Rio & Learn Portuguese Language students at favela Vidigal.

When you think of Rio de Janeiro, images of beautiful beaches, vibrant culture, and iconic landmarks may come to mind. But there’s one hidden gem that often goes unnoticed by tourists – Vidigal. Located in the hills of the city, this favela offers a unique experience unlike any other. From trendy bars to breathtaking favela tours, Vidigal is not for everyone. In this article, we’ll uncover the secrets of Vidigal, including its lively bar scene, thrilling favela tours, and the importance of safety. We’ll also explore the stunning Vidigal beach and the majestic Dois Irmãos mountain that overlooks the favela. So, get ready to discover the charm and allure of this hidden gem in the heart of Rio de Janeiro.

Real Favela do Vidigal in Rio, Brazil. How is really a favela?

What is Vidigal?

A Brief History

Vidigal is a favela, slum or informal settlement, located in the South Zone of Rio de Janeiro. It was originally founded in the 1940s by soldiers returning from World War II who needed a place to live. Over the years, the favela grew and became home to a diverse community of residents.

A Vibrant Community

Today, Vidigal is a bustling community with a unique charm and character. It is home to artists, musicians, and entrepreneurs, and has a strong sense of community and pride. The favela is famous for its beautiful city views and its proximity to the famous Dois Irmãos mountain.

Exploring Vidigal

Favela Tours

One of the best ways to experience Vidigal is through a favela tour. These tours are led by local guides who are knowledgeable about the history and culture of the favela. They will take you through the winding streets, introduce you to residents, and give you a glimpse into daily life in Vidigal.

Vidigal favela tour with 
Rio & Learn Portuguese School and a vidigal's graffity.
Rio & Learn Students discovering Vidigal.

Dois Irmãos Hike

For those looking for a more active experience, the Dois Irmãos hike is a must-do in Vidigal. The hike takes you up to the top of the Two Brothers mountain, where you can take in breathtaking views of the city and the ocean. The hike is moderate in difficulty and a round trip takes about 2 hours. We recommend you to do it with our Dois Irmaõs hike RioLIVE! Activity, as you will go with a local Portuguese teacher and you will get to know the favela as well.

Hike at Morro Dois Irmãos
Rio & Learn Portuguese Language students at the top of Dois Irmãos.

Beach Day at Vidigal Beach

Vidigal Beach, also known as Praia do Vidigal, is a small but beautiful beach located at the bottom of the favela. It is a popular spot for locals and tourists alike, and offers a more relaxed and authentic beach experience compared to the crowded beaches in the more touristy areas of Rio.

Visit the Vidigal Bar

The Vidigal Bar, also known as Alto Vidigal Brasil ou Bar do Alto, is an immensely popular spot that manages to effortlessly attract both locals and tourists alike, thanks to its abundant offerings. This charming establishment not only provides breathtaking and awe-inspiring views of the bustling cityscape, but it also presents an enticing opportunity to unwind and relax while sipping on a drink and watching the sun set slowly below the horizon. Moreover, the bar hosts a series of vibrant live music events, which beautifully reflect the lively spirit of the Vidigal community.

Rio & Immersion student from Rio & Learn enjoying Bar do Alto

The most famous Vidigal Bar is Bar da Laje. It offers too a unique and relaxed atmosphere, surrounded by lush greenery and stunning views of the city. The bar is known for its refreshing drinks, tasty food, and live music events that attract both locals and tourists.

Safety in Vidigal

One of the biggest concerns for tourists when visiting a favela is safety. However, Vidigal has made great strides in recent years to improve safety and security for its residents and visitors.

Pacifying Police Unit (UPP)

In 2011, Vidigal received a Pacifying Police Unit (UPP). These units were created to establish a permanent police presence in favelas and improve safety for residents and visitors. Since the UPP was implemented, crime rates in Vidigal have significantly decreased, but drug traffic is still in control of the favela.

UPP Favela Police point in Rio de Janeiro with Rio & Learn Portuguese foreign students in the favela tour to Dois Irmãos, Vidigal.
UPP Favela Police point in Vidigal with Rio & Learn Portuguese students.

Local Guides

As mentioned earlier, favela tours in Vidigal are led by local guides who are familiar with the area and its residents. These guides are a great resource for tourists and can help ensure a safe and enjoyable experience in the favela. Otherwise you can visit with our Dois Irmãos RioLIVE!

Use Common Sense

As with any unfamiliar place, it is important to use common sense and be aware of your surroundings when visiting Vidigal. Avoid walking alone at night and be respectful to the residents and their homes.

How to Get to Vidigal

Vidigal is located in the South Zone of Rio de Janeiro, making it easily accessible from popular tourist areas like Copacabana and Ipanema. The most common way to get to Vidigal is by taking a taxi or ride-sharing service. You can also take a public bus, but it may be more difficult to navigate if you are not familiar with the area.

Where to Stay in Vidigal

While there are no traditional hotels, there are several options for accommodations within the favela. Many residents offer rooms or apartments for rent through Airbnb, giving tourists the opportunity to experience life in a favela firsthand. There are also several hostels located in the favela, offering budget-friendly options for travelers.

Final Thoughts

Vidigal may not be on the top of every tourist’s list when visiting Rio de Janeiro, but it is definitely worth a visit. The favela offers a unique and authentic experience, and its residents are welcoming and proud to share their community with visitors. So next time you’re in Rio, don’t miss out on exploring this hidden gem.

Click on the links below to see more related Dicas
Favela Santa Marta
Morro Meaning
Brazilian Favelas
Brazilian Funk

This post is also available in: English Português (Portuguese) Español (Spanish)

One Response

  1. Olá.
    Sou Frank, da Inglaterra. Sou torcida de Stoke City (Clube de futebol) Temos un jogador de Portugal, que se chama Vidigal😀


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