Mitad del Mundo Ecuador is the best place to visit the equator in South America. Get your camera ready, because this is the place for photos to send to loved ones back home (or Instagram followers).
A visit to the Quito equator line is a great half-day trip from the city. As well as fun photos, you can learn from the various museums onsite, see science in action and stand in two hemispheres at once!
Located over 25 km from the city centre, this detailed guide includes information on how to get there (for all budgets) and what to expect when you’re there – including how to get a unique stamp in your passport.
As one of only 10 countries that are on the equator, a trip out from Quito is well worth your time and money to tick off a bucket list activity.
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Can you Visit the Equator in Ecuador?
Yes, in fact, Ecuador is one of the best places to stand on the equator. Most of the Earth’s mid-line runs across the ocean or deep rainforest, whereas in Ecuador it runs through a city.
Where is Mitad del Mundo Ecuador?
Literally translated as Middle of the Earth, Mitad del Mundo is the home of Ecuador’s monument to the equator. The complex, which includes restaurants, museums and gift shops is located in the north of Quito, the country’s capital. Which, is unsurprising when you learn that Quito means centre of the world in the local indigenous language!
How do you get to the Equator from Quito, Ecuador?
Located on the outskirts of the city, you’ll need to take either a tour, taxi or bus to get to the Quito equator line.
How far from Quito is the equator line?
The equator in Ecuador is located 26 km from the centre of Quito, in the north of the capital. Most visitors go to the Ciudad Mitad del Mundo Quito complex to take photos on the bright yellow line and climb up the monument. But, there is a key caveat that would-be visitors should know…
Importantly, the site and monument are not located on the actual equator based on modern-day measurements. The first monument on the site was built in 1936 based on calculations of the equator’s positions from the 1700s. However, technological advances now let us see that the monument is 240 metres away from the equator. But, it’s an impressive feat of old-school mathematics to have such little error!
Nearby the Intiñan Site Museum (Museo de Sitio Intiñan) claims to be on the ‘real’ equator. Alongside the museum, you’ll find exhibitions and a similarly bright-coloured line marking the equator. However, modern GPS measurements with increasingly accurate technology have shown that this too is not quite on the equator – perhaps 50 metres short.
All in all, neither of the attractions are on the equator. So, ultimately, you’re going to learn about the history, culture and get the iconic photos on the brightly painted line. Yes, it’s a tourist attraction but it’s great fun!
Getting to Ciudad Mitad del Mundo Quito By Public Transport
Taking the bus is the cheapest way to get to the equator in Quito. From the centre of the city, there are 2 main route options available.
The first option is to take a bus on the dedicated Mitad del Mundo line. These buses run from the city to the equator along Avenida Mariscal Sucre. This road runs north-south along the western edge of the city before joining Highway 28 towards the equator.
Alternatively, the second option is to take a Metrobus from along Avenida América to the Ofelia Bus Terminal. Here, you can take a second bus to the Middle of the World site.
Although cheap – the buses cost less than 1 USD each way – the downside is the long journey time. During the day, the journey out or into the city can take 2 hours, and even longer during peak times.
Getting to Ciudad Mitad del Mundo Ecuador By Tour or Taxi
The quickest way to get to the Quito equator line is with private transport. Ubers are cheap and efficient, even with the round-the-clock traffic in the city. Taking an Uber is even more cost-effective when travelling as a couple or small group. Expect to pay 8 to 12 USD each way from the city centre to Mitad del Mundo Quito.
Tours are a time-efficient option for those wanting to visit multiple places in one day. Although trips just to the equator site do exist. As always, with tours, you do pay a premium for the ease of transport as well as having the itinerary planned and a guide accompanying you. When booked in person in Quito, you can pay as little as 10 USD per person for transport to the equator and a guide.
Opening Times and Entrance Fee
Mitad del Mundo Ecuador is open 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Monday to Friday it is open from 9 am to 5 pm, while on weekends it closes at 6pm.
- 5 USD for adults (age 12+)
- 2.50 USD for children aged 6 to 11 and those over 65
Tickets can be booked online or bought at the ticket office onsite.
If you drive there, parking costs 3 USD.
What to Expect When You’re There
A visit to the Quito equator line is one of the top attractions in the city and there’s plenty to do there.
Ok, so it’s not technically the actual equator but this is the place to get those photos. No one else needs to know anyway, right?
The best side of the monument for photos is the side where the door to the museum inside is. However, this is often busy with other visitors and those coming and going from the museum. So, if you’d prefer somewhere quieter and with fewer people in the background of your photos, head around to the other side of the monument.
If you’re wanting to take photos by yourself or with the people you’re visiting with, it’s best to bring a tripod. This is because there isn’t anywhere to balance your phone or camera.
You’ll find the viewpoint at the top of the central monument. Here, you’ll be able to look over the equatorial line and site, as well as see the surrounding Andes mountains.
The viewpoint can be accessed by several flights of stairs inside the monument. Additionally, there is a lift – this was restricted to use by people with mobility problems, pushchairs, wheelchairs etc when I visited.
The main museum is located inside the large monument at the centre of the site. Expect to find information on the indigenous people, natural environment and history of the equator.
In addition to this ethnographic museum, there is also a very small craft beer museum (where you can also buy beer), a French geodesic museum and a cocoa museum.
Furthermore, you can take a trip to space at the planetarium along the long walkway in front of the monument.
At Mitad del Mundo Ecuador you can get an actual stamp in your passport commemorating your visit to the Quito equator line. These stamps can be found in the gift shops inside the complex.
It’s also possible to buy a transparent sticker with the stamp design to put in your passport if you haven’t brought it with you. These are cheap and sometimes are given away for free when you purchase something else.
Passport stamps for cool activities are fairly common in Central and South America. But, it’s not a good idea to fill your passport with unofficial stamps, especially as some countries require a certain number of blank pages to enter. Choose wisely and maybe save it for bucket list destinations such as Acatenango Volcano or Machu Picchu.
Restaurants and Gift Shops
Around the site, there are a handful of restaurants, cafes and even an ice cream shop. Whatever time of day you’re visiting, enjoy a small snack or meal at this unique attraction.
Whether you’re buying for yourself or someone else, there are plenty of souvenirs available here. Ornaments, patches, magnets, clothes, mugs and much, much more!
As well as the essentials like toilets and seating areas, the site also has more quirky activities on offer. First, there is a llama farm as well as fish ponds. Then there are the science experiments you can watch or try out, like balancing an egg on a nail head. And, near the entrance get a photo with the Mitad del Mundo letters sign.
Finally, and at the top of the unexpected things to do when you visit the equator in Ecuador is getting married at the chapel. But, it is entirely possible, as are christenings and other Catholic ceremonies. Time to say I do?
Do you have any questions or want any more information? If so, drop a comment below and I’ll get back to you!
Information is correct as of November 2022 but is subject to change in future.
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