A favela is the Portuguese term used in Brazil for slum. Rio has hundreds of favelas and some of them are enormous towns with very tough internal rules and social codes. The first settlements were African neighborhoods and started during the 18th century. Over the years the freed black slaves with no land and no work moved to the suburbs of the city and the settlements became enormous favelas in Rio. During the 70’s new favelas established with the rural exodus, lots of people abandoned the rural area and came to the city searching for job opportunities.
The favelas in Rio are ethnically mixed. The economic problems and the social exclusion make really difficult for the people to leave the favela and get a better lifestyle. Although poverty, violence and social exclusion predominates in the favelas, most residents work hard for their money and have decent jobs. The favelas are settled in the hills that surround the city and suffer from frequent landslides during heavy rains; the streets are narrow and bad maintained, making difficult the vehicles circulation. Houses are built with sheet, a mix of clay and mud, and lands are occupied illegally.
Some inhabitants of the favelas are involved with the drug business of cocaine or other substances. Therefore the favelas in Rio are ruled by the drug cartels that have equipped teams with modern guns prepared to defend themselves from the police or from other criminals. The drug cartels “guarantee” the safety of their favela and establish the social codes. It is very hard for policemen to get inside some favelas, so they usually don’t get involved with the internal problems.
The enormous favelas in Rio are next to prosperous neighborhoods and tourists spots. The favelas are a testimony of the unequal distribution of wealth in the country, as 34 percent of Brazil population lives under the poverty line. During your trip to Rio, try not to visit any favela because they are dangerous for tourists.
The largest favela in Rio de Janeiro is called Rocinha, with an estimated population tof 300.000 inhabitants. It is located in the southbound of Rio, just one kilometre away from the beach.
During the last decades Rocinha had a huge infrastructure development; however it is still considered a favela. Nowadays almost all houses are made of concrete and bricks and have basic sanitation, plumbing, and electricity. The favela also has many social services such as medicine stores, bus lines and cable television.
Rocinha can be visited by tourists in special tours. While visiting Rio many celebrities come to Rocinha to get an overview of how a favela looks like. Rocinha has also appeared in many movie scenes and music videos.
The following are some of the most popular favelas in Rio de Janeiro:
• Grota do Surucucu
Río de Janeiro
• Chapéu Mangueira
• Cidade de Deus
• Complexo da Maré
• Complexo do Alemão
• Morro Azul
• Morro de Santa Marta
• Morro do Borel
• Morro dos Macacos
• Tavares Bastos
• Vigário Geral
• Vila Cruzeiro
• Vila Pereira da Silva (Pereirão)
For more information about the favelas in Rio de Janeiro, contact us and we will gladly send you further material about any subject of your interest. We will e-mail this information at no cost within 72 hours and it will be specific to your requirements.
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