Be warned, we are letting you know now. Brazil is not for beginners and Mediterranean cruising it is not. This month we touched base with the team from Brazil Yacht Services, members of AYSS since 2014 and the only marine agency in the country dedicated exclusively to the superyacht industry to find out their advice for cruising this spectacular region. Founded by Adam Tarleton, and with the team led by Managing Director, Joao Kossman, Brazil Yacht Services is the primary contact for foreign-flagged superyachts visiting the region.
The BYS team has loads of experience in working not only with yachts stopping over for just a short technical port call but also with those cruising the area for extended periods for a scientific expedition, exploring the Amazon or visiting for special events like the Olympics. From securing berths to managing complex concierge requests and creating one-of-a-kind experiences for their clients, there is no such thing as a “normal port call” here. So, if you’re going to be visiting Brazil, this is what you need to know.
1. It’s a big area
The coastline of Brazil is vast, some 4,000 nautical miles in fact. It is the fifth largest country in the world with 26 states and one federal district. However, it must be said that much of the coastline is open to the Atlantic seaboard with very few options for shelter.
2. Start Here
Known as the ‘Cidade Maravilhosa’, Rio de Janeiro is the recommended port of entry to take care of all of your clearances and formalities. It also has one of the few marinas in the country able to accommodate yachts up to 60m. This is also the place to fuel and to stock up on provisioning and supplies.
Did you know there is more marina space for 40m+ boats in Antigua than in the entire region of South America?
3. The Amazon
The Amazon is home to the world’s largest tropical rainforest; it covers over 5.5 million square kilometres and is so big that the UK and Ireland would fit into it 17 times! This is adventure cruising at its best, and careful and thorough planning is essential. BYS creates custom-tailored itineraries for each yacht and monitors all paperwork very closely as the Amazon has its own bureaucracy, rules, and regulations. Naval advisers are consulted to assist with the most complicated aspects of planning this type of adventure.
4. Incredible Diving Spots
Yachts should consider stopping off to visit the pristine waters of Fernando de Noronha, about 200 nautical miles off the northeastern coast of Brazil. It is a national park that also boasts UNESCO World Heritage Site recognition. Here, the diving is superb with crystalline waters that have a visibility down to 50m. There are also lots of Spinner Dolphins and the small island has the vibe and rhythm of the Caribbean.
5. A place not to miss
Brazil’s most iconic cruising grounds are found 75 nautical miles west of Rio in the Bay of Angra dos Reis where you will find the island of Ilha Grande and the old colonial town of Paraty. There are no cars on Ilha Grande but plenty of good walking trails and Paraty is a charming colonial town with several good restaurants and many quaint local artisanal boutiques.
6. Life’s a beach
Lopez Mendez on Ilha Grande ranks among the world’s best beaches on just about every “Best of” list out there. The island boasts many safe anchorages and great spots for water sports. Take a tender to shore and stop by one of the beach cabanas for fresh fish and local fruit.
7. Explore & Spend
Cruising southwest brings you to the unspoilt island of Anchieta and scenic Ilhabela. A short 40-minute helicopter transfer will get you to San Paulo and its international airport. Brazil’s best shopping and fine dining can also be found here.
The language is Portuguese and few speak English. The currency is the Brazilian Real (approx 1 US Dollar = $3.2 Brazilian Real) and US dollars and Euros are not readily accepted. Credit cards e.g. Visa and Mastercard are welcome for even small transactions. Amex is not.
9. What are you?
Commercial yachting, as you know it, is not recognized; however, as a registered yacht, preferably private or pleasure, you will be treated as a ‘Barca de Recreio’. Up-to-date paperwork is essential and clearances are required in and out of every jurisdiction.
10. Buddy can you spare…
Spares should be carried on board whenever possible. Although ship’s spares in transit are available in some ports, it is a slow process that is expensive and not all goods are accepted. (This is the case also for medical supplies and provisions.) For this reason, all paperwork must be run past the local handling agent prior to dispatch.
11. Check before you go
Some nationalities require visas, and these have to be obtained prior to arrival. Since visas are not granted on entry, get ahead of the game and arrive prepared.
Yachting as an industry is in its infancy in Brazil, and you’ll need a great agent to advise you, but it is worth the effort. Get in touch with Brazil Yacht Services here for more info.