanging toiletry bag

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  • 12. Extra Phone Charging Cables

    It’s easy to leave behind a charging cable as you’re moving between the airport, taxi cabs, trains, buses, and more. Since it can be difficult to find an exact match at random stores in South America, where the outlets vary greatly, I recommend bringing a few spares.

    Extra Phone Charging Cables

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  • 13. Packing Cubes

    Packing cubes are a brilliant way to stay organized since you can have a different colored set for each family member, and there are 5 cubes for different-sized items. I typically use one for shirts, one for pants, and a couple for socks and underwear, so I’m not having to dig for one particular item or dump the entire suitcase upside down to retrieve something. Once you try these, you won’t go back to the usual mess of packing and unpacking. This set is the best since it even comes with 2 bonus laundry bags to store your dirty items until they can be washed.

    packing cubes

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  • 14. Cooling Towels

    Temperatures in South America are warm and balmy! The humidity alone can make it feel much hotter and peak temps here have reached 120°F (48.9°C), which is no joke! This is why I’d recommend bringing these cooling towels on your journey. They drop to 20-30 degrees colder than the outside temp, simply by adding water. It’s infinitely reusable and chemical-free, almost working by magic to help you beat the heat. They’re the best!

    Cooling Towels

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  • 15. Luggage Locks

    Lastly, we’d recommend this practical item for securing your valuables for the journey ahead. We’ve had something stolen out of our checked luggage, so now we don’t gamble with our items. These secure all suitcases, carry-on bags, backpacks at crowded attractions, as well as city or hotel lockers. They are 10x more secure than 3-digit locks and offer real peace of mind.

    Luggage Locks

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What’s the electricity and power supply like in South America?

South America runs on a variety of power sources. The main ones include oil, natural gas, coal, hydro, wind, and nuclear. Chile and Brazil are spearheading the path for hydro-focused energy and more sustainable options to protect the environment. Since the Amazon Rainforest provides the world with approximately 20% of the global oxygen supply, this is crucial.

Do I Need A Voltage Converter In South America?

As mentioned before, the sockets vary from country to country, but this also means that the voltage varies in each country. Here’s a quick breakdown of this: 

Countries: Voltage: Frequency:
Argentina 220-240 V 50 Hz
Bolivia 220 V 50 Hz
Brazil 127 or 220 V 50 Hz
Chile 220 V 50 Hz
Columbia 120 V 60 Hz
Ecuador 110-120 V 60 Hz
French Guiana 220 V 50 Hz
Guyana 120 V 60 Hz
Paraguay 220 V 50 Hz
Peru 220 V 60 Hz
Suriname 127 or 230 V 60 Hz
Venezuela 120 V 60 Hz

North America uses 110V and a 60 Hz system, so if coming from here, you may need a voltage converter along with your universal power adapter and should leave behind items like your hair dryer, hair curler, straightener, etc. since these can often be dangerous on foreign power grids. 

Laptops and personal devices are often functional on dual-voltage, meaning they will work on voltages ranging from 120 to 240 V. You can check the label on your item, and if it says “INPUT AC 120/240 V 50—60 Hz 1300 W” – it is dual-voltage.

Other FAQs about traveling in South America

  • 1. When is the best time to visit South America?

    When is the best time to visit South America?

    Since the continent is so widespread, with climates ranging from tropical to cold near the Southern tip, the best time of year to visit really depends on your goals. Whether you want to hike the snowcapped mountains or trek the lost city, here’s some info!

    The seasons are opposite of the U.S. since this continent is in the Southern Hemisphere. Summer in South America lies between November and February while Winter is June to August. The rainy season spans from January to March, so you may want to avoid this timeframe.

    I would argue that the best times to visit are October through December (Spring) and April to May (Autumn) because the temperatures are more moderate and the crowds have thinned.

    Be sure to check current travel advisories before you go.

  • 2. What is there to do in South America?

    There is so much to do and see in South America! Some of my favorites are the Izuna Falls in Paraguay (also accessible from Brazil and Argentina), exploring the city of Cartagena, and the sights of Rio De Janeiro.

    For major tours, we book through the reputable platform, Get Your Guide. They act as the perfect intermediary between you and authentic, local tours. Some of the most iconic experiences to look into are – trekking Machu Picchu, witnessing the breathtaking glaciers of Patagonia, and watching an iconic Tango Show in Buenos Aires.

    See all South American attractions at ➜

  • 3. What are the best ways to get around South America?

    What are the best ways to get around South America?

    Obviously, most people will travel to South America by plane. But once you arrive, the bus is the most common and affordable mode of public transportation. You can always rent a car. When flying between countries, you’ll likely use LAN/LATAM airlines, which offer the most comprehensive service between major cities in South America.

    Active travelers can also backpack through the natural landscapes, and I’ve seen a man on social media ride a bike all the way from Portland to Patagonia! Hitch-hiking is more common in South America, but I would recommend sticking to the public options or your own retinal car. And of course, you can surf your way along the coast!

  • 4. What vaccinations are required before traveling to South America?

    The requirements are different depending on your targeted destination. But overall, the typical vaccination requirements for South America are Hepatitis A, Measles, Rabies, Polio, Typhoid, Malaria, Yellow Fever, and Tetanus. Be sure to check the CDC’s website for travel requirements by searching your specific country. Many of the vaccinations will be similar to the routine health requirements in America, so you’ll find a lot of cross-over.