Introduction to Rio de Janeiro: Highlights for Curious Travelers

Inspire your visit to the iconic sites and hidden gems of Rio de Janeiro with a local expert
Preview Lecture
Watch on your schedule, you will receive a link to watch the lecture online immedately upon purchase.
1 hour
Product Type
Christ the Redeemer Statue (Corcovado Mountain)
Lecture Details
Photos & Highlights
  • Presented by the same world-class experts as our walking tours, Context Lectures highlight must-see attractions, reveal hidden landmarks, and explore the best things to do during your trip so you don’t miss a thing.
Lecture Description
Known as the Cidade Maravilhosa (Wonder City), Rio de Janeiro is one of the most fascinating urban centers in the world. Join a local expert on this exploration of Rio in order to understand the origins of some of the most traditional perceptions associated with the city while acquiring a more complex vision of its history, cultural, and social traditions.
Meet Your Expert

Javier combines the knowledge of an extensive scholar career with his large study abroad experience in both the university and the business sectors. He published books on Juan Goytisolo, Américo Castro, and Rosa Montero, as well as many articles in academic journals and newspapers on Spanish and Latin American literature, culture, and film. His last book, "Pierre Fatumbi Verger: United States of America 1934, 1937" was published in 2022 by Damiani and reviewed in the New Yorker online among other publications. Javier has presented papers and guest lectures in over 30 universities and international conferences and was appointed Spain's Consul of Education and Director of the Instituto Cervantes in Rio de Janeiro between 2001 and 2003. He has directed several university abroad programs in Spain, Mexico, and Brazil and has worked as a guest lecturer for Semester at Sea and as study leader for Smithsonian Journeys. Javier holds a PhD in Spanish and Latin American Literature.

As the second capital of Brazil, Rio de Janeiro flourished between the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries due to the gold and the coffee trade, the arrival of the Portuguese king, and later the new Brazilian state. Traditionally, the city has been seen as a paradisiacal urban center, surrounded by dense mountains and long tropical beaches, or as a hellish place dominated by criminal violence, political corruption, and marginalized communities. This lecture looks to go beyond these classical paradoxes as we discover Rio beyond its standard labels.

We’ll discuss how Rio de Janeiro's natural landscape and beaches, combined with its vibrant and exuberant carnival, and the sex appeal of its people, are some of the identities of the city. While participants might be familiar with sites like Corcovado Christ, Ipanema Beach, Maracanã Stadium, the Copacabana neighborhood, with cultural expressions like samba music, and Bossa Nova, or artists like Carmen Miranda, not many people know about the writer Machado de Assis, the singers Dona Ivone Lara and Elza Soares, the funk rhythm from the favelas, or the new city sites full of symbolic meaning like the Valongo Port and the Selarón Stairs in Lapa district.

Led by published author and local Rio expert, Dr. Javier Escuder, this lecture will provide an alternative study of the fascinating city of Rio de Janeiro. Designed to inform curiosity as well as future travels, participants will come away with an increased understanding of one of Latin America’s most vibrant and historically intriguing cities.
How do I access the lecture?
Once you complete your purchase, you will receive an email with a link to stream the lecture on the Context Travel website. You can also access your past purchases anytime under My Orders. Please ensure you are logged into your account to open the streaming page. 

Is closed captioning (i.e. subtitles) available?
Yes! All of our lectures have the option to turn on closed captioning should you have difficulty hearing the expert.

How long does each event last?
Our recorded lectures typically run for 60 minutes.

How can I share this lecture with friends or family?
You are welcome to watch together with friends or family but each person viewing on their own device will need to purchase the lecture individually.

How long does my access to the lecture last?
Once you purchase a lecture, you are welcome to view it as many times as you like and your access does not expire.

What is your cancellation and refund policy?
Sales for recorded lectures are final upon purchase. Please contact us at if you have any questions or concerns about your purchase.

Can I purchase a gift card for a friend who is traveling?
Absolutely! Gift cards can be purchased here. Gift cards are good for 365 days from the date of purchase.
(5.0) 1 Review

Reviews can only be left by Context customers after they have completed a tour. For more information about our reviews, please see our FAQ.

Dr. Escudero covered a lot of material and aspects of life and culture in Rio.His visuals were excellent. I had some trouble with accent as he spoke so rapidly.