If you wish to use your electronics while you travel in South America, you are going to need a power adapter. Even seasoned travelers have difficulty finding an adapter that meets their needs. There is a large variety of adapters on the market that vary in price and quality, and it can be confusing selecting the best power adapter for your travels. If you are planning to backpack through multiple South American countries or crossing even one border, then you may need to purchase more than one power adapter.
Adapters for Backpackers in South America
If you plan to backpack through South America, you should probably bring several adapters. However, in most cases you will find that Type A / B and Type C are the most common throughout most of Central and South America. With a few exceptions, you can get away with just these.
If you plan on going to Argentina or Uruguay then you will also need a type I power adapter. If you plan on backpacking through Cuba or Guatemala I recommend that you find a universal kit of some kind, because power sources may be quite diverse in different areas of those countries. (And of course, always double check the specific country if you think there may be more than one type of adapter.)
Bolivia, Brazil, Chile and Perú Adapters
If you are traveling in Bolivia, Brazil, Chile or Perú you will need a type C power adapter. You may also find that these adapters are necessary in other South American countries on occasion. If you plan to travel in Argentina, Puraguay, or Uruguay, you will also need to bring a type C power adapter for some areas.
You may also find that these adapters are necessary in other South American countries on occasion. If you plan to travel in Argentina, Paraguay, or Uruguay, you will also need to bring a type C power adapter for some areas.
Argentina and Uruguay Adapters
In Argentina and Uruguay you will find that you need a different kind of adapter from those that you see in most of South America. In these Latin American countries you will need a Type I adapter, although you may find the type C outlets, especially in more rural areas. It is recommended that if you travel to Argentina you take a Type I adapter in addition to the Type C.
Mexico and Central America Adapters
If you are from the United States and traveling to Belize, Columbia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Honduras, Mexico or Panama then you will probably find standard type A and B adapters in most cases. Type A / B power adapters are the standard 110v plugs that are found throughout most of the United States, and most electronics from the United States will work fine in these areas.
The above is the type A, it is not grounded. The Type B adapter is grounded but will not fit into all outlets. The Type A will fit into all outlets.
Power Adapters for Traveling Several Countries in South America
If you are going to be traveling across several countries you can purchase a set of these adapters for Latin America. Since some countries use more than one type of adapter, it’s nice to have them on hand in case you run into something non-standard for the country.
I actually recommend that you purchase more than one, because people asked to borrow these from me throughout my travel! Once a tour guide even asked to borrow one of these purple power adapters and my roommates were always asking if they could plug their devices in while I was charging something else. This is pretty significant considering that I was one of the only travelers from the United States. Canadian, Australian and even Latin American travelers were able to plug their devices into the purple adapters, making them great for use for all sorts of travelers, not just those with U.S. devices.
Purple Power Adapters for South America
When I traveled to South America I purchased the purple power adapters and I highly recommend them. They are brightly colored and hard to miss, so you won’t forget them as easily. They are also very light compared to some adapter “kits” and you can plug more than one device into them at a time.
Important Power Adapter Important Information!
Just because you have an adapter does not mean that your device will work when you plug it in. If you are from the U.S. some of your devices may not be able to handle the difference in voltage. Remember that a power adapter will not change the voltage of your device! Check everything you plan to plug in and make sure it says 120v – 240v somewhere.
You will find that most cameras, cell phones and laptops will have 120v – 240v capability. However, beware that your flat iron / curling iron / hair dryer probably does not. Hair products are some of the worst to try and convert. I even had a 120v – 240v capable hair dryer explode and catch fire on me in Argentina!
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