10 favelas of Rio shown by their residents

Photo by bekbek75/ Flickr

Nowhere in Rio you get a better view of the coast and the gorgeous geography than from the top of the favelas. These shantytowns have been included in city tours for a while, in part because of their strategical location,in  part because of their music tradition, or because of their mystique. The favela reality is frequently misunderstood both by those who dream of this mystique and those who equal these environment to a drug-infested mob-headquarter. Neither is accurate, of course.

This wonderful series of videos can offer a vision closer to reality. They interview and follow residents of 10 favelas cariocas while they show their houses, the little bars and soccer fields, the landscape and daily lives.

Enjoy the tour:

1 – Santa Marta – this video, produced by Pedro Serra, with subtitles in English, introduces the favela where Michael Jackson made the 1996 “They Don’t Care About Us” video clip.

The following videos, unfortunately without subtitles, but nevertheless wonderful, are brought to you by a group of investigative journalists from Rio. They created Blog da Pacificação to show how is life in the city’s favelas since the radical change in the government security strategies, one year ago, with a more aggressive response to drug dealing and a stronger presence of the police. It might seem a little too rosy, but has tons of information, which gives it credibility. This website also offers details that can help tourists, such as tips of restaurants and how to go. Blog da Pacificação has its own video about Morro Santa Marta.

2 – Cidade de Deus – Worldly famous thanks to the homonym movie (“City of God”)

3 – Salgueiro – Home of a very famous Escola de Samba, a Carnival samba group.

4 – Tabajaras-cabritos – This small community (only 5,000 people) is strategically installed between upper-class Copacabana, Botafogo and Lagoa neighborhoods, Tabajaras. It is home to Escola de Samba Unidos de Villa Rica and has a great view of all the Southern beaches of Rio.

5 – Pavão-pavãozinho – Between the beaches of Ipanema and Copacabana,

6 – Morro do Andaraí


7 – Morro do Turano


8 – Morro da Providência – the first favela of Rio, occupied since 1897.

9 – Morro dos Macacos


10 – Morros do Morel e Casa Branca