January 4th, 2010
The Brazilian Favelas in Rio de Janeiro are known as one of the worlds most poor and dangerous places and visiting a neighbourhood in this area is probably not the safest tourist attraction on the market.
The only way to visit the Favelas is by tour and always accompanied by a professional guide. Usually the gangs in ghetto's like the Favelas get paid by the tour agency to keep quiet and let the tourist have a look in their neighbourhood. This doesn't mean that you can walk around in the Favelas taking pictures of everybody or acting freely the way you would during any other tour.
Just respect the people who live here and make sure to behave in a way that won't make you stand out of the group in a bad way. After all, the favelas of Rio de Janeiro represent a sad story of people completely forgotton by the rest of the world and trying to survive from day to day. We saw kids not being kids or even wearing arms because in order to eat they might have to rob someone or at least defend themselfves.
Complexo do Alemao is a group of favelas in the northern part of Rio de Janeiro and gives you an idea of how terribly build these houses are and in what conditions the people here live.
The favela of Rocinha is the largest of Brazil and located in the south zone of Rio de Janeiro. Rocinha is located on a steep hill and looks out over the sea. Once the houses here were nothing more than those of a shanty town but over the years the people started to build with bricks and concrete other than card board and rubbish which turned Rocinha into a more urbanized slum. Some houses even have more stories and almost all the houses have electricity, plumbing and basic sanitation now.
Either way it remains a very impressive place and it changes the way you look at the world.
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