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Customs in Vitoria, Brazil

By Sue Richards last modified Jun 09, 2009 07:53 PM

Published: 2009-06-09 19:53:04
Countries: Brazil

Although Vitoria is a port of entry for Brazil, we cannot recommend it for arrival from another country.

We arrived in our yacht “Marcy” in late May 2009 from Namibia via St. Helena. Vitoria looked good on paper – the latitude is convenient for a yacht to enter Brazil, then head south down the South American coast. Also Vitoria is a smaller city than Rio de Janeiro (the other sensible port of entry for southbound yachts) and we've found that smaller ports are often easier and more comfortable for a cruising yacht.

Indeed, Vitoria is a lovely city, with safe bus and taxi transportation, wonderful beaches, good shopping, and a comfortable yacht club with some English speaking employees. The problem lies with Customs, or "Alfondega" as it is called here.

In our three years of sailing, clearing in and out of over 15 countries, we've never had the entry process take more than a day and never been required to employ an agent. Here in Vitoria, the customs paperwork took 6 days and the help of several local professionals.

Alfondega (Customs) directed us to deal with an agent, who gave us a quote of about $500 US to clear a yacht through Alfondega alone. This price didn't include any paperwork for Policia Federal (Immigration) or Health or the Port Captain. We declined, thinking we would head down the coast to Rio. Luckily, before departing, we met a helpful contact - a member of the Iate Clube Espirito Santo and a professional shipping agent, who facilitated our paperwork and didn't charge us, though he and his associates spent many man hours to resolve our paperwork.

Yachts that cleared in this year at Fortaleza, Salvador, and Rio de Janeiro were all cleared in a day, with no agents or charges.

A sensible cruiser will avoid entering or leaving the country or even extending their paperwork at the port of Vitoria. We'd recommend it as a stop for anyone cruising the area, though – as long as you don't need to do any business with Alfondega!

Peter & Ginger Niemann
SV Marcy
Vitoria, Brazil
www.svmarcy.com

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