Mitad del Mundo Day Trip near Quito
I’ve always dreamed of travelling the whole world, so crossing it right in the middle was a must do! Have you also dreamed of visiting the Equator? Here are my tips on how to take the maximum out of this experience if you are traveling in South America and Ecuador in particular.
The Equator line actually runs along nine countries around the earth. If you are in Quito you could not miss the chance to visit the most interesting equator point in Ecuador. The Mitad del Mundo (“Middle of the World”) complex is located just outside the capital Quito and it is build or at least it’s supposed to be right at “the equator”. Actually, it is a tourist trap that looks like souvenir and handcrafts market built around a big monument. The fun fact is that the actual equator line is about 240m off the mark where the monument is.
How to access the Equator Line
The $2 entry fee gets you into the Mitad del Mundo complex – this is rather like being charged to enter a shopping center, since there are far more handicraft and souvenir shops than anything else. In my opinion it doesn’t worth the visit, except taking a few pictures around or buying some souvenirs, even though they are quite overpriced 🙂
Visit the Inti-Ñan Solar Museum
The little Inti-Ñan Solar Museum just up the road claims to be exactly on the equator itself. You can see the museum if you turn right around the fence if facing the Mitad del Mundo complex. The museum is more fun than the Mitad del Mundo, with “demonstrations” of various equator- and solar-related tricks, some of which are fake. You will get a certificate if you manage to balance an egg on a nail and also you can have your passport stamped with the equator mark 🙂
There is also a collection of totem poles, pickled snakes, models of traditional houses, blow-pipes and a supposedly genuine shrunken human head. Their guided tour will cost you $3 and it’s quite interesting and entertaining. It reveals some facts about the equator, Ecuadorian tribes and so on. In my opinion, it definitely worth a visit.
How to get there
You can get to the Middle of the World monument either by bus or a taxi. The taxi will cost you around $15-20 from Mariscal neiborhood or the Old town Quito.
It’s way cheaper and far more interesting to take the public bus. It’s real fun believe me 🙂 On every stop there will be a musician, a merchandiser or a dancer that will hop onto the bus. They sell everything from water to banana cakes, mp3 players and clothes. You can enjoy typical local music live performance while you travel to the Middle of the World 🙂 And this will cost you only $0.25, yeah 25 cents.
What you need to do is to take any local bus that travels north to Ophelia station. Just ask the person who sells the bus ticket (they usually hang out of the bus) for Ophelia station and hop on the first one. It will be at least 45 min ride, depending on the traffic. When you arrive to Ophelia bus station just look for a bus with a big sign “Mitad del Mundo” on top of the windshield. Don’t worry, you can’t miss it. They depart every 5 minutes and the ticket costs $0.40. For another 30 minutes you will be at a roundabound just in front of the Middle of the World.
Check out our complete guide for Quito and surroundings here:
Have you visited the Equator in another country around the world? Please share your experience in the comments.