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Cruising Notes on Rio de Janeiro 2: Clearance & Places to go

By webmaster last modified Aug 22, 2002 11:21 AM

Published: 2002-08-22 11:21:56
Countries: Brazil

Clearing in Rio de Janeiro

There are no special allowances made for yachts and pleasure craft. In other words, you will be clearing customs, immigrations, port captain's office and health authorities like any large freighter entering or leaving Rio de Janeiro.

All offices are downtown along the great wall of the commercial harbor. None of the authorities, including health officers/MAF will come onboard.

Here are the addresses of the offices to be visited, you will be well advised to visit them in this order when clearing in:

Policia Federal: Praca Maua, Armazem 1 (Warehouse 1), Estacao de Passageiros, Phone 2291-2142 or 2223-428 to clear Immigration matters. If it's closed here, ask for the main immigration office, with its entrance on the other side of the large building you see across the road of the below listed customs house.

Make sure you ask for 90 days Visa and if you wish to extend it another 90 days, make sure you see Immigration/Policia Federal at least 14 days before your old Visa expires or you might be in trouble!!

Service de Operacoes Aduaneiras (Custom) at Avenida Rodrigues Alves, Armazem 1 (Warehouse 1), Gate 1 or 2. This gate is about 300 meters north of the above mentioned Estacao de Passageiros. The office is directly at the gate and the boss will speak a bit of English. He will give you a "temporary import license", which also runs out when your visa runs out, after 90 days. But it also can be extended 90 days if your visa is extended first. No visa, no extension, in that order. In Rio it seems to be impossible to stretch it any further than the 180 days, even if you lay your boat up on the hard. However, we are told that north or south of Rio there are ways and offices who can accommodate your needs in a more flexible way.

Saude dos portos (Health/MAF), Avenida Rodrigues Alves, Armazem 18 (Warehouse 18). You have to use the same gate as when seeing customs at the warehouse no.1. Take the bus, which runs free of charge for the workers along the miles long dockside and don't get off before you see warehouse 18 almost at the very end of the docks. A forbidding iron door with no sign on it has a bell next to it. When you ring it, the iron door might swing open and you go up the stairs.

Don't worry about all the nasty films starting that way. It's only the health office. They are very friendly, completely oblivious about yachts, have no intentions to even look at the boat and you will be out FOC in no time after filling in a little form.

Capitania dos Portos (Navy), Av Alfredo Agache, Centro, just a few minutes walk further into town when coming back to the customs gate no.1. Ask customs for directions. You are looking for a classic built, yellowish building. They will take lots of copies of your ships documents, passports, make you fill in more papers, be quite friendly and it will take you only another half an hour to be out on the road again, certainly ready for a cold beer !!

Good luck and strong nerves !!!

Rubbish: The place for the "World environmental conference" is Rio de Janeiro. Pure irony. Out of 14 million people living here it is assumed that only one third of them has their sewage processed before it reaches the sea. Famous beaches like Ipanema or Copacabana are hardly safe to swim at. Let alone the town beaches. Rubbish is simply thrown out any where on the beach, the streets and the gardens.

People: Rio was, in spite of our criticism above, just a fantastic city to visit. And that must be due to its people. Many of them dressed in only swimwear, proof of the beach being so close by. There is so much life day and night, such positive drive and a lot of laughter, colors and music, that it does puzzle your mind sometimes. The average person earns about 400 Reais (200 Euro)/week. And they know how to make the most of it. By 9 p.m., when the cruising sailor seriously starts to think about his pillow, this town comes alive. You are queuing for good restaurants after 10 p.m. There are hundreds of people on the beach to play football, volleyball or just jogging. Security is ensured by a vast and ever present number of police and military. We never had a problem with security, but then stayed away from the poorer areas at night and left jewelleries and posh clothes behind.

Malaria and Dhengi Fever: WARNING !!! More than 47.000 people were said to have suffered this often lethal disease in 2001. There are large campaigns going on. As weird as it sounds for a city, but especially around the marinas and on the boat we found quite a few mossis patrolling for sailor flesh. Please do be very careful, DO NOT have any fresh, clean water standing around openly, like laundry soaking, half drunken glasses of water etc. The Dhengi fever infested mossis breed just there, very quickly and very effectively. We found them even breeding in the shower drain !!

It takes a few days to get your bearings in this town and if you don't speak the language it can become a funny adventure.

But the people are really helpful, always have a ready smile for you and time to have a chat. You might want to note some of these addresses:

Lago do Machado, in the part of town called "Flamengo", close to the waterfront: A market place sporting a great supermarket, a money exchange in the mall walk next to it, just outside the cinema complex (Foreign currency is rarely exchanged in banks), and a large number of restaurants/churasscarias, where you pay per 100 gram of your food off a smorgasbord. Watch the place come alive after 8 p.m. at night !

Rua Amaldo Quintela, Botafogo, some 2 km west of the Royal Yacht Club in the bottom of the bay. It took us some time to understand that most of the dealers for any mechanical or electrical part are gathered here in one street. If you have any engine problems, this is the street !

Rio Zul Shopping Centre. 5 minutes walk South of the Royal Yacht club. A huge shopping mall in 5 stories. But no food or banks there !!

All in all: Parked in the most fantastic scenery halfway between the ever present Corcovado statue and the "Sugar Loaf", we spent some 4 weeks exploring the city, enjoying the carnival, eating lots of good food and servicing the boat. It is certainly a time which will never be forgotten and we can only recommend Rio de Janeiro as a stopover !!

Lilly Vedana

Thomas Mueller

Yacht MIZ MAE, May 2002