From the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Favelas (Portuguese for ‘slum’ or ‘shanty town’) are urban neighbourhoods of high density informal or unplanned housing. They exist in all major Brazilian cities, range in size from a few blocks to large sprawling areas, and can border areas frequented by tourists and visitors.

The security situation is many favelas is unpredictable, particularly in Rio de Janeiro. Any visit to a favela can be dangerous. We recommend that you avoid these areas in all cities, including ‘favela tours’ marketed to tourists and any accommodation, restaurants or bars advertised as being within a favela.

In Rio de Janeiro, there are favelas located around the city, including close to the tourist area of Zona Sul, as displayed in this map showing approximate locations of many favelas. If you’re unsure about a location, seek local advice from your hotel or the local authorities.

Violence in Rio de Janeiro favelas increased in 2017. Armed clashes and shootouts between police forces and gangs are a regular and unpredictable occurrence, and in October 2017 a tourist on a favela tour in Rio de Janeiro was accidentally shot dead by police. Armed clashes have also occurred on major thoroughfares, including the main highway to and from the international airport in Rio de Janeiro which runs alongside a large favela.

There is a risk of violence spilling over into nearby areas, including those popular with tourists. There have been injuries and deaths as a result of stray bullets in and near favelas.

Take extra care in all Brazilian towns and cities, especially Rio de Janeiro. If you’re using GPS navigation, whether by car or on foot, make sure that the suggested route doesn’t take you into a favela. Avoid entering unpaved, cobbled or narrow streets which may lead into a favela. Tourists have been shot after accidentally entering a favela. Check with your hotel or the local authorities if unsure.

from Travel Advice Summary, which can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/brazil

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