I am interested in doing a favela tour tomorrow.
Does anyone have any good and safe recommendations?
We used a guy called Michael who runs his own and knows a local who lives in one of the safest favelas if you are still interested I can give you his direct contact details!
We used a guy called Michael who runs his own and knows a local who lives in one of the safest favelas if you are still interested I can give you his direct contact details!Edited: 29 December 2017, 18:59
Visitors to Rio who think it's smart to visit Favelas are just plain naive or maybe just plain dumb. These places are notoriously dangerous with killings being common place, some tourists have ventured inside at the cost of their lives. If you have a death wish then by all means go.
#13 Please stop talking nonsense.
Just the same as there are different neighbourhoods in London, there are different neighbourhoods in Rio, including the favelas. What goes on in, say, Rocinha does not tell anything about what goes on anywhere else anymore than what goes on in parts of East of London to what happens in Kensington.
You just cannot brush all the favelas with the same tar, especially at different times.
We visited one yesterday with Strawberry tours, it was interesting and felt safe. The only downside was it was mainly a Spanish tour with an English interpreter, so we felt some of the information was missed.
There's no such thing as "a favela". Favelas in Rio de Janeiro, are neighbourhoods built mostly on hills (illegally) without sanitation and other basic infrastructure and involved cutting down the native atlantic rain forest (Mata Atlântica). Each favela is different. If you're going to a favela tour, you're probably going to Rocinha or Vidigal (first one is not recommended these days), which are very atypical in several points: Very privileged locations, higher living standards than in other favelas, lots of foreigners living there and operating hostels and bars, lots of investments from government and NGOs and permanent police presence. There are still drug criminality and guns, but they are now mostly hidden from sight and under sometimes unstable and truc$es (notice the dollar sign?) between police and drug gangs. A lot of bad things happen in favelas: illegal electricity and cable tv supplies, criminals hiding there, no sewage systems, precarious waste collection and so forth. If you are going to be a guest in a hostel in such a place you are not going to be bothered by locals. That said: Why in the hell would you want to do a favela tour? Would you go to the shadiest parts of Chicago and try to meet local drug gangsters? By doing such a tour you will not even know or see how really poor people live, because they don't hang around in Rocinha. Do you want to see the irregular, odd houses built on top of each other? You can see them from major highways. Well if you still want an excuse to walk through a favela do the Pedra dos Dois Irmãos hike, which will lead you through Vidigal and provide you with a nice view. You probably are going to want to hire a tour guide for this. When you get to the top, remember that you only can enjoy that view because of the "pacification" process during which the state retook partial control over that area, as drug gangs would occupy that place before. Also try to imagine how that hill was before the favela, with its original native forrest and untouched landscapes. Last, before you start this tour, check the local weather and I don't mean only if it' s going to rain or not. Have a look at the news, ask locals if it's too "hot" in the area at the time when you intend to go, as you can never know when this at times unstable peace vanishes.
Saul - As far as the note of how favela locations were before the became favelas, well you could expand that argument to the whole of Rio de Janeiro or to any urban location in the world, really. The same applies certainly to illegal cable tv too.
As you correctly point out there are many different types of favelas as there are types of all kinds of neighbourhoods. All favelas are not slums and all slums are not favelas. In the end a quarter of the people in Rio live in these communities, so to try and diss them or pretend that they don't exist would be very much falsa. As is the notion that there is only poverty or criminality there.
The reason why locations like Rocinha or Vidigal are more privileged and developed is because they have been allowed to stay where they are and, thus, have access to the economy of the city that surrounds them. Hopefully, if and when people get used to the concept, the same integration will spread further to include more communities in similar conditions.
As far as people's motivations are concerned, I'd be inclined to leave everyone to judge for themselves. What I don't get is why some people have such a passionate feel to comment against it, though. After all, surely the best way for people to find out all the points you make, is to visit these locations.
I've never done a tour and personally would feel very awkward in that setting. I have, however, visited and stayed in a number of favela communities and have found a whole new side of Rio that I personally enjoy far more that the resort life of, say, Copacabana.
Dois Irmaoes can easily be done without a guide. Just take a mototaxi from the bottom of Vidigal to Campo do Futebol and hike up. On the way down one can have a wander around Vidigal, if so chooses.
Don't go to a favela now. It's too dangerous.
I am travelling to Rio next week for a professional conference and shall not venture anywhere near a favela. The crime in Rio is so bad that I may even take a taxi from hotel to conference venue (two blocks).