Virtual travel experiences have been all the rage since last year, with several museums, theaters, and major landmarks making it possible for people to experience the world without going far from home.
For those who dream of visiting Peru's Machu Picchu, a new virtual reality (VR) exhibit is set to fully immerse guests in the wonders of the UNESCO World Heritage site.
Debuting this October at the Boca Raton Museum of Art in Florida, the Machu Picchu and the Golden Empires of Peru exhibition is the first of its kind, offering a full-motion, 360-degree, interactive VR experience. Guests can expect to experience the ruins of Machu Picchu as if they were there in person, all while also learning about the ancient civilizations of Peru.
In order to preserve this historic site, less than one million visitors are allowed in each year. During the pandemic, that number dropped to approximately 250,000 to allow for social distancing. But with the Machu Picchu and the Golden Empires of Peru exhibition, the goal is for as many people as possible to experience these impressive ruins.
The exhibit will showcase the first-ever virtual walk-through of Machu Picchu, using VR motion chairs that include multisensory stimulation features such as high-resolution six degrees of freedom (6-DOF) VR headsets, haptic feedback on the back seats, scent dispensers, and unlimited 360-degree rotation. The VR travelers will essentially see, hear, feel, and even smell their way through a journey in time to experience Andean history. Along the way, they'll also be accompanied by the mythical hero Ai Apaec, who will help them discover the mysteries of Andean cosmology.
In addition to the unique VR experience, the exhibit will also feature the largest Andean gold collection ever to travel the world. On display will be a selection of 192 artifacts from royal tombs, including objects that belonged to noble Andean lords. Many of these pieces have never been seen outside of Peru. One particularly notable highlight is a fully intact gold attire of a Chimú emperor that dates to 1300 A.D.
"Machu Picchu and the Golden Empires of Peru is an impressive and extensive exhibition that showcases the limitless potential of VR technology," said Anthony Tann, president of World Heritage Exhibitions. "There are hundreds of ancient artifacts to admire, and I am excited to welcome visitors to experience this monumental period of human history through the lens of virtual reality. This exhibition was put together by many talented individuals and excellent technology, and I am certain it will be a memorable and enchanting experience for many to enjoy."
For more information on experiencing this exhibit, visit the museum's online ticket portal.
Jessica Poitevien is a Travel + Leisure contributor currently based in South Florida, but she's always on the lookout for her next adventure. Besides traveling, she loves baking, talking to strangers, and taking long walks on the beach. Follow her adventures on Instagram.