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The Municipality of Guarapari
A view of Guarapari
A view of Guarapari
Flag of Guarapari
Nickname(s): "Barra"
Location of Guarapari in the State of Espírito Santo
Location of Guarapari in the State of Espírito Santo
Coordinates: 20°39′S 40°30′W / 20.650°S 40.500°W / -20.650; -40.500Coordinates: 20°39′S 40°30′W / 20.650°S 40.500°W / -20.650; -40.500
Country  Brazil
Region Southeast
State Bandeira do Espírito Santo.svg Espírito Santo
Founded 1679
 • Mayor Edson Magalhães (PSD)
 • Total 592.231 km2 (228.662 sq mi)
Elevation 15 m (49 ft)
Population (2013)
 • Total 116,278
 • Density 200/km2 (510/sq mi)
Time zone UTC-3 (UTC-3)
HDI (2000) 0.731 – high[3]

Guarapari is a coastal town of Espírito Santo, Brazil, a popular tourist destination. Its beach is famous for the high radioactivity level of its sand.


Guarapari is a part of Greater Vitoria, 47 km south of the state capital Vitória. Its population is 116,278 (2013) and its area is 592 km². It is a well-known tourist destination, known for its curving white sand beaches backed by commercial development, which extend southward to Nova Guarapari and Meaípe. With its heavily built-up coastline like Vila Velha and Vitória, it caters heavily to seasonal tourists, and consequently has quite a dramatic seasonal population fluctuation.

The municipality contains the 953 hectares (2,350 acres) Concha D'Ostra Sustainable Development Reserve, established in 2003 to protect the mangroves of the Bay of Guarapari.[4] It also contains the 1,500 hectares (3,700 acres) Paulo César Vinha State Park, which protects an area of dunes, lagoons and marshes along the Atlantic shore.[5] Formerly called the Setiba nature reserve, it is a pristine example of a coastal ecosystem and important for local turtle and bird populations.


The municipality has had European presence since 1585 when Jesuit missionaries built a small chapel and dug a well.


Along a roughly 500-mile portion of Brazil's Atlantic coast that runs from north of Rio de Janeiro up to the region south of Bahia, the sands of old beaches are naturally radioactive. Sea waves pound coastal mountains rich in monazite, a phosphate of rare earth metals containing uranium and thorium.[6][7] The background radiation level on some spots on the Guarapari beach read 175 mSv per year (20μSv/h);[8] Some other spots reach 55 μSv/h,[9] while some even reach 131 μSv/h.[7] To place that in context, the average exposure level across the United States is ~3mSv/yr[10] while a chest x-ray is a one time exposure of 0.1 mSv.

In the Guarapari city, radiation levels are far lower: a study among 320 inhabitants showed an average received dose of 0.6 µSv/h, corresponding to 5.2 mSv per year.[11]


Coastline in Guarapari.

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