If you are visiting the capital of Ecuador, Quito, then you need to visit Ciudad Mitad del Mundo as well. And the best part is, that you can get there totally on your own. No tour needed!
Are you ready to go to the middle of the earth? What an exciting thought!
In this guide, we will tell you how to visit Ciudad Mitad del Mundo on your own and what to see there.
You will be standing right in the middle and no one can stop you. Ready?
ABOUT MITAD DEL MUNDO
Well, first comes first.
What does Mitad del Mundo even mean? What is this place?
Don’t worry, all the questions will be answered.
If you were paying attention in your geography class, you probably heard the term Equator. The Equator is an imaginary line that splits our earth into two hemispheres: the northern and the southern hemispheres.
Right here at Mitad del Mundo, the GPS coordinates will show you 0°latitude. That means you are in the middle of the world.
If you would like to learn more about the Equator, head to the national geographic article.
HOW TO GET TO MITAD DEL MUNDO
If you would like to get to Ciudad Mitad del Mundo on your own, you are in luck. It is located just 25 km from Quito, and can easily be reached on your own.
We took a bus from the Ofelia bus station in Quito. Make sure to tell the bus driver that you want to get off at the monument. The ride takes around 1 hour.
It is a public bus and locals use it all the time, so you might see some chickens and you might be hit by an oversized bag Ecuadorian women wear on their shoulders. Definitely an authentic experience.
If you like and want a more comfortable ride, you can even take an Uber.
READ MORE: 12 EXCITING THINGS TO DO IN QUITO
HOW LONG DO YOU NEED?
Ciudad Mitad del Mundo is a small village. And how much time you would like to spend here, it is totally up to you. We spent around 4 hours wandering around with a visit to the Museum and taking photos. You definitely do not need to plan the entire day to visit this site.
MONUMENTO MITAD DEL MUNDO
Once you arrive, you can’t miss the 30 meters tall monument standing in the middle of the square. This is a monument that states where the Equator line passes. Well, it used to…
The monument is off by 240 meters. What? How come?
In 1736 the French Academy of Sciences which was led by Charles Marie de La Condamine, Louis Godin, Pierre Bouguer made the measurements of the equatorial line. The mission was called the French Geodesic Mission.
SO WHERE IS THE REAL EQUATOR?
According to World Geodetic System which we are using every day in our GPS, the precise equator is located 240 meters north of the line that was made by the French scientists. That means you need to walk further to be in the middle of the world, for real.
Yet, it was a remarkable achievement, considering that it was the year 1736. They also proved that the globe is not elongated (egg-shaped). Maudit! (Damn in French)
The monument was built in 1979 and on the top of the monument, you can see a big globe that is 4.5 meters in diameter.
Once you walk around the monument and take photos with a fake line, you can check out a small museum inside of the monument. There you can see displayed clothes and items and depicting the everyday life of indigenous people.
There is also planetarium which is definitely a must-see, especially when you are standing in the middle of the world.
If you happened to come here on weekdays, you will see some cultural events, lovely music, and of course small markets where you can buy souvenirs.
READ MORE: 15 MOST BEAUTIFUL PLACES IN SOUTH AMERICA
Once you finish with observing the monument, head to the Ethnographic Museum Middle of the Earth. Once you arrive, you can decide if you would like to take a guide. Otherwise, you can simply walk around the complex on your own.
We found the guide very helpful, especially explaining to us the history of Ecuador and indigenous people. There is some text written but as always in South America, do not expect something that goes a bit deeper into details. That is why we were happy to have a local explaining to us all.
We were also told how ingenious people loved to cut off the heads of their enemies and stick it to the stick, or make an amulet and wear it around their neck. I mean, just read it again. This made me sick to my stomach, but hey, this is history.
ENTRANCE FEE: $5.25
Also, your guide will show you a few experiments, such as how the water flows in the southern hemisphere and in the northern hemisphere. Basically, if you are standing in either of the two hemispheres the water will flow out the sink either counter-clockwise or clockwise due to the so-called Coriolis effect. Right here, it is probably just a hoax, but pretty amusing for sure.
Definitely an interesting place to check out and learn more. There is also a lane dividing the southern and the northern hemisphere. Apparently this one is off as well, but we are not sure.
GET THE EGG CERTIFICATE
Also if you would like to take it to the next level there is an EGG TEST.
It is a very funny test and or skill you need to accomplish when visiting the middle of the world. Basically you need to put an egg standing on the head of the nail. If you make it, you will get a real certificate.
It is not as easy as it seems. If you look at the photo, the egg is located between the southern and northern hemispheres.
I failed at the beginning, but with a little bit of concentration and determination, you can make it as well. Definitely a skill you can add to your resume.
Before you leave, make sure to ask for your certificate.
There is also a small hut where you can stamp your passport. If you are a passport stamp collector (we are for sure) then this one is for you.
There is also a small store with souvenirs, where you can get little things like alpaca toys, or Middle of the world batches. If you are hungry there is also a small restaurant inside the museum.
Looking for another cool day trip from Quito? Then you need to visit one of the most beautiful lakes in Ecuador: QUILOTOA LAKE. We wrote an entire guide about Laguna de Quilotoa and how to get there, so head there, to read more.
DID YOU KNOW?
The length of days here barely change thought the whole year. I never forget when I was little, I saw a documentary film from Ecuador about the equatorial line. It was so fascinating to see people with no shades walking around.
There is a particular day when your shade is right underneath you, basically like a circle around your body.
If you would like to see it, you need to travel to the Mitad del Mundo on the equinoxes which is: March 19th, 20th, or 21st and September 22nd, 23rd, or 24th.
However, our shade wasn’t that bad neither. What do you think?
If you are going to visit it on these particular days, send us some photos as we would like to see it too.
WHAT COUNTRIES DO THE EQUATOR GO THROUGH?
Except for Ecuador, there are another 12 countries that the Equator passes.
Colombia, Brazil, Maldives, Indonesia, Kiribati, Uganda, Kenya, Somalia, Sao Tome & Principe, Gabon, Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Congo
Have a good time exploring the middle of our earth guys. If you are curious about how we plan our trips, head to our travel itinerary guide with all our tips.
If you are heading to Ciudad Mitad Del Mundo, don’t forget to pin the article for later.