The story of this surf paradise begins in 1525 when, as it has been told, a naval expedition, commanded by Dom Henrico Acuña, that was going to the Molucca Islands, when passing through the Strait of Magellan, got caught in a thunderstorm and was forced to search for shelter in the Garopaba Bay. The expedition found a Carijo Indian tribe who made a living from fishing, hunting and vegetable and root plantations.
It was only in 1666 that the fist Azorean immigrants began to settle in Garopaba. In the 17th Century immigration was intensified.
In 1789, the settlement was called Armação de São Joaquim de Garopaba, a name that lasted until 1846 when the locality was emancipated to parish. At that time, the main product was the oil of the whales that were caught in the region. That oil was used for public lighting and was normally mixed into construction mortar, instead of cement, which did not exist by then.
In 1864, the Italian priest Rafael Faraco assumed the parish. He was a dynamic and active man and, with his work, gave a new boom to the life of that fishermen community. Thanks to his efforts, Garopaba became a city on March 6, 1890. Garopaba continued like a fishermen village until very recently, when it was discovered first by campers, who used to camp on its sands during the summer, and then, by surfers, for its beaches that are excellent for surfing. For the last few years, Garopaba has been the destiny of many tourists, mainly Argentineans and Uruguayans. However, most of the tourists come from the state of Rio Grande do Sul, who made Garopaba the vacation destination of their choice.
The word “Garopaba” comes from the language of the native Brazilian tribes. In Guarani, the local language before colonization, YGÁ, YGARA, YGARATÁ, mean boat, canoe and MPABA, PABA mean place, bay or locality. Therefore, GAROPABA means Canoe Bay, Boat Bay. The name is related to the origin of Garopaba, where the bay provided safe anchorage for passing boats.
Translation: Maria Cecília Pastorelli.
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