We start the tour off with a ride on a mototaxi (or kombi-bus) to the top of the Vidigal favela and the entrance of the Dois Irmãos trail. From there, we leave the city behind and embrace the peace and tranquility of nature as we hike up the trail, stopping at various points to enjoy the magnificent views of Rocinha, the largest favela in Rio de Janeiro. Once at the top, we stop to enjoy a magnificent 360 view of Rio de Janeiro, including Leblon, Ipanema, and Christ the Redeemer. After taking it all in, we begin our descent down the mountain and through the winding streets of the favela before stopping at Sitiê, a garbage dump that was transformed into an ecological park. 16 tons of garbage were removed and used to construct the park, now known as a community space of leisure, education, and environmental awareness. Since it’s inception in 2006, the park has generated 9 green jobs and produces more than one ton of produce for its residents.
As our tour comes to an end, we will keep walking down through the favela and end at the Favela Experience Social Impact Hostel, developed in partnership with the local NGO Ser Alzira de Aleluia, where visitors can marvel at the panoramic view.
Born and raised in Vidigal, Russo loves showing travelers the cultural potential and entrepreneurship of his community through his guided tours. Russo received his nickname due to his Russian-like appearance, which doesn’t fit the physical stereotype of a typical of a carioca. However, since childhood Russo has spent his life on this hill and has experienced many of the changes in the favela. His passion for storytelling lead him to a professional career in guiding after completing a technical course in tourism. Russo loves showing travelers the cultural potential and entrepreneurship of his community through his guided tours. His mission is to make travelers feel at home as they learn about Vidigal’s fascinating history and participate in a cultural exchange between travelers and Vidigal residents. Originally from the North East, Fernanda has lived in Vidigal for the last the years. As it took a lot of time for her family to settle and establish roots within the community, Fernanda feels a close connection with Vidigal and is proud to have been part of all the recent changes. As a former tourism student, Fernanda recognized the potential that tourism could have in Vidigal and decided to become a local guide in an effort to show travelers the beauty and charm of her community. Her mission is to connect tourists to the community and also change traveler’s perceptions about favelas in general. She is our English guide and learned to speak the language all by herself!
Take a taxi or uber to the Pracinha do Vidigal, located at the entrance of the favela. An alternative option for those individuals coming from the South or West zone is to take a bus as the square is right next to a popular bus station.