What is a favela? It is a slum within urban areas. In Brazil, due to social inequality, there are many communities called "favelas". The construction of informal houses began in Rio, in the 19th century and nowadays in the city of Rio alone, there are over 1000 favelas with a total of 1.5 million people living in them.
More than numbers, these communities are the reality of Brazil - a mixture of cultures, colors, rhythms, tastes... everything. The "gringos" - as we name the foreigners, especially the Americans - are very curious to know how those many people build their houses, how they live so close to their neighbors. Because of this curiosity, it's possible to visit most of the pacified communities in the City (when the Military Police takes control over the favela against the local drug traffic).
The Favela Dona Marta, located between Laranjeiras and Botafogo districts, is one of the most famous and respected of these communities in Rio because for years the locals have organized themselves in an association to encourage the residents to improve local tourism. They have prepared the population with professional courses combined with their life experience to be tourist guides and show the world how interesting and culturally diverse the favelas are. The Dona Marta got even more famous after it became the stage for Michael Jackson's music video for "They Don't Care About Us" song in 1996. As a legacy for the community, there is a statue of him in a beautiful gazebo.
If you are at the South Zone of Rio, stop to check out the Favela of Morro Dona Marta tour - it is a great opportunity to understand more about our culture and lifestyle in a most original way. Also, when you reach its mountain, you will be able to admire the view to both Christ the Redeemer and the beaches of Rio. Yes, the Favelas have the best views from Rio!