A Summary of our Brazilian Cruise
Published 13 years ago, updated 4 years ago
S/Y Kilico Summary of sailing visit along the Brazilian coast.
Brazil is the world’s fifth largest country both in size and population. The country has a coastline of approx. 4000 nm. We have sailed along the Eastern and Southern part and have covered a distance of 2650 nm.
We started up in Cabedelo in the middle of March and crossed the border to Uruguay at the end of August. Some pilotbooks will say that this is the wrong way according to the season, but we had no problem sailing south in the winter.
Brazil is full of surprises with great experiences and a great sailing area that is available year round. With the exception of Ilha Grande South of Rio, there are almost no islands and the coast is quite open. But with few exceptions, you can still move along in the daily stages.
After checking in to Policia Federal (immigration), Receita Federal (customs) and Capitan dos Porto (harbor master), one is allowed to stay in the country for 90 days and it is possible to extend the period for another 90 days. After the port of entry, it will normally be enough to visit the harbor master in every new port, but the practice is different along the coast. Very often one will also have to visit immigration. When leaving the country again one will have to clear out of all the three offices.
The system is not so different from Greece and Turkey. But it takes time. Do not know how many days that have gone into this. It has been kilos of paper copies along the coast and stamp pads are drying fast.
Mooring / Anchoring
The private yacht clubs have great facilities and operate very often with the first three days free, then reasonable prices. Marinas, however, are generally more expensive. The price level made a jump up south of Rio. The highest fee we heard of was about 3.7€/feet/day. Every yacht club and marina is well staffed with 24 hr security.
Brazil operates on both 110V and 220V single phase of the power supply’s, but unlike Europe, they have 60Hz as opposed to our 50 Hz. Fortunately, our equipment coped with it, but we heard that some had problems with some equipment on board when they were connected to shore power.
Freshwater is no problem and available all over. But some places it can be two different types, one for drinking and one for washing the yacht.
Besides the yacht clubs and marinas, there are lots of anchorages along the coast. Normally no problem to anchor outside the small villages and cities or going into estuarial areas.
Very good holding for anchoring everywhere. Patches may be shallow and in the rivers and the towns, unfortunately, the quality of the water is not for swimming from the boat.
We know that crime is high and we have been warned about many places, but we have fortunately avoided unpleasantness. We do not walk around in questionable areas in the late evenings or at night, which one also should beware of most places in Europe too.
We have been a lot at anchor, often alone, either near towns or in estuaries and bays with small villages and have never had any unpleasantness. One late rainy night, alone at anchor, we had people alongside, but it turned out to be only poor fishermen, who wondered if we had any food to spare them.
Virtually everything that is produced here is cheap in comparison with Europe. Especially food. However, with this climate of heat and humidity year round, it’s not so strange that it can be produced to low cost. However, all imports are charged with a high import tax and duties, so that prices tend to be significantly higher than in Europe. Boating equipment is generally very expensive and many places with a limited selection.
The food. A wide range of products everywhere. The meat is very cheap and in our opinion good quality. Vegetables and fruits abound everywhere, but the bread culture is rather poor. Mostly just sausage bread in all shapes. So for us, it has mostly ended up with our own bread baking. Kilo restaurants are everywhere. This is buffet style restaurants with both hot and cold dishes, and you pay per kilo. The same kilo price whether it’s carrots or meat from the grill. Simple and easy, very cheap and great food. Brazilians eat a lot and well.
A positive surprise when we came to Brazil was the people. Of the countries we’ve visited, probably the nicest are the Brazilians. Extremely pleasant and helpful and the smile is very loose. Thumbs in the air and a wide smile is confirmation that everything is in order.
The language is Portuguese, but as far as we understand it’s a lot of local variations and dialects, here as elsewhere. Generally, English is not spoken, with the exception of tourist places.
A big change from Europe is also the lack of bothersome sellers. Nice to be able to look at articles or review a restaurant in peace and quiet.
The average car park is surprisingly good and it is rare to see really old and rickety cars. Rail network is, however, poorly developed and we have never seen such a high density of buses and trucks in any other country. Public bus transport is cheap and efficient and the standard of buses are also very good especially long-distance buses.
The climate varies somewhat, from tropical to subtropical along the coast. Very hot around the equator and a good bit south and rather cool furthest south this winter season.
What bothered us a bit, in the beginning, was the extreme humidity. We had the same temperature in Greece and Turkey, but there the air was bone-dry. The difference can be described as sitting in a dry sauna versus one that is hosted regularly with water.
Nature is also different. To come from the dry Mediterranean countries where everything is mostly burnt brown, the transition to Brazil is enormous. There is greenery everywhere and incredibly rich. The forest, or jungle if you will, is tight and it is unthinkable to take a walking trip on an island unless you can find a way or a path. Mangrove forests grow out into the water along the rivers and otherwise. Out to sea, however, there are miles of wonderful sandy beaches.
We had a great stay and met a lot of nice people. You feel welcome everywhere and apart from the major towns, people are generally curious about us as round-the-world travelers. We will be happy to return to Brazil when the opportunity arises.
We are now in Uruguay and heading for Buenos Aires at the end of the year. Next year the plan is to sail further south to Patagonia and the Chilean Fjords.
Kare & Lillian
S/Y Kilico, Norway
Brazil 29th August 2010