Travel Vlog: What it’s Actually Like to Stay in a Favela in Brazil

When you hear the word favela, what comes to mind?


Drugs? Violence? Poverty?

Well what if someone asked you to visit a favela with them.


Would you feel a bit nervous?

How about if they asked you to SLEEP in one for 3 nights?


Would you feel a little tight in the chest?

Well when Dan first told me that he wanted to do it, I laughed and went along with it. Surely he was joking.

It wasn’t until he started sending me all these links to different guesthouses in Chapéu Mangueira, Vidigal and some other favelas that I realised he was being totally serious.

Then I freaked.

Favelas in Brazil were meant to be a complete no go zone for tourists… or anyone for that matter. I was certain that if I stepped foot in one I’d be shot. I’m pretty sure I even said to Dan, “I don’t want to die yet”.

Seriously, this is what the news had me believe.

But when Dan finally twisted my little finger and we set off for a 3 night experience in Chapéu Mangueira, a pacified favela in Rio de Janeiro, all of my shallow preconceptions were proved totally misguided.

This was one of my all time favourite travel experiences yet.

And we caught it all on camera for our “A Rio Story” vlog series, a number of videos highlighting our colourful travel experiences in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. You can find out more about that here. So far we’re up to vlog number 5 out of I don’t know how many yet… Let’s just say there are a lot.

This is the second video about our stay in a favela so if you want to do a bit of catching up, click here.

Normally we post a video from our travel vlog series every Monday (at no particular time) but this week my computer did the worst thing it could possibly do to someone who relies on the internet to travel the world… It didn’t turn on. For 3 whole days. The longest 3 days of my life, driving around Curitiba (in the south of Brazil) trying to find someone to fix the problem.

We eventually got there and all is well… almost 4 days later. Sorry!

Anyway, in this video (if you haven’t already scrolled down to watch it) we take you out for a morning coffee and a bite to eat, walk you through the colourful and crooked alleyways that maze their way across the hill and finish off with a beautiful kite show at sunset, brought to you by the youth of the community.

Ok, so it’s not really a kite show. It’s actually a kite war where the kids stick glass to the tails and fly them into other peoples kites to bring them down. It looks quite elegant though.

And if you’re wondering where we spent our afternoons working, evenings gazing out at orange sunsets and nights resting, don’t go past Chapéu do Leme Guesthouse. The owner, Joao, is so helpful and you really can’t miss the incredible 180 degree views from the rooftop balcony.

Enjoy and let us know what you think by pressing the thumbs up or thumbs down button and commenting in the section below. And if you’ve had any experiences in a favela we want to hear about it!

Remember, we are all about inspiring and helping you to travel more! If you know of somebody who is thinking about making a trip to South America or wanting to travel more in general, don’t forget to share our stuff. The more people we help to make their travel dreams come true, the better!