An expansive favela where makeshift homes climb high into the hills.

Local artisans, laughing children, and armed police tuck into Rocinha’s tiny alleyways. Between this colorful favela’s cramped, makeshift spaces, life flourishes despite dense urbanity and impoverished populations. Rocinha’s shortcomings are not celebrated, but it’s important to understand the neighborhood as a community that salvages its soul in spite of its obstacles.

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On the Map

Rocinha is bordered by Gávea, São Conrado, and Vidigal

Galeão International Airport: 39 minutes by cab without traffic
Santos Dumont Domestic Airport: 36 minutes by cab without traffic
Ipanema Beach: 23 minutes by cab or 40 minutes by bus
Lapa: 35 minutes by cab or 1 hour and 15 minutes by bus
Sugar Loaf Cable Car: 30 minutes by cab or 1 hour by bus
Corcovado's Train Station: 25 minutes by cab or 1 hour by bus

  • Public transit is Difficult
  • Having a car is Difficult

Crowded Spaces and Colorful Hillsides

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Rocinha extends far into the valleys and up along the hillsides of Rio. As the city's largest favela, over eighty thousand resident crowd into its cramped, colorful spaces.

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Although the neighborhood lacks infrastructure and organization, Rocinha's residents make due with their surroundings.

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Rocinha's perch along the hills offers a perspective of Rio many visitors never get to see.

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From Crowded to Communal

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Until very recently, criminals took advantage of Rocinha's relative exclusion from the city's core concerns. Without the presence of police, drug-related crime and violent activity plagued Rocinha.

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In 2011, Rio's government took action.

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Although the favela's residents always supported each other, Rocinha is actively cultivating a palpable sense of community.

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Championing for increased organization, Rocinha is rallying to be considered a "comunidade" instead of a favela.

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Rocinha should be considered a community.

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Like those living in Copacabana or Cosme Velho, Rocinha's inhabitants are proud to be a part of Rio, too.

Rocinha By Night

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Rio's largest favela is also its most developed.

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Airbnb works with local photographers to capture the spirit of neighborhoods all around the world. The photography on this page includes work by:

Andre Joaquim

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Andre is both a dentist and photographer, living in Rio de Janeiro. He has a huge passion for Rio, and after shooting this project for Airbnb, he is certain that there is no place as beautiful as the city placed between the mountain and the sea.

Fabio Blaser

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Fabio Blaser is a Swiss photojournalist based in Rio de Janeiro. Before moving to Brazil, he graduated from the University of Plymouth in the UK. When not behind his camera, he enjoys the beaches, waterfalls, rainforest and Brazilian way of life. He loved the opportunity to shoot the wonderful tropical city that he is privileged to call home for Airbnb.

Sam Comen

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Sam Comen is a 32-year-old bon-vivant and LA native who counts Esquire, Details, Rolling Stone, and The Wall Street Journal among his clients. He has been awarded national grants and honors for his long-term portrait essays. On assignment in Rio de Janeiro for 11 days with Airbnb, Sam came to love and admire the city's environment, natural splendor, and the Cariocas' easy-going attitude.