When it comes to electricity in Bolivia there are two things that you need to consider before plugging in:
- Voltage & frequency
- Type of plug
Voltage and FrequencyMost of Bolivia uses 220-230 volt outlets so you can use electrical/electronic devices brought from home if the standard voltage in your country is between 220V and 240V. Be aware that some older buildings in La Paz still use 110 volt oulets so make sure to double-check before using your device. To check whether your device is compatible or not, check the label of your appliance. In the case of a laptop or phone, check the small box attached to the charger plug. If it states ‘INPUT: 100-240V, 50/60 Hz’, it is a multi-voltage device and can be used in Bolivia. Dual voltage appliances (commonly hair-dryers and hair-straighteners) will read 110V/220V and may have a toggle between the two inputs which you can flick over before plugging into a Bolivian socket. Single voltage devices (usually household kitchen appliances) reading 120V will require a voltage converter for Bolivia, however you are unlikely to be traveling with these kinds of items. Electricity in Bolivia alternates at 50 cycles per second (50 Hertz). Because most electronics made today support multiple frequencies (50-60 Hz), this shouldn’t be an issue compatibility wise. Countries which use the same volt outlets as Bolivia (UK, Europe, Australia and most of Asia and Africa) as well as dual or multi voltage devices won’t require a voltage converter. If you’re traveling with an electrical device that doesn’t accept 230 volts at 50 hertz (generally electrical devices bought in the US, Canada and some Latin American countries) you will need to purchase a voltage converter to prevent your equipment from frying.
Power Sockets and PlugsIn Bolivia the power sockets used either accept a flat blade ungrounded plug (Type A) or a two-pronged ungrounded plug (Type C):
If your plug has a different shape to the above, you will need to purchase a plug adapter.
Purchasing a Power Plug and/or Voltage AdapterMany electronic devices such as chargers for laptops, phones, cameras etc. allow a multi range voltage (110-240 volts), eliminating the need of a voltage converter. Sometimes electrical devices have a switch for either 120 or 230 volts (remember to set back). Before plugging in, always check the specifications on your equipment as powering a 120 volts device with 230 volts can destroy your equipment and possibly cause a fire. It is a lot easier to purchase adapter plugs or voltage converters in your home country as they can be a bit of a hassle to find in Bolivia. For 120 volt electrical devices that don’t operate on dual voltage (such as older versions of hair dryers and hair straighteners), it may be cheaper to by new appliances in Bolivia than buy a voltage converter. For personal devices not compatible with Bolivia’s electrical requirements we recommend purchasing the following: Please note before buying:
- a plug adapter does not change the current or voltage (this requires a voltage converter) unless your appliance is dual voltage.
- A voltage converter is for use with electrical appliances only and should not be used with electronic devices (computers, radios and battery chargers, etc.).