I rarely give poor review on TripAdvisor but I feel strongly that if you want to visit the favela - find a better company that does it right. If you just want to follow someone who knows the neighborhood for a walk and some opportunities to spend money along the way, this might be for you; but if you are looking for something more, do more research and consider something else.
There were only 4 people on the day I did the tour. I guess it was not enough to justify hiring the driver (but they didn't want to cancel the tour), so we were picked up by the guide's private car. There was thus no one who could drop us off on the top of the hill and walk down with us (normally the driver drops off the people while the guide walks with the group then meet the driver down the hill again).
We first spent some time driving around finding a parking spot, then we were asked to each pay extra for a motortaxi to take us up to the hill. While I don't mind giving some room for flexibility with the transportation arrangement, I find it quite unbelievable that they asked us to pay more at the spot while it should have all been included. Just not the right way of conducting business in my opinion - not to mention that none of us was notified about this at all before the tour.
The real bummer however is the tour itself. I was really hoping to learn more about the favela, about its development, history, people's life there etc. Although our guide seems to know the people well, he doesn't really have the knowledge and enthusiasm to answer our questions. Our questions were often answered with counter-questions, or some general comments that everybody could have made. The tour was more like a walking tour with very limited explanations, with several stops for you to "contribute" to the community there (gallery, music performance by a couple of kids, pastry shop, handcraft vendors). While I am not against a bit of shopping here and there, I thought there should be better and bigger way to contribute other than say buying over-priced water at the specific shop they brought us to?
Overall we had almost no interaction with the people living there (except for the times they wanted us to spend money). It was a huge disappointment and I would rather not do it if I knew it would be a tour like this. I later learned that there is an NGO that helped young people from favela set up a company to run favela tours - in hindsight I wish I've gone with them or with another company that has been running favela tours for longer (heard decent reviews from other travelers afterwards). For me, a favela tour should be done carefully in a way beyond a sightseeing tour, but unfortunately this company just doesn't offer that.
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