Vidigal has transformed in recent years, moving away from the stereotype of a ‘slum’ and into a creative, artsy hub, coining the phrase ‘favela chic‘. This thriving community has become the coolest spot in Rio de Janeiro, especially among tourists seeking to experience a favela in a safe and convenient way. Here’s a guide to attending a party in Vidigal.
Vidigal is also decorated with incredible street art, notably by local artist Marcelo Ment. The community of Vidigal is spread out over a hill, street art can be found all over but the best places to go are near the top. There are three main places there that are famous as hangout spots or event places. Bar da Laje is a late-night bar that serves a range of delicious cocktails and flawless contemporary Brazilian cuisine. Popular among tourists more than locals, the bar provides panoramic views over Rio de Janeiro from what is one of the city’s best viewpoints. For music and party events, Bar 180 Alto Vidigal and Samakhom Home host regular parties with live DJs playing anything from local funk, hip-hop, house, reggae, and more. Their parties are often made in collaboration with some of Rio’s largest and established event planners and details can be found on the venues’ Facebook pages (see above).
Walking to the top is not advisable, simply because it’s steep and a long way, rather than it being dangerous. Uber and taxi drivers are reluctant to enter Vidigal so while it’s fine to take one to the entrance, it’s unlikely they will go the rest of the way. However, there are local means of transport at the entrance which regularly take trips to the top and run throughout the day and night. You can take a van which is the cheapest option but you need to wait for the van to fill up before it will leave. The other option – and arguably most exciting or scary, depending on your point of view – is the mototaxi which is a ride on the back of a small scooter to the top. The drivers are experienced and feel comfortable whipping around corners at speed, which can be hair-raising. It’s the quickest route to the top. Bar da Laje offers a shuttle bus service to the top; just contact them through their Facebook page to confirm when you want to take it.
Bar da Laje is open from midday every day until 8 p.m. during the week and 10 p.m. on the weekends. It’s perfect to go any day of the week, although a clear, sunny day is the most rewarding to make the most of the jaw-dropping view. Samakhom Home and Bar 180 are best on the weekends when they have Friday and Saturday parties, although whenever it’s a national holiday in Brazil, they usually host events. The best way of checking their schedule and planning your trip is checking their events section on their Facebook pages.
Vidigal is considered one of the safest communities in Rio de Janeiro and has welcomed tourists without any problems for the last few years. Occasionally, nearby Rocinha (Rio’s largest favela community) experiences conflicts between criminals and the police which can spill over into Vidigal, yet it’s rare. Generally, Vidigal is considered safe for tourists but check with your hotel, hostel, or whoever you are hosted with in Rio before going, in case of any changes to the situation. Ultimately, Vidigal is welcoming and friendly, setting the scene for an unforgettable night.