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Rio Rumination: Why Chartering a Yacht Sucks in Brazil


Ok, we know the title of the blog is a bit curt. It’s meant to be.



With the 2016 Rio Olympic Games in the rearview mirror (the Paralympic Games run Sept 7-18), we can step back and look at the state of the Brazil yacht charter market, specifically as it relates to Rio de Janeiro, the seaside jewel of this magnificent country.

In  a nutshell – when it comes to private luxury yacht charters:  “Rio Ain’t Ready…”

Gorgeous Rio de Janiero Brazil with port full of sailboats




You would think Rio de Janeiro is a slam-dunk as a popular yachting destination. The second largest city in Brazil, Rio boasts two of the world’s most famous beaches, Copacabana and Ipanema beaches, and plays host to the world’s largest annual Carnaval festival.






Yet, during the recent Olympic Games in July, only two superyachts arrived in the region – the 171 foot Amels motor yacht DENIKI, a popular charter vessel in the Med each summer, and the 303 foot TATOOSH.  Compare that to 2012, when more than a dozen superyachts and luxury private yacht charter vessels descended upon London for the summer Olympic games.


Yacht charter motoryacht DENIKI 171 foot Amels running



So what’s the problem?  We see three contributing factors: distance, weather, and infrastructure (aka government blockheads).

Distance – Rio is a long, long way from the primary cruising grounds for megayachts: more than 3600 nautical miles from South Florida and almost 4900 nm from Monaco.

Weather – Most Europeans and Americans take their family vacations in the summer months of July and August.  Unfortunately, Rio is far below the equator, and the seasons are reversed – it’s winter in Brazil and the weather is less than ideal for yachting in terms of wind conditions.

Infrastructure – What’s the greatest deterrent to more foreign yachts traveling to Brazil and Rio for charter? Answer: Government indifference as to the logistical needs of the superyacht industry.


For some reason, the Brazilian government treats superyachts as if they were cruiseships. Case in point – pilotage.  In Rio, expensive harbor pilots are mandatory, even though water hazards are minimal, and navigation in the region is well within the qualifications of superyacht captains.  Can you say, “Shakedown???”

Additionally, while private yachts can enter the country for 90 days, Brazil yacht charters are not economically viable for foreign flag vessels due to a tax of 1% of the yacht’s hull value per month, plus the related administrative costs.  That’s a lot of dinheiro, meu amigo ([money, my friend] sorry, couldn’t resist at least one Portuguese reference…)



The issues of distance and weather can be managed.  The big boys regularly cross the pond on their own bottoms between Europe and North America to reposition for the season, and yachts could choose the most favorable months to visit Brazil.  Unfortunately, until the Brazilian government steps up and addresses the logistical needs of foreign flagged superyachts, Rio will continue to suck as a charter destination.



What’s your opinion? Do you agree Brazil is less than favorable for charter yacht vacations?  Share your comments with us and we’ll send you a complimentary Eco-tote bag. Submit your comment via our convenient inquiry form at 

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About Jana Sheeder

Jana Sheeder, President of 1-800 Yacht Charters. Providing The Superyacht Experience(R) since 1976. Private luxury yacht charter vacations in the Mediterranean, Caribbean, Bahamas, South Pacific, South Florida, Miami and The Keys, Italian Rivera, Belize. Megayacht charter company focused on generosity, Pay it Forward, Random Acts of Kindness, Giftivism, giving back to the ocean, to the needy, and the environment with every superyachting charter. Providing eco-friendly alternatives while on yacht charters and known for 6-star customer service, experience, and generosity. One of the original yacht charter companies.

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