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It doesn't matter whether you're just visiting for a few hours or you prefer to go the whole hog and stay with a family in one of the houses. Whatever you decide, you'll have the opportunity to learn about a fundamental part of Rio.
Also, your visit will not only provide you with an authentic experience, but you'll be helping develop the area.
There are completely pacified favelas, but others are still controlled by the narcos and are difficult to access if you don't know the area. Because of the danger involved even for the police and army, we don't recommend you visit one of these. The safest are generally in the south.
Examples of pacified favelas are: SANTA MARTA, in the heart of Botafogo, in the Morro Dona Marta, is the smallest favela in the city. It is well known as the setting for Michael Jackson's 1996 video "They Don't Care About Us". This favela is safe and you won't have any problems with anyone if you enter and walk around.
You can catch you a cable car that will take you to the top of the hill, where you can enjoy views that will leave you flabbergasted. In addition to seeing the gleaming golden statue of Michael, another reason to visit was added relatively recently: to see and photograph the famous and colourful Praça Cantão, which you'll find almost at the entrance to the favela and has become an icon of the city after the project carried out by the Dutch duo Haas & Hahn. The artists decided to paint houses bright colours through an art project that was supported and appreciated by the community. And it has become a symbol of the beloved city.
Other favelas you can visit are ROÇINHA, Rio's largest favela and with the most developed infrastructure, with schools, pharmacies, etc. It is also well known because it has appeared in numerous films and music videos.
In VIDIGAL, you'll also be well received. It is famous for hosting the most privileged cariocas, and it even boasts a sushi restaurant. It is often compared to the bohemian neighbourhood of Santa Teresa. Some stairs will take you to the very top so you can enjoy the breathtaking 180-degree views of the Atlantic Ocean.
Also worth a visit is TAVARES BASTOS, which, besides being the favourite favela for videos and movies, is famous for its nightlife. Whether you're into funk or samba, the important thing in Tavares Bastos is music. Much of that musical fame owes itself to an Englishman. Yes, we know that sounds strange. The former BBC journalist Bob Nadkarni moved here in the 80s and spent the next 20 years building what is now a nine-storey guesthouse with an incredible rooftop bar. The Maze guesthouse (so called because its structure is so labyrinth-like) hosts two famous jazz festivals a month on the rooftop bar, and people from all over the city attend. If you happen to be in Rio when it's on, you can't miss it.
Bonde - Bondinho (64)
Favelas - The Heart of Rio (38)
Imposing Rio - The Weather (4)
The Carnival of Rio De Janeiro (70)
Arcos De Lapa - Lapa Arches (63)
Sugarloaf Mountain Cable Car (Bondinho del Pao de Açucar) (33)
Arpoador Stone (17)
Copacabana Beach (6)
Ipanema Beach (13)
Metropolitan Cathedral (66)
Santa Teresa (67)
Tijuca National Park (36)
Calçadão De Copacabana (9)
Corcovado Rack Railway (35)
La Garota De Ipanema - The Girl From Ipanema (14)
Municipal Theatre (52)
Selarón Staircase (65)
Belmond - Copacabana Palace Hotel (8)
Christ of Corcovado - Trivia (84)
City of Samba (74)
Fort Copacabana (10)
Mercado São José Das Artes (31)
Olympic Park (81)
Praça General Osorio (16)
Río-Niterói Bridge (80)
Tiradentes Palace (50)
Botafogo and Flamengo (24)
Christ of Corcovado - Views (85)
Confeitaria Colombo (45)
Igreja Nossa Senhora Do Outeiro (42)
Largo Do Boticario (40)
Monastery of San Benito (47)
Palacio Do Catete - Museu Da Republica (41)
Praça XV (48)
Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon (21)
Botanical Garden (23)
Church of the Candelaria (57)
Convent of San Antonio (46)
Ilha Fiscal - Fiscal Island (58)
Monument to the Dead (60)
Palacio Laranjeiras (29)
Real Gabinete Portugués De Leitura (44)
São Cristovão Fair (75)
Bank of Brazil Cultural Centre (56)
Museu Internacional De Arte Naïf (30)
National Museum of Fine Arts (53)
Villa-Lobos Museum (26)
Chacra Do Ceu Museum (68)
National Center for Folklore and Popular Culture (61)
The Eva Klabin Museum (22)