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Monday, December 5, 2022

Yucatán’s most famous attractions enter the Metaverse

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Carlos Rosado van der Gracht
Carlos Rosado van der Gracht
Born in Mérida, Carlos Rosado van der Gracht is a Mexican/Canadian blogger, photographer and adventure expedition leader. He holds degrees in multimedia, philosophy and translation from universities in Mexico, Canada and Norway. Sign up for the Yucatán Roundup, a free newsletter, which delivers the week's top headlines every Monday.
Technologies such as drones and virtual reality experiences are being used more and more to promote tourism destinations such as Izamal’s Kinich Kakmó. Photo: Carlos Rosado van der Gracht

Several communities and archaeological sites in Yucatán have launched projects to bring their attractions into the world of virtual reality.

Owing to its international fame, the first of these attractions to take the plunge into VR was Chichén Itzá. INAH and National Geographic produced virtual tours of its grand monuments. 

Aside from VR’s uses as a promotional tool, it also allows visitors the opportunity to experience attractions from otherwise impossible perspectives, such as from the air via 360-degree drone footage.

The production of quality virtual reality content is costly and requires the use of several types of specialized cameras and gear. Photo: Carlos Rosado van der Gracht

The technology is also useful to showcase areas that are off-limits to visitors such as the inside of several pyramids and areas still under study. 

The city of Izamal announced this week that it was preparing a virtual reality experience to celebrate its 20th anniversary of being designated a “magical town.”

Earlier: How Sisal’s new ‘Magical Town’ status became a burden

“During the 360 VR tour, people will be able to see Izamal’s great Mesoamerican and colonial heritage without having to leave the house. It’s just like being here,” said Izamal’s tourism director, Alejandro Itzá.

The move is part of an emerging trend that technologists are calling the “next evolution of the internet” and has been dubbed by Meta, formerly Facebook, as the Metaverse. 

Virtual reality technology has been around for decades, but it is only recently that advancements in technology have made consumer-ready versions genuinely accessible.

Viewing VR content is also possible with a normal cellphone or tablet. However, the experience is more immersive through a specialized headset such as Meta’s Oculus Quest or HTC Vive’s Cosmo Elite. 

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