Insider's Guide to Rio de Janeiro

Major attractions, tips and our top things to see and do.

Get the
Inside Scoop

Privacy Policy

Rio de Janeiro RECOMMENDATIONS See all

Favelas of Rio de Janeiro

By Viator, November 2015

4.5 124 Reviews | Add your review

Rio's 900+ favelas are home to hundreds of thousands of people, packed tightly in astonishing density and replete with all the violence, criminality and squalor that one might expect when extreme poverty is combined with extreme overcrowding. While conditions in some areas border on middle class, many of the more infamous favelas are so fraught with rampant drug trafficking and brutal gang warfare that law enforcement personnel refuse even to set foot within their borders. In recent years, there has been an increase in “reality tourism” in the area, as locals attempt to raise awareness about both the appalling conditions as well as the vibrant subcultures of samba, funk and soccer that take route and flourish in the more stable favelas. Guided tours offer safe, intimate access to a side of life in Brazil that many tourists only glimpse from a distance.    

Most reputable tour groups operated by locals restrict their operations to the favela of Rocinha. Portuguese for “little farm”, this is Rio’s largest favela. Located in the state's South Zone between the districts of São Conrado and Gávea, Rocinha is built on a steep hillside overlooking the sprawling metropolis less than a mile from the beach. Unlike other shantytowns or slums, this favela has a highly developed infrastructure, with hundreds of businesses, banks, bus lines, a cable television station, and a McDonald’s franchise. Tour groups offer a variety of customized trips, ranging from short visits (roughly 3 hours) to extended tours that stop off at dozens of places of interest, rooftop views, eateries and community organizations, culminating in samba and funk parties that run well past midnight (in fact, many do not even begin until 12 a.m.).

Tours & Tickets

See all

Rio de Janeiro Combo Tour: Santa Teresa, Corcovado Mountain and Santa Marta Favela

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 56 Reviews

Visit some of Rio de Janeiro’s most famous attractions and discover the various sides to the city on this full-day tour with a local guide. Explore the ...  Read more

Location: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Duration: 8 hours (approx.)

From USD $157.99

Favela Tour in Rio de Janeiro

4 star rating: Recommended 62 Reviews

Venture into a Rio de Janeiro favela (the Brazilian version of a shanty town) on this half-day educational tour. See the day-to-day lifestyles of locals who ...  Read more

Location: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Duration: 4 hours (approx.)

From USD $58.99

Tijuca Forest and Favela Tour in Rio de Janeiro

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 4 Reviews

Enjoy a drive through the Tijuca Forest, one of the largest urban forests in the world. Admire the views from Vista Chinesa lookout point then visit the Santa ...  Read more

Location: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Duration: 5 hours (approx.)

From USD $78.00

Favela Walking Tour in Rio de Janeiro

Take a non-intrusive 4-hour walking tour of Rocinha favela in Rio, and learn about life in the city’s famous shanty towns. Take a respectful tour with a favela ...  Read more

Location: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Duration: 4 hours (approx.)

From USD $35.00

Favela Da Rocinha in Rio de Janeiro

4.5 star rating: Recommended 2 Reviews

This 3-hour tour will take you to Rocinha, is the biggest “favela” in Latin America. A favela is a Brazilian version of a shanty town. With your guide, you ...  Read more

Location: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Duration: 3 hours (approx.)

From USD $58.00

See all

Viator uses cookies to improve your experience on our website. Learn more about how we use cookies and how to change your cookie settings | Close message