As you approach the equator, the strength of the sun increases. Costa Rica lies between 8° and 11° north of the equator; in comparison, "always sunny" southern California is 32° north of the equator. People that arrive from northern latitudes should realize that unprotected exposure to direct sunlight - even for as little as 20 minutes - can cause a painful sunburn.
If you are at the beach, plan on applying 30 SPF sunscreen every hour. Even if it's cloudy it's still possible to get burned, so please, apply sunscreen to the exposed portions of your body regularly. This applies to Guanacaste beaches like Playa Flamingo, Playa Conchal, and Tamarindo. Not all areas are super sunny, however - one example is San Gerardo de Dota, which is set in the South Central region of Costa Rica.
It's also very important to stay hydrated while in Costa Rica, and when possible, to stake out a shady area on the beach - this will allow you to enjoy longer periods of time while enjoying the country's gorgeous coastline.
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