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 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.
“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.