Brazil

5 of the best Rio de Janeiro favela tours

by Paul Stafford  |  Published September 23, 2018

Perhaps it was the film “City of God” or the World Cup and Olympics that were instrumental in breaking down the socio-economic borders of Rio de Janeiro, but the city’s favelas have taken on something of an absurd romanticism. The result is a plethora of tours through these deprived neighbourhoods, which in turn have brought new revenue streams from tourism right into the heart of poorer areas of the city once deemed too dangerous to set foot in for outsiders.

The number of Brazil’s favelas is not exactly known, but continues to rise, with some estimates putting the figure as high as 1,000 distinct neighbourhoods. Rio has a good proportion of the best-known of these, and up to 600,000 thousand people are thought to inhabit the city’s favelas. That being said, a guided tour is often the best way to get educated on, and fully understand, the unique culture and lifestyle of these zones, as well as the places that are best to visit, as much as avoiding those that are perhaps still a little off-limits to tourism. Here’s the TravelMag round-up of the top five favela tours.