Widow Makers

Tico houses do not come with hot water, nor do the locals care — the temperature, after all, is hot in Costa Rica year-round. The expats, aka “gringos,” have adopted a dangerous solution. Showerheads with live wires are installed in homes across the country, using a heated coil to deliver steaming showers. The three settings, “luke warm,” “hot” and “ridiculously hot” require a delicate dance of constantly adjusting the water temperature while not getting electrocuted. (Rubber shower mats are recommended.) Husbands risking their lives after their wives holler, “Honey, will you fix the shower?” eventually dubbed the contraption a “widow maker.”

The following two tabs change content below.
I'm a life-long travel junkie journalist who works hard to find adventure in everyday life after two years of travel and expat living.

Related Content


  1. Those things scared the hell out of me when I first saw them. Actually they scared the hell out of me every single time I had to shower. No part of that shower seems like a good idea. Couldn’t they at least put the wires in a sealed casing?

    That said, the only thing I hate more than being electrocuted to death in a dirty hostel shower, with a bunch of hippies staring at my naked corpse, all wondering if they can steal my shampoo, is a cold shower.

    Yes, that run on sentence was intentional 🙂

  2. Wow. That is wicked sketchy.

    In Korea my water was only intermittantly hot. By intermittantly, I mean that I only got about 30 seconds of it at a time. In Costa Rica, that would have been fine. In Korea, one of the coldest countries in the world, it was unpleasant.

  3. Thanks so much for your comment! You have a gorgeous site — wow!

  4. Thanks for the compliment! My blog’s been around for a little over a year now, but I’m finally getting around to being more professional with it. I’ve been blogging for 10 years, but it has taken me until recently (this past summer) to decide to actually do something with that experience.

    How did you get started in freelance writing? I have a degree in journalism, but haven’t been able to get any sort of writing work. I feel like I’m looking in the wrong places.

  5. I’ll shoot you an email. I’ll trade you freelance writing tips for blogging advice!

  6. Sounds like a deal!


  1. […] Daughter: Without constant adjustments, my shower would be either cold or scorching hot! (For more on “suicide showers,” click here.) […]

  2. […] Daughter: Without constant adjustments, my shower would be either cold or scorching hot! (For more on “suicide showers,” click here.) […]

Speak Your Mind