• Cantagalo, Pavão e Pavãozinho - central favelas of Rios tourist zone
  • Great place!
  • Nice place!
  • Ok place.

Cantagalo, Pavão e Pavãozinho Favelas

Female opinion

After a one-minute elevator ride from Ipanema you'll find yourself in a totally different world. Narrow streets full of garbage and really basic, partially unfinished slum houses. Nevertheless, Cantagalo has its special charm, and you will even discover some great attractions in this neighborhood, among them some really awesome graffiti works, Favela Museum, a hiking trail and, of course, some inspiring views of Zona Sul (I would even say one of the best ones). It is especially exciting if all these places are presented by favela tour guide along with the history and other interesting facts that only locals know.

Male opinion

Situated in the middle of Zona Sul, having entrances to both Copacabana and Ipanema, this complex of favelas is the fear of most locals. Cantagalo, Pavão and Pavãozinho entrances are guarded by the police, some with machine guns. You can spot the heavily armored police squads also inside the favela. The greatest threat of the favelas is generally a shootout between the traffickers and the police. This event always makes the situation in the neighborhood tense, so you should get to know about the present situation before entering the favela. There are some great views to be had and interesting narrow streets to be seen. But try to find a guided tour or local friends to take you there. 

Cantagao, Pavão and Pavãozinho is a complex of slums with about 5000 residents located on Cantagalo hill, between Ipanema, Copacabana and Lagoa neighborhoods. Its history dates back to the early 20th century when poor workers from other states of Brazil, involved in construction of Copacabana and Ipanema neighborhoods, settled down on the hill. With arrival of drugs trafficking Cantagalo was one of the most violent favelas in Rio until its pacification in 2009.

Nowadays it's a relatively peaceful neighborhood, visited by many tourists. Sightseeing includes a museum, a hiking trail, a samba school, an amazing garden with the best view of Copacabana and numerous graffiti wall paintings.

Museu da Favela, founded in 2008 by local cultural leaders, aims to become significant touristic attraction representing slum history, origins of samba, culture of Northeastern immigrants, visual arts and dance.

Tips for Cantagao, Pavão and Pavãozinho favelas:

  • It is hard to find all the attractions on your own, as well as for safety reasons it's recommended to take a guided tour. Favela tours organized by Favela Museum: http://www.museudefavela.org/favelatour/english.html
  • The best place to enjoy amazing views while having lunch or dinner and listening to live music is Gilda no Cantagalo (https://www.facebook.com/gildanocantagalo). Gilda no Cantagalo has its own van, which goes from Rua Sá Ferreira (no 44) crossing with Rua Saint Roman and leaves you near restaurant. Ask the driver how to walk to the restaurant, as the path is hard to find, once he points you to the right path, just continue up the main stairs until you reach the restaurant.
  • On your way back from Gilda no Cantagalo wait for the taxi minivan in the same place where it left you. Sometimes it can be a long wait. 

Song about Pavão-Pavãozinho

Song dedicated to Pavão-Pavãozinho by Brazilian singer Fernanda Brum:

Quick facts

Type: favela
Touristic: no
Getting there: easy
Minimal transport: elevator or van
Height: 200 meters
Cost: medium (tour price)
Other names: Cantagalo, Pavão, Pavãozinho, Morro do Cantagalo
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