Vidigal is located between the Leblon and São Conrado neigbourhoods, at the base of the Dois Irmãos (the Two Brothers peaks). The neighborhood received its name after a former commander of the Military Police of the Rio de Janeiro state in the 19th century, Major Miguel Nune Vidigal. Like most favelas, Vidigal has a history of violence and connections with Brazil’s drug trade, yet since its pacification in 2011, it is considered to be the friendliest and most cultural favela in Rio with its dark past firmly behind it. It also has some of the city’s most incredible sea views.
WHY WE LOVE VIDIGAL?
Vidigal is one of Brazil’s finest examples of just how culturally rich and vibrant a favela can be if given the chance to let its unique creativity grow. Home to upcoming artists, fashion designers, and musicians, Vidigal is carving out its own style that breaks free from tradition and embraces modernity. Go there to party all night at Bar Laje or Alto Vidigal to a spell-binding backdrop, or head there during the day for the views at the top of the Dois Irmãos.
Go with a real local, someone who actually lives in that favela community, it’s more recommended. One of the biggest complaints of people who live in the favelas regarding favela tours is that it dehumanizes them, their children & their community. Remember it is not a zoo. Going with a local helps everyone have a great experience. experience for all involved.
Vidigal is another favela famous for its parties that attract tourists every weekend to its hilltop bar, Alto Vidigal, with house, samba, and reggae nights. These parties are very different to the infamous, baile funk parties that are sometimes held in other favelas, especially further north of the city, which are not considered tourist friendly.
Vidigal Beach, made famous by the global hit City of God, offers a relaxed community beach minutes from Vidigal and right in front of the Sheraton. this is one of the few beaches in Rio de Janeiro that offers shade from the hot Rio sun. How to get there? There are steps down to the beach located just past the Sheraton.
Transport up the hill is with either van or moto-taxi – you can walk but it’s a long, steep climb. The van [a white Volkswagon van] usually costs R$3.50 going up and R$2 going down, although this may change later at night. The normal price of a moto-taxi is R$3.50 going up and R$2 going down, however it is common for tourists to get charged more. Always negotiate and confirm the price before getting onboard.
One of my favourite hikes in Rio de Janeiro has got to be Dois Irmãos. Having been up there four times now - once even to celebrate Christmas Day at the top - I feel like I’m beginning to know the way up like the back of my hand. Despite this, the view from the top...