The last city on our tour of South America was Rio de Janeiro and one of the fascinating things we did while in Rio was to visit the Favelas. These are shanty towns built up the hills of the city. They have quite a history and you can read all about them here.
Our tour guide, Marcelo, was very knowledgeable and sported this neat badge made for him by a local artist.
The favelas have a reputation for being home to drug lords and gangs and while it is still true to some degree it is much safer to visit them due to the large police presence, as seen here. They are always in groups.
While shoddily built in most cases, they do have electricity, plumbing, mail delivery, TV dishes, schools, shops, etc. Look at that tangle of wires!
They are home to many poor working class people. About 20% of the Rio population live in the favelas. We went up and down some of these twisty, turny, steps and alleyways. Notice the bright colors they paint their homes to bring some cheer to their lives.
Looking down on the favelas from a balcony. What a view they have! And at night when they are all lit up they give a wonderful sparkly view to the people below.
Favela art sold at a street vendor.