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Brazil, Cabedelo & Jacare: Detailed Description of Clearing In

By Jason Trautz — last modified Oct 10, 2016 10:06 AM
Jason Trautz's very full and detailed description of how to clear in and out when visiting Cabedelo and Jacare. Plus other useful information about this area.

Published: 2016-10-09 23:00:00
Countries: Brazil

The following port clearance and cruising information is provided to help sailors visiting Cabedelo and Jacare, Brazil.  This is commonly the first Brazilian port-of-call after crossing the South Atlantic Ocean from Africa.  This information is based on two U.S.A. citizens on the 42 foot catamaran YOLO with no pets.

ARRIVAL DAY/ DATE:  Thursday, April 28, 2016

ARRIVAL PORT:  Cabedelo/Jacare, Brazil

DEPARTURE DAY/DATE:  Monday, August 22, 2016

DEPARTURE PORT:  Cabedelo/Jacare, Brazil

Consider the navigational information noted below as suggestions, and rely on your own sailing skills for accuracy and safety.


Unlike my other Noonsite articles this contribution will primarily focus on the clearance procedure.  If you use a local to assist you in clearing-in it will cost you $70 to $100 US dollars.  Double the amount if you use the local "talent" to clear-out.  If you want to completely avoid these expenses following my directions listed below. Truly, there is no reason for wasting your hard earned money, the clearance process is not rocket science and it is easy to complete.  You will need access to the Internet and a printer, which is easy to arrange.

There are plenty of tourist type things to do in Brazil, which has 200+ million people.  The weather in Jacare in May and early June is rather hot (31+ C / 88+ F), especially if you are in a marina, which tends to have less breeze and more bugs.  Come mid-June and onwards the temps are near perfect, 23 C / 74 F with nice breezes, very few bugs, and a cleansing rain every few days.  Smart boat owners avoid moving northward in April - August, thus avoiding the extremely high temps and humidity of French Guiana, Suriname, Guiana, and Trinidad and Tobago.


Do NOT waste your time calling Port Control when approaching Cabedelo, Brazil.  They do not answer, and the controllers appear to speak one language, Brazilian Portuguese.


Most visiting yachts anchor in the Rio Paraiba (river) near the Marina Jacare Village.  I anchored in five meters of water at 07.02.1 South and 034.51.5 West.  The anchorage can hold dozens of boats.  The bottom is idiot proof if you have a good anchor; the bottom is mud and sand.  Land surrounds your yacht on all four sides and the largest wave I observed during my four month stay was about 1 foot / 30 cm high.  Many yacht owners left their boats at anchor for weeks-on-end while they completed land travel or took trips back home.  To get to the anchorage following these waypoints:

A.  06.56.25 South, 034.48.60 West, open ocean

B.  06.56.28 S, 034.48.93 W

C.  06.56.42 S, 034.49.30 W

D.  06.56.54 S, 034.49.57 W

E.  06.57.25 S, 034.50.52 W

F.  06.57.92 S, 034.50.69 W

G.  06.58.80 S, 034.50.22 W

H.  06.58.86 S, 034.50.16 W

I.   06.59.07 S, 034.50.23 W

J.  06.59.48 S, 034.50.47 W

K.  07.00.28 S, 034.50.92 W

L.  07.01.46 S, 034.51.45 W

M.  07.02.16 S, 034.51.40 W

N.  07.02.00 S, 034.51.00 W

O.  07.02.11 S, 034.51.50 W, anchorage

The run up the wide and deep river is easy.  Cargo ships pull into Cabedelo and the local sailing yachts sail all the way from the ocean to Jacare.  I motored up the river during a cloudy night with no problems.  Channel markers are at the entrance to the port and near Cabedelo; most were lit at night.  The deep sand and mud channel from Cabedelo to Jacare will accept the deepest of yacht keels at low tide.

NOTE:  The local fishermen string submerged nets across the river, day and night.  When travelling up the river you might see the buoys marking the two ends of the net.  Don't worry about snagging a net with your keel or prop.  The fishermen tend to sit in their boats at the end of their net, and will quickly retrieve the net when they see a vessel travelling the nearby river waters.  Surprise, surprise, most fishermen use lights when working at night.

There tends to be very little boat traffic near Cabedelo.  The car/truck ferry runs back and forth across the river during daylight hours and early evening.  And, the M/V Dona Yve is the pilot boat which motors around in the river every once in a while.


Marina Jacare Village has four moorings near their marina.  Few yachts used them during my months in the nearby river.  Those that did use the moorings, dragged the moorings down the river, with one yacht bouncing off other yachts.  The pin-ball yacht was a small 35 footer, whose owner was in Europe.  Why would you pay for a mooring, when you can anchor for free in the river, just a few meters away from the mooring field?  The cost of renting a mooring is $ 200 Euros per month.  The Marina Jacare Village will "watch" your boat for you while you are on their mooring.


There are at least five marinas right next to each other in Jacare, Brazil.  Listing the larger ones from north to south:

1.  Big Toys Marine

2.  Jacare Marina

3.  Marina Jacare Village:  +55 83 987 39 1144 for Francis, +55 83 986 00 6798 for Nicolas, or e-mail [email protected].  Most sailboats used this marina.

4.  Centro Nautico do Jacare - Peter's Pier:  Phone 83-8878-8859 or visit

5.  Jacare Yacht Club

6.  Jacare Marine - Brian Stevens is the owner and he has one or more moorings.

Reservations are not needed, there is always room at one or more of the marinas.

Many travelling yachts use Marina Jacare Village, which has floating docks, a bar/cafe, water, electricity, Wi-Fi, book exchange, air temperature showers, etc.  The quote I received for a slip for YOLO was $70 USD per day plus a charge for electricity.  A slightly reduced monthly rate was also available.  Net, net, North American and European prices, void of North American and European standards.  Vessels Med moor onto the two floating docks.  This marina is usually the site of several cruiser functions each week, during the first few months of each year.  Your boat does NOT have to be in the marina to attend the functions.

NOTE:  Boat owners who truly want to be tied to a dock, should walk from marina to marina and get price quotes.  Marina Jacare Village prices were over double those offered by the other marinas.  And, some of the other marinas certainly have nicer docks and facilities.  The nicest facility is the Jacare Yacht Club and Peter's Pier, by far.  New arrivals must tie-up at the end of the T-dock, and will be moved to a Med-moor berth during the next slack high tide.  FYI, the river often runs at 6+ knots between slacks, and the fairways are very tight and won't allow for mistakes or crosswinds.

All of the local marinas, bars, and cafes reside on the dirt road that parallels the river, and the adjacent docks are treated to the daily barrage of music.  And, the Brazilians love VERY LOUD music, often past 0200 in the morning.  Also, the local boat owners love to cruise by the marinas and gaze at the beautiful boats while making wakes.  If you anchor in the river, you are more insulated from these annoyances.


If you anchor in the river you can use all of the Marina Jacare Village services for 100 Real per week ($4 USD per day).  This fee includes the use of the dinghy dock, cold showers, unlimited drinking water on the dock, and access to the marina work area, cafe/bar, library, and lounge area.  The marina offers free Wi-Fi and the password is the router number printed on the bottom of the router.

Most of the yachts in the river avoided paying Marina Jacare Village for dinghy dock privileges.  Instead, they used the other marina docks for free, the best facility being the Jacare Yacht Club.  Check with the marina manager before using his facility.  They also have water and showers available.


Seldom do yachts complete their clearance procedure on the date of arrival, or during a single full day of business.  Clearances are only handled Monday through Friday and during morning hours.  Since the related processes often move at the pace of a glacier, two business days (mornings) are often set aside for clearing-in. It is best to prepare a few items before traveling to the government offices.

You need to make three stops to clear-in, so be on the road by 0900.  Bring a book or something to occupy your time.  Wait times for idle government employees at the first two offices often exceeds one hour!  During my visit to Immigrations, I sat in the lobby for over 2 hours...island time has now migrated to the mainland of South America.  ALL CREW MEMBERS must go to ALL government offices, while clearing-in and out of Brazil.

Before you leave the marina you should get on the Internet and type in a few Google Map locations:

A.  Marina And Anchorage Area:  Type Jacare Igreja de Nossa Senhora do Brasil in Google.  This is basically where your travels will begin, at the nearby church. The church is located in the small nearby community located on the cobblestone street, which dead-ends at the marina area.

B.  Immigration:  Type Cabedelo Superintendencia Regional Policia Federal.  This is the first stop, Policia Federal (Immigrations) in Jacare:  There are three police forces in Brazil (Local, Federal, and Military).  Nobody in the country knows when to contact one organization verses the other for specific issues, since Brazil lacks nation wide police service standards.  In the Jacare/Cabedelo area Immigrations matters are handled by a man in the Jacare Policia Federal building, during week days, mornings only.

You can walk to this office, it is about 2.6 kilometers away from the marina area and it took me 30 minutes.  Getting there is easy, once you step foot on BR-230 (the six lane main road which is just east of the river) head north and follow the blue Policia Federal signs.

NOTE: If you take a taxi, pay for the one-way trip of 5.4 kilometers, otherwise you will end up paying the driver for a hour or more of wait time while you are inside processing paperwork.  Some taxi drivers in Jacare are like the dishonest cab drivers everywhere else in the world.  Some clueless yacht owners have paid as much as $28 USD for the ride to Immigration!

The Immigration officer will have you fill out a two page immigration form (Cartao De Entrada E Saida).  Make sure you complete this form with zero errors with an ink pen.  Blank fields, wrong information, crossed out data, or illegible handwriting is unacceptable, according to the Immigration official.  If you make an error, he will tear-up your form and have you complete another one correctly.  Flashback, remember the huge manly-looking nun at your Catholic school?  She has transformed herself and now lives in Jacare, Brazil!  You will eventually depart Immigration with a copy of the Cartao forms, a Passe De Entrada De Embarcacao form, and your stamped passports.

While at the Policia Federal building go to their ATM and make a FEE FREE cash withdrawal.  See the Banking section for more details.  At this point, the morning hours are probably shot, so take the rest of the day off.

C.  Customs:  Type Cabedelo Coracao de Jesus into Google Maps.    The yellow and white Paroquia Sagrado Coracao de Jesus Catholic church is a major landmark in downtown Cabedelo and it is located across the street from the Customs and Port Captain offices.  You should plan on going to this location during the early morning of the second day.

The easiest way to get from the marina/anchorage area to this offices is to do a little walking and take the train.  If you want to spend more money and time, you can go to this office via taxi or buses.  For  yacht owners over 60 years of age the train ride is free, see the Transportation section for more details.  Walk one block east away from the marina area, on the cobblestone road.  At the end of the street, on your left, is the train station.  North bound trains stop at the station about every hour, per the schedule posted at the station and at many of the local marinas.

Get on the next north bound train which dead ends in downtown Cabedelo.  Exit the train station and keep walking straight (on Rua Joao Jose Viana) towards the huge Vitamilho corn silos located on the river.  At the end of the street turn right and walk a few short blocks to the Catholic church on Rua Presidente Joao Pessoa. Just before you reach the church, on the left side of the street you see the Porto De Cabedelo building (Customs) which has three flags and a large gray anchor in front of it.  Sign-in at the front desk, go through security (trying to keep a straight face), and visit the Customs Office.

NOTE:  Prior to going to this office you MUST go on-line, generate, and print one copy of a Receita Federal Do Brazil EDBV - Traveller's (sic) Electronic Declaration of Goods form.  If you do NOT have this form in your hand when entering the Customs office, you will be sent away.

EDBV - Traveller's Electronic Declaration Goods form instructions:  This simple one page form is easy to generate and print.  NOTE:  The local marina guys typically charge you $15 to $20 USD to complete this form!  One form is need for each yacht, NOT one form per crew member.  The form simply notes that your are temporarily importing your yacht with a declared value of $ X USD.  You can generate and print this form in advance, or go the the Grofica V2 Internet shop in Cabedelo and complete and print the form.  I used V2, and it cost me $1 US to complete and print the form.

The Grofica V2 Internet shop is two blocks from the Customs office and easy to find.  If you are facing the front of the Coracao de Jesus church, the road on your left is Rua Duque De Caxias.  Walk east along the road.  Several short blocks later you will see the blue Caixa Bank on the left side of the street and the Grofica V2 Internet shop on the south side of the street.  The gal who runs the shop is very nice.  Hand her a slip of paper with written on it and she will use her laptop to get you to the right Internet page to start the process.  You can view the form and instructions in Portuguese OR English by clicking on the appropriate button on the home page.  Answer the following questions after typing the displayed access code:

1.  What is the purpose of your visit?  Answer:  Tourism

2.  What is your country of residency?  Answer:  Other (you are NOT from Brazil).

3.  This question concerns bringing items worth $3,000 USD or more into the country.  Select Yes, and a follow-up screen will appear.  Now answer all of the questions, as they apply to your yacht.  Make sure you enter the yacht's registration number and name of your vessel when filling out the boxes.  The information must match your boat papers.

4. through...  Answer No to all of the other on-line questions, with the exception being your estimated departure date.  Most sailors enter a date about 90 days from your visit to Customs.

5.  Save and transmit the completed form.  The page you need to print looks like a giant barcode.

6.  Have the V2 lady print your receipt/form and pay her $3.00 Real (less than $1 USD) for the use of her computer and the printing of the EDBV form.

Once you have all the necessary paperwork, present your passport at the port security desk and get your security access pass.  Walk to the Customs Office inside the port and show the officer your boat papers, passports, last port-of-call clearance, the EDBV document, and the Passe De Saida De Embarcacao form you got from Immigration.  In return the official will give you stamped, dated, and signed copy of the Termo De Concessao De Admissao Temporaria - TECAT form.  At this point the Catholic type punishment continues in the forms of a strong warning..."YOU MUST BE OUT OF BRAZIL BY THE DATE STATED ON THE TECAT FORM," or be granted an extension prior to that date.  Smile, bob your head, and make your way to the next government office after getting your port security pass stamped by the Customs officer.

D.  The last stop, Capitania Dos Portos (Port Captain) in downtown Cabedelo.  This office is located across the street from the Customs office, and is next door to the Catholic Church.  Show the official your boat papers and completing the Declaracao De Entrada/Sida De Embarcacao Estrangeira...form.  He will sign, date, and stamp the Statement Of Port Entry/Departure Of Foreign Boat form, and give you the original.  Note:  In June 2016 this office had a fire, was temporarily closed, and cruisers were required to go to the Capitania Dos Portos in Joao Pessoa, which is noted on Google, and Brian Stevens' map.  You can take a train or bus to Joao Pessoa from Cabedelo or Jacare.

Since it is now about lunch time, go to the large and nearby Cabedelo open market and do some shopping.  FYI, on the second floor of the market building you will find cheap meals and cold beer.  Yes, after showing great patience for two days, you deserve a cold one, or two, or more...


Given how anal the local government clearance officials are, I assume that a clearance document from your last port is REQUIRED.  However, I cleared into Brazil twice in 2016 and the Customs and Port Captain offices did NOT ask me for proof of clearing out of my last foreign port.


You are NOT required to have a shipping agent when clearing into and out of Brazil.


Upon arrival you can stay up to 90 days as a tourist.  This may be extended another 90 days by visiting the same government offices described above, depending on your home country's political agreements with Brazil.  A prior-to-arrival visa is required for US citizens, yet I have heard of a couple of yachties who arrived and cleared in WITHOUT a prior to arrival visa.  I guess it depends on the mood of the guy working in the clearance office that day and the country you are from.  A bond is NOT needed.  Tourists are permitted to stay in Brazil a maximum of six month during a twelve month period.  These comments apply to USA citizens, and the policies that apply to other nationalities varies greatly.

A yacht is permitted to stay in Brazil for a maximum of 24 months.  Sailors often leave their vessels at Jacare for over a year, during which time the owners return home for work or medical reasons.


During my stay in Brazil no foreign yachts were inspected.  Several times a month I observed the local marine patrol taking an inventory of the foreign vessels at Jacare.  I.e., you might be able to hang out for a week or so under the radar so to speak, yet the odds of remaining anonymous for a longer period of time are slim.  Several times a week the marine patrol randomly boards several local boats for safety inspections.


The tides max out at about 2.8 meters.


Federal Police / Immigration:  Monday through Friday, 0930 to 1200.

Customs:  Monday through Friday, 0800 to 1230.

Port Control:  Monday through Friday, 0800 to 1200 and 1305 to 1630.

Businesses:  Only the owner of the business knows his/her working hours, and adherence to a set schedule is practically unheard of in Brazil.  If the cafe or business is open, it is open.  If it is not open, come back later, and it may be open.


Now that you know your way around the area, you can probably clear-out in one day if you are first in line at Policia Federal / Immigration.  Jacare immigration opens at 0930 on weekdays and is closed on weekends.  All crew members must attend the following offices.  Take a book to help pass the wait times.

1st Stop - Jacare Policia Federal / Immigration:  Give your ship's registration papers, passports, Cartao De Entrada E Saida forms (Entry/Exit Cards), and  Passe De Entrada De Embarcacao forms to the official.  He will review the above items for 45 minutes to an hour, and then give your stamped passports and a Passe De Saida De Embarcacao form back to you.  Leave the police station, walk a block to the main road (the six lane BR-230), and catch the north bound 5101 bus (free for seniors) to Cabedelo.  The 5101 buses run up and down BR-230 all day long, and they dead end at the Cabadelo bus station, which is located 30 meters from the Customs and Port Captains offices.

2nd Stop - Customs:  Present your passport at the port security desk, get your security access pass, and walk to the Customs Office.  Give the Customs officer your passports, the Passe De Saida De Embarcacao form you received from Immigration, and your ship's registration papers.  When the officer is finished processing the paperwork he will hand you back all of the above documents and an exit stamped Tempo De Concessao De Admissao Temporaria - Tecat form.  Get your port access pass stamped before you leave the office and return it to the front/security desk.

3rd Stop - Port Captain:  Give the young man your ship's registration, passports, Tempo De Concessao De Admissao Temporaria - Tecat form (from Customs), the Passe De Saida De Embarcacao form (from Immigrations), and the Declaracao De Entrada/Saida De Embarcacao Estrangeira form (from the Port Captain when you cleared-in).  After he reviews all of these items he will give them back to you.  The Saida (exit) section of the Declaracao De Entrada...form should be completed, stamped, and signed by the official.  This document now becomes your official exit clearance paper.


There are no costs for clearing-in or clearing-out of Brazil, with the exception being the prior-to-arrival visa.  Visas range in price from $200 USD per person (for USA citizens) to $0 for some other nationals.  Most tourists pay about $75 USD for the visa.  Most tourists pay about $65 USD to extend their visas.


The polluted river and bay waters of Brazil have claimed world status.  The Rio Paraiba at Jacare will turn your clean boat bottom into an oyster, barnacle, and slime-covered floating reef within a month.  Few sailors lack the brain cells to enter the water and clean their own boat bottoms.  Many yacht owners pay a local (Rambo) $50 to $100 USD to clean the bottom of their boat, just before they depart the country.  Your boat must be in a marina for the cleaning service.  Rambo quickly cleans the bottom during a day-time slack tide.

NOTE:  Every marina manager knows Rambo, so ask for his phone number, call him direct, and pay him direct.  Some marina managers will call Rambo for you, and if this is done the cost of the service almost doubles.  There are numerous coin operated phones in the marina area.  Also, talk to Peter, at Peter's Pier.  He typically permits yachts to tie up to his T-dock during Mondays, when the marina is closed.  He does this as a free service if Rambo is cleaning your boat bottom.

Some yacht owners depart Brazil WITHOUT a clean boat bottom if their next stop is French Guiana, Suriname, or Guiana.  These three countries have extensive mining in their interiors which deposit huge amounts of metals in their river waters.  I.e., when you anchor in these countries, all forms of life on your hulls will be killed, COMPLETELY, free of charge.  Other than the metal pollution, most of the rivers are quite clean.  After your boat has been in the river a few days, during slack tide, give your hull a light brush and the oysters, barnacles, and slime will disappear like magic, saving you $100 USD!


It is difficult to find an open tourist office.  Even those located in the Rio international airport were unoccupied during my visits.  The few offices that had employees in them had very few handouts and nobody spoke English.  There is an office at the Jacare river front tourist area, which is only open in the late afternoons.  There is also a tourist office in the lower level, south end, of the Joao Pessoa main bus terminal.

The best map in town is handed out free by Brian Stevens at Jacare Marine.  His hand-drawn photocopied map notes the top three dozen businesses yacht owners typically seek.  Brian typically arranges touristy day trips, which are inexpensive and fun, for the local boat owners.  During one interior trip with 14 other participants I enjoyed visiting several rum factories, 2 museums, a beautiful historical church, a candy factory, and several other points of interest at a cost of $15 USD per person.


If you are 60 years old or older, most public transportation (buses and trains) are free.  However, you often have to do an old folk dance to get the free ride.

TRAIN:  The Jacare station is located a block east of the marina area.  This rail system connect Cabedelo at the north end to Joao Pessoa and beyond at the south end.  To get a free ride, flash your ID (passport or driver's license) to the ticket booth agent and point at your gray hair, then BACK AWAY from the ticket agent BOOTH and TURN-STYLE, and walk through the nearby SECURITY GATE/DOOR which does NOT have a turn-style.  Only paying customers use turn-styles, which counts the fares being paid.  Exempt customers use the entrance gate/door.  Note:  At one train station the ticket booth agent refused to let me ride the train for free, however upon payment she pocketed my train fare and made me walk through the security gate/door which did NOT count my entrance to the train platform.  The adult full fare for trains is 2.00 Reals.

BUS:  Over 60 year-olds also ride buses for free.  In the Jacare area qualified free riding customers must enter the REAR DOOR of the bus.  While doing so flash you ID towards the bus driver sitting at the front of the bus or flash it in front of the CCTV camera near the rear door.  Feel free to point at your thin gray hair, if you don't know how to say your are a senior citizen over 60 years old, in Brazilian Portuguese.  If you use the front entrance of the bus near the driver, you will have to pay full fare, which is 3.00 Reals ($1 USD).

Buses run continuously all day long in loops.  Most visitors end up using the 5104 and 5101 buses.  The 5104 bus passes by the Jacare marina area and goes through the Jacare business district.  You catch this bus across the street from the nearby Jacare train station and typically get off at the grocery store area of Jacare, known as Intermares.  Using this bus for the return trip certainly lightens the load when carrying groceries.  The 5101 bus runs from downtown Cabedelo, through Jacare, and into downtown Joao Pessoa, and back.  It travels along the main road, BR-320, and literally passes a thousand plus businesses offering A to Z.  Most boaters catch this bus at the west end of the Jacare business district on BR-320, near one of the fuel stations.

Buses prefer to pick-up and drop off riders at the bus stop shelters.  However, they will stop just about anywhere you wish.  To flag down a bus, wave your lowered hand at the ground.  FYI, white buses with ESCOLAR printed on them in large letters are for school children only.


Many government owned and operated parks, concerts, museums, zoos, etc. are free for senior citizens, or they receive a discount.  Getting the discount can be a challenge given the language barrier and the trend of some ticket agents to charge all foreigners the highest admission fee regardless of age (child or senior).  It doesn't hurt to flash your ID, pointing to your hair, and smiling...that worked for me and I often got the senior rate.


Official taxis are everywhere and when you use them the meter should be ticking.  Remember that, if you plan on quickly running into a store or government office, the meter is still ticking and the store clerks and officials could care less.  In one case, the taxi wait time was five times more expensive than his travel time. Taxis are EVERYWHERE, so paying for an idle taxi is senseless.  You can negotiate the fare for a taxi travelling long distances, for example the trip to the Recife airport (250 Real for four people and luggage).  The $70 USD ride to the airport took about 2.5 hours in light traffic.

If you are standing at a bus station or along a major road, it is common for local unofficial taxis to slow down, flash their lights, tap their horn, and seek passengers. These guys typically discount the local bus fare by 33%.  Use caution if you select this form of transportation, and don't be surprised if you are squeezed into the shared ride.


Marina Jacare Village tends to push Bernardo (call +83 98800-5610 or +83 99904-2939) for transporting foreigners.  He is very friendly, doesn't understand or speak much English, and charges higher than normal rates.  Another friendly and more affordable taxi driver who hangs around the marina area is Paulo Sergio, (call +83 98896-5776 or +83 99682-9673 or +83 99199-0063).  My favorite local taxi driver is Sall and he is the only local driver that I know of who speaks English.  His is super friendly, has honest fares, and typically hangs out just east of the tourist boat dock by the Casa Nordeste gift shop.  Sall's phone number is +83  98783-4560, or e-mail him at [email protected].  Upon request, most local citizens in the marinas or the receptionist in the government buildings will call a specific taxi for you at no charge.

Uber is alive and well in the larger cities in Brazil.  Typical of the rest of the world, their fares undermine those of the local taxis.  You will have to establish a Brazilian Uber account before using their services.  I never waited more than 2 minutes at a Brazilian airport or in Rio for an Uber car.  It is extremely rare to find anyone in the transportation industry who speaks English.  My Uber drivers had electronic language translators in their vehicles, which was nice.


If you are paying to use Marina Jacare Village, you can use their brakeless bikes for free.  Brian at Jacare Marine also offers free bikes to anyone.  First-come-first-serve at both locations.


Most people conclude that the best for hire firm in Brazil is Localiza.  They have an office on BR-320, between the CarreFour and Hiper grocery stores.  Also, Brian at Jacare Marine has been known to rent one of his used cars to yachties for about $15 USD per day.  Alamo and National also have nearby offices.


VERY FEW people in Brazil speak English, even in the tourist areas of the country.  Do yourself a favor, download a translation application on your smart phone or tablet.  Brazilian Portuguese is spoken extensively.  True story...a European friend of mine is absolutely fluent in six languages (English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, and European Portuguese).  We were walking in downtown Jacare and needed directions to a nearby store.  My friend said, "No problem, I was born in Portugal, and speak Portuguese."  Beaming with pride she asked a local for directions.  The local just stared at my friend with a wrinkled face.  After a few attempts at communications, the local Brazilian wanted to know what language my friend was speaking, " Nao compreendo...are you speaking Japanese or English?"  My red-faced friend slowly melted into the sidewalk while shaking her head...

Unfortunately, given the language barrier and the cultural view towards avoiding contact with strangers (for personal safety reasons) many visitors to Brazil find the locals stand-offish.  A big dose of smiling, patience, and extrovertness can overcome this issue, making it a win-win for you and your new friends.


None of the governmental employees I spoke with smelled of graft and all of them were true professionals.


There are no fuel pumps along the river.  Use a taxi to transport your jerry cans, or pay a premium to the local marina owner to transport your full jerry cans to his dock.  During my stay the two nearby service stations were charging about $1 USD per liter for diesel (regular diesel, verses the optional diesel with ethanol).  The one-way taxi ride from the fuel station to the marina area is less than 10 Real, $3 USD.  NOTE:  Most fuels in Brazil have a large dose of ethanol in them.  i.e., many outboard motors were hard to start, ran rough, and often died.  Don't send your outboard to the Brazilian shop for repair.  In most cases your outboard will return to normal operating condition once you leave the country and get a new batch of fuel.

You can get just about anything replaced, fixed, or manufactured in Brazil.  The Joao Pessoa area which includes Cabedelo and Jacare has over a million citizens.

Nicholas at Marina Jacare Village, Brian Stevens at Jacare Marine, or Peter at Peter's Pier speak English and Portuguese, and can assist you with many items.  Brian Stevens, a Brit who sailed into port over 40 years ago and never left, is a master of all things boat related.  He and his team of workers have built dozens and dozens of boats, some exceeding 20 meters long.  Brian gladly lets all yachties in-need use his extensive workshop, which is packed with hundreds of tools and parts.  Some cruisers have their boats hauled out at Brian's yard.

NOTE:  Before Nicholas or Brian assists you, make absolutely sure you know the final and total price of the good or service being provided.  To the surprise of some yachties, they were eventually asked to pay more than double the initially quoted cost for boat parts and services.


Recife, the large city two hours south of Jacare, is a mecca for medical treatment.  It has over three dozen hospitals, most specializing in a specific medical discipline.  The nearby communities of Jacare, Cabedelo, and Joao Pessoa have medical clinics.


During my stay one US dollar equaled 3.50 Reals.  The VAT (sales) tax varies according to the item being purchased (13.41% to 25%).

It is easy to find an ATM in Brazil, they are everywhere.  That's the good news.  Unfortunately, the commercial banks and private ATM owners charge some of the highest fixed rates for using their machines that I've ever seen.  They typically charge $8 to $12 USD per transaction for using their ATMs.  And, to add insult to injury, they often cap the amount of money you can withdrawal at any one time, about $125 USD!

NOTE:  I've got a secret which will help you avoid these financial robberies.  Many government offices have ATMs in their buildings for the convenience of their employees.  Often these ATMs have NO access fees, since the government employees bank at numerous different banks.  These ATMs aren't typically in view of the general public areas, so you will have to ask where the ATM in the building is.  For example, the ATM at the Federal Polica (Immigration) office in Jacare charges NO fee, unlike the nearby and local banks which charge $8 to $12 USD per transaction.  The ATM is located in the "main lobby," which is not the public lobby of the police station.  When you are in the public lobby facing the receptionist, the "main lobby" is located to the left of the desk down a short hallway.  Flash your ATM card at the receptionist and/or security guard before walking to the main lobby from the public lobby of the Jacare Federal Polica building.

VISA or MasterCard are accepted by most big businesses, but cash is still king here.


The trash cans/bins are located along the road running parallel to the river.  Just look for the 55 gallon oil drums.


You  can drink the water coming out of the tap in most parts of Brazil, certainly in the Cabedelo, Jacare, and Rio de Janeiro areas.  All the marina docks have water taps.  NOTE: Some marinas have two water systems.  One with city water, which is heavily chlorinated, and the other water taps dispense well water from a cistern which may be brackish.  Make sure you use the city water taps and hoses for drinking water.


The Immigration Officer certainly made a big deal out of personal safety and security.  However, after visiting South Africa and many other areas of the world I didn't feel threatened during my daytime adventures in Brazil.  Was I lucky or blind?

NOTE:  During my Brazilian visit, one yachtie lost her wallet to a pick-pocket while shopping at the open Cabededlo market during daylight hours.  And, two tourist I know got robbed at knife point on an isolated Rio De Janeiro beach after sunset.  Their pride, wallet, purse, and cell phone were stolen during the incident.


The communication plans sold to tourists are of little use and difficult to sign-up for because of the language barrier and origination process.  If you seek to get a chip for your data dongle expect the process to take two hours or more (in the office) and the MAXIMUM amount of data you will receive is 400 mB.  Once signed up, the service provider downloads, pop-up adds, etc. will certainly chew up your much of your 400 mB within a few days, then it is time to spend another hour or so topping-up.

Most visitors find that the time and money spent on securing data and phone chips too painful, and simply use the free Wi-Fi offered by the marinas,  which is usually very fast.  Many of the boats at anchor used the free marina Wi-Fi serve without boosters.

Pay phones are everywhere, a rare sight in this cell phone world.  Given a few coins in your pocket, you are seldom out of sight of a phone and related call.


The country code is +55 when dialing long distance.


Most cruisers end up washing and air drying their own laundry.  The Marina Jacare Village offers on-site laundry service.  The price is 8.00 Real per kilo, with a minimum of 4 kilos.  That works out to $ 9+ USD per load, which is rather high for this part of the world.  Most cruisers who used the marina's laundry service got SOME of their clothes back, and sometimes their "washed" clothes were less than clean.  The lady who runs the washers combines the clothes of multiple yachts into one communal pile and dries all of the clothes on communal racks outside in the work yard.  Results, some of your clothes going to other yachts, and you get to pick through the clothes of others.  Excuse me...are you wearing my bra?


Good-bye African and South East Asia bargain basement prices.  Almost all items in Brazil are dear in price, at or above those found in North America or Europe.  Why?  With great pride many items are made in Brazil, by monopolies or oligopolies .  And, all items imported to Brazil have at least a 100% import duty (which includes several other types of associated fees).  Transportation cost from major cities to Jacare are also high.  For example, a Yanmar water pump that I purchased in the USA for $ 170, costs over $ 500 USD from the local distributor.

"Overnight" deliveries to Brazil or within Brazil exist in name only.  Yachts which overnighted critical boat parts typically had them arrive in two or three weeks. "Yachts in transit" do qualify for duty free purchases, however the related time and money spent on paperwork often exceeds the savings.

Some of the best bargains you will find are for beer (58 USD cents for a 473 ml can), beef and chicken, all-you-can-eat meals ($4 to $5 USD), bread (12 sandwich rolls for less than $1 USD) , local sugar cane rum called cachaca (1 liter for $3 USD).  Caution: The local sugar cane rum is very high octane, and can probably be used to run your outboard motor!


Mini-markets are scattered everywhere and often have the best prices on select items.  There are three large grocery stores in downtown Jacare/Intermares, just a short walk away from the marina area, or take the 5104 bus.  They have a good selection of items which are reasonably priced by Brazilian standards.  If you travel south on the main road (BR-230) several miles you will find the big box stores.  They may have a few more items than the Jacare stores, but their prices are higher for just about everything.  If you are hard pressed to find a particular item, check out the numerous grocery stores in Cabedelo or Joao Pessoa.  All the stores take VISA or MasterCard and are open seven days per week.

The largest fresh veggy, fruit, and meat/fish market is located in downtown Cabedelo.  Get there before 1000 to get the best selection, with Saturday being the prime day for shopping.


The time on the coast of Brazil is UTC/GMT (Greenwich Mean Time), 00:00.


Cabedelo/Jacare offers a near perfect climate and safe place to hang out.  Many yachts anchor in the river for months while waiting for the hot and humid weather further north to dissipate. Just be prepared for a truly fouled bottom with incredible growth on the props and hulls.  And, it is an excellent location to get out of harms way during the Caribbean hurricane season.  Brazil offers a huge variety of land travel options for those who want to explore this diverse country.  Large international cities, stunning waterfalls, mountains, endless beaches, and the Amazon River basin awaits you.  Explore and enjoy...I certainly did!

Jason Trautz

s/v YOLO (You Only Live Once, life is not a rehearsal

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