The northern shore of Búzios is really where it all began. First with the pirates who found that the bay on this side of Búzios was best for loading precious Brazilwood and other pilfered oddities that they found in the New World. Later, the French “organized” what the pirates were already doing and continued to use this port, and the bay where Praia de Manguinhos lies. They brought in slaves and left with Brazilwood and sugar.
As you can see here, this beach isn’t used much for swimming. It’s right in the town center and is quite picturesque as you enjoy your morning coffee, or eat a nice lunch of fresh fish or pasta. Gaze out over the beach and the ocean and consider some of the history of this interesting strip of sand.
Besides, it was perfect for building a home, had great weather, few bugs, great fishing, and what a view!
The first mention of Búzios is found on Portuguese maps around 1575. It was then called Ponto dos Búzios, or “Shell Point”.
Beginning around the 18th century, gold was discovered in present day Minas Gerais. Word spread quickly and ship traffic greatly increased in and out of Rio de Janeiro as gold left for the Old World.
With the increase in commerce, demand for raw materials rose. And a great demand for whale oil to use in lamps in Rio, and in and around the gold mines, created a new market. To supply the great demand, early Brazilian fishermen created whale “traps” along the coastline. Points such as peninsulas proved best trapping grounds.
Still governed in the late 1700’s by Portugal, the crown sent Inácio Pedro Quintela to oversee maritime operations that included whaling. He allowed it to continue until 1768 which by then, because the great success of the “traps”, whales were almost hunted to extinction in these parts.
Of course, whaling has been banned for years in Brazil, but the town of Búzios owes a lot to the fishermen who created an organized community for hundreds of years here. And descendants still live here and fish from the shores. Their port of choice continues to be the Armação area, filled with colorful boats which make their way out every morning and bring back the catch of the day.
Local artist Christina Motta immortalized the fishermen in a statue depicting three of them pulling in their net. The statue sits right in the Praia da Armação bay and is a must see in Búzios. You can view the statue easily by walking along the seaside sidewalk, or by driving down Avenida José Bento Ribeiro Dantas (named after a popular doctor from Rio who started coming to Búzios in the 1950’s).
Another great find in the area are the many local shops and cafes that line the avenue. Start the afternoon off by some light shopping and continue eastward toward Praia dos Ossos. Along the way, make sure you drop in on a cafe to either experience wonderful Brazilian coffee, or one of the fantastic fruit drinks made from fresh fruit and brought to your table.
And the view could not be any better. End the day at sunset here and you’ll be in for a treat. Since Armação Beach faces west by northwest, the sunset is spectacular.
After the sunset, walk east toward Praia dos Ossos and try one of the many local restaurants here. Many offer fresh seafood caught locally, or a variety of the exquisite Brazilian flavorful dishes. What a way to end a great afternoon in Búzios!
Praia da Armação – Armacao Beach – Index:
- Sand – medium grain, yellow-tan in color.
- Facilities – throughout the area.
- Shade – no umbrellas, but trees and structures give shade through midday.
- Notes – not recommended for swimming.