Experience Favela Vidigal in Rio de Janeiro

Experience Favela Vidigal in Rio de Janeiro
You cannot ignore the Favela Vidigal. From any point on Ipanema Beach, you see the settling crawling up the mountain “Dois Irmaos”, southwest of Ipanema. At night, the lights on the steep hill become a postcard of Rio de Janeiro, during the day it causes discomfort: How do people live up there? In poverty, right beside all this exuberance? I recommend to take a motorcycle cab up there and find out! Vidigal is one of the fastest changing places of Rio de Janeiro. Pacified just recently, I can see its gentrification from week to week on my Sunday tours there. Where heavily armed kids used to sell drugs four years ago, now young policemen of the Pacification Unit UPP sleep in air conditioned cars. Where famous “bailes” of heaviest big beat used to attract the underworld, now blonde girls from Ipanema and Leblon file up to enter parties with international DJs. Where an illegal landfill poisoned land and air once stood, residents have built an ecological park with a stunning view to the sea.

Between the new NGOs (non governmental organizations), party decks and restaurants, you still see what life is like for the new lower middle class of Brazil- those who just escaped poverty. You can share a delicious tapioca with them and smell their weekend barbecues while watching your steps walking through all the strings of handmade kites. And of course you’ll get to know the marvellous stories of how this place was saved from removal twice. The first time the people and the local church convinced the pope to show up and speak against the politics of removal.  And the second time, the area was saved because Brazil’s richest man, who was about to acquire the land, suddenly fell into debts. This place was hell, protected by god – it’s hard to find a better place to understand urban Brazilian life today.

Santa Marta
Santa Marta
Favela Vidigal
Favela Vidigal

Did you know…?

Contrary to popular belief, the definition of  Favela is not a Brazilian shack, shanty town or a slum. A Brazilian tour guide will tell you that the term ”favela” doesn’t have an exact translation. It mostly means an informal settling on a hill with the absence of state power and in fact, there are a few favelas that have characteristics much above the standard of a slum.

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Comments

  • egypttravelcc
    Reply

    It’s an amazing place to visit. I encourage everybody to visit this place.

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