It's worth the short ride out of town !!
There are two sites marking the Center Of The Earth. One is the French structure which is beautiful and impressive but its location was based merely on a guesstimate of the "center". The true center is the humble but intriguingly more interesting "indigenous" site. This site is based on GPS and accurately demonstrates the uniqueness of the center position.
One example: water drops straight down from a sink-spout when positioned on the line of center; water spins from the spout in a cirxcular motion when placed six feet south of the line of center; and, (guess what) water spins in reverse when placed six feet north of center.
The indigenous site has other entertaining examples which you have to experience first-hand (my telling would ruin your fun).
In closing, you can don an Equdorian headress and test your skill as a blow-dart hunter before you depart. Have fun at the Center Of The World!
Quito is less than 20 kilometers from the equator, that imaginary line designating the middle of the world. Not surprisingly, one of the most popular day trips out of Quito is to La Mitad del Mundo (The Middle of the World). If you have the opportunity, make this trip. The centerpiece of the La Mitad del Mundo complex is a thirty-meter tall monument purportedly sitting on the equator. GPS readings have shown that the monument is actually 250 meters south of the equator, but there is a museum (the Museo Inti Nan) outside the complex that actually does sit on the equator. What you will see there will amaze you. You can balance an egg on a nail. You will see how water flows straight down on the equator but rotates clockwise south of the equator and counter-clockwise north of it. You will see your strength disappear while standing on the equator. And you will see how difficult it is to walk a straight line on the equator. Being part of these “experiments” and witnessing them firsthand was one of the more amazing things I have experienced in my travels to date.
Mitad del Mundo is the official equatorial monument. There is an admission fee,
Take the elevator to the top to have a look around. We saw the snow covered tip of a volcano peeking out from behind a mountain range. There's also an ethnographic museum (we sped past it on our climb down the stairs) that looked worth a read.
Located just 20km north of Quito, going here will not only give you a chance to stand on the Equator, but it also hosts a very nice little museum with artifacts from all of Ecuador's ethnic groups. The museum is located in the monument standing on top of the Equator. Also, there are nice little shops etc. right next to it. Some days (I believe on weekends ) there is live enterntainment in the little square.
Predictably, major festive days fall around March 21 and September 23 (the equinoxes) when neither monument nor tourists casts a shadow, and June 21 and December 21 (the solstices).
Be aware, some people argue that when the monument was built, they missed the equator by a few yards. So ask a local if they can show you where the "real" equator is; then it's up to you to determine when you think you're really standing on the equator.
A park with a monument on the equator line. Inside there is a nice ethnographic museum, and around - many souvenir shops and restaurants. Also you can see volcano Pichincha (from afar), a monument to the recent war with Peru, and the three mountains featured on the ecuatorian coat of arms. The crater is close by also.
La Mitad del Mundo = The Middle of the World
About 23 km from Quito you find this remarkable monument.
This one of the most visited touristy spots of Ecuador. This monument shows the location of the equator.
And this equator is indicated as a yellow line, so like this you can stand with one leg on the northern hemisphere and with the other leg on the southern hemisphere.
Inside the monument there is a museum which shows the different indigenous tribes and their culture.
More on this monument at My Mitad del Mundo page
It is just amazing to be in this area of the city. Come and take pictures that you would never forget.
Inside of the monument there is a museum of all cultures of ecuador, so if you don't have much time to visit the whole country it might be a good idea to visit the museum.
Ask about the "real Mitad del Mundo" because there is the exact equator that the indigens had identify years years years ago just by the stars.
La Mitad del Mundo...
easily accessible from Quito for $25USD (taxi, roundtrip, they will wait for you there for a few hours) or a bus. You can stand on 2 hemispheres at the same time! :)
Not much here, but it's kind of cool to visit anyway!
The Mitad del Mundopark marks the path of the Equator... Ecuador, after all, is name after it. The museums in the park itself are boring, so I didn’t bother seeing them. I did take kewl pictures of the monument at 0'0'0 latitude and at the equator line (standing with one leg in the Nth, the other on the Sth) though... next door (50 meters from the park), the more interesting and less visited museum of Inti-ñan (Path of the Sun) is located
Monument to Middle of the World-Straddle the equator at this impressive monument to the imaginary line which divides the northern and southern hemispheres. An ethno-botanical museum on the premises gives you an informative introduction to the incredible diversity of Ecuador's indigenous culture. An archeo-astronomical museum documenting an eye-opening ongoing investigation is a must see as is a miniature replica of the Old City of Quito.
Guapulo Cathedral-Steep, crooked and narrow, cobblestone roads lead you to the beatnik section of Quito. Picturesque views abound.
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