North American appliances are compatible with Costa Rica's electrical system (110 volts) and outlets (parallel two-prong). Australian and European appliances require a two-prong adapter and a 220-volt to 110-volt transformer. Never use an outlet that specifically warns against using higher-voltage appliances without a transformer. Dual-voltage appliances (i.e., they operate equally well on 110 and 220 volts) such as most laptops, phone chargers, and hair dryers need only a two-prong adapter, but you should bring a surge protector for your computer.

Consider making a small investment in a universal adapter, which has several types of plugs in one lightweight, compact unit. Always check labels and manufacturer instructions to be sure. Don't use 110-volt outlets marked "for shavers only" for high-wattage appliances such as hair dryers.


Global Electric & Phone Directory. This website has information on electrical and telephone plugs around the world. www.kropla.com.

Walkabout Travel Gear. See "Solving the Riddle of Global Electricity" under "Shop Walkabout Travel Gear" for answers to power questions. 800/852–7085. www.walkabouttravelgear.com.

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