Traveling in Costa Rica: Water and Electricity

Drinking Water

Parasitic infections are rare in Costa Rica, and drinking water quality in Costa Rica is excellent. Bottled water is readily available, and we keep containers in the vehicle with us. In all the areas we travel it is completely safe to drink the water straight from the tap, unless the hotel specifically directs you to drink bottled water.


Electricity is the same as for the USA (110 Volt) but sometimes only with 2-prong (polarized style OK) outlets. Electricity is almost universally available in Costa Rica, but the system is subject to overloading, especially near the end of the dry season, when the hydroelectric dams are at low capacity. Blackouts are not uncommon.


Even in truly elegant hotels you are likely to find a unique Costa Rican electrical shower. Usually only one control handle delivers water; the second, if present, does not deliver water at all. Here’s the secret: the more forcefully you turn on the water, THE COOLER THE WATER TEMPERATURE (based on the theory that there’s a constant amount of heat and you regulate temperature by the flow of water).

Some of the shower heads have switches which activate lower or higher voltage settings. If you are trying to get a HOT shower, turn down the water flow, and try different settings on the shower head. As Americans with electrical codes and (sensible) fear of exposed electrical wiring, these electric showers seem flirtations with death, but they do seem to work. So far Serendipity guests have had no catastrophes…