We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“The highlight of our trip to Rio!”

Isabell Erdmann - Favela Cantagalo Tour
Ranked #144 of 475 Tours in Rio de Janeiro
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: The favelas Cantagalo, and Pavão-Pavãozinho are situated in the heart of the south zone of Rio de Janeiro. During the visit you will understand the way of life in a favela, get to know its history, and learn about the cultural value of the communities.Highlights:- You will have great views to Copacabana, Ipanema, Leblon, Lagoa, Dois-Irmãos, Gávea, Christ, the Lagoon, Jardim Botanico- You will see and understand the favela-architecture, graffiti art, infrastructure systems in the favelas.- You will be able to get into contact and interact with the residents of the community, especially children.- You will see recent victories for the communities like the cultural terrace of the MuF and the infrastructure works of the PAC.You will get a feeling of the communities problems and see efforts for solutions.- You will visit the favela of Cantagalo, and Pavão-Pavãozinho, located in the best area of Rio de Janeiro, between Ipanema and Copacabana.The tour starts at the elevator in Ipanema that brings you right into the heart of the community. You will follow the footsteps of the MuF, the museum of the favela, the first territorial favela museum in the world. You will visit the project Casas Telas, an open air graffity art gallery that tells the history, the customs, the progress, and the present of the communities. You will visit the community centre on top of the hill that houses various social projects like capoeira, jiujitsu, surf, AfroCirco, boxing, ballet, etc. You walk the labyrinth of stairs and alleyways and cross the communities to the other side for a view to Copacabana, and on the way down, you will see more graffiti art.You will get information about the recent projects in the community in terms of infrastructure, security, culture, and education, and see from close how life works in a favela.
Poway, California, United States
Level 3 Contributor
23 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“The highlight of our trip to Rio!”
Reviewed November 14, 2012

Isabell is a German woman who has lived in Rio for many years, speaks the language fluently, and actually lives in the favela. She is passionate about the favelas and their culture, and she is very obviously well-loved and accepted in this close community. She gives you an excellent historical background of the favelas while also highlighting the history and evolution of modern day Rio/Brazil. It is truly an insider's look at these amazing neighborhoods. There were four of us in our group, and we all agreed it was the best part of our trip to Rio. I wish we'd used her other tour services as well since our other tour guide was not nearly so passionate or interesting. With Isabell, it doesn't seem like she's doing a job - she's doing something she loves. Wear comfortable shoes and be prepared to spend many hours walking. It's worth it!!

Visited November 2012
Thank Pamela E
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review

62 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
London, United Kingdom
Level 2 Contributor
9 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“Highlight of Rio”
Reviewed September 27, 2012

As 2 women travelling through Rio, we were a bit nervous about touring a favela. I'm so glad we did, especially with Isabella. we did the adventure tour which involved jumping on to the back of a motorbike taxi at the end of Leblon beach. Isabell gave the driver directions and suddenly we were off on the back of our own motor cycle taxis, flying through the favela like a scene in the Bourne Identity. It was terrifying but one of the craziest and most memorable experiences from all of my travels! We loved it! We then did a gorgeous hike from the top of the favela to the top of the peak overlooking Leblon and Ipanema beaches. The view from here was stunning and better than Corcovado and Sugarloaf. From there, we hiked back down into the favela which was equally as interesting. Isabell gave her own first-hand experiences of favelas, living in Rio and the hardships people face. but equally important, she made it clear that it's a community and the news stories and films don't reflect most of the people. If you like adventure, do the adventure tour! But either way, this tour is not to be missed in Rio. We were so grateful to the two Australians who recommended Isabell to us.

Visited July 2012
1 Thank Hillbilly_travels
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Santiago, Chile
Level 3 Contributor
8 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Isabell Erdmann Tour of Museu of Favela - Contagalo Rio”
Reviewed July 27, 2012

Contagalo Favela directly overlooks Ipanema. Isabell lives and works within the Contagalo community + her knowledge of the history of the favela is 'second to none'. We walked up and down through the narrow passages from one area to another in the 4 hour tour looking at the art which has been placed throughout the community. These murals and artworks construct a narrative, weaving a tale of personal memories and experiences and the political from life within the favela. Isabell would regularly stop + explain the symbols and stories within each mural. Along the way we meet many people within the community, especially children who were fasinated with meeting my own 2 boys. We also visited the community school housed in an old international hotel which was built in the 1970's but was never opened - where we meet a champion young boy training at the kickboxing school.

I concur with many of the other reviewers. A must visit while in Rio.

Visited July 2012
1 Thank 123Scratch
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Buenos Aires
2 reviews
“Over and above”
Reviewed May 27, 2012

Taking the tour with Isabell may have been my best experience in Rio. She actually lives in the favela and knows it in and out. While other tours drive you around in a van and give you brief descriptions, Isabell's tour is the opposite. You go deep into the favela by foot and experience everything up close. You get to see the favella for what it really is, a community. She also takes you to a breathe taking view point at the top of mountain to see all of Rio. I felt safe at all times. In my opinion the people were actually nicer and more friendly inside the favela than in Copacabana/Ipanema. I will recommend Isabell's tour to all my family and friends who visit Rio.

Visited May 2012
Thank Brian L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Foz do Iguacu, PR
Level 6 Contributor
191 reviews
48 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 172 helpful votes
“Not what I expected - Absolutely Fantastic - Take a Tour”
Reviewed May 11, 2012

I confess when I was informed that our corporate tour was to visit the slums above Ipanema Beach, I was less than enthusiatic and counting down the hours to heading back to the hotel.

How wrong I was, I highly recommend everyone to try and visit this Favela for the following reasons:-
1) It is very safe and potentially safer than the beaches!
2) The people in the Favela are wonderfully welcoming and friendly.
3) The charity which supports the regeneration of the Favela working with the Favela Residents Association have really created a spirit of regeneration within the community.
4) The tour through the Favela as you walk through what can be described as a shanty town, is breathtaking in many ways - The people you meet, the grafitti (art not junk), the noises, smells (cooking!) and the view is breathtaking.
5) The show within the community centre was the best all round Samba Show I saw in Rio, the adults / teens involved put 100% effort into providing a thoroughly entertaining show. You also had a chance (well more like they involved you in it) to get involved, to dance, to speak to everyone and anyone.

I loved every minute of the tour and when the show had ended, once we'd had a chance to dance a little (learn a lot) and were setting off back to the lift to take us back to the bus. The kids in the Favela put together a marching drum band, who marched us off towards the lift, through the streets and down the stairs. The community came out, supported it and it was great.

So if you want to see a little more of Rio than the usual tourist sites, go out and ask for a tour of the Favela Contagalo and you will not be disappointed.

Note: Whilst there is a lift to the entrance to the Favela, there are a lot of steps up the hill (then back down it) so you need to be able to walk for 10-15 minutes up a hill (you can stop for resting etc so everyone who can walk should be able to get there).

As this was a corporate do, there was a donation to the Favela but I think any donation will be acceptable and there is merchandise from the community for sale. I am not sure of any specific fee's but will indicate there probably is something to pay (but why shouldn't you pay to see a tour and a show).

Visited May 2012
4 Thank OneWayorReturnPlease
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers who viewed Isabell Erdmann - Favela Cantagalo Tour also viewed


Been to Isabell Erdmann - Favela Cantagalo Tour? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing