Just browsing on the net trying to plan my trip as usual and was looking at the favella tour you can take in Rio De Janeiro.
Now correct me if I'm wrong but does this not seem a little weird/patronising? I mean I think I would feel strange as a rich (comparatively) westener looking round a favella as if it is another attraction when actually its a very real and sad situation that people live in. Does it not seem somwhat insensitive? On the website I was reading it advised to bring a camera and take lots of photos...to me that just seems odd.
I may be completely missing the point but that is why I have posted this, was wondering if anyone has done the favella tour and wanted to tell me what it was like and how it works? Or if anyone has any opinions?
I agree; esp. since from I've heard, there is a large nummber of not-so-ethical tour companies offering this kind of 'thrill'. Disgusting, really... better to blow one's money on actual welfare projects that benefit these communities.
[ Edit: Edited at Oct 31, 2006 12:39 AM by bentivogli ]
I was actually lucky enough to experience one of these tours last July and it was one of the absolute highlights of my trip around South America.
Before I went along I too felt that it was extremely voyeuristic and had a bit of a problem with the idea of being part of a little pack of "wealthy" tourists traipsing goggle-eyed through a slum.
I URGE you, if you have the opportunity, not to miss this.
It's not what you think and you will see why if you do it. That's all I'll say It was an eye-opener in lots of ways. Things are not as they seem.
Also, just a point Niels:
The tour groups that bring you into the favellas pump 70% of the money back into the slums in WELFARE projects. This is the main reason why the tours are received so well by the local residents - the money they generate is entirely independent of the drug lords who control these slums. You can imagine what that means to people like this. If they need a new washing machine, they have to ask for the money to buy it from those guys. I mean, the system they have going on up there all seems to work pretty well, and you dont hear many of them complaining about it.
But the favella tours bring clean money in. Plus the local kids sell trinkets and paintings that they have done themselves to the tourists. One of my most treasured posessions from my travels was purchased from a little boy in the Rochina favella in Rio.
We visited schools that have been set up in the slum out of the money from the tours. If you saw those, you'd change your opinion entirely.
since from what I've heard, there is a large nummber of not-so-ethical tour companies offering this kind of 'thrill'. Disgusting, really... better to blow one's money on actual welfare projects that benefit these communities.
Read carefully, sara
Even though I still have issues even with the companies that are trustworthy, my comment specifically regards those who make money out of these people without scruples...
That's interesting. Where did you get your information from? I was only aware of two operators who ran this tour when I was in Rio. There must be more.
For anyone who is interested, I can recommend the "Dont be a Gringo, Be a Local" project. Excellent and really informative. Definitely not cowboys
Also, this is a good link to check out to give an accurate idea of what to expect
Hope that helps.
Friend of mine who has relatives living in Rio. He said, now that this kind of 'socially involved tourism' is getting increasingly popular and almost every backpacker visiting Rio wants to take a favellas-tour, a lot of iffy agents have appeared on the market.