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Rio de Janeiro (State) The favela tour

BRAZIL | Thursday, 1 January 2009 | Views [10902] | Comments [2]

The local band

The local band

Still in Rio and learning more about the city. When we were staying at the Surf and Stay, we met an Australian girl who was over here working as a tour guide, and she insisted that we should do favela (meaning slum) tour when we were in Rio. I, initially was not too sure, as the only other place I had heard about them was when I went to Capetown and they did shanty town tours. Whilst I did not do the shanty town tour – I did not get much positive feedback on how they were run or how dislike a human safari it might be. This was completely different.

The main reason why it is different is that the tours pay for a number of local projects to be built and to be maintained, no money goes to the people that control the favela and whilst there the tourists spend money in a number of local shops -  bring additional money in to the community. The project that we visited was a day care centre, but all the kids were on holiday – so no actual interaction.

For those that don´t know – the Rio favelas were started in the 60s and 70s by poor people coming from the countryside to find work, quite often after they had been displaced for new roads or towns. They came to find work, work which was often in the service industry for rich people of Rio. They wanted, as we all do, to keep the commute short, so moved as close to the rich folk of Rio as possible – not in to legitimate housing, but walking up the steep sided mountains, cutting down enough trees and built basic stone and corrugated iron houses. As more and more people came and the use of drugs expanded their towns started to be controlled by various gangs that controlled the supply of drugs to the area. For many years the troubles between the gangs meant that there were regular killings inside the favelas and a lot of crime happening in Rio proper could trace its origins back there too. As certain gangs managed to control whole favelas they started to run them almost as local councils – but illegally. They stole power from the local power companies, accessed the local water supplies etc and policed the population through fear. Today, much of the drugs for Rio still come through the favelas, but users need to come to the favelas to buy the drugs, so gangs ensure they are relatively safe places to be. We were not allowed to take too many pictures and none of the people guarding the entrances, but we have a few pictures that give you an idea of the scale of it all and the standard of living they have. We also watch a film a few days later called the City of God, which is a good (if violent) film that is worth watching if you want to know more.





I am from Rocinha and you can read my opinions about what I think about favela tours.

My BLOG: http://lifeinrocinha.blogspot.com

Thank you,


  Rocinhajj Jun 6, 2009 7:46 PM


This is a great idea,these are promising musicians.I have also watch the city of God, its so interesting and everyone ought to watch it.

  Racheal tour Aug 17, 2010 6:29 PM

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