The Five Star Vagabond

Super travel tips, all road tested by David Herd. I'm an Australian guy who moved to Thailand in 2011 & still travel the world as often as possible.

Rocinha favela Rio de Janeiro

October 16, 2013 by David Herd

 Vidigal favela just behind the Rio Sheraton

Rocinha favela Rio de Janeiro

Rocinha favela Rio de Janeiro is about a mile past the Sheraton, Vidigal favela in Rio is just behind the five star Sheraton hotel, it really is a clash of cultures.

Just a little further along is  Rocinha favela (little farm) it is the largest favela in Brazil, and is located in Rio de Janeiro’s South Zone between the districts of São Conrado and Gávea. Rocinha is built on a steep hillside overlooking Rio de Janeiro, and is located about one kilometre from a nearby beach. Most of the favela is on a very steep hill, with many trees surrounding it. 69,161 (census 2010)  people live in Rocinha, making it the most populous favela in Brazil.

Although Rocinha is technically classified as a neighbourhood, many still refer to it as a favela. It developed from a shanty town into an urbanized slum. Today, almost all the houses in Rocinha favela are made from concrete and brick. Some buildings are three and four stories tall and almost all houses have basic sanitation, plumbing, and electricity. Compared to simple shanty towns or slums, Rocinha has a better developed infrastructure and hundreds of businesses such as banks, medicine stores, bus lines, cable television, including locally based channel TV ROC (TV Rocinha), and, at one time, a McDonalds franchise. These factors help classify Rocinha as a favela bairro, or favela neighbourhood.

I guess Monday is washing day.

Rocinha favela Rio de Janeiro

Rocinha is the largest favela in Brazil and one of the most developed.  Rocinha’s population was estimated at between 150,000 and 300,000 inhabitants in 2000s (decade)  but the IBGE Census of 2010 counted only 69,161 people. In November 2011, a security operation was executed where hundreds of police and military patrolled the streets of Rocinha to crackdown on rampant drug dealers and bring government control to the neighborhood.

The smell here was rather unpleasant.

Rocinha favela Rio de Janeiro

I’ll say this, the smell was hard to cope with and it was not a hot day.

Garbage waiting for collection.

Garbage in Rocinha

No one knows where and when the name Rocinha favela emerged, but the most likely theory is that in the 1920s there was a famous open air market in what is today the Santos Dumont Plaza in Gávea. The middle class and elite who bought their fresh produce there would ask the vendors where the produce came from and they would answer that they came from their ‘little farm’ or Rocinha.


No council approval here.  😳

Rocinha favela Rio de Janeiro

Rochinha favela is the largest in Rio.

Master electrician on the job.

Tradesman at work

This incredible mish mash of electrical wiring reminds me very much of Thailand. In Rocinha it is an illegal system, in Thailand however a mess like this is legal. Take a look at my Thai photo blog here.

Exploring Rocinha is an incredible experience.

Rocinha favela Rio de Janeiro

200,000 people live here in Rocinha, in fact 20% of Rio’s population live in Favelas. Personally I found seeing this close up was a very humbling experience.

Rocinha (little farm) is the largest Favela in Brazil

Rocinha Favela BrazilLife in the Favela is very much like any other Brazilian community.

Life in the favela is fascinating.


Rocinha favela Rio de Janeiro

He sweeps while madame supervises.

Kids will always find somewhere to play.

Rocinha favela Rio de Janeiro

Happy children playing on the roof top.

Happy kids are everywhere.

Rocinha favela Rio de Janeiro

Kid’s are happy no matter where they live.

Beautiful faces in the slums.

Rocinha favela Rio de Janeiro

No matter where in the world you travel one of the most wonderful sights are the children’s beautiful faces.

At carnival time most of the favela population celebrate in the streets of Ipanema and Copacabana.

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Rocinha favela bakery

Rocinha Favela Rio

Tasty pastries in the local bakery.

Lucy is checking out the goodies.

Rocinha favela Rio de Janeiro

                       The bakery is no different to what you would find down-town
What’s the plan today Boys?

Favela meeting

Some serious business going down here.
    Here are some more posts to check out
              Sydney                               Paris                                   Bangkok
Sydney Opera house        Paris hotel        Grand Palace Bangkok
               Tokyo                        Rio De Janeiro                        Budapest
Tokyo        Carla, what a girl. photo CopacabanabeachNov2003-128.jpg        Buda Castle
           London                            Beijing                            Capetown
Kings road Chelsea        David & the General photo DHandthegeneral.jpg        David Herd Thailand
                   Great hotel room rates anywhere in the world if you book
                            through these links below.  Book now pay later. 🙂 
                             Bangkok Hotels                    Pattaya Hotels
                         Amazing Bangkok busses               Amazing Bangkok busses

                                                       Brazil Hotels

                                                     David Herd Thailand

The tour through Rocinha favela in Rio de Janeiro was one of the highlights of my trip.

Here is my post on Sugarloaf Mountain

Here is one of my favourite posts on Rio

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