Be a Local conducts walking tours of Rocinha that make various stops inside the community. On Sunday nights, the fun favela funk-party tour (R$65) includes transport, entrance, and admission to a VIP area. The company accepts donations of clothing, food, and medicine on behalf of favela residents. Brazil Expedition runs trips to soccer games, samba-school rehearsals, and has a speedy city tour (R$95), a great option for time-pressed travelers, that takes in the Christ Statue as well as Santa Teresa, Lapa, and Tijuca National Park.
Favela Tour, led by Marcelo Armstrong, conducts tours twice daily through Rocinha and Vila Canoas. Marcelo pioneered favela tourism in Rio, has an impeccable reputation and offers tours in English, Spanish, French and Portuguese. Tours (R$70) are informative, not voyeuristic, and there are opportunities to buy locally produced arts and crafts as you tour the communities. Hotel pickup and drop-off are included in the price.
Private Tours' jeeps can whisk you around old Rio, the favelas, Corcovado, Floresta da Tijuca, and the hard-to-reach beaches of Prainha and Grumari. Guides are available who speak English, French, German, and Hungarian. Rio Hiking not only takes groups on jungle hikes, but also on nightlife tours to clubs and bars beyond the regular tourist circuit.
Be a Local (021/7816–9581. www.bealocal.com.)
Brazil Expedition (Rio de Janeiro. 021/9998–2907 or 021/9376–2839. www.brazilexpedition.com.)
Favela Tour (021/3322–2727 or 021/9989–0074. www.favelatour.com.br.)
Private Tours (021/2232–9710. www.privatetours.com.br.)
Rio Hiking (Rua Coelho Neto 70, Sala 401, Laranjeiras, Rio de Janeiro, 22241–090. 021/2552–9204. www.riohiking.com.br.)
Helisight conducts helicopter tours that pass over the Christ the Redeemer statue, the beaches of the Zona Sul, and other iconic sights. Prices start at R$210 for a seven-minute flight from Sugar Loaf's landing pad.
Helisight (Conde de Bernadotte 26, Leblon, Rio de Janeiro, 22430–200. 021/2511–2141, 021/2542–7935, or 021/2259–6995. www.helisight.com.br.)