Rocinha is the largest slum (favela) area in Rio. It’s situated on the hills behind the city with panoramic views of the mountains and ocean. The people are generally poor but life in the favela teems with energy, enterprise, domestic activity, artwork, music (we encountered a spontaneous dance performance by a 9 year-old), day care centers, charity groups, schools as well as mafia-style control zones where the drug trade is said to flourish. Small tourist groups are led through the narrow alleyways by an authorized guide, occasionally passing by a gang member armed with a semi-automatic rifle. Other favelas can be navigated independently by tourist on foot. Going alone was considered previously consider foolish, but some are now under control by the Police Pacification Units and are safe to visit, such as the Santa Marta or Cantagalo favelas. People are friendly, some with shops selling pastries or jewelry.

Rocinha Slum of Rio de Janiero Brazil
View of Rio de Janeiro from Rocinha slum
View of Rio de Janeiro from Rocinha slum
View of Rocinha slum, Rio de Janeiro
View of Rocinha slum, Rio de Janeiro
View of Rocinha slum, Rio de Janeiro
View of Rocinha slum, Rio de Janeiro
View of Rocinha slum, Rio de Janeiro
View of Rocinha slum, Rio de Janeiro
View of Rocinha slum that backs up against the rock
View of Rocinha slum that backs up against the rock mountain
View of Rocinha slum that backs up against the rock
View of Rocinha slum that backs up against the rock mountain
Our guide through Rocinha favela slum
Our guide through Rocinha favela slum
Be-a-Local is a charity support program in Rocinha
Be-a-Local is a charity support program in Rocinha
Artist's palette in Rocinha
Artist's palette in Rocinha
Ragged appearance of buildings
Ragged appearance of buildings
Narrow walkway inside Rocinha
Narrow walkway inside Rocinha
Impromptu drummer band--plastic and tin cans
Impromptu drummer band--plastic and tin cans
Boy dancer with the can band
Boy dancer with the can band
Boy dancer with the can band
Boy dancer with the can band
Boy dancer with the can band;  he stopped to dance
Boy dancer with the can band; he stopped to dance on his way home from school.
Alleyway in Rocinha with tangled wires
Alleyway in Rocinha with tangled wires
Pastry shop in Rocinha
Pastry shop in Rocinha
Pastry shop in Rocinha
Pastry shop in Rocinha
Jewelry maker in Rocinha
Jewelry maker in Rocinha
Wristband of Rocinha
Wristband of Rocinha
Colorful outcrops in Rocinha
Colorful outcrops in Rocinha
View of Rocinha looking up from the entrance
View of Rocinha looking up from the entrance
Risky open stairways in Rocinha
Risky open stairways in Rocinha
Rooms are stacked upon others
Rooms are stacked upon others
Collapsed home in Rocinha due to poor construction
Collapsed home in Rocinha due to poor construction
Separate plastic pipes bring water to various houses
Separate plastic pipes bring water to various houses