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. Global Electric & Phone Directory has information on electrical and telephone plugs around the world. www.kropla.com.
Walkabout Travel Gear. Walkabout Travel Gear has a good coverage of your power questions under "Solving the Riddle of Global Electricity." 800/852-7085. www.walkabouttravelgear.com.
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