Destinations, Ecuador, South America

Visiting the Middle of the Earth

So this is just going to be a quick informational post to help anyone who was as confused as me when visiting the equator in ecuador. The reason for my confusion is that there are actually two equator locations complete with visitor centre. The original La Mitad del Mundo (“the middle of the world”) is 22km north of Quito and was designated the official equator line by 18th Century geographer and mathematician Charles-Marie de La Condamine. Unfortunately, modern GPS suggests the real equator lies about 300m to the north. The second one Museo Intiñan is lesser known and was built after the official one was erected and is less publicised. It is however just a short walk around the corner of the official site, and in my opinion a much better experience.

Actual equator location


But first lets tackle getting there. If you have money then skip over this part as you will probably just hop into a taxi  for around 30 dollars return. but if you want to travel for under USD 1 then read on. First things first currency is in USD in Ecuador so that’s what I will be quoting, to get to Mital del Mundo you will need to get to the La Ofelia Bus station in Quito. I traveled from the old historical area of Quito so that’s how I will explain how to navigate. Just remember to not get overwhelmed regarding bus changes, it really is very straightforward and even if you take a wrong turn people are very friendly and happy to help.   There are three main transport routes in Quito Trolebus (green line) – Ecovia (red line) – Metrobus (blue line) A very useful page to orientate yourself with the transport system is the is one here it helped me on my visit and I highly recommend it.

busmap
Trole bus line from oldtown to station La Y
metrobus
Metro Bus from La Y to Ofelia

Since I was staying in the old town I got the Trolebus from Plaza Grande to station La Y cost is USD .25 then I switched to the Metrobus which terminates at station Ofelia cost is USD .25 the switch is very easy and is clearly signposted. From Ofelia either ask a local or walk around the terminal and you will see there will be buses with Mitad del Mundo clearly displayed on the front cost is about USD .50 the bus ride is about 30 min and has some great scenery as well. Keep your eyes peeled for the right stop (you will recognize it trust me) and walk across the road to the entrance of the main visitors centre.

Official monument at Mitad del Mundo 

To get a complete ticket it costs USD 6.5 and includes museum entrance both of a cocoa museum and a history museum and planetarium. If you just want to pay for the entrance it costs USD 3. There are some great photo ops available in the grounds and it is a huge complex with lots of tourist shops and cafes. Make sure to get your passport stamped at the gift shop with a Mitad del mundo stamp (LOVE Passport stamps).

After leaving the official monument, continue a few hundred metres north – left out of the exit – to the lessor known Museo Intiñan cost is  USD 4 . Here you can take a free guided tour around the “true equator” and learn about Ecuador’s native culture and customs

You also get to participate in a variety of activities designed to demonstrate a range of interesting physical phenomena unique to the equatorial region. The demos are great fun and I had so much fun trying to balance an egg on a nail and walk in a straight line, lots more fun than the other site.

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I made the egg balance!

If you are short on time or money then please just visit the second site the actual equator line, it is allot more fun and you will not regret it! But if you have the time then by all means do both.

To get back simply walk to the other side of the road where you got dropped off and catch a bus heading into Quito. We waited only a few minutes before jumping on the next bus heading into the city.

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