Visiting Rocinha Favela in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

“There were five people killed in the past two days,” Patrick, tour guide from Be A Local, whispered to me. “Even though the cops are moving the gangs, they’re trying to get back in.”

It was sunny and 85 degrees Fahrenheit that afternoon in Rio de Janeiro. In the distance, I could see trekkers climbing Sugarloaf Mountain, hang gliders whizzing through the air and kayakers taking advantage of the calm waters and beautiful beaches. So, what was I doing spending the day wandering around one of the most notoriously dangerous places in the country, the favela of Rocinha?

The previous day, I had been hanging out with a local who had told me that she thought it was an interesting and eye-opening experience, and even she had done a favela tour. In Rio, colorful hillside favelas dot the landscape just as much as beaches and mountains. If you want to really get to know the whole personality of Rio de Janeiro, you should consider visiting one — with a tour, of course, as these places can be unsafe to enter alone…

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