If you’re looking for a life-changing experience then volunteering in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro while enjoying the sites and sounds of Brazil is right for you. Spend the weekdays assisting in a community-run daycare that provides support to over 100 children and youth, and spend your free weekends touring Rio.
10 days hands-on volunteer project at a daycare centre in a Rio de Janeiro favela, Portuguese Lessons.
Getting to know the locals, volunteering at a daycare centre in a Rio de Janeiro favela (shanty town).
1. The local operator for this tour speaks English and can be contacted throughout your stay however it is likely that the the staff with whom you are working speak little to no English. A phrase book will come in handy to help you when you are stuck but don’t worry, signing and good humour go a long way.
2. Please note that a mandatory application is required by all passengers booked on a Volunteer trip. Link to application form will be sent at time of booking
3. As part of our commitment to safety, all individuals contemplating this tour are obligated to undergo a criminal background check. This check is required by the Project to ensure the safety and well-being of the Project itself and its people. Oftentimes children will be involved in the Project, and it is the right thing to do to protect the most at-risk members of the society. G Adventures must receive the criminal background check(s) no later than 60 days prior to travel (If you are booking trip within 60 days prior to travel, background check must be received at time of booking). More information on this procedure can be found at: http://www.gadventures.com/volunteers/background-check/
4. To ensure that this is a meaningful cross-cultural experience for both participants and our host community, the group size of this independent volunteer program is limited to 1-8 participants per tour.
5. Add extra weeks to your volunteer experience, please ask your G Adventures agent for details.
Group Size Notes
10 breakfasts, 10 lunches
On weekends and for dinner there is a kitchen available to prepare meals and there are small grocery stores close by. During the week, you should plan on cooking as there are no restaurants within the favela. Budget $250 USD for meals not included.
About our Transportation
Land Transfers & Included Tours/activities: Many of the land transfers and included tours will be by private van, car or taxi, while others may be shared with other travellers depending on availability, nature of the activity and destination. For transfers, you may have a local non English-speaking driver only, for included tours, you will be accompanied by an English speaking local guide.
If required all local flights are included in the cost of your tours unless otherwise noted. It is important that we have your passport information at the time of booking in order to process these tickets. Internal flight tickets are issued locally and will be given to you prior to the flight departure.
Hostel in Rio (5 nts), dorms in the favela (8 nts, multi-share)
Participants will be staying in small house in the favela that was recently built by a family in the community. There are two rooms with two bunk-beds in each room. There are two shared bathrooms, a sitting room and kitchen. The house is approximately a 5 minute walk to the school. While in Rio you will be staying in our centrally-located hostel in Copacabana. The hostel has private rooms with private bathrooms for travellers, but please note that the common areas are shared with other guests of the hostel.
Please see your tour voucher for specific name and address of your joining hotel for day 1 of this tour.
Galeao International Airport is a 30 to 45 minute drive from our joining hotel. There are many private taxi companies with booths inside the building where you can pay a set rate for a taxi to Copacabana (approximately $25 USD), thus avoiding the confusion outside the airport. There is also an airport bus, called ‘Real’ (approximately $3 USD) which will drop you off at the place of your choice along the route. The closest point to the Santa Clara is at the corner of Barata Ribeiro and the street Figueiredo Magalhaes. From here to the hotel is quite close. You can flag down one of the many official yellow taxis in the street to get the rest of the way to the hotel (approximately $3 USD). There is a money exchange in the Banco do Brazil on the third floor of the international arrivals area, which is open 24 hours.
If you are arriving from abroad and have paid in advance for an arrival transfer, a G Adventures representative will meet you at the airport. If no one is there, take a public taxi to the hotel and we will reimburse you. If you have not paid for an arrival transfer, the best way to get into town is by public taxi. If your taxi driver does not speak English and you do not speak Portuguese, simply show driver the hotel address to simplify communications.
Please note that Day 1 is an arrival day and no activities have been planned, so you may arrive at any time. Similarly the last day is a departure day during which no activities are planned.
Our local representative will contact you at the hotel on Day 1 and make sure you are settled comfortably. If you arrive late, s/he will leave you a message detailing what time and where you should meet the next morning. A short meeting will take place in the evening of Day 1 where you will receive information about general and specific aspects of the trip.
We don’t expect any problems, and nor should you, but if for any reason you are unable to commence your trip as scheduled, as soon as possible please contact the emergency local contact details provided in this dossier. If an arrival airport transfer is included in your tour and you have not made contact with our representative within 30 minutes of clearing customs and immigration, we recommend that you make your own way to the Starting Point hotel, following the Joining Instructions. Please apply to your travel agent on your return for a refund of the transfer cost if this occurs.
Should you need to contact us during a situation of dire need, it is best to first call either the G Adventures Local Representative (if one is listed below) or our G Adventures Local Office. If for any reason you do not receive an immediate answer, please leave a detailed message and contact information, so they may return your call and assist you as soon as possible.
If you have purchased an arrival through G Adventures or if an arrival transfer is included in the cost of your tour, please note that:
Your arrival transfer has been arranged based on flight information provided to us. If you are advised of a flight schedule change within 48 hours of your scheduled arrival time, we will do our best to rearrange your arrival transfer however we cannot guarantee this. If your arrival transfer does not arrive within 30 minutes after you have exited the arrivals area please take a taxi to your start point hotel.
EMERGENCY CONTACT NUMBERS
G Adventures Local Operator (Rio – Luiz Fantozzi)
Tel: +55 21 99643-0366 or +55 21 7816 9581
If using Brazilian SIM card purchased outside or Rio: 031 21 99643 0366 or 031 21 9643 0366
If using Brazilian SIM card purchased in Rio: 99643 0366 or 7186 9581
G Adventures Office Buenos Aires, Argentina
During office hours (Weekdays 9am-6pm Local Time)
From outside Argentina: +54 11 5252 3602
From within Argentina, but outside of Buenos Aires: 011 5252 3602
After hours Emergency number
From outside Argentina: +54 9 11 3425 0380
From within Argentina, but outside of Buenos Aires: 15 3425 0380
If you are unable for any reason to contact our local office, please call the numbers listed below, which will connect you directly with our 24 hour Sales team, who will happily assist you.
Toll-free, North America only: 1 888 800 4100
Calls from UK: 0344 272 0000
Calls from Germany: 0800 365 1000
Calls from Australia: 1 300 796 618
Calls from New Zealand: 0800 333 307
Outside North America, Australia, New Zealand, Germany and the UK: +1 416 260 0999
What to Take
For those who may wish to bring supplies to donate to the daycare, needed items include:
Children’s Clothing (especially underwear and t-shirts)
School Supplies (i.e. notebooks,folders, pens, pencils)
- Passport (with photocopies)
- Travel insurance (with photocopies)
- Airline tickets (with photocopies)
- USD cash
- Credit or debit card (see personal spending money)
- G Adventures vouchers
- Any entry visas or vaccination certificates required
- Camera and film / memory card
- reading/writing material
- Fleece top or warm sweater
- Windproof/waterproof jacket
- Small towel and swim wear
- 4 shirts/t-shirts
- hand sanitizers/ antibacterial wipes
- Sun hat
- 2 pairs of shorts
- 2 pairs of long trousers
- Walking shoes or sneakers
- Sport sandals
- Insect repellent (you may not need this but it’s better to have a small bottle just in case)
- Toiletries (biodegradable)
- Watch or alarm clock
- Water bottle
- Purification tablets (optional)
- First-aid kit (should contain lip salve, Aspirin, Band Aids, anti-histamine, Imodium or similar tablets for mild cases of diarrhea, re-hydration powder, extra prescription drugs you may be taking).
There will be times when you may want to or have to do your own laundry so we suggest you bring non-polluting/biodegradable soap and a piece of nylon rope to use as a clothing line for drying clothes. At the daycare, there is a machine but availability will depend on demand.
All countries require a valid passport (with a minimum 6 months validity).
Americans, Canadians, Australians and some other nationalities need a tourist visa in order to enter Brazil. Please contact your local Brazilian Embassy to find out if you need to apply for one and for further details. If you are required to have a visa you will need to get one before entering Brazil, otherwise you will be refused entry. Processing fees and time frames depend on each country, but can take 2 weeks or longer, so we advise you to apply for it as early as possible.
US citizens: 160 USD
Australian Citizens: 35 USD
Canadian Citizens: 65 USD
Please Note: Some nationalities may also be required to obtain a Volunteer Visa instead of a Tourist Visa to participate on this trip, please make sure to look into this with your local Brazilian consulate or embassy as soon as you confirm your trip.
IT’S YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO HAVE THE CORRECT TRAVEL DOCUMENTATION.
Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.
The currency in Brazil is the Brazilian Real (BRL).
Credit cards and debit cards are very useful for cash advances. Visa cards are the most widely accepted cards. While ATMs are widely available, there are no guarantees that your credit or debit cards will actually work in Latin America. Check with your bank.
You should be aware that to purchase products or services on a credit card a fee of 5%-10% usually applies.
Do not rely on credit or debit cards as your only source of money, a combination of US dollar cash and cards is best. Please bear in mind that cost of living in the southern cone countries (Argentina, Brazil, Chile) is much higher than the rest of South America, and in the case of Argentina, more comparable with Europe. Always take more rather than less, as you don’t want to spoil the trip by constantly feeling short of funds.
We do not recommend bringing travellers cheques as they are very difficult to change in country.
CURRENCY EXCHANGE TIP: Please be advised that slightly torn notes, notes that have been heavily marked or are faded may be difficult to exchange. It is best to bring notes in fairly good condition, in denominations lower than 100USD (or equivalent).
As currency exchange rates can fluctuate often we ask that you refer to the following website for daily exchange rates: www.xe.com
Please also make sure you have access to at least an additional USD $200 (or equivalent) as an ‘emergency’ fund, to be used when circumstances outside our control (ex. a natural disaster) require a change to our planned route. This is a rare occurrence!
It is customary in Latin America to tip service providers such as waiters, and local guide(s) at approximately 10%, depending on the service. Tipping is an expected – though not compulsory – component of your tour program and an expression of satisfaction with the persons who have assisted you on your tour. Although it may not be customary to you, it is of considerable significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels.
All prices are per person in Brazil Reais dollar amounts.
Rio de Janeiro:
City Tour (R$110) includes entrance fees for Christ the Redeemer and Sugar Loaf Mountain, a visit to Sambodromo Samba Stadium, the Cathedral and Maracanã Soccer Stadium
Football game (R$70)
Samba and dinner show (R$120)
Favela tour (R$65)
All prices are per person in Brazil Reais dollar amounts
(unless stated otherwise), and are subject to change as services are provided by third party operators.
Please note inoculations may be required for the country visited. It is your responsibility to consult with your travel doctor for up to date medical travel information well before departure.
You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information well before departure. We recommend that you carry a First Aid kit and hand sanitizers / antibacterial wipes as well as any personal medical requirements. When selecting your trip please carefully read the brochure and itinerary and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please refer to the Physical and Culture Shock ratings for trip specific information.
Safety and Security
Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government’s advice for their latest travel information before departure. We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe keeping of your passport, air tickets, travellers’ cheques, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home – you won’t need it while travelling. Many of the hotels we use have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage. When travelling on a group trip, please note that your CEO has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it is deemed necessary due to safety concerns. Your CEO will accompany you on all included activities. During your trip you will have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your CEO will assist you with options available in a given location please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your itinerary, and we offer no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgment when selecting an activity in your free time. Although the cities visited on tour are generally safe during the day, there can be risks to wandering throughout any major city at night. It is our recommendation to stay in small groups and to take taxis to and from restaurants, or during night time excursions.
Protests and Demonstrations- Protests and demonstrations, even those that are well intended, have the potential to turn violent with no warning. Counter protests can also turn violent. Action by security forces to disperse demonstrators and protesters may occur at any time. If you are in an area where demonstrators or protesters are gathering, avoid the temptation of staying for a good photo opportunity and leave the area immediately.
Water based activities have an element of danger and excitement built into them. We recommend only participating in water based activities when accompanied by a guide(s). We make every reasonable effort to ensure the fun and adventurous element of any water based activities (in countries with varying degrees of operating standards) have a balanced approach to safety. It is our policy not to allow our CEOs to make arrangements on your behalf for water based activities that are not accompanied by guide(s).
Swimming, including snorkeling, is always at your own risk.
We take all prudent measures in relation to your safety. For ways to further enhance your personal safety while traveling, please visit:
Trip Specific Safety
Safety is important in the favelas. On any normal day, it is extremely safe to walk around alone as there is no risk of robbery or muggings. Yet, if there is a security issue, you will be advised not to walk in the streets and will be accompanied by a resident if necessary.
Our small group adventures bring together people of all ages. It is very important you are aware that, as a minimum, an average level of fitness and mobility’ is required to undertake our easiest programs. Travellers must be able to walk without the aid of another person, climb 3-4 flights of stairs, step on and off small boats, and carry their own luggage at a minimum. Travellers with a pre-existing medical condition are required to complete a short medical questionnaire, which must be signed by their physician. This is to ensure that travellers have the necessary fitness and mobility to comfortably complete their chosen trip. While our CEOs work hard to ensure that all our travellers are catered for equally, it is not their responsibility to help individuals who cannot complete the day’s activities unaided. Please refer to the physical ratings in this Trip Details document for more information.
Please note that all passengers traveling to Antarctica are required to fill out this questionnaire.
The medical questionnaire can be found online at:
A Couple of Rules
Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on any trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for our travellers. Our philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter, and in particular the local people who make the world the special place it is. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our CEOs have the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.
Travel Insurance: Travel insurance is compulsory in order to participate on any of our trips. When travelling on a group trip, you will not be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance has been sighted by your CEO, who will take note of your insurance details. When selecting a travel insurance policy please bear in mind that all clients must have medical coverage and that we require a minimum coverage of USD 200,000 for repatriation and emergency rescue. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects. If you have credit card insurance we require proof of purchase of the trip (a receipt of credit card statement) with a credit card in your name. Contact your bank for details of their participating insurer, the level of coverage and emergency contact telephone number.
Planeterra-The G Adventures Foundation
Through our commitment to responsible tourism we have developed the Planeterra Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to making a positive difference in the lives of people and communities around the world through support of international charities, local organizations and community projects in the places that we visit on our tours. G Adventures matches all individual donations and pays all administration costs, which means that 100% of each donation is doubled and goes directly to support our projects. For more information about Planeterra and the projects we support, or to make a donation, please visit www.planeterra.org
Planeterra Dollar-A-Day Program
Our Dollar-A-Day Program provides travellers with the opportunity to help us give back to the people and places visited on our tours by donating one dollar per day for the duration of their tour. 100% of these proceeds will go directly to support our G Adventures for Good projects.
To participate in this program please indicate at the time of booking that you would like to participate in G Adventures’ Dollar-A-Day program, either by clicking the check box online, or by advising your G Adventures specialist or travel agent. (Note: Donation will be charged in the currency of your booking)
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Travel Forum - The Watering Hole
Be sure to stop by The Watering Hole, our adventure travel forum. If you’re interested in meeting others booked on your upcoming trip, check out the Departure Lounge section of our forum and introduce yourself. Otherwise, just drop in at anytime to share some travel tips, ask questions, meet other travellers and quench your thirst for travel. Our forum is located at wateringhole.gadventures.com.
Local representative in Rio, project coordinator.
Allow USD415-540 for meals not included.
PRODUCT_LINE: TSZPBN, ID: 22557
Day 1 Rio de Janeiro
Information will be posted about the volunteer program in the weeks ahead and you will be contacted by a local representative to coordinate and answer questions.
Our Project Brazil tour brings you into the root of the favela community and provides an insight into the vibrant spirit of its people. Spend time volunteering in Rocinha, which is the world’s largest slum area.
Unable to find accommodation, or pay rent, many people have established homes on any available empty space, which in Rio usually means the slopes of the hills around which the city has grown. Here, the poor live in squatter settlements with sea views while the rich live down below.
Your time living and volunteering in the favela will allow you to interact freely with the local people while having a hands-on cultural experience. The people of the favelas are largely friendly and proud people but travellers are advised never to enter a favela without a guide who is known and respected by the locals.
Welcome Package Hotel
Day 2 Rio de Janeiro (1B, 1L)
Spend two weeks volunteering with “Union of Women for the Betterment of Roupa Suja” (UMPMRS) which is a community run, non-governmental, not for profit organization located in the neighborhood of Roupa Suja, one of the poorest neighborhoods in Rocinha, the largest favela in Latin America. UMPMRS’s mission is to improve the quality of life for the children and families living in the community.
Portuguese lessons are included on the first two Tuesdays of the trip to help you better connect with project staff and children and locals during your stay (2 hours per 2 Saturdays). Optional activities are available in Rio on the weekend.
There may be the opportunity to help with other programs.
The G Adventures local representative will be at the hotel on the morning of Day 2 to answer any questions and take you to the guesthouse and the daycare where you will be volunteering.
UMPMRS Volunteer Project in Rocinha
Days 3-5 Rio de Janeiro
Full-day of volunteering at the community-run daycare, where there may also be chances to help out at other programs run by UMPMRS.
UMPMRS Volunteer Project in Rocinha
Day 6 Rio de Janeiro (1B, 1L)
Return to the hotel in Copacabana for the weekend in the afternoon. Optional activities are available in Rio on the weekend.
Day 7 Rio de Janeiro
The weekend is yours to enjoy. Optional activities are available in Rio.
Day 8 Rio de Janeiro
The weekend is yours to enjoy. Optional activities are available in Rio.
Day 9 Rio de Janeiro (1B, 1L)
Return to the favela.
UMPMRS Volunteer Project in Rocinha
Days 10-12 Rio de Janeiro
Continue volunteering with UMPMRS.
UMPMRS Volunteer Project in Rocinha
Day 13 Rio de Janeiro (1B, 1L)
One last day of volunteering in the daycare before transferring to a hostel for the night.
UMPMRS Volunteer Project in Rocinha
Day 14 Rio de Janeiro
To add extra weeks to your volunteer experience, please ask a G Adventures agent for details.