Everbody must go to Mitad del Mundo (middle of the world, for those from Roxboro). It is where, according to modern technology, the equator truly lies, notwithstanding the claims of some natives. The thing to do is take a picture of the statues, take a picture of the altitude marker- a lowly (for Quito) 2483 m. (8144 feet), visit a museum in there, and get a buddy to take a picture of you straddling the line with one foot in the northern hemisphere and one in the southern. Like the Teleferiqo, it's something that has to be done only once.
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.
This is a very popular place and a must if you go to Ecuador. You probably take the famous picture staddling the yellow line so that you can show your friends that yiou were on the both hemispheres at the same time. Latitdue 0 ,0 ,0 . This is the second monument you see here as the first one has been replaced.
This is an interesting place to visit. You can see shows, musical and cultural presentations for tourists in the main courtyard and you can tour the museum and shop and eat. There is lot to do in La Mitad del Mundo and you can easily spend the whole day there.
Construction started in April 1979 and ended in August of 1982. It is made out of iron and cement, covered with the coating of polished and cut andesite stones. This new monument has the same geometric features as the former pyramid. It is 30 meters tall, three times bigger than the first one, with a large metallic globe at its top. Inside the monument there is an ethnographic museum containing scientific and cultural exhibits.
Actually, this really isnt the middle of the world because geographers were about 250 meters off the mark. The Museo Inti Nan is where the true equator lies and has a signpost that will indicate when you are standing in the center of the earth. This is right next door.
There are more pictures in the travelogue if you want to check them out.
This is the main reason I went to Quito --- to go to the Equator's Mitad del Mundo, which is just 30 km north of the city center. This is the 0°0'0'' latitude - the place where the Equator divides the Northern and Southern Hemispheres!
There's a N-S-E-W orientation to the big 4.5 meter 5 ton globe on a pyramidal tower, and I took pictures from each side. And you also have to take that picture with one foot on both sides of the "yellow line".
Placing one foot in the northern hemisphere and the other foot in the southern hemisphere makes you stand right in the equator --- and supposedly, you should “weigh less” at the equator. I personally did not feel the difference and I actually gained a little weight when I got home from too much good food! LOL
You could also go up the pyramidal structure and have a nice view of the town and mountains/volcano (?) around this equatorial location.
However, apparently the exact location of the equator is still in debate and measurements here may be "off". The entire structure is about 240 meters south of the true equator, which was not precisely located until recently, with the advent of GPS technology.
The place has already been commercialized, and you can find here an ethnographic museum, an art gallery, a bullfighting ring, handicraft stores, and even a cockpit.
Buses leave from the north-central side of Quito and travel directly to Mitad del Mundo, but (since I am old and tired) I just hired a driver through my hotel to bring me to this place directly and also to see the other attractions in the vicinity.
To tell you the truth, I didn't like the monument. Too sturdy and squared for me and doesn't have any of the Ecuadorian soul. The whole setting, either. It's too tidy and looks so dry. What I liked is the whole idea of being there as the place - or somewhere nearby – is where the ancestors of local people, the Quitus, celebrated their notion of the Equator, according to their traditional rituals and beliefs. They worshipped their god, Inty-nan, which is the name of the museum in the real Equator. Yes, as you all know, after having read so many tips, the real Equator, as calculated by more advanced technology in 1997, was 240meters off. And it's a lot of fun. There is a sun dial with dark and light stones, which are useful for the satellite observation as they give different traces. Some experiments are also being performed, trying to convince tourists, that something is happening on the spot, but it is widely rumoured that they are fake. I have no idea who is right...
Anyway, the touristic complex of the “other” Mitad del Mundo contains an Ethnographic Museum, a miniature of Quito, a bull-fighting arena, a cock-fight house, a Planetarium, an ecological children park, a touristic train, workshops, and pretty but pricey restaurants built in the Ciudad del Mundo. This is a replica of an old colonial town. In the central square many cultural events take place ranging from popular music by local bands to classical music by orchestras and from traditional dances to contemporary ballet.
The monument is a quadrangular 30m tall pyramid with a globe on top... It was constructed in 1979-1982. It replaced a 10m tall monument built by the Second Geodesic mission who moved the spot 7 km off the previous one, marked by the first French Geodesic Mission in 1936-1945.
The most ...straddled line in the World is drawn on the ground in front, running through it, where all tourists take the usual picture. I did it, too....The 13 busts you will see are of the members of the First Geodesic Mission.
Please don't mention to the officials that you know this is not the real Equator because when I did they looked very unhappy...and tried to convinced me this is the most important one...! After all, it's not their fault they didn't have GPS at the time of the construction....!
Locals point out that this line doesn't divide the world into two but Unifies the two hemispheres into one World !
There is a bus going there from the center. Alternatively take the Metro bus going north, get off at Ofelia transfer station and get on the Mitad del Mundo bus. It will drop you at the entrance, where you will pay an entrance of 2$ to get in. Total journey about 50 minutes.
Tel: (593) 2 255 1898
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
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.
This is an uber-touristy, sometimes less than authentic, cheesy outing. But if you have a day to go, you can make it worthwhile by combining it with a few other options. You can take the metrobus all the way to its last northerly stop and from that station, get straight on the bus that drops you right in front of the main Mitad del Mundo complex. It will take 1.5 hours or so each way from Quito (less if you are leaving from the Mariscal area or more north) but cost you about 50 cents, a lot less than a lot of travel companies charge for Mitad del Mundo day trips. Within the complex you can see the big equator monument (which is actually a few hundred metres off), pay a few extra dollars to explore the small but interesting Anthropological museum which showcases the various indigenous cultures throughout Ecuador, check out the numerous tourist shops for artesania, enjoy a typical Ecuadorian lunch and catch a dance show. From there you can walk up a few hundred metres to the science museum on the real equator. As well, a $12 cab (return) will take you to the Rumicucho Ruins which are small but a worthwhile stopover if you are unable to catch the other ruins in the country during your stay.
The Mitad del Mundo(Middle of the World) is 100% touristy and cheesy as well...but you came to Ecuador, so now you're obligated to see the actual 0 degree latitude line....or at least they say it is. Here we have a line painted on the ground where tourists stand on both sides and have their photos taken. There is also a monument, lots of shops, restaurants and the like...a regular theme park here.
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!
If you are in the habit of taking comedy photos, this is the place to go!
You can get a bus from Quito centre (along Avenida Americas) which is clearly marked with Mitad del Mundo on the front. The bus drops you on the roundabout and its a short walk up to the amusement park itself, which contains the famous monument and the red line.
It costs $2 to get in which essentially just pays for the privelige of taking multiple pictures straddling the two hemispheres, as the rest of the amusement park is pretty tacky and crap!
I would definitely recommend taking a trip to the Museo del Sitio Intinan, which is about 5mins walk from the park. I think it cost $3 to get it. Here is the 'real' equator measured by GPS and they prove it by performing several cool experiments (I won't ruin the surprise!) and if you can balance an egg on a nail, you get a certificate!!! The rest of the museum features a traditional native house, a genuine shrunken head and an opportunity to practice Indian blowpipes!
You can also get your passport stamped with 'mitad del mundo'.
A climb up to the top of this towering church is something I highly recommend. The journey begins up stone stairs, then to a long "plank" walkway, finally reaching a rickety-ish iron ladder to reach the top. Those fearful of heights might want to give this a pass, but if you can manage, the views from the top are outstanding....bring your camera.
Frankly, this place is a little overrated to me.
The Ecuadorians proudly set up a 'park' that claims to be located at the 'Mitad del Mundo' (Middle of the Earth) and charges an entrance fee for you to view... pardon my cynicism... a set of rather unattractive monuments with a circle at the top each, that allegedly sit along the Equator Line.
Well, in a way, we could still view the monuments from OUTSIDE the park, so we didn't pay, haha.
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.