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Electricity, Internet and Adapter in Costa Rica

It’s the first time you visit Costa Rica, and you are not sure about electricity there. Do you need an adapter? Is there electricity? Is there internet? How many volts come from the sockets? I will answer all these questions in this article, and if you have more, then feel free to write to me!

Is there electricity in Costa Rica?

Yes, in most areas, there is electricity.

There are places where you have electricity just during the day. In this way, people can use their kitchen over the day and during the night the electricity will be turned off. In some secluded areas, people get their electricity through their own solar panels.

We usually think that if there is electricity, it is always there. That’s not always the case. It happens occasionally that there is a power failure for just 10 seconds, 10 minutes or even some hours or days. This happens because the powerlines can stop working because of the weather, e.g. when a tree fell, truck accidents, etc. When there is a storm and a tree falls on a powerline, there probably won’t be electricity. The local electricity company will fix it, but in Latin American countries you must be patient.

By the way: In Costa Rica, about 96% of the energy comes from renewable sources, e.g. from the Chachí dam, Lake Arenal, windmills all over the country, etc.

Cachi Staudamm

Cachí dam

How many volts? Do I need an adapter?

In Costa Rica, 120 V come out of the plugs. For German or Swiss devices you will definitely need an adapter with two small, thin plugs and probably a third-round plug.


The socket in Costa Rica

It is enough if you just use the two thin plugs. In the US they use the same plugs. You should check before if your device works with 120V. If you need a fan, a travel fan would be the best option. They usually adapt to the voltage.

With a fan, you will realize it just blows a bit of air instead of actually drying your hair.

Adapter 2 Stecker

Adapter with two plugs

Adapter 3 Stecker 

Adapter with three plugs


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Is there Internet?

Many people think that we live in the jungle and barely have internet. Wrong! The capital San José is a city jungle full of cars and buildings; no green palm trees and monkeys. Outside of San José begins the tropical forest. Costa Rica is influenced by the US, so in many restaurants, stores and hotels you can find free wifi, for example at Subway or McDonalds. But I have actually never seen an internet café. Especially the capital San José has a very good internet connection.

If you want to use your mobile data, you should know that mobile networks are not as good in the mountains or rural areas. You won’t have a good connection in Tortuguero, but a full connection in San José. Therefore at most hotels good and stable WiFi is available.

Warm water through electricity

An important fact about electricity is water, and so is the shower.

When there are cables inside the shower, most Europeans will get scared and probably won’t take a shower. But don’t worry! In Central and South America, electrical showers are normal and common in private homes and many tourist accommodations.

Elektronische Dusche 

Electrical shower

Water tanks with warm water or water heaters are not usual, rather than that the water there will be only cold water. In the case of the electrical showers, the water will be heated inside of the showerhead and comes out hot. This includes unfortunately also the cables which are often hidden inside of a pipe so you don’t get scared. But don’t worry, nothing is going to happen! If you think the device doesn’t work, because the water doesn’t turn warm, it is probably because of the amount of water. Just turn the water tap a little bit back, so that less water runs through the pipe. You shouldn't change the settings at the showerhead.

Warm water at the sink is also not common, as you can probably imagine. Everything is a little different here, but you will enjoy it!

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