Google
Melissa Locker
December 11, 2015

Machu Picchu is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, but a lengthy flight and myriad on-site stairs make it impossible for some to visit in person. Now, Peru’s iconic Incan temple is accessible to all by way of Google Street View.

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The tour, which launched earlier this month, is part of Street View’s expansion into Latin America. “When I started, I had no idea we could do a project like Machu Picchu,” senior staff engineer Daniel Filip, who lead the project, told The Guardian. “We’ve been working for years to get permission for this.”

Related: How to Travel to Machu Picchu

Now, the map allows visitors to travel through the crumbling walls of the Incan stronghold, touring the various temples and terraces that make up the ancient site.

Google

Additionally, Machu Picchu attracts millions of tourists each year, and the influx of visitors is damaging the mountain citadel so severely that UNESCO asked Peru to find ways to preserve the site. Google Street View’s project could help the Peruvian government limit traffic to the mountain, giving people their chance to gawk without destroying what remains of the Incan empire.

Prefer rainforests to ruins? The Inca Trail isn’t the only site that armchair travelers can explore via Google. The search engine also offers an impressive collection of treks that will take the viewer through the Amazon, Cambodia’s Angkor Wat, the ancient city of Petra, or on an Everest base camp, all from the comfort of your cubicle and the cost of a click on your mouse. 

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Want to help contribute to Google’s project? Find out more here.

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