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Cruising Angra dos Reis

By webmaster last modified Mar 12, 2003 01:41 PM

Published: 2003-03-12 13:41:40
Countries: Brazil

Just 70 nm WSW of Rio lies one of the world's best cruising grounds. Almost unknown to most world cruising sailors, it comprehends some 360 islands, a vast number of beautiful anchorages and a real Brasilian experience.

The most prominent island is Isla Grande, a most popular vacation area for the better off people from Rio and Sao Paolo, many of them keeping their boats here on a permanent basis.

The area is easy to navigate and there are plenty of safe anchorages behind every corner. Winds from January to April are mostly very light and you should have an ample supply of fuel. Though nothing is far away here. There is fuel, water, supplies and often even spare parts in a great number of places.

First and biggest is Angra dos Reis itself. A lively fishing harbour, also sporting two marinas and a great number of private docks plus a base of the German Bluewater cruising club "Trans Ocean". Angra holds better and cheaper spare parts and equipment than Rio for the cruising sailor. If it's not available, it comes mostly overnight from Rio, which is only 3 hours and 250 km by car away. Accessibility of parts is also better here than in Rio, people are extremely helpful and keen for the business, while in Rio you may well experience some "Big City" atttitude.

Angra is also cheaper for both food, supplies, and repairs than the other surrounding places like the summer town of Itacuruca, historical Parati or the island "town" of Abrao on Isla Grande. Large supermarkets, especially the one opposite the "Rodavaria" Bus terminal offer anything you need. As the majority of the charter fleet for the entire area is based in Angra, there is a multitude of boat electricians, hydraulic people, upholsterers, diesel mechanics and fridge repairs to be found. They are all in walking distance, conveniently grouped around the town.

We anchored in the shallows just off the "Piratas Mall" Marina in the bottom of the bay of Angra . The mall itself and its marina is a luxury which we choose not to afford. We found 160 reais/night for our 60 footer a bit too sweet, considering the fact that the water smells seriously of sewage, there is a lot of noise generated in the marina from discos, private "Gin-Palaces" and fizz-boats. Not really what we came for.

Anchoring outside is fine, you may take your dinghy to the mall or tie it up at the neighbouring YC and walk from there to town in 5 minutes.

Another option is to make contact with Klaus Bartels from "Trans Ocean" , who owns a beautiful waterfront mansion complete with flag pole, crane and jetty, just look for the German colors and you won't miss it, about 1 mile NE of Piratas Mall. (Email: Klaus C.F.Bartels [email protected] )

The whole cruising ground around Angra dos Reis and the Isla Grande is some 70 nm by 40 nm. To describe all of its features, anchorages and sights here, would be far too much. We can recommend though the following for more information:

Tourist Info: Right in town where the shopping area starts by the fishing harbor.

There is a comprehensive website : , which also has English pages.

"Cruising the coast of Brasil" by Marcal Ceccon was also very helpful. There is an English edition and together with leaflets, though mostly in Portuguese, from the various tourist information proved to be ample to have just a fantastic time here.

In this cruising area, there is always a good beach and calm bay near by. Many of them equipped with bars and sometimes getting crowded especially during the weekends. However, after the short easter holidays here, the water drops quickly from 30 degrees down to only 22 degrees, far too "gelado" for a real Brasilian! Diving and snorkelling can be really good, but you want to get to the locations further away from the mainland to get visibilities beyond 15 meters. The best, but sometimes rough dive place is the Isla Jorge Grego, 3 miles SE of Isla Grande.

Going ashore is not for the faint-hearted as the surge can be a damaging experience for skin and dinghies. But the bird life and the dives in the bay compensate easily for a night with some swell.

Walking and Hiking: Especially on Isla Grande you can follow the maps posted or the one you got at the tourist info and enjoy anything from leisurely to very advanced hiking. Little monkeys, noisy monkeys, huge butterflies, lots of birds, lizards, flowers of all kinds, wild fruit trees and much more you will find in the jungles.

Rubbish: There are rubbish disposals every where. Unfortunately they have hardly been discovered by the Brazilians.

We were absolutely shocked and horrified to see how even well educated people of the so called upper class show complete neglect in environmental matters. Not only is all rubbish thrown overboard in the most beautiful bays, but there are bilges pumped, boats cleaned and sewage water from whole towns or villages going straight into the sea.

Monday morning during the holiday season is a most amazing sight here. The waters and beaches are absolutely littered with garbage. However, they are cleaned up amazingly fast by the armada of men and women employed to clean up this most unnecessary mess. Nature though has not forgotten that quickly and e.g. fish life has suffered tremendously.

We found Angra dos Reis a super cruising option. The only downside is that there are absolutely no officers in sight where you could clear immigrations, customs or the likes of it, especially coming from overseas. For clearance, you would have to travel to Rio, even if you don't take your boat along.

Those who are looking to recuperate from the long journey here across the Atlantic, have great walks in the bush, dive, snorkel and enjoy the holidays a' la' Brasil will have an absolute ball. Just one thing we could rarely find: Other Cruising sailors. And we must admit, we missed the buggers after a while !

Lilly Vedana

Thomas Mueller

Yacht MIZ MAE, May 2002