William Law - Oct 15, 2012
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As preparations are under way for the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the 2016 Olympic Games Rio de Janeiro gets ready to receive a number of tourists counted by the millions. A wide range of hotels are getting ready to open in non-mainstream areas such as the now pacified favelas and the old quarter.

Favelas have seen many improvements and are now some of the city's new offerings, with innovations such as urban agriculture where balconies and rooftops are filled with colorful fruits and vegetables. Many of these agricultural gardens follow agro ecological guidelines that fulfill family and small markets’ needs. Improved security in many areas is part of government's ongoing projects.

For instance the now pacified favela of Chapéu Mangueira is the target of two innovative visionaries, Cristiane de Oliviera and Hugo Medinawho who by the end of 2010 plan to open a hotel down in the center of the neighborhood, the Favela Inn hotel. The highest point of the neighborhood has three guest rooms each one allowing up to six guests. A view to the sea is part of each room's charm. Medina and Oliviera have announced their plan for their second venture in the area, another hotel for students from abroad will be open as well.

Recycled materials are part of the innovations this second facility will have, receiving inspirations from the day to day living in the favela. Delicious fruits from the area, recently baked bread and juices are part of the hotel's breakfast menu. Most guests (around 80%) are from abroad and pricing is as low as $17.95 (a night - low season) or $24 (high season).

Students will be able to experience Brazilian culture from new points of view, enjoying the wonders of the city, nature and inhabitants from Rio, benefiting from low prices and access to new and interesting places with the guide of a helpful and amiable staff.

The hillsides of Rio host Chapéu Mangueira along with many favelas, they offer a nice view to some of Rio's most emblematic sights: its world famous beaches, the Sugarloaf mountain and the statue of Christ the Redeemer.

Rio's government, pleased with pioneering projects like this started the program Rio Top Tour where tourism helps to create new opportunities. Favela residents can be trained to become professional tour guides as one of the project offerings.

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