For several years, the favelas in Rio de Janeiro remained off the tourist itineraries for all but the intrepid traveller. However, since the pacification between 2011 and 2012, a few have become more tourist-friendly. One of the most popular is Vidigal. This bohemian community has picturesque views, bars, restaurants and is home to the entrance of the pleasant one-hour trek up the Dois Irmãos hills. The violent imagery of favelas painted by global media doesn’t add up when compared to Vidigal, where tourists are drawn in by the creative vibe and the nightlife venues clinging to the hillside. We met up with Nuno Queiroz, a resident of Vidigal and owner of trendy new event spot, Samakhom Home Events, to get an insider perspective on life in this thriving area.
Can you tell us more about you?
My name is Nuno Queiroz (stage name) and I’ve lived in Vidigal for about 4 years. I’m an actor, a musician, and a micro-entrepreneur, and I made the decision to come here because of the artistic movements that pass and settle here.
How would you describe Vidigal?
Vidigal, despite being well differentiated, is still a favela and with that, it maintains problems with the services offered by the state. However, there is a very strong contrast within Vidigal itself. Here you will find shacks to mansions, old taverns to more sophisticated bars, and so on.
What can people expect to find in Vidigal?
Many Brazilian and foreign tourists visit Vidigal every day, because here is a very famous trail called “Dois Irmãos Hill Trail” and, on the way to the hike, visitors will find various artistic expressions on the walls, houses, establishments, alleys and wherever they look. At the moment I am opening my “Laje Bar” (I invented this term haha), called “Samakhom Home Events”. “Samakhom” means “union” in Thai. Here we will carry out various activities, among them: parties, exhibitions, fairs, etc. In addition, Vidigal has a theater and is also the basis for a very important project called “Nós do Morro”, which is worth knowing. There are many parties, scattered all over the hillside, every weekend, mixing different profiles of people.
Anything else you’d like to add?
In summary: Vidigal is one of the places in Rio that has one of the most beautiful views of Rio de Janeiro and has a very intense internal life.
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