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Bike Tour with Santa Marta Favela

Do you want to visit Rio and leave with a better understanding of the city and its residents? Book this Bike Tour with Santa Marta Favela to gain a real, authentic insight into Brazilian culture and society.




  • Bilingual guide.
  • Cycling equipment.

Days and Hours:

  • Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
  • Departs at 1pm.


  • 4 hours approx.

The mountain side favela of Santa Marta, situated high above Rio de Janeiro, offers some simply dizzying views of the city below – the neighbourhoods of Ipanema and Leblon can be seen in the distance, the striking Sugarloaf peak stands visible to the left, while the glorious Christ the Redeemer statue rests proudly atop the stunning Corcovado Mountain to the right.

It was here in Santa Marta that director Spike Lee recorded Michael Jackson’s 1996 hit single ‘They Don’t Care About Us.’ The Brazilian authorities originally opposed the recording for they felt a video shot in the heart of a favela would project a negative image of the city. Now, however, Rio is no longer ashamed of its favelas, and instead embraces the cultural importance of these spaces. This tour will introduce you to the real essence of a favela community and provide an insight into Brazilian society away from the glamour of the traditional tourist attractions. Beginning at Rua Bulhoes de Carvalho, you will bike your way through the delights of Copacabana and Botafogo, making your way serenely to the small square at the base of Santa Marta. From here, you will take the funicular to the top of the mountain where you will meet your local guide. 

Throughout the Bike Tour, you will learn about the favela’s past, present, and future, gaze upon some breathtaking vistas, sample some local beverages, marvel at the architectural ingenuity on display, and visit the remarkable Favela Painting Project: a revolutionary art enterprise created by Dutch duo Haas&Hahn. Developed to promote community pride, these two artists employed local youths to paint 34 houses around Praça Cantão – the favela’s main square – in an extraordinary array of vivid colours. The result is a cheerful urban masterpiece that leaves you with a positive lasting impression of Santa Marta.

For a long time, only the most adventurous travelers would invest in favela tourism. Today, the situation is much different. Safe, informative, enlightening – this Bike Tour with Santa Marta Favela boasts wonderful city views, authentic culture, and represents the perfect way to enrich your Rio de Janeiro travel experience.

  • We recommend you bring along suntan lotion and wear clothing appropriate for cycling.

  • This tour departs from Rua Bulhoes de Carvalho, 21, Copacabana.

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