As well as being known for its natural beauty and iconic landmarks, Brazil is also known for its many favelas. A favela is a slum in that exists within the urban areas of big cities, often carved out of a hillside overlooking the rest of the city. There are over 700 favelas in Rio alone, housing about 1.1 million people – about 1/6th of the general population.
Today we visited Rocinha, the largest favela in Rio de Janeiro built on the side of a steep hill. This small area of about one square kilometer holds over 80,000 people. There are over 700 favelas of various sizes throughout Rio. These shanty towns were made famous in the movie City of God, showing the rampant crime and drug activity festering in these close quarters. Today, the government with the help of the military have attempted to overtake the area, drive down crime, and improve infrastructure. Our visit was pretty safe, we walked through the alleyways while learning a bit about the history of favelas got a glimpse into the life of its inhabitants.