A complete travel guide with the best things to do, the most beautiful beaches, where to stay, where to eat and more!
Located on the seaside of Espirito Santo, Guarapari is famous for its beautiful beaches and medicinal sands that have made it known as the “Health City”. Rich in marine biodiversity, the city attracts, besides beach lovers, many divers, people who like history and even rural tourism due to the mountains of the region. Oh, and we cannot forget the young folks, who love to enjoying the nightlife there which is very vibrant, especially during the summer.
Guarapari was founded in 1569 by Saint Joseph of Anchieta during his Jesuit missions to catechize Brazil‘s native indians, and its name has an indigenous origin: “Guará” is the name of a bird with red plumage and “pari” was the weapon used by the indians to hunt the animal.
In this article you will find a complete guide with what to do in Guarapari, how to get there, where to eat, where to stay, the best beaches in the city and much more. Check it out!
Things you need to know about Guarapari, Brazil
According to IBGE (Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics), the estimated population is over 125,000 people.
The coastal city is located in the metropolitan region of Vitória, capital of the state of Espírito Santo, about 53 km away. The distance from Vila Velha to Guarapari is around 48 km.
Guarapari on the map
By bus: The company Planeta has buses that run between Vitória and Guarapari, which takes about 1h30-2h and costs around R$ 20 each way.
By car: You can also drive to the city via Rodovia do Sol (ES-060) or BR-101, for about 1h-1h30. (Note: there is a toll charge on both.)
P.s.: Find some car rental deals here.
When to go to Guarapari?
With an yearly average temperature of 25°C, it is rarely cold, but it is necessary to pay attention to some details: the months of November and December are the rainiest and, although the months of January, February and March are the warmest, they are also the most popular, making the prices higher and the places busier.
What to do in Guarapari, Brazil
Guarapari is the main tourist city of Espírito Santo and it has attractions for all ages and styles. During the day, take the opportunity to visit the beaches and to make some trips around the region. Find below some options:
Enjoy the monazite sands
Guarapari became known worldwide as the “Health City” and this is due to its monazite sands that have a natural concentration of heavy minerals with therapeutic effects that are able to relieve pain and even prevent diseases. Some are used to polish ships and glasses lenses and it is believed to have even been used to produce an atomic bomb.
There are 4 types of sand that can be found in this region:
- Ilmenite: black in color, used in the metallurgical industry;
- Granada: red in color, used for the manufacture of special glasses for microscopes, telescopes and photographic lenses;
- Zirconite: gray in color, it is used for the manufacture of tableware and
- Monazite: yellow in color, it is used for tiny super magnets and miniaturization of electronic equipment.
Enjoy the best beaches in Guarapari, Brazil
With a total of 52 beaches, Guarapari has options for all tastes. Find out below which are the best beaches of each region:
Beaches in the Central Region
In the central region are located the beaches with more structure and they are most frequented by tourists.
The most famous is Praia das Castanheiras (note that “praia” means “beach” in Portuguese), which has this name because of the trees that are situated along the waterfront. Also in the central region is Praia dos Namorados, a beach with rock formations and coral reefs that form natural pools. Its name came from a tale that says a couple were bewitched with love because of the beauty of the place.
Another very popular beach in this region is Praia da Areia Preta, which has thorium, a radioactive element that is believed to help in the treatment of arthritis and rheumatism.
Between Areia Preta and Castanheiras there is Praia do Meio, where the Siribeira Yacht Club is located. Built in 1947, it takes its name from the Siriba tree present on site and it is a great place to enjoy good food and a wonderful view.
And in the urban area of the city still, there is the small Praia das Virtudes, which used to be the beach where the nuns bathed. Nowadays it is more frequented by the locals.
Beaches in North Region
In the north of Guarapari, there is Praia de Santa Mônica, which is perfect for watching the sunset, and also Três Praias and Setiba.
Beaches in South Region
In the south region, known as Enseada Azul, the beaches are a little more isolated and with less structure: Guaibura, Peracanga, Bacutia and Praia dos Padres (to get to the last one, it’s necessary to do a trail).
Among the most popular are Praia do Morro, a 4 km long beach with a boardwalk full of kiosks and also where is located the statue of Blue Marlin, one of the tourist spots in the city, and Praia de Meaípe, which was once considered one of the 10 most beautiful beaches in Brazil and where some of the main nightclubs are located.
An option for those who like to visit several beaches in a single day or want to visit the famous Três Ilhas, it is possible to take a boat tour. You can contact Claudia from Escuna Indiana for information and prices at +55 11 27 99933-0912.
Go Scuba Diving
As mentioned before, Guarapari has the largest marine biodiversity in Brazil and for this reason it is one of the most popular diving spots in the country. Below there are some of the best diving spots in Guarapari:
1) Victory 8B
A Greek ship that was abandoned in Vitória and that, after a shipwreck programmed by the Government of the State of ES, the Brazilian Navy, the IBAMA and a team from the Atlantes company, it became the largest Artificial Reef in Latin America. It is 12 km away from the main beaches of Guarapari and 21 meters deep.
Built in Scotland, the steel ship was shipwrecked near the port of Guarapari in 1903. It is divided into two parts at a depth of 25 meters and it was elected “Best Shipwreck in Brazil” by Mergulho magazine.
3) Escalvada Island
A place for a classic dive in Guarapari. There, most of the scientific dives that placed the city as first in Brazil’s biodiversity were made.
4) Rasas Islands
Here you can see big fishes, large shoals and even dolphins. As they are further away, they are less visited and, consequently, have a greater conservation of underwater life. One of its main attractions is the Canyon, a vertical wall that forms a corridor that concentrates a great diversity.
5) Faria Lemos Shipwreck
A British wooden freighter that is at a depth of 8 meters. It is still possible to view part of the load during the dive.
6) Índia Shipwreck
Discovered in 2004, this 30 meter long ship is at a depth of 54 meters and is recommended for technical divers.
For this scuba diving, we recommend Atlantes, which is the largest professional training center for diving in Latin America and it has a good qualification in Trip Advisor. You can find more detailed information about which dive sites can be found on the company’s website.
Try the adventure tourism
Besides diving, in the coastal region you can visit the Parque Estadual Paulo César Vinha and you can go kayaking in Lagoa dos Caraís (also known as Lagoa da Coca Cola).
Another option for those who want to enjoy the city is to adventure through the hills and waterfalls of the rural districts of Guarapari.
In the rural district of Buenos Aires it is possible to see the Pedra do Elefante (Elephant’s Rock), where it is possible to practice climbing. A little further is the Cachoeira de Buenos Aires or Cachoeira do Turco, located on a private property. To get there it is necessary to go through a trail of 300 meters (entrance fee R$5).
In the district of São Félix, there is Cachoeira do Bravin or Cabeça Quebrada, with six waterfalls (entrance fee R$2), and in the district of Baia Nova is Cachoeiras Bar, a place with zip lines, water slide and space for camping (entrance fee R$5).
Some other options are: Cachoeira Marosini, which is located in the Pau D’Óleo District (entrance fee R$3), Cachoeira da Vovó Lúcia in Ibitiruí and Cachoeira da Pedra Roxa, in Ibitirama city.
Walk through the historic center
Guarapari has a well-preserved historical and cultural heritage and many interesting places to visit.
Nossa Senhora da Conceição Church, also known as Igreja das Conchas, was built on top of a hill and represents a landmark in the foundation of the city. It was declared a national heritage by IPHAN (National Institute of Historic and Artistic Heritage).
Nearby there are also the ruins of Nossa Senhora da Conceição, another church that was never completed due to a fire.
Located in front of Praia da Areia Preta there is Radium Hotel, which was built to be a naval school and, a few years later, it was sold and became one of the largest Brazilian casinos. After its decay in 1964, it was declared a Historical Heritage Site and today it works as a cultural space.
The Poço dos Jesuítas, also known as Poço da Fonte, is dome-shaped and is the only one left in the region. The water that came out of it was believed to be miraculous.
For those who like local handicrafts, a great option is the Hippie Fair that takes place on weekends in front of the Radium Hotel. The famous clay pots used in local cuisine are also sold there.
Have fun at night
Guarapari also has a lot to do at night! There are plenty options of restaurants, bars with live music and nightclubs in the city, such as Lua Azul, Gaia Club, Cafe de La Musique and Multiplace Mais. It is also worth checking the schedule of Arena Pedreira, a venue for concerts and parties in the region.
Guarapari during the winter
If you want to know what to do in Guarapari during the winter, I have good news! At this time of the year the city has a super pleasant weather with an average temperature that is around 20ºC. It can be a good time to visit the city away from the big summer crowds. The problem is that many bars, restaurants and hotels may only work on the weekends or can even be closed.
Take advantage of the mild temperatures to practice other activities, such as:
- Visit the Morro da Pescaria Municipal Park, which is a conservation area with 73 hectares of the Atlantic Forest;
- Enjoy the Winter Festival, also known as Esquina da Cultura, which brings together music, gastronomy and art;
- Walk or cycle along the waterfront of the beaches;
- Explore the historic city center;
Where to eat in Guarapari
Guarapari’s cuisine has many dishes based on seafood, which the most famous are moqueca capixaba, torta capixaba, muma de siri and caranguejada.
The best restaurants in Guarapari are at Praia do Meaípe:
Restaurante Gaeta: located in front of the beach, this is one of the most traditional restaurants in the city. Take the opportunity to try moqueca de banana, a dish created especially for vegetarian Indians who came to work at Samarco some years ago. Moreover, moqueca with badejo (badejo is a type of local fish) and shrimp, their “batida de pêssego” (a peach alcoholic drink) and “torta de coco” (a coconut dessert) are the most requested on the menu.
Cantinho do Curuca: This restaurant specializes in seafood and serves the typical dishes of the region.
Muvuca Bar: this beachfront restaurant with outdoor seating is popular among the crab lovers.
At Praia do Meaípe make sure you buy the cocadas (coconut sweets) and artisan chocolates that are sold by the local ladies and also try the famous “bolinho de aipim” (cassava cake) of Zezé.
Where to stay in Guarapari
Guarapari Hotels and B&Bs
There are 3 possible regions to stay in the city. Find below the best option for your trip:
In the central region is where the most structured beaches are located, surrounded by shops, restaurants, kiosks and fairs:
- Hotel Atlântico: located in front of Praia dos Namorados, has a swimming pool, games room and a restaurant;
The southern beaches are the most beautiful and this is where Meaípe beach is located, which has the best restaurants and also where the most popular nightclubs are located:
- Hotel Meaípe: with a great structure and facing the sea, it is perfect for families.
- Pousada do Sol: with a great rating from other travelers, it is located 700 meters away from the beach.
- Pousada Orquídea Café: with a great structure and great reviews this B&B also has a super praised bistro.
In the north, we can find the region of Setiba which is ideal for those seeking peace:
- Serra Negra Pousada Spa: perfect for those who are working remotely and looking for a place with good structure for the whole family. The B&B has a coworking space, mini golf, cinema room and beauty salon.
Another option would be to stay in the mountains and enjoy rural tourism.
- Hotel Flamboyant: a farm hotel located in a park 20km away from the city center of Guarapari that has several activities for guests, in addition to 6 swimming pools and sports spaces.
For more options, check below:
Unfortunately I was in Guarapari only for one day, but it was enough for me to fall in love with it and wish to visit it again.
Thanks to the Secretaria de Turismo do Espírito Santo that, with the support of Sebrae-ES and ABAV, invited us to visit this paradise.