This fantastic tour offers you magnificent point of views on Ipanema beach and the Atlantic Ocean, the Lagune, Sao Conrado beach and district, and on Rocinha, the largest favela of Rio (80 000 inhabitants). We first walk 15 minutes on the seaside to join the entrance of the Vidigal favela, where we catch a VW Van which will take us to the top of the favela. Then, we start the 45minutes hike through the wood to reach the summit of the Two Brothers Peak (660 meters high). You need proper shoes to do this steep hike. We can buy water on the way, no worries.
After a while enjoying the crazy view, we go down through the narrow streets and numerous steps of the Vidigal Favela. You will get all the information for you to understand
why favelas exist in Brazil, I will speak about their history, their arquitecture and the way of life in the favela. Vidigal is a 10 000 inhabitants safe and quiet Favela.
LifeGuard post number 12, Leblon Beach (right after Ipanema).
The closest metro station is Antero de Quental, line 4
TIME : 10h or 16h.
The tour lasts about 4 hours, you need good walking shoes and a light for the tour of the afternoon, the one of your smartfone is enough, just make sure you will have some
batery. The idea of the 16h tour is to catch the sunset. For the tour of the morning, we can have lunch in a traditional Kilo restaurant in the favela.
Here some pics of this tour
(if you prefer to keep the surprise you should not see them, up to you!)
WHY YOU SHOULD VISIT A FAVELA
Please do not think that a favela is a dangerous slum. Poor people had to do everything by their own due to the lack of urban policy in the 50s and 60s. They took the land available and started to create this second world... Nowadays, people in favelas do have access to drinkable water, electricity, sewage system, houses are built with bricks and concrete... Some favelas are poorer than others, but nobody is starving, homeless or begging money. 90% of its inhabitants do have a job. If the favela can be poor, it is not that miserable.
You are more than welcome to do this tour so you can change your mind if you have some bad stereotypes about the favelas. It is not at all what you can read in some (ignorant?) guide books. Moreover, people are very nice and warm, there is a very friendly atmosphere, you feel like if you were in a village. There are a lot of life, kids playing, neighbors speaking on their entrance doors... 25% of the population of Rio lives in a Favela (1,4 million of people), and you can find them everywhere in the city as there are on the hills. In total, there are 950 favelas in Rio. The contrast with the rich neighborhood close by is significant, visiting a favela with a knowledgeable guide is in my opinion very important if you want to get a better understanding of the complex Brazilian society. A good Favela Tour is not voyeurism, it is more an open mindedness and cultural tour in order to catch correctly the issues of Brazilian big cities.